Doctor Carlson, amazing surgeon, found a large vein wrapped around my trigeminal nerve. Usually they are able to cauterize veins but not this one. This one was so tightly wrapped it was touching the nerve in several places. If he cauterized there would have been too much blood loss and risk of stroke. Instead, he placed teflon padding between the nerve and the vein.
I spent 2 days in the ICU. I had the surgery on Thursday about noon and it took me until about Friday at 11pm to pull out of the anesthesia completely. Saturday they moved me up to the neuro floor and I stayed until Wednesday morning.
The side effects of the surgery have been headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. I spent the first 2 days vomiting. Thank god I don't really remember it all. Whew. I did have super migraines for about a week. Now, about three weeks post surgery, the headaches are mild and here and there. I am pulling out of it. I am overdoing it a bit though. I forget that the neck muscle still needs to heal. Two days ago I felt like cleaning, and as I was sweeping my kitchen, I pinched a nerve in my neck. The next morning it was even worse. Today, though, it's been better. Still sore but better. I am just anxious to get back into the swing of things, I guess.
At my check up appointment last Friday, Dr Carlson told me I need to take things slowly and not rush my recovery. He explained it could take up to three months for me to feel "normal" again. However, our key focus is the trigeminal nerve pain. I have not had any pain! I DO have some mild burning pain still, but it is tolerable (a 2 on a scale of 10) and treatable with Neurontin - and it's only here and there. I am only concerned with the debilitating sharp stabbing ice pick pains I had almost every day for months. I have not had them since the surgery. I am so happy that when I think about being pain free, I cry. It's that freeing. I feel like I am getting my life back. Maybe that's why I am so anxious to get back to "normal" (Don't rush recovery!). Now my doctors have me stepping down my meds (Neurontin, Tegretol, and Topamax) so I can eventually quit taking them.
Thank you to everyone who has given support to our family during these times. We are so thankful. Truly thankful.
Here are 2 pics of my wound, 3 weeks post op (healing!)