Every year, I got bronchitis and/or sinus infections multiple times a year, plus pneumonia a couple of times. Then in 2005, I had been diagnosed with asthma. I was given inhalers which never seemed to help and by 2010, I was just done. I was so exhausted that I could barely function. I could not even walk across the street without gasping for air. Seriously. My doctor sent me to a pulmonologist who ran a series of tests. I can’t remember the name of them all, but I do remember the one that had me breathing into this thing and then taking a hit off my inhaler and breathing again and the tech saying “It’s not helping”. Hello, duh, I’d been saying that for years! After having a CT scan, the pulmonologist noticed a narrowing in my trachea and did a bronchoscopy and found that part of my trachea was narrowed. He sent me to a specialist in OKC who could hopefully dilate it and open things up. I was scheduled for that procedure the day before Thanksgiving. If it didn’t work, the doctor said we would have to do something called a tracheal re-section. I looked up what that meant and said NOPE, not doing that. When I woke up from the dilation procedure, the doctor told me that he couldn’t do it and I was to come back in a few days to determine the next step. Which was basically to do the tracheal re-section. After several days of prayer and research, when I went back the week after Thanksgiving, I scheduled my surgery.
A tracheal re-section basically means that the narrowed part of the trachea is removed and then the other parts are re-attached. I had to be in ICU sedated and on a ventilator for three days after. I was supposed to then be moved to a regular room for a couple of days. I had the surgery on Wednesday evening, they removed the ventilator Saturday afternoon. I was doing so well that they just went ahead and sent me home straight from ICU on Sunday morning. The surgery found that my trachea was shaped like an hourglass and required removing part of my voice box to remove the part that was narrowed.
About a month later, I had gone to the college in Tonkawa to pick up a book that Natasha needed and had to park quite a ways away. After I walked to the store and back to my car, I realized that I was not even out of breath. Wow! Before that surgery, I was on antibiotics multiple times a year. Since that time, I have only been on antibiotics twice for illness-I’ve had one sinus infection and one round of bronchitis in the last ten years. I used to have them both multiple times a year.
I’m happy to be celebrating ten years since my surgery and only wish Tom was here to celebrate with me.