Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

I'm hoping this will be a better year for posting than last year was. I went through quite a bit last year and I'm hoping this year is easier for me!

As many of you know, I was trying to having gastric bypass surgery. Well, after jumping through all the hoops that my insurance company demanded, my surgeon sent off to have the surgery approved. It came back denied, not the surgery, but the hospital! So, I had to find out which hospitals were approved. The closest ones were about 2 hours away. So I started the process again with a new surgeon.

This was a "God Thing" since my new surgeon (the first time she saw me) found something strange going on in my neck. After quite a few test, it was found that I had thyroid cancer. She told me then, that if I had to have cancer, thyroid cancer was the best one to have. Well, I can tell you "best" "have" and "cancer" do not go well together in a sentence.

She sent me to an endocrinologist, and he did a biopsy on it, and then scheduled me for surgery. I had surgery to have my thyroid removed on August 16. The surgery was late starting (by at least 4 hours) and I didn't get to my room until 8:30 that night. I went home the next day. I had a tough time sleeping because I felt "pulling" in my neck, so I slept in the rocking chair for about a week.

My follow up visit was in the middle of September and I went back and was given the schedule for the Radioactive Iodine treatment. It would be the middle of October. I also had an appointment with my gastric bypass surgeon the same week. When he found out what was going on, he rushed my surgery date (He didn't want his team exposed to the radiation.) Oh yeah, my surgeon who found the cancer, moved to NY, so I had to get another surgeon!

My gastric bypass surgery was on October 3rd. My mom and I went to Durham on the 2nd and she stayed in a hotel while I was in the hospital. My surgeon was great! And I must admit, that Durham Regional Hospital has a wonderful staff! I was impressed with all of them, from the ASU, OR, and nursing floor! And since I work at a hospital and also just had surgery in another hospital, I feel like I know what I'm talking about!

Anyway, I went home after 2 nights in the hospital, and didn't have any problems. Unless you count being on a liquid diet a problem - which I do! Since the surgeon put me on a liquid diet for a little over 2 weeks before the surgery and then I was on it again for a little over 3 weeks after the surgery, I wanted to eat some real food something fierce!

This surgery was easier when I got home, no pain meds were needed, I was able to sleep without any problems. And while I was out for this surgery, I had the Radioactive Iodine treatment during the last week, so I didn't have to miss any extra work for it.

For those of you who do not know what Radioactive Iodine treatment is, here is what I went through. I went in on Monday to Nuclear Medicine department of the hospital. There they did a scan on my neck and knee while sitting in a chair. I know really weird on the knee. Then they laid me on a table and strapped my arm down and did a scan on my whole body. That was it. I had to go back on Tuesday and they did another scan on my whole body. On Wednesday is when they did one more body scan and then I was given the Radioactive pill to swallow. It was brought to me in a metal container and the man giving it to me walked out of the room so I could take it. I was then promptly escorted from the hospital to go home and stay away from everyone for three days. I couldn't sleep with my husband, and I couldn't cook for him. Little did they know that when I started the liquid diet 5 weeks ago, I stopped cooking for him! =) The the following Monday, I had to go back for one more body scan!

I had to flush 3 times after every bathroom use, throw my toothbrush away after the three days of quarantine. And the wash all my linen and clothes separately. So the grandkids stayed away until Saturday night and then they were ok to come over. I didn't let them crawl up in bed with me that night, but at least they were there.

Anyway, it has been 3 months since my surgery (or at least tomorrow it will be) and I've lost 55 pounds. I'm very proud of this and hope it continues. I go back to Durham on Thursday for my 3 month follow up and also for the group session. I'm also documenting this in a scrapbook, so hopefully I'll some pages up soon.

If you read all of this, I'm impressed. Hope I didn't bore you too much!