Surgery Day – Branchial Cleft Cyst Removal Surgery
**Warning** This post has some images that may make your tummy hurt. Nothing TOOOO terrible though 😉
Hey guys! Today was surgery day for me! Finally! I felt like the past month of waiting for it seemed to take FOREVER. I had my branchial cleft cyst removal surgery this morning at 7:30 am.
If you’re following my blog, I was diagnosed with a branchial cleft cyst in my neck (read first post here about how I found out). This is a rare congenital defect which means I’ve had it since BIRTH but never knew about it until recently.
This type of birth defect is also called branchial cleft remnant.
It occurs during fetal development when tissues in the neck and collarbone, or branchial cleft, do not develop normally. It may appear as an opening on one or both sides of the neck. Usually these things (sorry if this is all TMI) have a tract that looks like a long tail attached to it. The tail can either wrap around other nerves & muscles (making it much harder to operate on), muscles or even form a skin tag which has an opening to OUTSIDE your skin where fluid drains out through your neck. (very glad I didn’t have that type!!) Luckily I had a type II branchial cleft cyst with no tract.
Sometimes these tissues form a pocket, or a cyst filled with fluid draining into it from within the body.
I never knew I had anything like this going on in my body until recently. There are no side effects and no pain. Why it decided to swell up NOW when I’m 30 years old?? No F’n Idea! Lucky me I guess. haha
Surgery was scheduled for today at 7:30am but I had to get there at 5:30am so it was an EARLY morning. I was super anxious last night so I barely got any sleep at all…if any.
I threw on my sexy hospital gown, socks and had an IV put in.
Excuse the no makeup pic but I’m not the kinda gal who goes to surgery with a full face of makeup haha.
My hot man was SUCH a trooper all day. He woke up with me at the butt crack of dawn, made me calm down when I got anxious (which was like every 2 seconds haha), texted my family with updates all day, picked up my prescriptions, carried around my purple zebra bag and drove my drugged up ass while listening to me make zero sense. I found myself a keeper! <3
He looks THRILLED to be up at 5:30 am, right? haha
One of the bigger risks of this surgery is nerve damage since the incision is right by major nerves for the face, tongue, ear and shoulder. This took my anxiety to another level.
My anesthesiologist noticed my anxiety and loaded in some Valium into my IV which was a total game changer for me. I went back to the operating room without a care in the world! I’d HIGHLY recommend that to anyone going into surgery!
The surgery took about 3 hours.
They told me before I went in that they would try to send my cyst to pathology while I was asleep. If they found it to be cancerous, they would also probably have to remove my tonsils and several nearby lymph nodes.
THANK GOD BECAUSE THE RESULTS CAME BACK CANCER FREE.
BEST . NEWS . OF . MY . LIFE!!!!!!
I was then stitched up and moved to the post op room. As soon as I woke up, I tried moving my face, shoulder and tongue around and realized I had no nerve damage. THANK GOD!
After I woke up and they managed my pain and nausea with meds, one of the docs said “aww our entertainment for the day is leaving us???” I was like ohhhhhh boy, what did I do? haha
The doctor said I was being hilarious and talking quite a bit. They said usually everyone tries to rip off the oxygen mask after surgery but apparently I wanted to wear the oxygen mask on my head, upside down instead. I kept doing it and was referring to it as some type of hat (she couldn’t remember the word I was using) hahaha I remember ZERO of this little stunt. Great job, Erin. haha wow.
Well I hope I entertained the staff!
Knowing my luck, one of the nurses probably have it on video somewhere. 🙂
These pictures are a bit gross….so scroll down fast if you don’t want to see them.
My cut is from one side of the tape to the other so it’s even bigger than I thought it would be…but hey..it’s not cancer so I can’t be upset about it.
The red tube is a drain that I have to leave in for 1-3 days. Sorry it’s gross..I told ya 😉
I hid the drain in my bra under my sweatshirt but there’s no way around hiding that big tube to my neck. Gross.
Looks like this girl isn’t going in public for several days.
My pain is pretty rough but tolerable at this point. I’m sure I still have some pain killers in me from the awesome hospital IV cocktails though 🙂 I was also given hydrocodone as a pain killer and that crap knocked me the F-out. I slept like a rock for a few hours on the couch today.
I’ll do another update post in a few days to tell you how my pain is and what the incision is looking like. I’m so scared to see what it looks like and face reality when I take the tape off.
Luckily I have no eating or drinking restrictions and I’m able to eat with no problem. I thought my throat would be too sore afterwards to eat but it’s not somehow. Another plus! (for today at least, not sure how tomorrow will be!)
Recovery time will be about a week. No lifting anything over 10 lbs for 4-6 weeks (yep….that officially sucks) but hey…again…I DON’T HAVE CANCER so I’m doing a happy dance (in my head or course since that would hurt like hell right now haha)
I see a lot of movies, reading and writing in my near future.
Now I’m just going to pray that recovery goes well and the scar isn’t too terrible! (Read my recent post about how my next surgery scar looks)
P.S – I shared this info for two reasons. #1 – I share just about everything with you guys…I’m an open book. #2 – I searched for days and days on this rare condition to find similar people who went through this procedure and couldn’t find much information. I hope that someone, somewhere finds this information useful and calming.