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My New ENT: Dr. Mark Tabor

Dr. Mark TaborYesterday was my 6th visit to Dr. Tabor, and he’s really growing on me. For those who are new to the “show,” I had the same ENT for nearly a decade before he retired, and he passed me on to his other CF-knowledgeable doctor in the same office. After my first surgery in 6 years followed by a continuation of my headaches and a bad CT scan, my CF doctors referred me to Dr. Tabor for a second opinion and treatment at the same hospital as clinic: Tampa General Hospital in the USF Health building.

He’s got a really high-tech endoscope system that puts the scope images onto a 17″ HD monitor and has the ability and willingness to record office cleanings and surgery in full HD for his geeky patients with a strong stomach. We had a mis-communication as I was about to go under for my 10th sinus surgery of my long and storied CF career so I will have to wait until my next time to get my hands on what happens when I’m asleep. I missed my septoplasty, but my next surgery will include drilling, which I think will be much more compelling footage… at least for me. Here is some fascinating, graphic video of the last cleaning I had before my January surgery. Thanks to my dad for editing it with my new iMovie ’11 when he was here in December. (Please do not hit play if you don’t want to see nose hairs, slimy mucous membranes, or boogers. Please do hit play if you are awesome.)

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There and Back Again: Surgery Recap

Post-OpMaybe Number Ten is a lucky number, at least regarding sinus surgeries. Here’s a recap of both my sinus history and this latest one.

I had two or three in Ohio by the time I was 16 and then the next 5 or 6 in Tampa with one ENT by the time we got married when I was 27 with Number 9 being with a new ENT after my long-time ENT retired. That was in October. Fast-forward 2 months and my headaches were nearly describable.

A new CT scan showed my sinusitis was worse than before my surgery, but this test result came after an overnight O2 test and a full sleep study that put me on an AutoPAP for nighttime desaturation, a common cause of late morning headaches. The CT scan led to a second opinion with a doctor who operates out of the same hospital as my CF center, and he suggested a cleaning under general anesthesia with some reconstructive work on my septum as a therapeutic option because he wasn’t able to physically access many of my issues in the office due to my anatomy as-is. Surgery was scheduled for January 6th.

My calendar tells me that today is the 8th now. Surgery feels like months ago already because this was (by far, without exception or exaggeration) the absolute best surgical experience I’ve ever had… with very few hiccups.

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Fatboy’s Top 10 List of Surgery Fun

DruggedBeing my 10th surgery that I remember (my surgeries at birth are obviously pre-memory), I have a decent amount of experience to draw from for looking for the silver lining related to surgery. Sure others have more experience in the surgery department, but this is definitely my personal top 10 fave things based on my experience:

  1. Pigging out until midnight has long been a favorite pre-op ritual for as long as I can remember. Who wouldn’t want to stay up late eating steak, rice, and lots of drinks before being starved half to death the next day?
  2. Now that I have a port, I am allowed to both be pleased to out-smart the staff by coming in pre-accessed and annoyed when telling them to walk away from me with either the IV kit or port kit, with the former being a bigger sin since my port is in my pre-op paperwork.
  3. Getting to be cared for the top-notch staff in a hospital is a nice treat. The people in the surgery center are the best, probably only bested by transplant teams. I simply love getting the best care available, even if only for a couple of hours.
  4. Ever since my first sinus surgery, I’ve remembered the operating room being cold and getting a hot blanket straight out of the dryer, or seemingly, an oven. That sure makes you feel cozy no matter how stressed before.
  5. This one is new, but thanks to technology, I loved doing Facebook and Twitter action before and after. Having all of one’s friends (local and Internet-based) watching over your progress and cheering you on really helps pass the time and lift the spirits.
  6. Morphine. Need I say more?
  7. Getting to sit on my butt for 2-4 days afterward and be afforded some extra level of “let me do that for you” is really nice. It’s 100 times harder for me than it used to be now that I’m a (read the) provider [role] for our family, but I’ll be able to fully stick to that plan to recover fast because I won’t feel like I have to work to put food on the table this time. Quite a blessing to be cared for such a beautiful and caring Beautiful.
  8. That shot of Ativan in pre-op right before they wheel you into the OR is fantastic (see photo above for visual proof)! If I were to consciously choose to be a druggie, I’d do Ativan. Of course, I wouldn’t do any work, we’d run out of money, we’d lose our house and my health insurance and I’d die within a few months, but I’d die relaxed, eh? Okay, bad idea, but that’s some really good stuff.
  9. Waking up a split second after closing my eyes in the OR is the freakiest thing in the world, and I love it! I could definitely do without the traditional question of asking the nurses for the license plate number of the semi truck that hit me in the face, but you can’t beat that wild trip doing anything legally.
  10. Waking up and seeing Beautiful come to my bedside in recovery (before we were even dating once) each of the last 3 times is something I always remember and will always look forward to. What a woman!

Tomorrow, given the time and boredom not granted while being constantly tended to or asked questions or told what to expect or spending quality time with Beautiful, I’ll be writing another post from the bowels of TGH before my purported 10am surgery. Maybe it’s not so realistic to expect one from me, but maybe something will pop up on Kristinology during surgery or post-op, so be sure to check there if nothing is happening here. We will likely be requesting to stay the night due to my bleeding and motion sensitivity that I experienced in October.

Another Year, Another Sinus Surgery

How I feel most days...It’s a new year, so it must be time for another sinus surgery. I’m both super ticked about it and super-relieved to get it done. I’m really suffering recently with epic headaches and a horrible smell in my sinuses that won’t go away. Given that my sinusitis is worse now than it was in October right before that condition that warranted my first surgery in 6 years, this surgeon is taking much more drastic action. I feel pretty much like the photo most days either from my headaches or from my painkillers. It makes getting work done and staying motivated almost impossible on a daily basis, but I charged through it hard enough in the first half of December that we are almost set for January as of this week (more on that later). I have a couple of sites to wrap up to close out and a couple who have paid their deposits to begin work after I recover, so it’s the best of both worlds right now.

This is now my 10th sinus surgery and my second in 90 days. Here’s what happened:

What didn’t get done last time

From what I understand of what was done in October was basically a power wash under general anesthesia. She didn’t mess with my septum or go for anything related to my frontal sinus other than rinsing it out. After surgery, I wasn’t culturing anything, but both sides re-developed scar bands that connected my septum to the outer wall, blocking access to my upper areas. She was really upset that it happened, but I’m gathering that it happened because my septum bends both ways and was simply too close on either side to keep the tissue separated while it healed. My second opinion revealed that he couldn’t even see how to access my frontal sinus to rinse it in the office.

Surgery OrdersHe will be re-aligning my septum (black eyes, anyone?) and removing a lot of tissue and creating a 4-lane highway to my bothersome frontal sinus. My surgery is scheduled for 10am at the main hospital as an out-patient procedure, but one local friend said his surgery there by the same doctor was scheduled for 9am and he got put under at 4pm. He got a “free” night’s stay at that point because of the bleeding. Given how much I bled in October, I would guess we will be staying overnight, too. Beautiful said she was changing my dressing every half-hour or more until midnight and we live a little more than an hour away from the hospital during the evening rush that I would potentially be released in – not to mention my extreme sensitivity to motion and bumps even the next day. We don’t own a Jaguar, you know?

My pre-op appointment

Talk about a complete waste of a day. Talk about a complete waste of Beautiful’s day off! [Read more…]