So, it’s been about a month since my tonsils and I parted ways. Days 9 through 14 were pretty much the same – the (really, really gross) scabs started “healing” around Day 10/11 and it was all I could do to just keep swallowing so I would never, ever, ever know what they looked or felt like. It took about a week for my tongue to stop being so sore. Do you know how often your tongue clears food away from corners of your mouth? Well, now I do and it’s pretty often.
I managed to treat my throat and scabs very gently, my doctor having put the fear of bleeding into me. Basically, if you start to bleed and it doesn’t stop, they have to cauterize it and your recovery starts all over. No one wants to do that. If I was eating something I thought was soft enough and felt it pulling on a scab as I swallowed, I pretty much stopped eating and went back to drinking my meals. Maybe I was paranoid, but I really wasn’t willing to risk it.
On Day 15, I participated on my first conference call, even though I was technically still off work. Up until that point, I avoided talking to anyone because even a short conversation left my hoarse and with an irritated throat. I managed to get through the conference call without sounding like I swallowed sand paper, and then drank some tea and continued to not speak to anyone, including the dogs.
On Day 17, I drove to Lake Havasu City and spent 2 days there prepping and interviewing for a work contract (which we ended up winning, so yay!)
After that, I kind of just jumped back into life as normal.
Over the course of 2 weeks post-surgery, I was pretty much not eating anything and lost about 10 pounds. Because I wasn’t eating much even when I was eating “real food”, I didn’t start gaining weight back for another few days. Now that I’m a month post-surgery, I’d say I’m still only a couple of pounds under where I started, so I think I’m doing okay.
I went back to Orange Theory on Day 24 – I took it a little slower, not pushing as hard as I usually do. Partly because I didn’t want to start coughing and upset the remaining scabs that were still around and also because I really try not to be that person who falls off the treadmill. I’m happy to say that after a few workouts, I feel back to normal and all my pretty arm muscles have come back.
A month out, there are still a couple small scabs on one side of my throat that I mainly feel when I swallow and when I’m brushing my teeth. Occasionally, if I eat too quickly, I feel like there’s food stuck in the back of my throat, but by the time I remember to check if it’s gone, it’s gone. Also, I’ve noticed that I breathe much easier through my nose and definitely when I’m lying down. So, while recovery wasn’t fun, the whole thing was definitely worth it.
If you are ever in the situation where you’re getting your tonsils out, here are a couple of things I wish I had known:
- Before surgery, they tell you to wear “comfy clothes”. What they should tell you is, wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of. Even though it’s an outpatient procedure, you change into a hospital gown (wear a non-underwire sports bra, ladies, and you get to keep it on) and you really want something easy to put back on when trying to get dressed and you’re still all loopy and drugged up.
- Everyone says to suck on crushed ice, but for me the ice didn’t melt fast enough or provide enough liquid to make swallowing easy. So, ice-cold liquid was WAY better on my throat. Also, Vitamin Water is really sweet to someone who rarely drinks sodas, so I can’t recommend enough having coconut water on hand. It’s sweet enough, not thick, and has electrolytes.
- Bananas in smoothies made my throat sting for some reason. The best smoothie I made was just almond milk, peanut butter, and protein powder – I tried to cram as many calories and fat into it as I could because I was actually really scared of starving myself unintentionally.
- If you can (and even if you think you shouldn’t), take at least 2 weeks off. What I found was that after a week I was basically healed and coherent, but because I had spent a week sleeping, healing, and not eating, I needed that last week to get my energy back up (seriously, going to fill the car with gas required a nap after) and just get back on my feet, literally. I also used that last week to regain my voice but also rest it, as contradictory as that sounds.
- Ease back into life and don’t feel guilty for taking it easy. It seems like such a minor procedure, but your throat has been lasered and cauterized and pretty beat up and your body really does take its time figuring out what the heck you did to it and trying to heal itself.
- It’s so worth it. I never even realized how impacted my breathing was normally on a daily basis until I felt like every time I inhaled I could feel all this air rushing through my nasal passage. It’s really weird. I breathe better, I sleep better… definitely worth it.