Surgery Again?

Be warned - this is a boring and wordy post.

When I was seven months pregnant with Nolan I started having a really hard time breathing. Just going upstairs in our house was becoming a huge task. I couldn’t even sing along with my favorite songs without running out of breath. I thought it was just one of the joys of pregnancy, but it didn’t go away after I gave birth. Because I was also constantly coughing and wheezing, I saw a few doctors, was treated for asthma and got allergy tested. Turns out there was nothing wrong with my lungs and wasn't allergic to anything.

After more breathing tests and scopes, I found out I had tracheal stenosis. It’s a narrowing of my trachea (that's the windpipe), usually formed of scar tissue, and usually caused by intubation.

The thing is I’ve never been intubated. I did have acid reflux when I was pregnant, so my doctor guessed that maybe it was caused by inhalation of the acid. Ew.

In September of 2009 I had surgery to dilate my trachea to push the scar tissue out of the way and open my airway. The surgery took twenty minutes and I was out of the hospital within a few hours. Recovery took about five days and I was miserable. I couldn’t get out of bed. I only woke up to take Vicodin. My jaw, teeth, tongue, throat, chest, lungs, neck, shoulders and upper back all hurt. Jacob stocked the fridge with smoothies and that’s all I “ate” for days. Once I finally healed and stopped coughing up blood (TMI?) I could breathe again!

Two months later, I came down with bronchitis and laryngitis. Phlegm started to form around the scar tissue and within a few weeks I was constantly coughing and having a hard time breathing again. I knew it was getting worse, but there was no time to worry about it. In December we sold our house, put everything in storage and moved into an apartment while waiting for our new house to be built. Once we got settled into the apartment, I went back to my surgeon and decided to go ahead with the procedure for the second time. The day before they called to schedule the surgery, I found out I was pregnant with Milo. Surgery while pregnant is a scary thing. I thought I could tough it out so I didn’t make the appointment.

On top of the exhaustion that comes with pregnancy, just little things, like grocery shopping was becoming harder on my breathing. Not to mention, I was chasing around crazy Nolan who was just under two years old. I discussed this with my OBGYN who talked to my surgeon and they decided it is best for me and the baby if I go ahead with the surgery. So, that’s what I did in September of 2010, one year after my first procedure. It hurt just as bad, but wow! My pregnancy was a whole lot easier!

Guess what? It’s almost a year later and I can’t breathe again. I saw my surgeon two weeks ago and he said he wants to dilate me one more time. So I'm going in for surgery TOMORROW! If it doesn’t work this time (and I’m not really counting on it), I’ll have to have tracheal resection and reconstruction surgery. The narrowed part of my trachea will be cut off and the two ends of the trachea will be sewn together. Not fun and really scary. But it also isn’t fun to wheeze and cough and run out of breath every ten minutes. I really want to end this chronic cough, and go to the gym again and dance and sing with my kids without gasping for breath.

What a novel. Congrats to you if you read this whole thing! 


Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Oh my gosh! I am so, so sorry! I will be thinking of you and sending prayers your way. Are you going to the same surgeon again? Maybe that's the reason you have to keep going back for repeat surgeries?

Praying this time it works and all will be OK ♥

Christianna said...

Oh man, praying you have a safe operation, and a really fast healing time! Hopefully this time it works!

Jessica Renee said...

That sounds so awful! I'm really sorry you have to go through all of that, especially with 2 kiddoes but hopefully this will be the final surgery you need! Good luck and keep us posted! xoxo

hotpants™ said...

I hope this fixes it. What a nightmare!