It's officially been 6 months since my Branchial Cleft Cyst Surgery. If you remember from this post it was rather large and obtrusive. My doctors were worried enough that they went from scheduling a surgery 3 weeks out, to the very next week.
When I found out that I had less time to prepare than originally thought, I immediately started to panic. There were so many things that could go wrong, so many vital pieces right were they were going to cut. I was trying to remain as calm as possible and deal with my family at the same time. Not only did I have to worry about taking time off for both the surgery and recovery time, but I also had to come up with some big bucks to cover it. My stress levels were at an ultimate high!
In the midst of all of the panic and chaos, came something really great though. A series of blog posts, not by me, but by another blogger sharing her journey of the same exact thing that I was going through.
A blogger had written about her Branchial Cleft Cyst Surgery, and my fears were diminished!
I read every post, studied it, and made notes of what I could expect. I knew that my surgery would be different than hers, since the size of hers was that of a grape tomato and mine a regular tomato. I was able to find relief though.
Come the morning of February 4th I was up and ready to go at 5 am for this Branchial Cleft Cyst Surgery. I hadn't slept all that much but figured I would probably get more than my fair share of sleep over the next 2 weeks. Checking in I answered all of the same questions for a 100th time, sanitized myself completely, and got dressed in a fashionable hospital gown and green slipper socks before the nurses allowed all of the people in the waiting room in to say a quick farewell. And by all I mean like 8 people....
The Surgery was long, but successful.
My surgery took well over 4 hours, 2 over the original estimated time that they gave everyone. I don't remember being in recovery, or coming out of my anesthetic induced coma; but I remember feeling like an elephant was sitting on the side of my neck.
They had to place a drain tube right under the incision so that excess liquid wouldn't build and filtered into a little ball, and the nurses showed me how to empty it several times. I was admitted, so about 7pm or so when I started to get tired, everyone left and let me sleep in my very giant room in peace. Every 3 hours a nurse came in, gave me some more Ice, and then drained my little liquid ball. Only once did I ever really need any form of pain killer, but for the most part they made me sick so I toughed it out.
In that 24 hours I learned that I did have minor nerve damage to my tongue, cheek, and shoulder. Over time though and with some basic practice, it would diminish and go away though. There was just so much to the cyst, that they literally had to peel it off of my muscles. So to have as little damage as I did was pretty amazing.
Overall, my nerves were only testy for 4 months.
I left the next afternoon with a 6" long slit in my neck, tubes still coming out of me, and a prescription for pain killers.
Before I display some semi-disgusting pics I have to say that two people were really my rocks in this entire ordeal; my amazing grandpa and my beautiful friend Andrea. I thank all of the higher powers that I had these two reminding me that everything would be okay and making sure that I had the space and time to recover. Without them, I wouldn't have been as put together as I was. All of my closest friends and family were there to make sure I was okay, but these two were my rocks.
Now, here are some of the photos I took after my surgery. If you are faint of heart just stop here.