This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Official......

It's official. I saw my ENT today and I'll be having surgery in the next 2 weeks. Just have to see when I can get on the surgery schedule. He said the blockage (subglottic stenosis) in my upper airway is back, nearly as bad as the first time in 2007. Of course it's been since August 2009 when I had the last surgery and he says it is a testament to my improved cardiovascular state that I've been able to tolerate the decreased airflow this long. That's an NSV I suppose in a twisted way.

The way they diagnose it is to put a little flexible tube with a video camera up your nose, down the back of your throat and into your airway. So that's what I had done today. It is uncomfortable. I hate it. They do spray the numbing medicine in and it helps, but that stuff burns like fire down your nose and mouth. Then it numbs all the way down my throat and I can't swallow right for about an hour after. The bitter medicine rolls down into my stomach and makes me nauseated. It's just icky. But, luckily it doesn't last long.   He didn't take pics today, but I found these from the surgery in 2007. It'll give you some idea of what I've got.

The picture in the upper right hand corner is before the procedure.That tiny little hole is what I breathe through. If you head straight down that hole you'd hit my trachea and then lungs.  This is about the size of a baby's airway. The picture in the upper left hand corner is the picture after the laser burns away the scar tissue. That is about 2/3 of what a normal adult airway should be but you can see it's a huge improvement.  The other 2 pics show after the doctor inserted a balloon to dilate the area before the laser. After the laser he injects medication into the area to try to reduce swelling and future scarring.

 So let me get this straight.....I am in better shape so now that I get less oxygen I don't have symptoms and pass out as quick. Cool.  Frankly I don't care, but I'm tired of feeling like I might pass out, getting dizzy easily and short of breath with any activity, climbing stairs, exercising or just when talking a lot. Frankly I feel like I did before I used to work out and it's pissing me off. I've come a long way and this condition erases all of the good strong feelings I worked so hard to achieve. My hope is that as soon as the thing is fixed, I can resume my hard workouts and get back on track again.

We don't know why I get this and this will be the 4th time I've had to have the procedure. Usually this is a congenital problem seen in kids. In adults it's almost always a results of trauma to the airway or being on a breathing machine. I've had neither of those. I've had lots of tests to see if I have things like Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and they are always negative, at least for now, thank God. I do have mild acid reflux although the doc says the evidence of it is mild and doesn't explain the severity of my case. Oh well. Sometimes in medicine we don't know why. I know that as well as anyone.

I have to stay on the steroids until after surgery to reduce swelling in the airway. Luckily the surgery is simple and there is a quick recovery. Usually my throat is just super sore for a couple of days. I'll have the surgery on Friday and be back to work on Monday or Tuesday depending on what time the case is scheduled.

On another note.....I weighed in today and I am up 2 pounds from where I was pre-steroid, but down 2 from last week. I worked hard over the weekend to keep my appetite in check. This medicine makes you insanely irrationally hungry.  I'll admit to a small bite sized chocolate bar yesterday.  Over all though we stuck to our plan for Superbowl Sunday. We made our Flatout wrap pizzas. The kids love making their own. It's a lot of pizza for just a little over 300calories with the toppings. I had 3 hot wings, 190calories and water. I did allow myself a diet Mountain Dew which is not something I do much, but it tasted so good. For dessert I had some grapes. Overall I think I did well, not perfect, but pretty good and I enjoyed my Superbowl this year just as well as in years past when I gorked on junk.

I enjoyed the game. It was a really exciting one and well played. I guess I was rooting for the Giants since they are a fellow NFC team, but really I didn't care much. Just enjoyed the game.  I always feel a little bittersweet saying goodbye to my favorite sport until August. Sigh....I do watch the commercials although they are not the highlight for me. Overall I'd say I was disappointed compared to other years, but it was OK. The girls loved dancing around watching the half time show.

I didn't work out this morning. I'm going to try to do some tomorrow depending on how I feel. Doc says I'm not going to damage myself, but he doesn't want me passing out. Says I can do what I feel like so we'll see. After the procedure today there's some swelling. I feel it and I've had a tired day and real trouble breathing this afternoon. A bit of a headache from the anesthesia also. I think I'll go home and rest tonight.  I didn't do great eating today. This morning I had my eggbeaters sandwich with onion, peppers and pepper jack cheese. Then an apple for snack. But, after the procedure my throat felt weird. I decided that for lunch I was having frozen yogurt. So I stopped and had a big one with fruit on top. Not horrible, but not great. Then this afternoon I ate half a bagel. I have discussed my love for bagels before. I was nauseated and .......well....I just plain wanted it. Damn you carb craving steroid maniac.

My daughter did get her purple belt. I'm so proud of her. She worked hard to learn all the material. She is 7 years old, but she has to learn all the material I learned. She worked hard and she got her forms nearly perfectly on the exam. Now she's psyched about being in Mommy's class so I'll have to try to go at least once with her this week. Of course, my youngest daughter is a bit jealous.....we try we try we try as parents, don't we?

Alright so that's all for me today. I'm just tired of talking about my problems. I'd like to hear about your weekend and how you've been doing. I've been reading your blogs and trying to comment. How was your Superbowl Sunday? Did you watch the game? What commercials did you like? What did you eat?


  1. I am amazed that you have been able to be so physically active as you have been. I wish you the best for a complete and long lasting recovery this time.

    As for the Super Bowl, I did post about it, and I did well. It was a lot of fun! As for my favorite commercial, I loved the student who thought he was getting a car for graduation. The look on his parents' faces was priceless.

    Also, congrats to your daugter on her purple belt. Achieving goals is a good learning experience for kids! Have a great week!

  2. Good for you for getting this scheduled. Imagine how great you'll feel with a normal size airway and your high degree of cardio fitness! Glad for middle child, too. Congrats to her.

  3. Congrats to your daughter on her purple belt -- that's awesome!

    This weekend I rode my stationary bike, practiced planks and wall sits, and on Saturday night my husband and I got to go out to dinner at a local restaurant called Catfish Country. It's kitschy, kind of dive-y, and the food is to die for. Himself ordered deep fried gator among other things. And I got carded, which at my age cracked me up.

    I'll be thinking about you with your surgery coming up -- please keep us posted!

  4. Those pics are crazy!!! I just finished up a voice pedagogy class and part of it was getting a laryngoscope. Your pics are SCARY! The inflammation and irritation... I can't believe you've been breathing though such a small opening. What is the white stuff? Scar tissue?

    Having been though the laryngoscope twice now, once with and once without the numbing thing... I can honestly tell you that it's better without. I mean, it's still uncomfortable and makes you feel like you need to sneeze, but you can swallow like a normal person after.

    1. I think the white stuff is mucous. Icky poo. Maybe next time I'll try without the spray

  5. That is some small airway that you have, my dear. I am amazed that you have functioned and exercised as well as you have. That whole procedure sounds painful and now another surgery to boot. Dang, you have been through the ringer. Keep your chin up.

    We ate super well for the superbowl, too. We picked up a piece of lasagna and a piece of pizza from our favorite Italian place near us. That was about 500 cals. Other than that, I saved up 150 cals for a small bowl of my favorite chips (lime corn chips). I only had that one bowl too and my it tasted great.

    I thought the game was fabulous and am very happy the Giants one. I wore my Viking shirt as a way to send them some good vibes that, yes, they, too, can one day go to the big Game! Yep, it is a dream, but someday.... I am sorry to see football over, but super excited to watch the WNBA MN Lynx come May 20. I love football, but these women are amazing. And role models, too.

    No commercial really caught my fancy. Thought they were dull, actually. Take care.

  6. Great game last night. I watched it in my Jaworski jersey. Didn't really care who won. Wonder if NFL strategy in 10 years will include letting guys score and laying down on the 1 yard line. Would have been weird if the Giants RB was the goat for scoring a TD in the final minute of the Super Bowl.

    Good for you on the eating. I didn't do well, and the worst part is the food wasn't great, but I had too much anyway. Back counting calories again today and all is well again.

  7. Bless your sweet heart! If you need a LoCarb Candy Stripe Nurse to fluff your pillows, just let me know!

  8. OK, you officially have permission to take it easy for a bit - goodness, we don't want you passing out during a workout! It is amazing how well you've done with this...think of how much better you will be after the procedure!

    I laughed at that car/cheetah racing commercial, although I kept thinking "why doesn't he just jump into the cage and shut the door?" - but still. Animals chasing people always makes me laugh.

  9. Oh my goodness that's crazy! I think you get to rest until you can breathe properly again good grief.

    We ended up with a party and I ate probably 1 bite of each thing I made. I saved Sunday as my treat day so I just ate and drank what I wanted. It was quite exciting at my house what with Mr. Helen's love of all things Giant.

    Hmmmm. I guess I'm the only one who liked the Beckham commercial ;)

  10. Eew I thought your pic was donuts and oh I had to click ya know!

  11. so glad youre doing this.
    Ill be praying for you.



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