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!

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