Post-Op with Dr. Hackman - Travel, Medstay, Beefcake Styloid and Incision

Hi Everyone! I’m not home yet, I’ll be flying home early tomorrow so I can post an additional update on this thread for my return experience. Here’s my experience thus far:

I wound up using because I booked it and couldn’t cancel it within the SECU’s morning of time frame. I stayed at the Tru Hilton in Chapel Hill through Medstay and it was $92/night which was a decent discount. The hotel was ok, they gave my husband as many pillows as he asked for and was relatively clean and had a shower with a handle.

I went in for surgery yesterday morning and I can’t speak highly enough of UNC’s medical team. Everyone was great. Dr. Hackman and I briefly discussed both or one side, and landed on getting the shorter pokier one out first and seeing what symptoms we’re left with.

I don’t know if I’m speaking too soon, but my brain fog seems a lot better. My POTs symptoms do as well, but they’re usually better post surgery due to all the fluids. I woke up from the anesthesia and my visual snow was gone so I got really excited, but it returned quickly. My ear and throat stabbing pain are both gone. I have some rice crispie sounds in my ears when I chew and some mild tinnitus, and of course some swelling and trouble swallowing. But so far I’m feeling a lot better than I thought I would. I’m most hopeful that I’ll see improvement with my visual snow, but I’m skeptical as well as patient.

I’ll definitely keep everyone posted as my symptoms clear or don’t. I’m looking forward to when I can exercise again - as sit-ups, running and a lot of yoga poses became very uncomfortable for me - but I know those are all a ways off.

I wound up with a 5 cm incision on my neck and a much smaller incision in front of my ear. The removed styloid was 5.5 cm x 1cm x .5 cm plus another smaller piece removed from off my hyoid - no photo was submitted for that piece, but it’s indicated it was removed in the notes.

The overnight staff was pretty good. They had a very attentive nurses assistant but unfortunately he can’t give pain meds, the nurse on staff was very kind, but you could tell she was running constantly from one patient to the next. My pain was fairly well managed though. I did have moral support/help getting up/flagging nurses down from my husband and he says the couch in the room was pretty comfy.

My pain has been surprisingly low, but I know I’m in the first couple of days where it’s not as bad. Right now, I’m feeling very blessed. I’m looking forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed and seeing what symptoms shake out. Hopefully I can get away with just the one side - but if not I hit my deductible for the year haha.

As always I’m so thankful to this group. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more knowledgeable and supportive group.


That’s one long & nasty looking styloid & so thick at the top end, @ectocake!! Better out than in! Your incision looks painful but that’s probably because of the drain tube sticking out of it. I’m sure the incision looks better now. I hope the trip home & the extra days since surgery haven’t flared any symptoms. Your visual snow may yet go away as it takes time for the swelling that’s causing it to go away. I’ll be praying for that. :hugs:


Thank you for the update! I’m glad you’ve seen some improvements, the swelling may well get worse in the next few days so don’t get disheartened if you get some symptoms back for a bit…that styloid definitely looks nasty & glad that it’s out…have a safe journey home and take care of yourself :hugs: :pray: :bouquet:


Wow! Thanks so much ectocake for that really interesting post and the photo too. So glad you’re over the op and hope very much you can improve very soon. Well done, take care and all the best.


Hi everyone! I just wanted to update my journey in case it helps anyone else. I’m exactly one week and one-day post-surgery. I had a follow-up with my primary care who confirmed everything looks like it’s healing well.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:


  • My brain fog has significantly improved - it’s hard to quantify but over the past few years it had gotten really bad
  • No more stabbing feeling in my ear and throat
  • Light sensitivity has improved
  • My energy levels have more quality to them - again probably attributed to the brain fog, but I felt more clear coming out of surgery than I’ve felt in a long time
  • I don’t want to speak too soon but it seems my syncope/POTs symptoms have improved, but they’re very cyclical so we’ll see once a full month has past - the plan is to ween off of my Florinef


  • Vertigo sets in very easily - it seems related to swelling and is worse toward the end of my ibuprofen four hours but also any moving objects like ceiling fans or a car ride are debilitating - I had bouts of this before my surgery so I’m guessing the swelling is the culprit
  • My energy levels are low - but that’s to be expected when recovering from surgery my husband has been really great and so has his job
  • I’m still sleeping sitting up - if you’re going in for surgery I would highly recommend this pillow system or something similar I also have felt a lot of relief from having additional pillows to prop my arms up on
  • Random tongue movement causes a lot of pain - remembering not to use my tongue to clean my teeth has been a struggle I also can’t oil pull like I used to, but I’ll get there again

Overall I feel really good, better than I thought I would. I’m hoping to be cleared for some yin yoga and light recumbent biking next week when I see Dr. Hackman.

If anyone has any questions let me know! I’ll try to post weekly updates here as long as there’s something to update. My incisions haven’t really changed much but I’ll post pics next week.


You’ve noted some good improvements in the first post op week, @ectocake. That’s really encouraging! I slept w/ my head elevated for 6 weeks post op after my first surgery so don’t be concerned if you continue to find head elevation helpful for a while. It took a couple of months for my energy to return to normal so you can expect to feel a bit tired for at least a month post op. Pushing yourself may only serve to slow symptoms recovery so listen closely to what your body is telling you regarding need for rest or reduced activities for the first month or so. Your tongue pain may be due to your glossopharyngeal nerve being irritated from surgery. I had tongue issues after my first surgery that took a number of months to resolve but there’s a good chance yours will go away faster than that.

It took about a month before my incision started to look better but I think doctors have better suturing techniques now than previously since so many of our members’ post op incision images look great at 2-3 weeks after surgery. I look forward to seeing your pictures next week.

I hope you notice continuous symptoms disappearance as the days pass.



Thank you! I’ve been very gentle with myself and listening to my body. The vertigo is uncomfortable but it’s also a very clear indicator I need to rest, so I get into my pillow fort and oblige lol. I miss being active but at this point, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

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So pleased for you that you’ve seen some improvement already, praying that the vertigo will go soon :pray::hugs: