Surgery next week with Dr. Hackman

Hi everyone, I’m sitting at a bar by myself having my last glass of wine before I cut out all alcohol before my surgery. I quit smoking last week too. I’m finally here after 4 years and 28 doctors, searching and researching, and finding Eagles myself. When I booked the surgery I was so excited. I’m still excited, but so very nervous. More nervous than I thought I’d be. I’m usually a warrior, unafraid of a surgery, just focusing on the end result and the recovery. I know this will be a long recovery. I’m ok with that. It’s worth it for me. There are so many unknowns as far as possible paralysis, long standing numbness, FBS. I trust Dr. Hackman. I’m expecting some type of temporary paralysis. I’m nervous about the possibility of permanent paralysis or numbness. I need the styloids out so I can do physical therapy for my neck. Right now they’re in the way and preventing me from being able to do any PT in my neck region. I’ve been looking up past post op posts to know all possibilities of what to expect. My only vascular involvement is mild IJV compression. I’m going to the surgery alone and recovering alone, as many on here have. I’m preparing soft food and soup. I took a week off work. I work from home. There are so many what if’s with this surgery and I’m really nervous. I’m hopeful and the only expectation I have is to be able to do PT and move my neck without bumping into the styloids, and for the horrible pain over the styloid area to go away. I’ll be so grateful for any other symptoms that eventually go away.

Thanks for listening. I could not, and would not be here without this forum.

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Hi Danielle1!
Is your surgery date still the 13th? And bilateral? I was really nervous too, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected, as soon as I came round I was so relieved that I’d had it! I hope that it’ll be the same for you, I don’t think any of us undergo this surgery lightly & know realistically it’s our only chance of being pain free/ in lesser pain!
As you’ve read on here, surgery does vary with everyone, although a small amount of facial paralysis seems to be common with Dr Hackman’s patients, it does seem to resolve quickly; good you’re prepared for that! And be patient if you can, as recovery does seem to have it’s ups & downs…
So sorry that you’re going through this alone, but although we can’t be with you in person, we’ll be rooting for you on here & thinking of you. So sending you a hug & will be praying for you :hugs: :pray:

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Good luck for your surgery. Good you have done advance preparations, that should help you in early days. You probably saw/read all the advice on other preparations members suggest. D

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Danielle,
Im so sorry you have to go through this alone. I hope knowing we are all here for support and post-op questions is of comfort to you. Many of us are troopers and have to be but when it gets down to pre-surgery, to wouldn’t be normal not to have the jitters. The unknown is scary.

You’ve done your homework and prepared well. I think you will do just fine. Enjoy that last glass of wine before surgery. See you on the other side. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Congrats on the healthy choices you’re making now that will help w/ your post op recovery. Quitting smoking at a time like this must have been a challenge but the fact you were successful shows that you’re one tough cookie!

You may need more than one week off of work. Some of our members have found 2-4 weeks is more realistic, but as Jules noted, we all handle recovery differently. I would recommend that you start back to work only part time to see how your body handles it. Often one of the most disabling post op symptoms is lack of energy. It’s tough to push through a long day when you’re in pain & totally exhausted, plus, that can slow the healing process. Give yourself permission to rest when your body asks. Bilateral surgery is a BIG DEAL!!

I’m also sorry you’ll be facing recovery alone. In case you need it, here’s the link to WiTT which is an organization where you can orchestrate some help w/o having to physically ask your friends/family for it: https://forum.livingwitheagle.org/c/witt/71

I have your surgery on my calendar & will be praying for you. :hugs: :pray:

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I second that! Some have gone back to work after one week but that was with only one side done. I suggest at least 2 as well and only go back part-time as your recovery permits.

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@Isaiah_40_31 @Jules @Snapple2020 @PatientD Thank you so much for your responses. My sister has intervened and got me a caretaker for the first night and for 5 hours every day the first week. She’s an angel :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. Thank you so much for your support :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:, I would not be able to get through this with comfort without everyone here, and without my sister intervening. I am truly thankful and grateful. The hardest thing about this is not knowing what to expect personally, but I’m preparing with all the help and knowledge here. I’m a little nervous. I didn’t think I would be. I was so relieved knowing I’m having surgery and these suckers (styloids) are coming out, I don’t think I processed the gravity of the surgery and recovery. I focused so much on being out of pain and living again. I’ve been messaging with VDM and he does keep reminding me, as well as everyone here. It’s worth it even if I can just hold my head in the right position without hitting the styloids and eliciting pain.

My surgery is on Friday, January 13th. I’ll see everyone on the other side. I’ll post as soon as I’m coherent after surgery. Hugs to all of you!

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@Snapple2020 @Isaiah_40_31 I work from home so even if I need more time to be part time I’ll be able to take it :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Perfect, @Danielle1! Listening to your body & responding accordingly will go far toward helping w/ a quicker recovery. Take one day at a time. I’m so glad you’re less than a week away from your surgery. Dr. Hackman is a great surgeon & will do well for you. :sparkling_heart:

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So glad your sister stepped in and lend you a helping hand! Technically they advise you to have someone to monitor you 24 hours after surgery although I have travelled myself and not followed that rule but I always had a backup. Glad you can work from home…takes a load off.

Best of luck on Friday…and if you don’t know already, make sure you go home with a 10 day supply of prednisone. I swear those are like magic dust and really help with swelling lowering pain. We all will be thinking of you.

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Hi Danielle! Super excited for you to be close to your surgery date! Dr Hackman did my bilateral on the 28th of October. I am still healing however so relieved to have it behind me so I can heal :heart:. Like everyone has said you will have good days followed up by some possibly not so good days but do not let them get you down or discourage you! It’s all part of the healing process! I am a slow healer, unfortunately. That’s my luck lol! But you will do wonderfully! No doubt about it. I have had some paralysis on my right side mouth but am happy report it is doing a lot better just in this last week even. I have some numbness still but I have had some zaps and funny little things going on this past week also that makes me think things are waking up more. Honestly the little numbness I have is nothing! I am used to it so if wakes up fine but is not well than it’s okay! I will be so very excited to have you have this behind you. I know the feeling of being nervous if you weren’t I would be concerned! But you are in good hands with him and his team. I mean everyone in that operating room including the anesthesiologist that I had was just terrific! You got this my friend!!! :heart:
Edited for typos

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@Ddmarie Thank you so much! I truly appreciate you. Would you be able to answer a few questions for me? :slight_smile:

  1. I’m flying home 2 days after surgery. Dr. Hackman said as long as I feel up to it it’s fine. Were you able to fly home right after surgery?
  2. Did you need help the first week? My sister is helping me with a home care aide (I’m recovering alone). My thought is to have someone with me the night I fly home and then for about 5 hours per day for the next 2-3 days. Do you think that will be enough?

Thanks so much for any help with my questions and anything else you can add :-).

I’m so glad surgery is behind you and you are healing :heart:. You got this too my friend!!

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@Snapple2020 Thank you :-). How did you feel flying after surgery?

Hi Danielle,
Happy to help answer any questions I am able to!
Flying home okay so I had my surgery on the 28th which was a Friday stayed overnight in the hospital out late Saturday flew home on Monday. About an hour and half flight. And a 2 hour drive home from the airport. I did okay but I did not walk around the airport I couldn’t. So please when you check in for your flight check that you need assistance. They will have someone scoop you up and wheel you in a wheel chair or cart. Trust me you will want this. I thought I could do this but I couldn’t and asked for help once I got there they were wonderful at the airport.
When you get to recovery or before you go in for surgery tell them you would like a bilateral ice pack this thing wraps all the way around your head and you can keep refilling it with ice. I used mine for 2 weeks until it started leaking this thing was my life saver. Wore it on the plane did not care what I looked like. You will have to dump the ice prior to going through security however your person helping you can get it immediately filled for you at a bar / restaurant once you get through security mine stoped to do it without me having to ask (Im telling you Raleigh airport everyone was terrific). So please ask for that bi lateral ice wrap! that thing helped me more than any meds or anything else it really was a blessing!
As far as assistance afterwards your sister is amazing for doing this! So my husband traveled with me but he had just started a new job so had to right back to work on Tuesday when we got back (he came down with the flu while we were traveling for my appointment so he was not in a good place to be helping me all that much and I didn’t want to get it ! Which I did a few days later anyways :woman_facepalming:t3:) anyways we had just moved out of state and thankfully his aunt and uncle don’t live far from us and came and stayed until Thursday. By then i was able to do most things my biggest issue is I have 2 dogs to take care of. I just really only wanted to sleep to be honest with you for the first week. Super tired. So be kind to yourself and allow yourself to do just that and don’t push. Listen to your body follow it’s direction. I felt like when his aunt and uncle were here like I had to entertain or something so it made things a bit difficult if I slept for too long they would get worried but yet that’s what I wanted needed to do. So I think you will be just fine. You have yourself well prepped with food it sounds like. Maybe just get some smoothies or some ensures something with protein to help the recovery process might be helpful. Definitely sleep elevated this is huge! I just stopped doing it and started again because it’s a game changer for me. I did not take the oxy I cannot take that stuff it makes me literally crazy so ice, and alternating between Tylenol and ibuprofen was what worked for me just fine. And also I finally got prednisone when I got home from my flight travel, they should really just prescribe that imo right after surgery. I kept asking for it before I was discharged especially with the flying and they refused I asked Dr H directly via the portal and I finally got it without any hesitation from him. Not too sure what that was all about I blame that more on the actual “hospital” doctors. Sorry for the long rambled reply lol I’ve had to start and stop it this response due to working but hopefully this info l helps! Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have. As I stated I am happy to help in anyway I can! I am truly grateful for this group I can tell you that :heart::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Thank you! This is such great information :hugs:. I printed it out to keep with me. I got the wheelchair assistance so I’m good there. I almost didn’t and now so glad I did! I’m flying home 2 days after surgery so pretty similar to you. Highlighting the ice pack and prednisone (read that in so many posts too!). I’m making soup to put in mason jars and I have all the frozen fruit, kale and protein powder for my smoothies :-). Picking up extra Tylenol. I ordered a wedge pillow from Amazon that came yesterday. It’s so comfy!

I’ll be home on Sunday (2 days after surgery). I’m wondering if it’s really necessary to have an aide here. Do you think I’ll be able to prepare my food, take care of my cats (feed, scoop litter box) and move around by myself 2 days after surgery? Or should I definitely go with the healthcare aid for a few hours per day?

Thanks so much for answering my questions! :heart: :hugs:

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We are also grateful for you @Ddmarie! You have contributed much encouragement & helpful information since you’ve been here. It’s good to hear you’re doing better. The recovery can be a bit gnarly & lengthy but the end result is worth the wait. :partying_face:

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@Danielle1 - I would go w/ the healthcare aide for a few hours a day. I was loopy enough from my pain meds that having someone nearby was helpful. As @Ddmarie noted, you will be sleepy & uncomfy for the first week. Treat yourself to the extra help. You won’t be wanting to scoop litter boxes or feed cats - cuddling them will be therapeutic though. :smiley_cat:

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I’m so glad I could be of some small help!
I agree with @Isaiah_40_31 I would definitely take the help while you can. Especially with your kitties and helping to do laundry or any such task like that will be helpful even getting ice or medicine. So glad you got the wedge pillow. I love mine too and also got it from Amazon :relaxed: in case of the lack of ice pack from hospital I might suggest getting a couple I actually bought this and once my one paper one from the hospital sprang a leak started using this all time. Face ice Pack for Jaw, Head and Chin, Adjustable Hot and Cold Wrap for Wisdom Teeth and TMJ Pain Relief
If you put that in Amazon search it should pop up it worked great for me and I didn’t have to worry about holding it. :heart:

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Thank you so much for this ! I really appreciate it! I have definitely had some hiccups as we know but I just keep telling myself slow and steady :heart: I appreciate you greatly!!!

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Hi Danielle,

I felt quite emotional after reading your posts. You’ve clearly been through the mill like practically all of us here. Well done you for getting where you are now, as a random internet stranger, I’m proud of you! ha

Just want to wish you a speedy recovery and sending as much positive vibes as I can muster from the UK. You can do this!!! :muscle::slightly_smiling_face::muscle:

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