Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Personal Update

My incision - seven days later
To finish off this thread -- I had my parathyroid surgery last Wednesday -- background here. It went well, with no complications.

The adenoma on one of my four parathyroid glands -- a benign tumor -- was relatively large: 32 mm x 15 mm x 10 mm.

The resident surgeon took a picture of it -- it looked like a piece of liver -- but hasn't sent it to me yet. She's busy, and was working a 30-hour shift when she saw me.

Within 15 minutes of the adenoma's (and gland's) removal, my PTH hormone level -- which controls the amount of calcium in one's blood -- dropped from 255 to 23 (in some units no one ever cites; picograms per milliliter, I think). The normal range is 20-60. So they didn't need to check out any of my other three parathyroid glands.

(Aside: no one in medicine ever seems to know the units of measurements. I only asked a time or two. In the evening I needed some oxygen, and the nurse gave me "three liters," but she didn't know if it was per second, per minute, or per hour. (It was per minute, I figured out later, after I realized it was a rate, not an absolute amount.) Like theoretical physicists, they set all units equal to one -- but for every individual measurement! But they all know what they mean and what numbers are normal, so it's all good.)

I had general anesthesia -- I joked to my anesthesiologist I was going to try to resist her drugs. She laughed, and I lasted about 4 seconds. But it was an easy recovery, unlike some I've experienced in the past.

Do I feel better? Perhaps -- it could be too soon to tell, and I'm almost scared to conclude one way or the other. I'm sure I have less of the crummy feeling I wrote about, most of the time, but then it wasn't present all of the time either. It will become clear over a month or three, I think (and one of my doctor's said). But I am optimistic, and if I had to decide right now I would say there's been an improvement.

But, as I wrote, I had to have this surgery for reasons not just because of how I feel day-to-day, but to prevent further bone loss and kidney stones.

The care I received at OHSU in Portland was excellent -- I couldn't have asked for better care. (And thank you too, President Obama, for the ACA.) Everyone who treated me -- the surgeon, the resident, the anesthesiologists, the operation room nurses (except for one), and the post-op nurses -- were all women. Their care was everything I could have asked for, and I am so happy I found my way to them. (My last three primary care doctors have all been women, too, by choice -- I think women make better doctors. So is my dentist. In any case, I find it more easy to open up to them and more comfortable around them.)

So I'm optimistic about my health, for the first time in a few years. Thanks for all your good wishes. I need to get back to earning.


Layzej said...

Great to hear.

David in Cal said...

Good luck on your recovery.


David Appell said...

Thank you, guys.

Dano said...

Best of luck on your recovery, David.



Victor Venema said...

Wish you a speedy recovery and hope this fixes the symptoms you had.

When I switched to a paleo diet, now mostly just a grain free offal diet, I had noticed that all those little ills I thought were normal or just getting old, were actually not normal. And I now get a tan, which I interpret as having higher vitamin D levels (in Europe we do not continually test everything as long as there are no problems, thus I do not have numbers).

Anonymous said...

Best wishes on your return to health.

Anthony Watts