Or: The story how they removed a blob from my noggin.
After increasingly bad migraines I got an MRI done. They found a macroadenoma on my pituitary gland, and I had to have surgery, this procedure https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pituitary-tumors/treating/surgery.html. Transsphenoidal surgery is the most common way to remove pituitary tumors. The surgery is done through the sphenoid sinus, a hollow space in the skull behind the nasal passages and below the brain. The back wall of the sinus covers the pituitary gland.
I got operated on a Friday (31/7) and got out of hospital the Monday after (3/8). I was happy as Larry to get back home and sleep in my own bed. I had no idea what to expect after the operation, but had prepared for surgery the weeks prior with daily walks, regular sleeps and healthy eating.
The most remarkable thing during recovery was how much I needed to sleep and how hungry I was. So I basically slept and ate the first three weeks, and did not much else. Aside from leaving the house *every day* to go for a walk, no matter hail rain or sunshine. That effort always made me tired enough for a good nights sleep I guess, and got all the systems going at least once a day. The other remarkable thing was how much goo (phlegm) a human can produce o_O.
Right after surgery the nasal passage is entirely blocked; one has to breathe through the mouth. The first night in ICU the nurses were absolutely brilliant and loving and caring, and helped me to get rest despite the difficult breathing. After the first 24 hrs, things were looking up. I managed to get some air through the nose, and it got better every day. On day three when I got home I could breathe at least half way through my nose. My main difficulty then was that it was winter and my apartment was freezing in comparison to the warm hospital; so I had to wear a beanie and make sure not to catch a cold on top of everything else o_0.
The first night at home was a mixed bag of sleeping and really trippy dreams. I guess my mind tried to digest the three-hour procedure I had done to my unconscious self. Still I was happy to be home.
I started my medication routine on day one, set myself up with a proper calendar, and a diary where I noted down the main events of a day, and which medication I took when. For those playing along on Twitter, #blobleave was the tag for this. During my entire healing period I only took a few painkillers, as I hardly had any pain. But I wasn’t allowed any blood thinning meds, so I could not take my preferred drug Ibuprofen, and had to settle with paracetamol.
While I didn’t have too much pain, I *did* have a lot of snot. OOdles of it. Green and yellow and in hard set shapes, sometimes so big they almost didn’t make it through my nostrils. For weeks on end my head’s inside shed layers and layers of what my surgeon called ‘debris’ – sinus tissue impacted and damaged during surgery that now had to heal, and which came off in layers of what he called adhesions. Gunk and goo stuck together, now resetting itself.
It is now 8 weeks, and I still have no taste or smell. My olfaction got impacted the most by all this. But now I can slowly slowly feel the sense coming back, and the flood of phlegm becomes less and seems to mainly come from the actual bone under which the olfactory cilia sit. They had to drill a little hole there, and that seems to heal up, or shed, last in this phase of my recovery. Mind you I am not a fast healer, but I do heal thoroughly. So if you read this and have the same done or ahead of you, you might be much quicker than I am with all this…
1 Oct update: Healing is still ongoing, there is still discharge and debris coming from my sinuses, but with very little to no headaches. Overall it all seems to ebb off tho, so I think in a week or two I should not notice it as much anymore. o/