Friday, January 29, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery Wrap Up & A Look Ahead

Weight: 216
Total Amount Lost: 9 lbs.

Diet: Almost entirely back to normal with the exception of really spicy food, or really hard/crunchy/crispy food (like chips).

Things I'm Still Dealing With: Dry throat/pain during the night and first thing in the morning and still needing to sleep propped up to minimize this, pain upon yawning/sneezing/coughing, small patch of numbness on my tongue, and sounding weird when I talk. All of these could take a few more weeks or even a couple of months to completely resolve.

I got a clean bill of health at my post-op follow-up appointment with the ENT doctor yesterday, and I'm cleared to return to all pre-surgery activities! Hooray!

For the benefit of anyone reading this who might be considering or preparing to have this surgery, I'll summarize what the experience was like for me.

The Worst Parts: Vomiting, ear/jaw pain, headaches, boredom

Things That Helped Me: Eating before pain meds, sipping water constantly, running a humidifier next to my bed, ice packs on my neck, using a travel neck pillow to sleep with my head propped up. I also suspect that taking Carafate helped keep my pain under control and speed my healing. Overall my pain didn't seem quite as bad as many of the horror stories I'd read. That could be due to luck, or it could be the Carafate. It's certainly worth asking your doctor about if you're facing this surgery.

Foods I Found Especially Helpful: Obviously there are the usual suspects such as popsicles and jello, but I also really liked eating cold applesauce, lukewarm Ramen noodle soup, and instant mashed potatoes made with chicken or beef broth (you can control how thick you make them based on what you can tolerate).

Biggest Tip: BE PREPARED! Once again, I may have just lucked out with a less-bad recovery than many experience, but I also think I helped myself along by being prepared for all of the possibilities. I read countless recovery stories and tips online, so there wasn't much that caught me off guard. This surgery is no joke -- the recovery process is slow and rough. But if you go into it knowing that, it might make all of the misery easier to bear. I think the people who struggle the most are the ones who are told they'll feel better in a few days, or aren't warned about the ear pain, etc.

So now I am closing the book on this chapter of my life. As of right now, I am very glad I finally had this surgery. I wish I'd done it many years ago -- but at the same time, I'm not sure I would have weathered the recovery as well if I hadn't suffered so much from strep/tonsillitis over the years and endured the horror of the peritonsillar abscess. Perhaps it happened when it was meant to happen. All I know for certain is that I'm looking forward to a healthier future now!

And now this blog can return to its focus on running and triathlon and races and training and all that good stuff. Over the next few days I will sketch out a training plan. I'm a little nervous to get back into my workouts, because I haven't done anything active since Thanksgiving!

I had hoped to have a race plan worked out for the year, but unfortunately we are not in a good place financially. I can't afford to register for anything right now (which stinks because I'll be missing out on some of the early bird specials when prices start to go up in February), and I almost certainly won't be able to make the trip to Charleston for the Cooper River Bridge Run this spring. The timing is perfect with the kids' spring breaks this year and I was looking forward not just to meeting this big scary goal but also to spending some time in my hometown. However, trips cost we don't currently have to spare. I am hoping that we will find a way out of our money woes in time for me to stay on track with the rest of my goals for the season, especially with my plan to do 2 sprint triathlons and then my first Olympic-distance tri.

While I'm still working out plans for the 2016 season, I might also go back and write race reports for last year's Iron Girl, Army 10-Miler, and Annapolis Running Classic Half Marathon! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 12

Totally forgot to weigh myself today. Oops.

I no longer have much to update. My diet is almost entirely back to normal. My throat pain lessens a little more each day. I still need to sleep propped up at night and still wake up with pain each morning, but it subsides quickly as I drink water to moisten my throat. At night I'm still taking Tylenol PM to help me sleep, but I no longer need any paid meds at all, even OTC, during the day. I actually got brave and took a look at my throat this evening, and it's really healing! I did not see many scabs left at all. Lots of redness and some swelling still though.

The biggest thing I have left to conquer is getting all my energy back. I went out and shoveled some snow today and at first it felt great! Then after awhile, all of a sudden I did not feel great anymore. I think I overexerted a little. Not only was I exhausted, but the entire back of my mouth and throat area ached in a strange way. I know I'm past the most dangerous period when bleeding is likely to occur, but I don't want to take any chances, so I'll go back to taking it easy for a few more days at least.

Thanks to Snowzilla, my office is closed tomorrow. I imagine it will be open on Tuesday but I think I might start back by working a half day from home and ease myself back into my routines. I'm not sure if I'll go back to the office late this week or wait until Monday.

My post-op follow up appointment with the ENT is Thursday. After that I will write a final recovery wrap up, and then hopefully shift gears back into training mode!!

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 11

Weight: 218
Change from yesterday: +1
Change overall: -7

Today was great! I ate lots of normal food (french toast for breakfast! tortellini with marinara sauce and a piece of garlic bread for dinner! CAKE!!!), and was up and out of my bed for more than half the day!

I wore myself out in the morning doing some household tasks, and it made me very frustrated that I needed to rest for a while midday. But I rallied later on, and went for a short walk outside in the snow (my first time outside the house since the surgery!!), played a board game with my family, and watched a movie on the couch. I did have to take some tylenol with codeine after talking too much made my throat hurt, but otherwise I felt pretty good.

I'm still frustrated at not being back to normal yet, but I'm trying to be patient. I really ought to just be grateful that I'm doing as well as I am at this point, because I know some recoveries don't go this well. Mine certainly wasn't perfect, but it was not nearly as awful as I'd feared, and it's wrapping up just in time for me to enjoy this beautiful snowstorm. I can't wait to get outside tomorrow! I know I will still get tired and need to rest, but hopefully tomorrow will be a little better than today was.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 10

Weight: 217
Change from yesterday: none
Change overall: -8

I think my weight loss has stopped. I lost less than I originally expected, but I also was eating a lot more than I expected since I had to eat with the pain meds in order to avoid the nausea/vomiting. I'm going to continue keeping track of my weight for a while though, to see if I start gaining it back quickly now that I'm easing back into solid foods (and there's a blizzard going on! Bring on the cozy comfort foods!).

Today started out rough. Waking-up pain was about the same as the past two mornings, and I just felt completely exhausted. I was really hoping to have more energy today, to start getting up and DOING stuff again. Lacking that energy dampened my spirits, despite the onset of the snowstorm I've been tracking and anticipating all week. I even had to take a nap!

BUT (and that's a pretty big but, teehee), I made HUGE progress with eating today! I had a McDonald's cheeseburger for lunch, and then a bowl of chili for dinner. I love love love chili on a snowy day -- it was just perfect. I drank a Diet Coke also, which felt a little weird but didn't hurt my throat. Even though I regularly drink a good bit of water, I've gotten bored of drinking JUST water, so it was great to have something different.

So by the end of the day, the food and the snow had re-energized me. As I type, I'm OUT of bed, watching a movie in the living room while I can also watch the snow as it falls. I'm feeling confident that I will have enough energy tomorrow to do some fun snow day activities with the kids (though I accept that I might have to take a nap, and will certainly have to take some breaks from talking).

I took my last two percocet today. Still have the tylenol with codeine on standby if I need it, but otherwise I'm going to try getting along with just OTC painkillers now. I'll start with Tylenol PM at bedtime tonight. Here's hoping it leads to restful sleep!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 9

Weight: 217
Change from yesterday: none
Change overall: -8

The good news: today has been about the same as yesterday!
The bad news: today has been about the same as yesterday!

I'm grateful that I did not take a step backwards in my recovery today, but I must admit I was a little disappointed not to make any progress either. Nearly everything I reported from yesterday was almost exactly the same today. I feel like I'm trapped in some sort of limbo between suffering and normalcy. It's not the worst place in the world to be, but I'd still prefer to breakthrough to the other side!!

Went a long time today without any pain meds, taking them only once I really needed them. I guess that is some progress. Will continue the weaning tonight and tomorrow. I'm almost out of percocet but I have a few tylenol with codeine left from when I had the abscess, so I have a back up in case the pain suddenly worsens when I'm off the meds.

The next step, other than getting off the drugs, is starting to be up and around more. I will start that tomorrow. I hope to have enough energy to get out and enjoy the massive snowfall by Sunday! I will probably still mostly take it easy though, and increase my activity gradually.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the magic day when most people start to feel like themselves again -- hoping it works out that way for me!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 8

Weight: 217
Change from yesterday: -1
Change overall: -8

I hate to get ahead of myself, because tomorrow could always end up being worse, but I felt like I started to turn a corner today! First, I got about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which was a huge stretch. I haven't had anything close to that since the surgery! Unfortunately, the long sleep led to a temporarily unpleasant morning, as all pain meds had worn off and my throat had gotten a little dry overnight. Once I drank some water, slurped down some applesauce, and took some percocet, I was good to go!

Most of the day was pretty decent. I'm still weak, and woozy from the drugs. Naturally, eating still hurts, but maybe a little bit less than it did yesterday? I definitely had less jaw and ear pain, and I was able to talk a lot more! But then, more talking leads to more soreness in the throat for a little while afterwards, so I'd have to take breaks. I also was able to open my mouth all the way for the first time, and I did so quite a bit to try to stretch out the muscles in my jaw.

The biggest triumph of my day was eating macaroni and cheese for lunch and dinner! That's the most-solid food I've had to eat so far, and actually involved a little bit of chewing. I was absolutely thrilled that I was able to eat it with just a reasonable amount of pain. My stomach is happy!!

I'm still too squeamish to look at my throat, but my dutiful husband was willing to take one for the team, and he reported that the left side has no scabs (so weird...I still have felt almost nothing on that side! But he confirmed that the tonsil is in fact gone!), and the right side is still scabbed over but looks pretty good. Also he confirmed that my uvula is still swollen, which I was starting to suspect because I can frequently feel something back there when I swallow. I figured it was either a swollen uvula, or some dangly scab. Very relieved to learn it's the uvula. :)

So, I don't have a ton of percocet left, and I think it might be time to start weaning off them anyway. I'm only going to take one pill tonight before I go to sleep, and I'll figure out my first dose tomorrow based on how I feel in the morning. Getting off the drugs will make my head clearer, so I can maybe start mentally re-engaging with my life. I am SO ready for that. So here's hoping tomorrow continues today's positive trend and is not a step backwards!!!

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 7

Weight: 218
Change from yesterday: -2
Change overall: -7

Today was rough. It felt like my body and mind both hit the wall. I was exhausted, in more pain than yesterday, starving, and bored out of my mind. I've tried to be patient and have a positive attitude throughout this process, knowing it was going to be a long road, but today I ran out of positivity and just wanted to be HEALED already!!!

I miss food. I miss being able to talk. I miss being able to lie down and not have to sleep propped up. I miss being able to communicate with my kids and be involved in their lives. I'd say I miss going outside of the house, but it was bitter cold today so I was still pretty content to be inside. ;-)

Anyway, as miserable as I was today, I got through the day. The minutes and hours passed by, as slowly as ever, but they did pass. There's a lot of hype surrounding the massive snowstorm headed our way this weekend, so following all the latest info was a welcome distraction. Then my day ended on a nice note when my hubby braved the cold and went out to get me a milkshake from Chick Fil A! Heaven in a cup!!! I had to keep drinking water throughout because the milkshake definitely made me phlegmy (I can see why people suggest avoiding dairy!), but it was worth it to indulge in this treat that brought a smile to my face.

I go to sleep tonight happy and re-energized to endure the healing that remains. Given the sharp pains I felt today, I'm guessing the scabs are starting to come off? So that should mean more pain ahead. Yippie! Oh well, it's all part of the process. I can do this. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's shining on a beautiful snowfall that awaits me as sort of a reward for surviving! Just a few more days!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 6

Weight: 220
Change from yesterday: none
Change overall: -5

Hello 3:00am, my old friend....

My plan for tonight was to sleep as long as possible, wake up, drink Ensure, take meds, go back to sleep. My stomach is not cooperating. It's not nausea plaguing me this's more like extreme hunger, which is making my stomach HURT. I'm trying to settle it with some water before I add Ensure to the mix. Really hope this works. I want to go back to sleep!!!

I got my wish! After I was finally able to take my meds, I got a whole bunch of sleep! Woohoo!

Today has not been too bad. Eating hurts, every time, no matter what. It hurts my throat, obviously, but it also triggers the evil ear pain every time. NOT eating is NOT an option for me, so there is not much I can do but take some deep breaths and power through. The relief comes quickly afterwards when I take my meds! Well, reasonably quickly anyway.

In between meals & meds, the pain is pretty bearable. I'm taking longer naps and just waiting out the healing. I'm pretty pleased with myself -- I made it to today, day 6, before starting to feel antsy about all this time I'm "wasting" by not being "productive." I'm not very good at taking care of myself, so being able to focus on that for this long was quite an accomplishment. I even resisted the urge to get out my planner and work on some to-do lists today. Maybe tomorrow I will start easing myself back into real life. :)

Note: my tongue is no longer swollen or sore, but there is still at least one large chunk of it that is numb on top. I'm wondering whether this is going to be a long-term side effect that takes weeks or even months to correct!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 5

Weight: 220
Change from yesterday: -1
Change overall: -5

Ear pain. Wow. It can really be intense! But it's also strange how it comes and goes seemingly at random.

And why must I be awake in the middle of the night? Maybe I'm timing my meals and meds wrong or something. I don't know. But it seems like I sleep on and off most of the day, then end up wide awake in the middle of the night. My poor body is going to be so confused when this is all over.

I finally managed to get some decent sleep last night, and the morning went reasonably well. Pain was manageable and I progressed through breakfast (scrambled eggs) and meds. Then I took a late-morning nap, and woke up from that in a ton of pain, most of it in my ears. It felt like forever before I was able to eat (Ramen) and take more meds, and once they kicked in, they got rid of the throat and ear pain but left behind that mysterious headache that came back. Annoying. There wasn't much I could do but sleep it off. That nap eased the headache, but brought back some of the throat and ear pain. I couldn't win!

I think that overall this was my worst day for pain. On the bright side, I managed to take a shower, which was desperately needed. After the shower, my dinner (mashed potatoes) and meds routine went well and left me feeling good enough to read for a while. So it might have been the worst day for pain, but it ended on a good note.

My doctor told me that most people take about 10 days to get through the worst of the recovery, and most stuff I've read online seems to support that too. So, surviving today puts me about halfway through the process. Yay! I have no idea how much worse it's going to get before it gets better, but I feel confident that I can get through. I still have plenty of percocet, plus the zofran if the nausea comes back, and my mental game is strong. What I've learned is that nothing is consistent -- a food that goes down well one time might sting like hell the next, a pain that defies the meds might go away on its own, etc. So there is no trick to feeling good all the time, but no bad feeling is going to last forever. If I just keep eating, drinking, using my ice packs on my neck, sleeping when I can, and taking my meds, I will get through whatever discomforts come my way.

Another thing I learned today is how weak I am. Though I'm eating more than I did after my abscess was drained, it's nowhere near enough to keep me at full strength. Plus I'm not exactly getting consistent sleep. The shower this evening really wore me out. I'm eager to get back to swimming, biking, and running....but realizing that the energy for all that is not going to come back right away. I need to be prepared to take my time and build my strength gradually. Over the next week, I will need to ponder that and figure out what it means for my early-season race plans.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 4

Weight: 221
Change from yesterday: none
Change overall: -4

Today has been strange. I'm pleased to say I have not experienced any more nausea or vomiting, so yay for that! Instead, I've had this mysterious headache, throbbing in one particular spot on the right side of my head. It was especially bad this morning, so I pushed myself through my breakfast (oatmeal) in order to take some percocet, and a nap after the meds seemed to do the trick. But the headache came back in the early afternoon. I expected to have to chase it away with another dose of drugs, but oddly enough it went away on its own just after I finished eating lunch (mashed potatoes). So strange.

Another weird symptom today was dizziness. I've been dizzy off and on as a side effect of both meds I'm on, but it got really strange today when listening to music made me too dizzy and I had to turn it off. That was just...odd.

So, I'm still feeling most of the pain on the right side of my throat, which is starting to make me paranoid. Did they play a trick on me and leave the left tonsil in there??? Or was there some sort of nerve damage when the abscess was drained that has left that side of my throat with less feeling?

My tongue is still swollen and sore and some spots on it are a little numb. It feels weird.

Everything just sort of feels weird right now. I'm still waiting for the worst pain to arrive. The ear pain comes and goes and is bad but not nearly as bad as I've read about, so I'm assuming I just haven't gotten to that stage yet.

Also I'm getting bored. The headaches and dizziness have made it difficult to do anything at all, and the time continues to pass so slowly. I'd like to be able to watch movies or something at some point.

I wrote all of the above this afternoon, before the exciting adventure that was DINNER! Tonight's dinner was mashed potatoes, which I've eaten a few times now without incident. Well this was my most painful meal yet! Every swallow stung like crazy, and if I weren't so committed to preventing nausea, I might have just quit eating entirely. But I toughed it out so my stomach would be nice and calm when I took my next dose of percocet. It's important to have goals, right?

Anyway, the pain subsided a lot once I finished eating, even before I took more meds, so I guess I'm still in pretty decent shape. I did notice today that I've all but stopped talking. It's uncomfortable enough that it's just not worth it. I can text with my husband, so communication is not a problem, but the kids don't seem to grasp that I can't really respond to them now. They'll catch on soon, I'm sure. :)

I'm going to go ahead and publish this now instead of in the middle of the night. I might try to get more actual sleep tonight. And if not, I'll just start writing the NEXT update when I'm wide awake at 3:00am.

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 3

Weight: 221
Change from yesterday: -2
Change overall: -4

For a day that started out in brutal misery, it ended up being not so bad. I went for 12 hours without pain meds, and as luck would have it, this was when some of the more intense pain started to creep in -- beyond my throat, unto my jaw and ears -- such fun! I realized that I HAD to get back on the pain meds, which meant in turn that I HAD to get some food in my stomach, so I made that my #1 goal for the morning.

Starting with ice chips, I progressed slowly to a popsicle, some jello, and finally an Ensure shake, waiting after each to make sure my stomach was settled. After the Ensure, I was ready to take the plunge with percocet again, and I was so glad I did! Within half an hour, the pain had eased and I could relax again, and my stomach was totally fine. So I followed that pattern the rest of the day, making sure to get food into my stomach before taking the percocet. I had applesauce and mashed potatoes, and for dinner I ate Ramen noodle soup.

I'm still drinking water constantly throughout the day because it's important to stay hydrated! I've continued using ice packs on my neck (and have already noticed how they help with the jaw and ear pain!), and I'm also using a travel neck pillow to support my head and keep me propped up. Unfortunately it's a child-sized one, but sometimes you gotta make do with what you've got!

When I'm not eating or drinking, I'm spending most of my time sleeping, still mostly in small spurts, because the drugs make me drowsy. When I'm awake, I mostly play Candy Crush or Words With Friends. I've been able to respond to a few texts and FB messages, and I've read a few chapters of a book. That's about it as far as entertainment goes -- I rarely stay awake and alert long enough to do much else. What I'm noticing though is that the time is passing really slowly. That is a strange sensation for me! I'm nearly always in "go" mode, with never enough hours in the day to do all the things I want and need to do! Now here I am, doing pretty much nothing, and seeing exactly how slowly the minutes tick past. I think maybe I would prefer for life to move at a pace somewhere between this and my usual rush.

Random observations: my tongue is still swollen and sore, and most of my throat pain is focused on the right side, which is the opposite of the side where I had the peritonsillar abscess. I have no idea if that is connected or a coincidence!

Oh, and I now have anti-nausea meds, in case eating before each dose of percocet isn't enough to keep my stomach in check. Huge thanks to the hubs for calling the doctor and taking care of that for me!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 2

Weight: 223
Change from yesterday: -2
Change overall: -2

Late last night (or early this morning, really), after I finished writing the recap of Day 1, I actually got a longer chunk of sleep that I was not expecting. I think I slept for a solid hour, woke up, sipped some water, and then slept some more, in half-hour increments. Getting sleep was great, but the downside was I fell behind on my meds and found myself in more pain than I'd felt up to that point.

Once I got caught up on my meds, I felt a lot better, and was able to eat some jello and then some scrambled eggs. The rest of the day passed slowly, with lots of short naps and water drinking. I kept up with my meds and ate more jello and then some mashed potatoes. Before I finished the potatoes, I felt an intense wave of nausea, so I stopped eating and just relaxed for a while. I ended up napping some more, and when I woke up the nausea was gone.

Something felt sort of "off," though, but I didn't know what it was. I knew my stomach was still mostly empty, but I took my carafate as planned. An hour or so later, I took one perocet and then started to eat some jello. I only got maybe two bites into the jello before the nausea hit again. I tried to relax and let it pass again, but before long I found myself in the bathroom, vomiting with all my might.

Let me just say that this was my worst nightmare. Of all the horror stories I'd heard or read about tonsillectomy recovery, the vomiting stories scared me the most. I've always hated vomiting and have never handled it well. The thought of throwing up under these circumstances was about as awful as it got...and it happened. Lucky me! It didn't hurt as much as I expected, but it felt very strange, and having a swollen uvula made it difficult to stop gagging. I think I was in shock for a while after it happened, not really knowing what to do.

Hours later, I'm still not really sure what to do. I've read that it's normal to experience some nausea and vomiting from taking pain meds on an empty stomach, and that doctors can prescribe anti-nausea meds to help you out (I'll be calling first thing in the morning!), but nothing I read tells you what to do in the meantime! I've just been lying here, drifting in and out of consciousness, feeling the pain meds slowing wear off, but afraid to put anything else in my stomach. I have sipped some water and that is all. In a little while, I will try some ice chips, I think. I guess what I think right now is that I'm not going to take any more meds until I have something in my stomach, but I'm wary of putting anything in my stomach until it feels settled. So I think I will take it easy, similar to what I would do after a stomach virus. I hope this approach works. I fear it's going to be a very long night. On the bright side, as of right now my pain level is still reasonable enough that I can get by without drugs. I'd rather NOT, but if this is my reality for the time being, I will survive. I just need to get this figured out before the major pain sets in, which could be any time now.

Prayers would be appreciated. Thanks.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 1

Let's see if I can stay conscious enough to complete an update...

Pre-surgery weight: 225 lbs. That, my friends, is evidence of my commitment to eating as many leftover Christmas cookies as possible before I had to stop. I really packed on the pounds the past couple of weeks, and every bite was delicious. I will cling to those lovely memories when I eat Jello #395 and popsicle #8293. :)

Getting prepped for a tonsillectomy is much quicker and easier than for a c-section. What a wildly different surgical experience! I was pretty nervous going in, but once we got into the OR, everything happened so fast that I didn't really have time to panic or change my mind. Before I knew it, I was out -- and then waking up again in recovery. I guess the procedure went well; I mean, I vaguely remember being told that it did, but I was pretty spaced out and my memories are all a blur.

I do remember feeling pain, not just in my throat but also in my jaw and ears a bit (preview of coming attractions?) and in the sides of my tongue, oddly enough. None of the pain was too intense though. I munched some ice chips and attempted a popsicle when I was ready, and before long I felt strong enough to get dressed and head home.

Some quick shout outs:
The SurgCenter of Silver Spring is a really nice facility and the nurses were fabulous. I felt really well taken care of there.
My ENT doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Brian Driscoll, is awesome. He's very laid-back and confident, which makes me feel confident in him too. After 20+ years of avoiding this surgery, it definitely took a doctor I felt really comfortable with to help me take the plunge.
And last but definitely not least, my friend Gretchen devoted her whole morning to getting me to the SurgCenter on time, waiting for me, being there when I woke up, and getting me home safely. On such a stressful day, I appreciated her company more than she will ever know. Good friends are priceless gifts from God!

The rest of my day, once home, has been long. The pain has been manageable -- most things I've read describe Day 1 and maybe Day 2 as a "honeymoon phase" before the real pain sets in. I'm glad I knew to expect this, or else I might be getting overconfident right now that this recovery is going to be a piece of cake! Instead I know to enjoy this while it lasts but be prepared for it to end at any time. I've stayed on top of my pain meds (swallowing pills feels very strange but I've managed to get them down so far) and tried to eat what I could: jello, a popsicle, and a bowl of applesauce. I'm also hydrating constantly and trying to sleep when I can.

Yeah, about for that has been the biggest challenge. Every time I fall asleep, I end up breathing through my mouth, but that is difficult to do right now because the airway is somewhat blocked. Breathing through my nose works perfectly well, but I can't seem to maintain it while I sleep. Thus, my sleep is coming in little spurts, which over time is not going to feel very restful. I'm not sure how to resolve this...maybe the airway will become less blocked as the swelling in my throat goes down? Meanwhile I will just keep trying to train myself to breathe through my nose at all times!

Interesting note about my meds: one is actually an ulcer drug, called Carafate. I googled it because I was familiar with the drug and confused about why it had been prescribed to me now, and was surprised to learn that studies have shown that it helps reduce post-tonsillectomy pain! Apparently it coats the tonsil beds in much the same way that it coats ulcers, thus helping them heal and cutting down on the pain. I had't seen any references to it on the recovery websites I've been reading, so I'm curious and excited to see how well it works for me!

Other things I'm doing to aid in my recovery: I have a humidifier running constantly next to my bed, and I'm using ice packs on my neck. Oh, and I have a terrific nurse (my loving husband) keeping me fed and hydrated and medicated, and I had 5 of the sweetest visitors periodically checking on me throughout the day. The kiddos are pretty concerned about me, and I don't think they really grasp just now long it's going to take me to heal -- my 2 year old was confused that each dose of medicine didn't instantly make me feel better! LOL

In a nutshell, my recovery is off to a good start, but I still have a long road ahead of me. I will continue to update daily if possible, but I expect that most posts will be considerably shorter than this. I appreciate everyone's prayers and good thoughts -- please keep them coming!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Going Under the Knife

Yes, I'm way behind here once again. I really need to update you on my incredible successes in the last quarter of 2015 (although I'm pretty sure my handful of loyal readers are all my Facebook friends as well, so you already know everything I've done!!).

But right now I have a much more urgent topic to cover. Last November, I experienced something called a peritonsillar abscess. I will spare you the gory details (Google can take care of those, if you're curious), but trust me when I say it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life and I NEVER want to go through it again. The only way to be certain to prevent it is to have my tonsils removed!

This surgery has been recommended to me several times over the years by different doctors, but I've always been too afraid of the pain to go through with it. In the abscess, I met something I feared even more! I've done a lot of reading online and I know this recovery is going to be a nightmare, but it will end, and once it does, my tonsil woes will be over forever. It will still be possible to get strep throat, but at least I won't have giant swollen tonsils accompanying it. And most importantly, there will be NO MORE ABSCESSES EVER!!

Just for fun, I thought I'd blog my recovery, day by day. My experiences might help someone else decide whether to have this procedure or prepare for it. Also, I'm eager to get through the worst of it so I can get back to training! My off-season has been kind of a mess. After my last race on Thanksgiving, I took two weeks off on purpose, to rest, per the plan I was going to follow from my training book. But by the end of those two weeks, I had a nasty head and chest cold, so I did not resume my workouts. Once I was feeling better finally, it was Christmas...and then New Years...and then a little over a week until my surgery, and working out at that point seemed like a waste. So I just rested some more instead.

My first race of the season is supposed to be a 10K on April 2nd, which means I need to get back to running ASAP after this surgery. The problem is I'm not sure how soon really IS possible! So I want to keep track here of how I'm feeling, what I'm attempting, activity-wise, and how my recovery will affect my plans for the race season.

I will also be keeping track of my weight, mostly just for the novelty of it. When I had the abscess, I went about 5 days without eating solid food, and dropped 7 pounds. I eventually put the weight back on, but it happened slower than I expected and took the holidays to really complete the job. I'm curious how much weight I will lose this time, and how quickly, and then how long it will take to gain it back. Usually when I'm keeping track of my weight, I only get on the scale once a week (and naked), but for this little experiment, I will weigh myself daily (and in pajamas).

My first recovery post will be tomorrow night, assuming I am alert enough to type. I know I will be heavily medicated, but I will try my best to write a coherent post each night, even if some are very short.

Goodbye for now -- for the last time with tonsils!