I’d like to start this post by telling you not to worry about me.
Yes you read the title correctly, yesterday I checked into a local hospital and at 1:30 was put to sleep for an hour long surgery. Three hours later I woke up. There was not a major complication, unless you count my surgeon being extra-careful, for which I will never complain. The surgery I was having is called a Hemi-Thyroidectomy, which is a fancy way of saying that they removed one half of my thyroid which is a much more common procedure than you would imagine. Since being diagnosed with thyroid problems I have met countless people with similar problems from my school librarian to a worker at a fast-food joint that gave me a free cookie.
In the photo with me is Hemi the Duck (I named her), a present from a good friend who visited me while I was still asleep. My best friend visited me after I woke up and brought me flowers, and my school librarian sent me bookmarks.
"The best people all have some kind of scar." – Kiera Cass, The One In case you've ever wondered what it looks like to have half your thyroid removed, this is it. I know society would rather I covered it up and hid it, but I'm not ashamed of it. It makes me who I am. I'm proud of how far I've come and everything I went through to get to this point. It's been a long, uphill journey but I'm here today. #celineannajillmarch16 is 'read in one sitting' and #booksandcupcakes is 'yummy' #theone #theselection #kieracass #scars #thyroidawareness #thyroidectomy #harperteen #bookstagram #biblophile #booklove #instabook #booklr
I suppose you’re wondering why I’m sharing this. It’s not to get pity or comfort or prayers (although I won’t turn down any of those things), but to share what I’ve learned. You are never alone and:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –A.A. Milne
We’ve all heard this quote from Winnie The Pooh countless times, but it really rings true for me today. I feel more loved than I ever have, and I learned that its the small things that matter.
My friend was afraid I wouldn’t like the flowers she bought (or be allergic to them) so she also got me a Barnes and Noble gift card, but what meant more to me than either of those things was when she sat next to me on my hospital bed and made me laugh. (And nothing was more precious than her utter delight at getting to peek under my bandage (she wants to be a Doctor)).
My librarian was sorry that she didn’t have flowers for me, but what meant the most was when she spent hours talking to me in the weeks before and telling me that everything was going to be okay and that I could do this. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have known to ask for water immediately after waking up which helped with speeding up my recovery (it was quite literally the second thing I asked and the nurse was very impressed).
Do I love Hemi the Duck? Of course. But what means the most to me is the love and thought behind her from someone who took the time to find me a plush duck (because I love ducks).
My grandfather’s wife (who is not my biological grandmother) was afraid I wouldn’t want her to visit me, when it was her reassuring smile I wanted to see more than almost anyone.
What I’m saying is you never realize how much you mean to people until those feelings are put to the test. Struggles bring out the best or the worst in people and it is these times that show us who truly loves us.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
― A.A. Milne
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all nurses everywhere. Yours is a thankless job – you work long hours and aren’t paid well for it – but when I was in pain or worried you were nothing but kind and supportive and answered all of my questions. Thank you.
This is what true friendship and three hours post surgery looks like. For those of you who don't know, yesterday I had half of my thyroid removed. As of this post I am home safe and sound and doing better than we could ever have hoped for. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and continues to do so, all your support and prayers mean far more than you could know.
Now for a bit more of a lighthearted section, here is what I packed to take to the hospital with me.
Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix
I’m still working through this series, but I may need a break from it eventually which is why I’m taking all the other books.
Pokemon X & Y Handbook
Its a handbook that helps with gameplay, although I mainly use it for hunting down hard-to-find Pokemon and breeding.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
I still need to finish it for The Book Crafters.
Untamed by AG Howard
I really need to finish this!
Who even knows whats on that, okay? There is so much on there, including First Light which I need to read for a review.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D
I have this bad habit with games of getting right to the end and refusing to go farther because I don’t want it to be over. Technically I’ve not beaten two of the last three Zelda games – Majora’s Mask or Ocarina of Time 3D – and I’m determined to complete at least one of them in the next week.
Pokemon X & Y
When the X & Y series was released I bought X and recently I decided I wanted to start fresh, but instead of clearing my 100+ hours of gameplay I bought Y before my surgery.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Its downloaded onto my DS so it goes everywhere. Its also a favorite of mine and pretty mindless.
For checking up on my blog of course and because I have a lot of movies and TV shows on iTunes. Maybe I’ll get my mom to watch Pushing Daisies.
Earphones and Headphone
Yes I own both. I have severe noise issues so I need them both. Earbuds are more comfortable but headphones block more noise.
Even though I won’t have an IV the whole time I will have a port and I am incredibly sensitive, so hopefully I can move around enough to knit.
Usually I wear contacts but I don’t think they’ll be worth the trouble since I’d have to take them out pre-op and by the time I’m awake enough to put them back in it would be time for bed.
What Did I End Up Doing?
I played Pokemon Y for about 30 minutes before my surgery. After that I only played for a few minutes. I never knitted because I was afraid of pulling on the IV in my wrist. I played on my computer some, but I didn’t read at all (I was far to tired and groggy to concentrate). Most of what I did was talk and sip water and Ginger Ale (which is great for upset stomachs). I also texted a lot and FaceTimed some of my friends who couldn’t come and see me.
If you ever have Surgery
Let your friends take care of you. Listen to their advice. Even if they can’t see you face-to-face, talk on the phone or text them.
Don’t be afraid to laugh, even if it makes your throat a bit sore. Crack jokes. I made my BFF laugh by referencing the Suffragette movement. (While I was asleep I had a breathing tube, I said ‘I can’t imagine what the Suffragettes who were force fed felt’ to which she replied ‘you’re such a nerd’)
Be kind to your nurse. I smiled and waved at people in the halls which made me quite a hit with the staff, meaning that when I needed something or asked for support they were quick to go above and beyond their job descriptions. Even if that wasn’t true, be kind for the sake of being kind. For the love of all that is holy don’t belittle any nurse, particularly not a male nurse just for his gender (‘murse’ is NOT funny).
Listen to your doctor and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Even if you can’t get to your surgeon when you think of something, ask your nurse. They might be able to answer you and they can certainly find out.
Tell people when you’re nervous or uncertain. They will work with you. I am terrified of needles and when I said that the nurse talked to me until I had calmed down before sticking me. I was terrified of having a needle in my hand for hours on end, but quickly I forgot it was there because no one let me dwell on it.
If your best friend wants to be a doctor when she grows up, invite her to visit you and let her ask all the questions her heart desires. You will both learn something and spend time together laughing and forgetting about the pain. Laughter and love are the best pain medicines.
Don’t Google things. Trust your doctor. Google will scare you. In my case, it was my mom doing the Googling.
Your mom will worry, its what she does best. Let her.
If the mother of a friend is a doctor don’t hesitate to text her if you’re scared or confused. She will know exactly what to say, even if its as simple as, ‘why don’t you talk to my daughter.’
I’m home and I’m well, don’t worry about me. But if you ever have surgery I hope you’ll remember this post and know that its all going to be okay and that you’re not alone, people have been through this before you and they are your staunchest supporters.
My mother took this of me to send to friends less than an hour after I woke up after surgery. I look so small and frail in the hospital gown, but I promise I was barely in any pain at that time.