Saturday, May 29, 2010

Adult Tonsillectomy - a great decision

On April 19th, 2010, I had an adult tonsillectomy. I am 30 years old and have a history of chronic throat infections, as well as a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. On top of that, I have had issues with dry mouth and postnasal drip. The pain from this tonsillectomy was actually quite intense for the week or so, as it was painful in my ears and upon swallowing, and tylenol just didn't cut it; I had to use the oxycodone prescribed for me to get through the first week. In contrast to what I have been through as an empty nose syndrome sufferer, however, I would gladly take a week of suffering over years of a) chronic discomfort in my nasal breathing, b) chronic throat infections, and c) ear pain caused by TMJ and mucus buildup near the base of my eustachian tubes. Although intense for a short time, going through with an adult tonsillectomy was cake compared to my other health issues I have been through.

The good news is this was an excellent decision, as I have already been enjoying the benefits. My mouth has been more moist, I seem to have less postnasal drip, and I recently did not incur a throat infection my son had had. (Prior to the tonsillectomy, I would always catch his cold and it would linger indefinitely). Needless to say, I believe it was a good decision and I feel thankful to have had it.

Like with many of my health decisions, I have had to be my own doctor. No doctor recommended the tonsillectomy to me. I find that, while doctors can provide a valuable source of information and I respect them for their expertise in their respective fields, my gut is usually correct and I need to educate myself if I want the best possible outcome. Three doctors recommended against the tonsillectomy, one stating I already had enough removed - referring to the turbinectomy, another stating that no doctor would do the tonsillectomy without 4 confirmed cases of strep throat in a year, and a third highlighting the value of the tonsils with respect to providing antibodies and lymphocytes. So I basically went to a local ENT (after doing some research on him) and said my physician from out of town would be glad to do the tonsillectomy on me, which he honestly would, but I do not want to be away from family for that long and I would prefer to be closer to the doctor who did the surgery in case of complications such as bleeding. He gladly agreed to do it, thinking it was a reasonable option for me. My tonsils were diseased, not that enlarged, but they were indeed causing symptoms.

I also am going to a new primary care provider who recently had her tonsils removed. Before the procedure, she supported me and though I was definitely a good candidate for it. She noted how, after the tonsils are removed, the other lymph glands work more effectively to remove mucus from the throat. And she was definitely right.

If you are thinking of a tonsillectomy for chronic infections as an adult, don't hesitate to do it. It might be intense pain for a short time, but the end result is totally worth it.

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