Sunday, 23 August 2015

NEW VIDEO, my completion thyroidectomy!

HI EVERYONE, my newest video to accompany the blog post I did yesterday. My attempt at Vlogging my experience with the thyroid lobectomy/thyroidectomy this time around. It is just short snippets into my week of surgery and then post surgery. Please watch and comment any questions bellow, I really want to answer and make sure everyone is educated and at ease. 

I do mention in my video the pain and how hard it was the second time around. I do not want to alarm anyone by my saying this, I just want to convey that it isn't always easy treating cancer. I want to stay positive and be positive but this blog is also emotional catharsis for me, and its a way of coping. Further to this by being completely honest I hope to reach out and help people, its okay to say it hurts, its okay to say your finding it hard. When we talk about things we share the experience, a problem shared is a problem halved. Support from friends and family during treatment is so important because you do not feel like you are facing the battle alone. I am so grateful for everyone and everything around me. Soppy Luce once more, but I really am just so glad I dont have to do this alone. 

Enjoy my video and I will post again soon. Tomorrow I get my staples removed from my operation and the next step will be to kill any remaining cancer cells in my body.

Thank you for your support, lots of love xxx

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Post Surgery number two! Still trying to be a Disney princess, getting soppy and feeling good!

Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog.
This post will be in regards to my most recent lot of treatment, a completion thyroidectomy to remove the remaining left side of my thyroid gland! I will do a short description of the timeline of events as well as talk about the sort of emotional and psychological things I was feeling around this time. I don’t want to get to emotional or cliché or anything like that, I just think it’s important that behind all my smiling post-op selfies, people understand what a strange experience it is. This blog will also contain some photos, warning they are a bit gross!

So I arrived in York on Sunday evening, had my last solid meal, a tasty steak! And then set my alarm for bright an early Monday (17/8). Mum and I walked over to the hospital around 7am so I could be admitted around 7.30am. Exactly as before I had the meetings with nurses, the anaesthetist and the surgeon. I got dressed and I waited to be taken down to theatre.

Am I a disney princess yet?

Now, I didn’t expect the waiting to be as psychologically draining as it was. Its so hard to convey in words, but you know the awful feeling on the other side of surgery, you know the immense pain you will be in, and without sounding dramatic- you know how hard the next 48 hours of suffering is going to be, both mentally and physically. But unfortunately it’s the only option; you just know you’ve got to do it. I describe this as pushing myself, in a way I’ve never had to push myself before. You have to put yourself through it, to get better, and these thoughts rolled around my head for the 6 hours I was waiting for my surgery in hospital.

The anaesthetist part was much the same as last time, in a room on a hospital bed chatting with the nurses and doctors as they put the drip in my hand and the oxygen mask on my face. I drifted off.

My first memory of the recovery room was immense pain, dramatic Luce I know, but I felt in agony and my body was shaking and my muscles tensing and tears just uncontrollably falling from my eyes (this is something I experienced a lot this week, not wanting to cry but just having tears come from my eyes without my control- mum thinks its our animal instincts, we cry when we are sad or in pain I guess). I don’t want to worry or scare anyone about surgery, everyone responds differently, and this time I just required a lot of fentanyl to get my pain under control. After 2 hours I was moved to my ward. I felt much better and my pain was under a lot better control.

I had an IV in my hand for any fast relieving of pain and I think to keep my fluids up. I also had a blood drain in my chest that was monitored. Over the next 12 hours it was supposed to drain 20ml of blood from the wound, mine was around 45ml the following morning, so I had to keep it in another 24 hours to insure the bleeding had stopped. It was frustrating because it is quite inconvenient having this long tube coming from your chest and carrying a bottle of your own blood around, but again it was just one of those things I knew I had to do. Over the 2 days they routinely checked my blood pressure, blood oxygen and temperature. My temperature fluctuated a lot, so I had frequent IV medicine to bring it down.
My blood drain bottle and Goofy
Hospital horizontal with Goof

On Wednesday morning I was finally okay to remove my blood drain. The nurse cuts the stitch and then literally pulls the drain from your chest, its around 2-3 inches of plastic tube that would have be under the wound draining the blood away from the area, its important so you don’t have haemorrhage or hematoma. Again it was one of those silly times when I tried SO hard not to cry, but it just sort of happened and I made the stupidest little whimper noise, almost like a dog in pain, I had no control over that unfortunately haha. I don’t know why I reacted that way, I just did!

Starting to go crazy in hospital, playing with Pluto

I lay in hospital a few hours longer till the afternoon when mum arrived and my Macmillan nurse came and chatted to me about how I was coping and how I was feeling about the next steps of treatment. It was lovely to chat to her; I really value what they do. I value what all the nurses do! They all took such great care of me over the last 3 days. And of course the surgeon and anaesthetist and all the doctors, its all been great. You’ve got to be patient on the NHS system yes, but they are professionals and they know what they are doing, you’ve just got to have faith in the system!

On reflection I has been a really hard couple of days. But knowing I got through it makes me feel a lot better. Again, having that feeling of knowing how terrible it feels post surgery didn’t help. I knew what I was about to put my body through and it just hindered my positivity. Now I am discharged and safely at home in my bed I am hopeful for the future and my recovery. Yes its slow. Yes its frustrating (like really really REALLY frustrating- self confessed most active person in the world- so 2 weeks taking it really easy is like UH). But it’s hard to talk about the feelings behind it.

On social media, I like to post the happy photos and thumbs up and positive messages, but I want people to know its not always smiles and selfies. It has been hard, I don’t want to complain or be negative, I just want to highlight that everyone has his or her own way of coping. Social media in general is an idealised view of ones life, and when battling cancer this is no different. I don’t want to post things like ‘oh feeling like sh*t today, barely made it out of bed, stood up for 5 minutes then felt so woozy, I had to return to bed’, and I hope I wont post anything negative throughout my treatment. I’m trying to remain as positive and brave as I can, lots of people have put their faith in me, and driven me forward with their support, for that I am eternally grateful. Cancer or any sickness is made easier by sharing your feelings and sharing in general. I can’t imagine doing this alone. Soppy luce getting soppy once more, forgive me, I’m tired and hurting and on lots of pain meds.

For now I am focusing on 2 weeks being horizontal and getting my energy back up. I’m starting my thyroxin dose and Ill keep everyone up to date about that, any advice anyone needs etc. Further to this, I have my first appointment at the Royal Marsden Cancer Clinic in Chelsea later in September, and I am really looking forward to just BEATING THIS THING, PEW PEW PEWWWWWW.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What to expect... when having a thyroid lobectomy surgery (UK NHS system)

Hi Everyone,
This blog post today is in regards to my experience with the NHS when having a thyroid lobectomy! I had posted a video below where I talk about the step by step process involved from arriving to the hospital the day of your surgery all the way through to being discharged. Please comment with any further questions anyone has in regards to surgery in general or thyroid related things! 

To cut a long story short, the morning/day of your surgery will consist of a lot of meetings with the health care professionals who will be looking after you during your time in hospital: 
- Nurses
- Surgeon
- Anaesthetist 
- Specialist Doctor

At every step the doctors and nurses explain fully what will be happening, so you never feel like you are uninformed- this helps with the nerves. I personally was really nervous and apprehensive, I was asking all my friends what it was like being under general anaesthetic. Having now experienced my self, and as I explain in my video, it is hard to put into words what it feels like, you are literally asleep. That is it- in its most basic terms. 

Do watch my video for a full run through, I also touch on some more details about thyroid surgery in detail. I am no anatomy expert but I am attempting to educate myself on my body to then pass on information to others. I have studied biology to a-level and I touched on anatomy in A level PE etc and in my own life I do take an active interest in my body. I'm slowly but surely understanding what is going on in my body at this time. 

For any more information do explore google, and use websites like cancer research UK and Macmillan. I hope this video and post helps people who are about to go through with surgery of any kind. Its okay to be scared but just know that you are in the best hands and the outcome will improve your condition :D