Nearly one month has passed since my reconstruction. I have had all sorts of emotions to deal with, particularly after coming home. I knew it was going to be a tough time, however I hadn’t appreciated quite how tough. I have had major procedures before, including a trach so from the surgical side I was exactly aware of what to expect. But emotionally and physically… Not in the slightest.
Leaving hospital was great. Finally going home, sleeping in my own bed, having my comfortable surroundings… And that was great. Trying to find my way back into normality proved, and is proving to be a bit of a challange. I am not someone who is used to having things done for me. I enjoy my independence far too much. Plus, I admit I am somewhat of a control freak. Blame that on my hertiage if you want, or maybe it is just part of my nature. Either way, coming home and not being able to slip back into normality that I was used to pre-op was difficult to come to terms with.
It is difficult balancing periods of rest and recuperation with the need to regain my energetic and feisty self. The moment I currently try and ‘push my limits’ I find myself exhausted and wanting to curl up and do nothing. That is something that, in all of this has been uterly frustrating to cope with. But I guess I will just have to take my time and allow things to get back to normal at its own pace. I am trying to tell myself that, perhaps this is supposed to help me relax in my day to day life, which by any account tends to be on the rather hectic side. You never know.
My voice is worrying me. Yes, I know, it is very early days yet. I think back to my previous trach and I find it so difficult to remember whether my voice was as non-existent as it is now. I was told just before the operation that the tricky thing in my case was the fact that my voice had already suffered some damage. I have had speech therapy and was taught what it felt like when the vocal cords meet. Mine aren’t. I can barely whisper And it is frightening not being able to determine whether it is just down to all the healing my body is still undertaking or there has been further damage to my larynx. Thankfully my specialist replied almost immediately after I had voiced (or better said typed) my concerns. It could well be a waiting game of up to three months to determine how this situation will unfold. Surgery to the larynx to solve it may be a possibility. After all, the surgeon is not only a specialist when it comes to airway conditions, but also where voice problems are concerned.
On the very big plus side: When I have taken it upon myself to venture out and get moving I have noticed that my breathing is at its best, much better than it has been in, I guess I could say a decade. Walking up hills used to go hand in hand with wheezing and exertion. Currently yes, I do still get out of breath, but I put that down to my reconvalescence. At the same time I am noticing how effortless my breathing has become, particularly walking uphill. One of the accompanying features of ISS is a constant need of having to clear the throat. The airway cannot ‘get rid’ of mucus as easily due to its narrow anatomy. I have been noticing a substantial decrease in coughing. My throat is still irritated of course. But, where I have had to clear my throat so frequently during the day, I am going through long periods of not having to cough at all. So, there is progress in all of this. And hopefully, with every passing day, I will manage to find my feet that little bit more.