3…2…1… BAMM you’re awake with half your face numb, unable to talk (thanks to the trach) and so high on morphine your brain is incapable of properly processing everything that’s going on around you.
The first night was more or less a blur. Besides being repeatedly woken up by the ICU nurse, to assure all my vitals were normal.
My head was the size of a ballon: uneven and extremely swollen. My left fibula had been cut, in order to reconstruct my face. As a result of the loss of bone, my leg was casted and extremely sore; this meant walking was no longer a simple task.
The few days to follow were probably the most difficult. I had an extremely difficult time breathing, due to the trach. It felt like I was drowning but had no means of communicating with the people around me (frightening).
I wrote on a white board in order to share my thoughts, however, it was extremely frustrating because it’s difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it.
In addition to the trach, a feeding tube was put in place because the reconstruction of the jaw restricted my capability to ingest food through my mouth. Initially the tube was of little bother but within a couple days my stomach rejected the food. [The nurses insisted I receive 55ml every 12 hours, however, I was at 15ml every 12 hours. Which was of concern (seeing I wasn’t receiving the proper amount of nutrition).]
The thought of drinking water and eating pasta brought tears to my eyes (Let me tell you… When you can’t eat… ALL you want to do is eat EAT EAT EAT)
Eventually the trach was removed and breathing was no longer such a difficult task. The feeding tube was removed a few days later.The first sip of water was probably the highlight of my recovery- the light at the end of the tunnel could now be seen!
I slowly made my way from clear liquids (water, apple juice, tea, etc.), to solid liquids (milk,smoothies, etc.) and finally soft solids (eggs, mashed potatoes, etc.)
Once the trach hole began to close, eating wasn’t a problem and I could walk on my leg with the help of an IV pole the doctors began to consider my discharge.
I was discharged exactly 6 days later.
Being home made the rest of my recovery much easier. I got to eat when I wanted, drink when I wanted and sleep when I wanted.
The initial days after being home consisted of both ups and downs but eventually I was back to being me.
Tomorrow chemo begins…till then