Sinuses and Memories of My First 5K

I’m going to stop posting daily post-op updates because I’m officially 2 weeks post-op now, and also I can’t keep up anyway now that I’m back in the office full time so why bother?

Bottom line: I’m still really tired. Constantly. My ear pain comes in waves but is still pretty bad. If it’s still bad by Monday, I’ll call the doctor. I have no weekend plans so I can get plenty of rest, but I am going to attempt a run if my ear is better. If not, I’m going to lay low even though I really look forward to running. My nose hurts most in the morning when I’m doing my makeup – dabbing on foundation with a blender sponge is downright painful so I’ve been cheating and smearing it into the skin on & around my nose instead. My pores are not pleased. I haven’t had any blood clots come out when doing my sinus rinses since the weekend. Now it’s just bright green boogers, occasionally with a tinge of blood. My appetite still isn’t back to normal. I assume that is also because I haven’t exercised in 2+ weeks (I was sick before surgery, remember). Tomorrow is my last day of antibiotics and I really can’t wait to be off them – I blame them for my general malaise.


In more exciting/running-related news, Facebook tells me that 8 years ago today was the first 5K I ever ran. I don’t really count in toward my lifetime total, because that was the first and only race I ever ran as an adult (not counting my one Junior Olympics track season), it was at midnight with my fellow underwater hockey teammates, and I hardly trained for it. I was just in great shape and also pre-Graves’ disease. I can’t believe I was in grad school 8 years ago. I feel so old! But I’ve learned so much since then. Not just about running but also about myself. I ran that race because I joined a team that a boy I adored was on that team. It ended up being good for me – I learned a new sport, became much more physically fit after my cheerleading career ended suddenly with a devastating ankle injury, made new friends, got to travel to new places for tournaments, and learned that I was capable of swimming laps without dying. It’s probably what led to my decision to get scuba certified as well – and although I doubt I would ever do that on a regular basis (my certification has long since lapped but I would maybe do it in shallow water on a vacation somewhere tropical), it was definitely on my bucket list. So maybe it all happened because of a boy who turned out to be a jerk, but it was an awesome experience nonetheless.


Sinus Surgery Update: Post-Op Days 9-11

Friday was rough. I was exhausted. The “work week” had run me ragged, and I couldn’t sign off fast enough at the end of the day. I hopped in the shower so I could be presentable for dinner, and then my former co-worker Teresa came over with takeout – Thai! It was great to see her and catch up and have a human conversation for the second time in two days, and my appetite was ferocious. Probably because the food was delicious and smelled & looked so good right in front of me. I ate more in that meal that I had since before the surgery.

My weekend was completely uneventful. I did laundry and went to Target with my brother for some essentials, but the rest of my time consisted of lying in bed watching Netflix (I’ve watched 4+ seasons of Grey’s Anatomy since the weekend before surgery – re-watching from the beginning because I still can’t get enough of that show). I did take Rags on our full complement of daily walks both days, trying to get back into the routine for both of us. I still never managed to hit 10,000 steps, but at least I’ve been sleeping 8+ hours a night.

Unfortunately, the sleeping well thing went to hell in a handbasket Sunday night. When you hate your job, you never sleep well on Sundays so I know that Sunday night insomnia all too well. But I don’t hate my current job. I think I just was nervous/excited/anxious about going back to the office for the first time in 10 days. And also, I’m sure all the lounging I did this weekend was restful, and my body decided we did not need sleep Sunday night. According to my Fitbit, I finally fell asleep around 1:20AM, and then my alarm went off at 6AM. I actually woke up at like 5:50 and laid there deciding whether or not I was going to get up and go to work, or work from home. I started convincing myself it was too soon and that I needed to stay home one more day. I felt awful, even when I did get up to walk Rags and get ready. In the end, I went into work and told myself I would leave early and work from home the rest of the day if I needed to.

Sunday night, I started feeling a lot more congested than I have lately. I also have pretty bad ear pain in my left ear. It’s tender to the touch, even on the outside. My cough has not gotten any better since the surgery and although I’m on antibiotics, my immune system is probably shot along with all my ENT stuff being traumatized by the surgery. It might have contributed to why I didn’t sleep. I am still wary of a possible CSF leak, but my headache isn’t any better or worse when I lie down vs. sit up, so I’m sure I’m just being a hypochondriac.

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“Welcome back” flowers from my boss – the mug is SO me

I’m glad I went into the office. I was exhausted by the time I got there, having taken the T, walked about a quarter-mile to the bus, then another half-mile to my office. I was clammy and breathless when I sat down at my desk, but felt better as the day went on. It also felt good to get out of my apartment and breathe different air – although breathing through my nose still stings a little and my nose was absolutely assaulted by the smells of a communal kitchen and public restroom. I got lots of compliments on how good I looked, which was nice because I don’t seem to feel as good as people thought I looked. I do know most people were expecting bruises or at least remnants of bruises. I never got a bloody nose and my snot-blowing and phlegm-coughing weren’t as frequent or disruptive as I had worried they might be.

I lasted the entire day, and after walking Rags, I got straight into bed to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere. I was falling asleep for the last 20 minutes, and probably need to re-watch it, but decided to call it a night. Rags looked comfortable and content, so we skipped our night walk and went to sleep instead. I’m pretty sure I died in my sleep. I slept like a rock, and when my alarm went off at 6am I had no idea who or where I was. I had to snooze for another few mintues in order to not feel like I was in a coma before getting out of bed. I immediately touched my ear and yup – still hurt a lot. Afrin and a good night’s sleep apparently isn’t helping…yet…

Sinus Surgery Update: Post-Op Day 8

Another day, another step in the right direction. Last night I slept without my gauze mustache and woke up with no blood on my face or white sheets and blankets. So I’m going to throw away my stash of gauze pads, but the surgical tape is good stuff so definitely hanging onto that.

I ended up taking half a Percocet at bedtime. They don’t cut very well, so the other half ended up crumbling into bits, but the good half was enough to take the edge off without sending me into paranoia land, and I actually slept really well and beat my alarm clock.

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Found my breakfast!

I can tell I’m still a little out of it. I tire easily, I get dizzy if I turn my head too suddenly, and I lose my breakfast occasionally. No, I don’t puke (still amazed I never puked once), I literally lose my breakfast. I couldn’t find my omelette this morning – until I realized that it was still in the cupboard, on the plate. Wow…

I sneezed four times today -the first sneezes since before the surgery. They tell you to sneeze through your mouth, so I did, and the first time I sprayed my whole dining room table in the process. But they didn’t hurt and didn’t start a bloodbath, so I’m definitely healing!

Julia came over for a visit with Simon. She brought me Chick-fil-A! That was a delicious surprise, and it was good to just spend some quality time with her. Rags was super jealous of Simon, and then when Simon started getting cranky and crying a lot, Rags seemed really worried about him. He’s never really been around kids at all before, let alone a baby, so I was nervous the whole time but he was very well-behaved.

I was a lot more tired today than I have been all week. I was fighting sleep the entire afternoon, and couldn’t shut my work computer down fast enough at 5:30 and get into bed with Netflix on my laptop. I took another half a Percocet a little while ago and it’s already kicking in, which I didn’t notice at all when I took half last night, so I must REALLY be tired…


Why does it hurt to get water up your nose?

boddities-500x500I love STAT News. I get their morning emails in my work inbox every day. Working in healthcare communications, it’s important to be “in the know.” But often times I find personal interest in the topics they cover as well.

Today, there’s a story about NetiPots and why they feel good vs. why getting water up your nose unexpectedly (like jumping in a pool) hurts so much. They interviewed a doctor who works with my surgeon at the Mass Eye and Ear Sinus Center. Watch and learn folks!

WATCH: Why does it hurt to get water up your nose?

Sinus Surgery Update: Post-Op Day 7

(Note: Wrote this Wednesday evening and forgot to post)

My surgery was one week ago today, and I have definitely turned a corner. I think I turned the corner the minute the surgeon removed the splints and sucked out all the blood clots. But the past two days I have felt stronger and more human. I still have a pretty significant amount of pain in my nose, and it is still numb, which you would think would cancel each other out but unfortunately the tip is numb while the insides are wicked painful. Less and less blood comes out each time I do a sinus rinse (he told me to do them twice a day, I’ve been doing them four times a day), and the past two mornings I woke up with no new blood on my gauze mustache. I could probably do without it, but I’m worried about my white sheets and white comforter (although I finally washed my black duvet today, so that can go back on the down comforter), and it still does sting a little when I breathe exclusively through my nose or when I am outside and wind gets up there.

My taste buds are definitely working. My brother made tacos last night for Taco Tuesday and insisted using the “hot & spicy” seasoning mix he bought on clearance. He swore he was only going to use a small amount, but I could not get through one taco without an entire 10-ounce glass of milk, and even then my mouth was still burning. The burning hurt my stomach so bad that I couldn’t eat any more tacos, which made me sad because I love tacos. Instead, I ate about 80% of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, watched some Netflix, and fell asleep.

Today I finally put my Fitbit back on, which was good because I actually did two loads of laundry – and yet still don’t have any clean clothes. I washed all the sheets and blankets my dad used, and the couch throw blankets, and then I did a load of towels. I usually try to use bath towels more than once before washing them, because I only have so many and laundry in my building is not cheap. But every dang time I showered this past week, I inevitably got blood on my clean white towel, because my nose was just bleeding that much. That and a mid-day, full walk with Rags were my highlights for today.

Sinus Surgery Update: Post-Op Day 6

I woke up yesterday with no blood on my gauze mustache! I didn’t even feel that congested. I slept pretty well (I haven’t been wearing my Fitbit since before the surgery so I actually don’t know how well I’ve been sleeping, other than noticing how many times I fully wake up) and actually got up at 7am, a full hour before my alarm. I slowly got dressed, took Rags for a walk, and did my first sinus rinse. It was a mildly productive rinse. A few small clots and lots of clear drainage. I have a very phelgm-y cough. I thought this was because of swallowing blood, because I’ve had the cough since the surgery, but I actually had the cough before surgery and just assumed this was something else. I admit I was way more sick last weekend and at the beginning of last week than I let on. I was terrified the surgeon would postpone my surgery. A lot of people at my office were sick, too. So I think my recovery has been slightly complicated by not going into surgery feeling my best. Anyway, it’s one of those annoying coughs where you cough stuff up, but not enough to spit it out, just swallow it back down. Gross, I know, but my life right now is not that cute.

After getting my work laptop up & running, I walked across to street to the coffee shop for a breakfast sandwich and my coffee in a whole week. I’ve lost about 5lbs since surgery, give or take because I seem to fluctuate with a 5-pound range anyway, so I guess you could say I’ve lost 5-10lbs. So I got myself a bacon, egg & cheese croissant and a small iced coffee with whole milk. I never get small coffees and only drink skim, but I knew the caffeine was going to be a huge jolt after going without it for 7 days, and I knew the extra fat would be good for me feeling as weak as I do.

It took me a long time to finish my breakfast, and I only drank about 1/3 of the coffee before I felt over-caffeinated (I think – the feeling mimics the general malaise I’ve felt this past week) and put it back in the fridge for later. Later ended up being a day later.

Around mid-day, I started dragging and feeling very tired. I let myself close my eyes for a few minutes, and even though I wanted to stay asleep, I did feel somewhat refreshed. I did a lot of “busy work” – stuff that has been low on my to-do list for a while, but eventually needed to get done. It took me about 2 hours to read and sort through all my emails from the previous week, and it felt great to have that finally finished.

A bunch of my co-workers chatted me (we use Skye for Business) and asked how I was, and I tried to spare them the gory details. I admitted I was in a fair amount of pain but feeling a million times better than Monday. Everyone has been really supportive and concerned, and it has been really nice not feeling guilty about recovering from major surgery. Lord knows that wouldn’t be the case if I was still at my previous job.


Sinus Surgery Update: Post-Op Day 5

Morning Update:

Happy Marathon Monday! I had originally hoped to be back at work today, but now realize how unrealistic that was. The pain was at its worst so far last night, and I am very grateful for a decent night of sleep. I woke up nauseated again, but forced myself to get up, do my sinus rinse, and turn on the TV to watch all the start line coverage of the marathon. I took my meds, sucked on a gingermint, actually removed the SeaBands (fell asleep in them last night, oops), and finally was able to eat two protein muffins. As soon as my surgeon’s office opened at 8am, I left a message with the nurse asking if I could pleasepleaseplease get the packing removed today. She called back about 45 minutes with the best news ever – surgeon says he can remove the packing, 3 days early! Hallelujah! Now I just need to make it till my 1:15pm appointment. I took a Percocet and was planning to just take two extra strength Tylenol before the appointment – I hear the packing removal can be VERY painful and people pass out – but the nausea has been at bay since I ate, so I’m thinking it may be better to take a Percocet before the appointment instead. I know it’s going to hurt, but I’m trying to focus on the end result of being able to breathe, being able to do full sinus rinses, being so much less miserable!

I’ve been laying in bed all morning watching the Marathon on TV and getting caught up on all these surgery posts. I had wanted to watch the elite runners go by, but that’s going to be soon, and I still need to take a shower and eat some lunch before we leave in about 2 hours, so I’ll probably save my watch plans until later when my friends are running by. Plans for working this week are still up in the air but I hope to ween off the Percocet in the next 24 hours, so maybe I’ll be able to work from home tomorrow and get back to the office by the end of the week.

Evening Update:

My dad took me to the surgeon’s office yesterday for my 1:15pm appointment. Continue reading