The day after tomorrow. No, not the movie. Just…my surgery is the day after tomorrow. Oh yikes. I can’t believe it’s almost time. I’m probably going to spend every spare minute between now and being knocked out in a mild state of panic. Especially after my appointments this morning.
8:30 am of course came way too early, especially since I slept until 5:30 pm yesterday. But luckily I still managed to get some fairly decent sleep regardless.
We arrived at the hospital on time, but of course wound up parking on the roof of the employee parking garage given that it was 10 am. The line at the check-in desk at the cancer center was huge, but moved quickly. We didn’t have to wait long to be called back to an exam room. The neurosurgeon’s nurse was pretty busy, but we didn’t have to wait long to see her.
We reviewed all the last minute important stuff. I have to call tomorrow afternoon to find out what time I need to be at the hospital on Thursday. She did a nasal swab to check for MRSA. I got the list of important phone numbers to call in the event of any post-op issues. She reviewed the symptoms of a DVT to watch out for and how a CSF leak presents (nose dripping clear fluid like a faucet). Both of those warrant emergent phone calls, no matter the time of day. Move around as much as I can to prevent a DVT. Sleep slightly elevated. No bending or lifting until cleared by ENT. Cough or sneeze with an open mouth. No drinking through a straw. Lots of little things to remember!
My expected length of stay in the hospital is 2-4 days. I’ll spend the first night on the neuro stepdown unit, then move to the regular neuro floor for the duration of my stay. Before I leave, I have to be evaluated by PT and OT to make sure I don’t wind up with any deficits. I have to have an MRI prior to discharge to make sure everything looks back to normal. (Lifetime MRI #6!) So it looks like I could go home as early as Saturday or as late as Monday. Or longer if any other issues arise.
After that appointment, we had to hightail it to the opposite side of campus for my ENT appointment with Dr. Sindwani. We met with his resident Dr. Tang first, who David knew from his time spent in the ED. Very good resident. He had me tell my story about the prolactinoma in my own words. Then he checked out my ears, nose, and mouth and got my nose numbed up with a lidocaine/phenylephrine spray so they could scope my nose. I feel like it numbed my throat more than my nose!
Once I was good and numb, Dr. Sindwani came in with Dr. Tang. Dr. Sindwani explained ENT’s role in the surgery, which is basically the approach to the tumor. They get everything out of the way, peeling back the mucous membranes and getting through the skull at the back of the sphenoid sinus so then Dr. Recinos can have access to the tumor to remove it. ENT then closes everything up, putting in a bone graft and taking other skin from inside my nose (or my abdomen if it ends up being a really big hole) to cover the bone. He went over the risks, including damage to the optic nerves and carotid arteries because of their proximity to the pituitary gland. And of course a CSF leak. He said the duration of my post-op restrictions basically depend on whether or not I develop a leak. If there’s no leak, my restrictions are only about a week. If I have a low grade leak, my restrictions extend to a month. If a have a high grade leak, I might need to have a second surgery to fix it. I really hope that doesn’t happen!
Then he scoped my nose, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Only the tip of the scope went in. David said he was surprised how far back into the nose the scope could visualize (he could see the screen, but obviously I couldn’t.) Dr. Sindwani narrated what he was seeing, which was mostly normal. I do have a left septum deviation that he said shouldn’t be a huge problem. He said, “We can just crack that back into place in the OR.” ? Yikes? So maybe I’ll wind up with a nose job out of this too? Ouchie…
After my appointment, we went and got my healthcare power of attorney notarized. So now, in case anything happens that renders me incapable of making decisions, we have official documentation of who makes the decisions. Hopefully now that I have one, it will never be needed!
After another brief visit with my coworkers, we headed home. I’ve tried to be productive today, getting things in order around the house. I’ll wait until tomorrow to pack for my stay in the hospital.
I can’t believe it’s almost here. I’ve been officially waiting for two months, but I’ve been mentally preparing for this possibility since April. I just need a lot of distractions to keep me from dwelling on things too much…