Post-Op Appointment (first one)

Hey hey guys!! Hope you are having a great week so far.

I have some time tonight to catch you up. Since my last post, I have been recovering from surgery, and, this afternoon, I had the first of two post-operation appointments.

Just to get everyone on the same page… and because I now understand all the medical lingo. I was diagnosed a few months ago with Cholesteatoma and a perforated eardrum. Last Monday, I had two inner ear surgeries, a Tympanoplasty and Mastoidectomy, ie, basically, my middle inner ear was reconstructed.

So what is Cholesteatoma!? Sounds scary, right? Well it can be. So what I understand, it is a skin cyst that can shed and that skin can become infected by bacteria from the ear, which can overrun the middle ear and mastoid. The cyst usually appears in people who have had chronic ear infections in their youth. The cyst may not be a cause for concern initially, but over time it definitely has to be dealt with because it can lead to major issues. I learned that this type of cyst can be destructive to the microscopic hearing bones (malleus, incus, stapes) by eroding them- these bones carry sound into the middle ear. And this damage can lead to serious issues like constant dizziness, facial nerve paralysis, and ugh, meningitis or brain abscesses. Totally scary to think about.

The perforated eardrum was also a major issue. Because, of course. The hole in my eardrum was not repairable as is, and that Cholesteatoma was overgrowing onto those three bones that surround the drum. Which means, my doctor had to cut me open behind my ear. One incision to reach the inner ear and another incision where she had to take skin and bone fragments to rebuild everything in the ear.

Technology is amazing, right!?

The doctor and her team advised me to rest, as a priority to recover quickly. Recovery time is about 4 weeks, that’s the physical part, but in total up to four months for my hearing to return. They gave me some guidelines to follow, like, keeping the ear dry, no strenuous activity, and, no lifting of anything over ten lbs; so for the most part, recovery has been pretty easy. Initially, I thought the bulk of pain recovering from this surgery would be a day or two, but boy, was I wrong! Ended up needing the whole week off from work because of the post surgery dizziness and fatigue. I slept through about 50% of the first part of the week, and started to feel somewhat human around Saturday (five days after surgery). My ear felt way better than I figured, which was a great relief. I did have bruising on my neck with mild stiffness; both disappeared within two days.

About the surgical site care, I had been discharged from the hospital with an ear cup that wrapped the head, that was to keep pressure on my ear. My ear was taped up behind the lobe, and, my inner ear was filled with antibiotics packing topped with cotton balls. The head wrap was removed about 24 hours post operation. Then the cotton balls were changed out a few times daily, until finally removed all together, about three days post surgery. The tape and packing were for the doctor to remove.

At today’s follow up appointment, I was told that the cyst was much larger than they initially thought. So the surgery time was closer to three hours. The cyst was fully removed and the lab test on it came back BENIGN. Woo!

The bulk of this appointment was removing a portion of the antibiotics packing from my ear, and the removal of the stiff surgical tape. Ugh, that tape!, that had been the worst part of the recovery period. It was propping my ear up sharply, since the incisions were above and beside the earlobe.

So, I mentioned that my doctor removed a portion of the antibiotic packing. Which means a bit is still inside my ear. This is so the eardrum can use it to reshape itself in the right form. I have to go back in December to check-in and have that removed. That will be my last check in for the surgical procedure. Till then taking it easy is still a priority, and I can start taking my ear antibiotics.

In case it was a question, I am currently experiencing hearing impairment in my left ear, which is interesting. I’m not sure what I can actually hear with the packing in there, but it isn’t much. My hearing could take up to four months to fully return, as I mentioned above. I’m hopeful for a full improvement. It’s frustrating at times, but my family doesn’t mind repeating words for the most part. Even though, we have to watch or listen to everything with Closed Captioning…which I rather enjoy. It’s like watching foreign films. Sorta. 😆

Oh wow, it’s almost midnight. I should get to bed now. Hope what I wrote here makes sense. 😆

A quick thank you to everyone who helped me, comforted me and checked in on me during this period. It was overwhelming to feel so much love, and some days, hard to read messages between naps. It’s times like these when you truly know who in the world cares about you. ❤️

And a big thanks to you! It makes me happy to see everyone stopping by to catch up with me here. I always appreciate it!

till my next post. xoxo

4 thoughts on “Post-Op Appointment (first one)

  1. I’m glad that you’re on the mend, Valeria! There is much more to this surgery than I had thought, very complex. Be sure to follow the doctor’s directions to the letter, I always do! ❤️

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