Sobering ENT Appointment

I saw my ENT surgeon this afternoon. I had a diagnostic bronchoscopy, which was moderately uncomfortable. At this point, my airway is 40% occluded. I had been expecting to receive steroid injections during this visit, but I did not.

No wonder I have been feeling increasingly short of breath with minimal exertion. My airway tissue appears inflamed and irritated, too.

My doctor will perform another dilatation surgery for subglottic stenosis, in early May. I mentioned that I want to finish teaching my General Psychology class before having throat surgery again.

I’ll need to complete a CT scan, prior to receiving my next dilatation surgery. This will allow for a 3-D reconstruction of my airway. Fortunately, I won’t need to receive contrast for this scan. (I previously had a very serious allergic reaction to iodine/IVP contrast dye, which is used for CT scans).

Given that this will be my 19th surgery, since 2006, he wants me to seriously consider a much more aggressive procedure, a tracheal re-section. There’s no guarantee, of course, that I won’t experience re-stenosis after this procedure. I would need to be hospitalized for a full week after this surgery.

My surgeon suggested that I receive a second opinion for considering this surgery, from Dr. Lorenz at the Cleveland Clinic. I mentioned that I am familiar with his work in this field.

Unfortunately, trying to do in-office steroid injections has not proven to be an effective strategy for the management of my subglottic stenosis. My surgeon had hoped that this would be an effective way to manage my stenosis, and an alternative to needing such frequent dilatation surgeries.

I really wasn’t expecting to have this type of appointment. Honestly, I feel very daunted by the prospect of undergoing a more extensive throat surgery.

However, needing to have ongoing throat dilatation surgeries has obviously not proven to be an effective way to manage my subglottic stenosis. I’m very concerned about the risks associated with needing to receive general anesthesia so frequently, including its impact on my neuropsychological functioning.

I felt very queasy on my ride home from this appointment. I needed to pull over, to vomit several times.

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