​17 Raw Ruminations From An Adult Tonsillectomy Survivor

​17 Raw Ruminations From An Adult Tonsillectomy Survivor

Some cold, hard truth on tonsillectomies as an adult.
Lexi Ann
Lexi Ann
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Tonsillectomy… the thing that brings to mind vivid dreams of being able to eat only ice cream with a very valid excuse. Bed rest, lots of yummy frozen dessert, pudding, and sleep. Wonderful, right? Wrong. Especially as an adult. Everyone I spoke with before mine said that the recovery would be horrible. I would be in lots of pain. It would take forever... As you can see, they were all very encouraging.

But what is it actually like? Here are some (brutally honest) thoughts I had throughout my recovery.

1. “Oh, that wasn't so bad!"

After I woke up from the anesthesia, nothing hurt too much. They were wrong! The adult tonsillectomy would be fine. I was fine… oh, wait. Why does my voice sound like that? Did I dream them telling me to think of a happy place? I have no idea where I am. Ha, I'm all tingly.

2. “Damn… I want some Cookout."

For those who are unfortunate and don't have any Cookout restaurants around you, it's this incredible place were a big milkshake is around $3.00 and they have tons of combos. And about 20 minutes after waking up and being told I would be able to leave, I wanted one. Badly.

Unfortunately, my milkshake did not want me… I didn't believe the doctor when he said I might not want dairy (it causes mucus production), but, boy! was he correct. So much for that lovely vision of ice cream for every meal!

3. “Oh my gosh. I can't talk. What am I going to do! I need a white-board."

About five hours after my surgery, I realized I couldn't talk without it hurting… Maybe this wasn't going to be as easy as I first thought.

4. “This pain narcotic is making me feel sick!"

The pain medication you get after a tonsillectomy is strong. It's brutal on the stomach because you can't eat any solid food so it isn't absorbed as well and it makes you feel super queasy. It was horrible. But really necessary. I tried to take only Ibuprofen and I had to start the narcotic again because it was too much pain, and I have a super high threshold! You want to nap a lot, because then you don't feel the icky stomach turning and are not as cognizant of the pain.

5. “That was the worst sleep I have ever had."

Hate to break it to you, but you are going to sleep really badly for the next week to week and a half! Yay! Throat pain!

6. “WHY IS MY THROAT WHITE!"

If you are anything like me, or, really, if you have any little ounce of curiosity in you, you'll probably look in the mirror and see what your throat looks like. Guess what: it looks super gross!

7. “I kinda feel like I am choking… all the time."

Yep. This is a constant thing for about, oh, as long as it takes to heal. Your uvula swells and it hits your throat and that makes it feel like you are choking. For me, I constantly thought I had something stuck in my throat—or rather, the holes where my tonsils used to be.

8. “WHAT FOOD CAN I EAT?!"

Bad news… basically none. I lived on mashed potatoes, pudding, popsicles, and smoothies (made without dairy) for the first 7-10 days. Actually, I should have done that. But I tried to force some harder things and that went horribly. Don't be me.

9. “Is it over yet?"

I wish… I wish…

10. “What is that smell? I brushed my teeth…"

Oh yeah, here's the great part! Your breath smells like a dying animal for a while! Because your throat is now scabbed over and those scabs might start to fall off, your breath smells horrible. Brush your teeth as much as you want, it's not going away.

11. “How could this possibly get worse?

Just wait. Day 7-10 is the absolute worst. This period of time is when the scabs on your throat start to fall off. Don't worry, you can't feel them! I thought I would feel them when I swallowed, but I didn't even notice. It is probably because it hurts like hell to do anything since the throat is now raw and any sort of food or liquid makes it sting. Yes, even water.

12. “Why does my tongue hurt, too?"

When I went to my post-op, I was convinced my throat was infected and my surgery had gone wrong because I couldn't eat or drink anything without wincing and my tongue hurt SOOO much. Nope! The muscles in your tongue are sore too because of the healing process and the way you hold your mouth when you adjust to the pain. The more you know.

13. “Wait, what about my ears? Why do those hurt so much?"

You know how your nose, throat, and ears are connected? That's why. The nerves in your throat that got all messed up from the surgery are affecting your ears. The ear pain was, in some instances, worse than the throat pain, for me. This is when those horrible pain medications don't seem so horrible.

14. “Water keeps coming out of my nose!"

Ah yes. Thank you to google for explaining to me that this was normal. Nasal regurgitation is a part of a tonsillectomy. I don't know why. But it's annoying.

15. “I think I need a nap."

I napped around 3-5 hours a day. Healing takes a lot of work! Also, I just really like my bed. But mostly, I couldn't stay awake.

16. “Was this worth it?

I had this thought a lot, especially through the really painful bits. But I kept telling myself yes, because it got me through.

17. “Am I done yet?"

As I am writing this, I am on day 12 of my recovery. One side of my throat still hurts a lot. But I am sleeping through the night more now! So yes, you will eventually be done. Just maybe not yet.

The verdict: you are in fact a survivor when you have an adult tonsillectomy. Don't let someone tell you it is an “easy" surgery. It's not. The recovery is super hard and you are going to want someone there to help you through it. But, in the end, if it keeps you from getting sick so much, you should probably go through with it — especially if your doctor says to! It sucks. I relate. But you can complain about it all you want. And then rant to internet strangers in a snarky (but honest) article about it, like me!

Cover Image Credit: Tiz/YouTube

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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It's National Eosinophil Awareness Week And More People Should Be Talking About It

It's time to raise awareness about eosinophil-associated diseases and support those, including myself, who are affected.

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For anyone who is unaware, May 19 to May 25 is considered National Eosinophil Awareness Week as recognized by the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (Apfed) since 2007. The purpose of this week is to raise awareness and help educate individuals on the various eosinophil-associated diseases. Despite its existence being virtually unknown to many people, this week has become very significant in my life and I think more people should be having conversations about it.

If you had asked me about eosinophil-associated diseases two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to say a single thing besides maybe defining an eosinophil the way I learned to in my AP Biology class senior year of high school. But as of a few months ago, it has officially been one year since I was diagnosed with an eosinophil-associated disease — something I never imagined would happen in my life. While I won't share too much of my own experience because it's honestly quite personal and still a little sensitive to discuss, it's safe to say that eosinophils completely changed my life.

I was fracturing bones like it was my job — I think I had upwards of nine stress fractures in my legs and feet in a year and a half time period. I had to stop playing sports my senior year of high school and couldn't run at all. I was nauseous 24/7. I was rapidly losing weight to the point where I had lost close to 35 pounds and none of my clothes fit me. I couldn't swallow anything, including water. Eating was painful. I had no appetite.

I was sick and in pain ALL the time to the point where I would get emotional or even cry.

I missed school days, tests, exams, social events, and eventually had to quit my job for an entire summer because even getting out of bed was hard for me. Ultimately, even the decision about the college that I chose to attend was partially based on my health and the doctors I would need to visit frequently.

But the most significant thing was that I was experiencing severe depression and anxiety and was honestly just straight-up scared. Think about it: I was experiencing a wide range of life-altering symptoms yet no one could figure out why and even when they did, there was no cure and only limited options for treatment. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many patients and their families. The process of diagnosing an eosinophil-associated disease can take years and require pretty much every medical test you can even think of because these diseases are all classified as rare diseases.

I was experiencing symptoms for a year and the journey to an accurate diagnosis took about a year after that. The journey itself was not easy, as it involved numerous doctors and countless medical tests to eliminate other potential diagnoses like cancers, parasites or even celiac. Since then, I have been involved with treatment for a little over a year. For me, treatment involved several medications and steps, including gaining the weight I had lost.

But the main piece was cutting pretty much everything out of my diet, meaning no gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, seafood, or nuts. Gradually over time this treatment involves reintroducing the foods individually (each for a three-month period) to see what can be tolerated or which foods make my eosinophils act abnormally and then restricting my diet accordingly.

Since starting treatment my life has been gradually changing in a positive manner, which is something I couldn't have imagined when I initially became ill. Yes, I will still be sick for the rest of my life and experience the chronic waxing and waning of this disease, but hopefully years of experience and knowledge will make me better equipped to handle it. One day there may even be a cure. But until then I will continue to raise awareness and participate in National Eosinophil Awareness Week in solidarity with the few who are also sharing in my experience living with an eosinophil-associated disease.

While I wrote this article with the intention of participating in Eosinophil Awareness Week by raising awareness and educating (to some extent), it was about more than that. I wanted to give you a synopsis of my story and the challenges I face to make this week more understandable and more real. This was because I know that eosinophil is not only challenging to say (even I struggle) but also challenging to conceptualize.

If you're interested in learning more or you're still confused, I recommend doing some quick reading on Apfed's website because they are extremely helpful in the way they simplify the complex information.

If you would like to see what you can do during National Eosinophil Awareness Week, you can also click here to visit Apfed's day-by-day guide for the week, which included some fact sheets, information about wearing magenta to support the cause, and other information about individual participation.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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