My Adult Tonsillectomy Experience

This past December I had my tonsils and adenoids surgically removed and honestly it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I want to write about this topic because I was researching like crazy about getting my tonsils removed, the pros and the cons, and others’ experiences about it. Some said it was the worst decision they’ve ever made and there were a whole lot of negative comments about getting your tonsils removed, it got to the point where I was doubting what my Dr recommended and I was just super nervous and stressed out about it. I had a bunch of “what ifs” and didn’t know what to do..

So I’m going to talk about my experience from the beginning. For the past 4 years, I’d get horrible strep throats at least twice every winter time. It was painful swallowing but I feel like I have always been the kind of girl that toughens things out, especially when it comes to colds or the flu so I wouldn’t worry about it. I would literally go to work running a fever for two days hoping it would go away with Tylenol or Advil and I would take tea to help my throat and aching body feel better. Now, getting strep throat twice every winter time wasn’t enough to have to get them removed so that hadn’t even crossed my mind until September of 2016. That’s when I started getting sick ALL the time.

From September to November, I had recurring strep throat and I was constantly sick. I was given an antibiotic and it seemed to be working but as soon as I finished the last pill, my strep throat came back. I was prescribed a different antibiotic and again, it did not work. I was sent to a throat specialist and as soon as I opened my mouth and went “aah” he immediately said my tonsils had to go. They were huge and infected. My tonsils were so swollen that I had visible lumps on my neck. They were causing me problems in my sleep and I had difficulty breathing which caused me to snore louder than my dad. I did not feel like myself at all, my body just felt tired all the time no matter how much rest or sleep I was getting. Thankfully, my boyfriend convinced me and calmed my worries about getting my tonsils removed. He made me realize I had to stop thinking about what other people thought or said and do what was best for me and my body.

Now that I have experienced it, let me confirm the truths about all I’ve read on the internet about adult tonsillectomies:

  • An adult tonsillectomy is completely different than a tonsillectomy on a child or underage teen. You will not be back and ready to go after the next day.
  • You will be out of work or school for at least 2 weeks.
  • You’re going to lose your voice or have a very low voice for a couple days.
  • Your voice is going to slightly change.
  • Days 4-7 are absolute hell. You’re going to be in pain. I was a freaking soldier about it and I was on pain level 14 on a scale of 1-10.
  •  Your uvula, tongue, and throat are going to be huge from the swelling.
  • Don’t eat acidic, salty, or spicy foods. It’s going to burn like a mofo.
  • Resting an ice pack on your neck really does help.
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day and night.
  • Set an alarm clock to wake you up at night to drink water. If your throat dries at night you will suffer! It will feel like swallowing shards of glass in the morning when you wake up.
  • Stay on top of your medication. Don’t wait for the exact time to take your next dose, and if you are running low on pain medication, go get prescribed for more beforehand.
  • On days 6-8 there is risk of bleeding so be really careful about what you eat on those days, even if you feel like you can eat more solid foods. Eat soft foods and soups on those days and work your way up after that.
  • Popsicles, ice, gelato, and cool chicken broth are your best friends.
  • Your ears are going to hurt like no other thanks to your lingual nerve, its directly connected to your ears and throat.
  • You’re going to lose weight.
     

img_7756I had my surgery performed at a surgery center instead of a hospital. It was my first time ever under general anesthesia. When I woke from surgery, first thing I said was if they did something to my nose because I felt like I could breath so much better. The Dr let me know that he had to remove my adenoids because they also had an infection and were causing my breathing and snoring problems. They are located where the nose connects to the throat. He said I might have liquids come out of my nose when I drank for a while but it would go away.

2 weeks post op, I was no longer in pain. I stopped taking the pain medication and went back to work. During recovery, I went from weighing 138lbs to 121lbs, which I didn’t mind but the hunger was very real! There are two other things that were true for me that I had seen on the internet. It’s going to hurt when you yawn. Strange, but it happens.. and you might get depressed during recovery.

It’s been one month since the procedure and the yawning has finally stopped hurting. It still feels funny when I sneeze though.. because my adenoids aren’t there, it feels like saliva comes out of my nose and I can’t control it. Now about the depression.. it began during the most painful days and I continued to be depressed the days after that. Not very many people know that general anesthesia has this side effect on some people. I didn’t realize I was depressed until I cried to my parents and told them I felt extremely sad and I didn’t know why. I cried ALL the time. God bless my boyfriend he was extremely patient with me and supportive. The only thing that got me out of it, was support and love from him and my family.

Anyway I am very glad I got through it. I am generally a much happier person now and I can breathe so much better. My snoring completely stopped, which is awesome. I used to feel so weak all the time but now I feel much healthier and stronger. I have no regrets 🙂img_7758

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