|1 week after surgery selfie|
The experience was overall a very positive one. The care I receive at Shaare Zedek Medical Center continues to be excellent. Every member of the staff; surgeons, doctors and nurses, technicians, volunteers, and everyone in between showed care, professionalism, and kindness. A thoracotomy is a pretty big procedure. My right lung needed to be partially collapsed for the surgery. The incision is along my 6th rib. Before being put to sleep, I had a high epidural inserted for pain control after the surgery. When I awoke, I had a lot of tubes and wires to get tangled up in including a chest tube. The first two days after surgery felt surreal. Now that I'm back home and slowly coming off of painkillers, I can really reflect on how many fairly large things I should never take for granted again... like being able to breathe or roll over unassisted.
One of the first thing I noticed, when I woke up from the operation, was my right eye. It didn't feel right. With each day that passed, it became annoyingly apparent that the "eye thing" wasn't going away. There are many many possibilities for complications during thoracic surgery. Unfortunately nerve damage is one of them. I don't know if this is permanent but it might be. The lower right half of my face was already numb from a surgery I had in 2011. I didn't know that Horner's Syndrome was a possible complication but it is and it's done. My right eyelid droops, the right pupil is constricted, and supposedly the right side of my face no longer has the ability to sweat. With all this cancer stuff going on, you'd think a little droopiness of the eye would be silliness but we are all taking it very seriously. Personally, it's all I think about every waking second because it's very bothersome. I'm almost 100% sure that I would have done it, no matter what, in spite of this highly irritating yet non-threatening complication. If we come up with a successful treatment plan- THIS was my best option and I suppose Horner's Syndrome is a small price to pay.
The bad news is, patience is a virtue that we don't always have the time for.... *sigh* One breath at time.