Subglottic tracheal stenosis

I haven’t posted anything about my second trachea surgery here, that I can remember.  I thought I should though, just for posterity and future reference.  For the moment it’s over and done with.

Last spring I started experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing, like I had back in 2015/16.  Instead of going through the whole process of x-rays, cat scans, asthma treatments, etc, I just went back to the ENT who fixed the problem in the first place!  Actually, I went to my PCP first to get the needed referrals.  My official PCP, a different doctor than I saw during the first round of all this, thought maybe the problem was caused by reflux.  I told him I didn’t have reflux, just the occasional heartburn.  He explained reflux and I said, “Ooohhh, yes, I guess I do have that!”  He gave me the ENT referral, but also had my try Prilosec for two weeks.  Guess what? No heartburn — at all!  That was a nice two weeks.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.

I went back to the ENT in November and he did the scope again, finding that yes, once again the scar tissue had built up in my subglottic area (just below the larynx) and was causing the wheezing and breathing problems.  He said we should definitely do another surgery.  I said, ok, but I don’t want a third, so how can we prevent this in the future?!  He agreed that reflux is a likely cause and prescribed a longer duration anti-reflux med.

So I had the surgery again on February 8th.  I intentionally scheduled it for the week before vacation so I could have two weeks off.  I remembered that last time one week didn’t feel like enough (though when I went back and reread the post I realized I also went to a Lego League competition the day before going back to work, NOT the best idea!)  This time I had a quiet week at home (with the except of Eve home sick one day, snow day another day, follow up appointments another day, etc)  Then we went to Franklin over vacation so I was able to relax there too.  That’s what I do best in Franklin!  :)

I went back to work this week and I’m feeling pretty great.  I can totally breath again!  I can walk up stairs without feeling like I’m dying.  I don’t sound like Darth Vader anymore.  I got nice flowers and a get well card from my coworkers, so I sent out a thank you email and gave them all a quick overview of what’s going on.  Since then so many have come to talk to me about it!  People have said they thought I had asthma, or bronchitis, or emphysema!  Geesh!  I’m glad I cleared that up with everyone.

I’m currently taking reflux meds, but also changing my diet to reduce the reflux in the hopes that I don’t have to be on the meds forever.  Now we wait and see if the whole thing comes back again after a few years.  Fingers crossed it does not!

If you’re curious, here’s a good description of what’s going on.

Here’s a super detailed version of it with some gross pictures, and that article led me to another that might explain what I really have.  I’m posting this mostly for my own reference, in case it comes back again in two years.

Anyway, that’s my story for this evening.  It’s great to be able to climb stairs and read a full picture book without having to stop and catch my breath!

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