Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preserving my beautiful voice.

Still waiting to schedule surgery. Technically I'm waiting for them to call me, tho I can call & schedule any time. I've been mulling over the best time to have this whole business done, and am probably going to aim for mid-July. This will be a slow time at work (I'll be taking at least a week off) and will allow me to fully enjoy the 4th of July and my beloved San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
I emailed the surgeon today and asked for some details re. the potential for permanent vocal cord damage during surgery. I'm slightly nervous about surgery, but really nervous about nerve damage in there. The idea of being under anesthesia & having my throat cut open bothers me less than the thought of having a permanently messed-up voice. I know it's rare, but it could happen. I asked: What does he do to protect the vocal cord nerves, and how often has he seen permanent damage occur in his own practice? His response:

I use an endotracheal tube ( the breathing tube) that monitors the nerve that moves the vocal cords in addition to identifying the nerve and preserving it during surgery. I have seen permanent injury twice so far. Fortunately, one of the patients voice recovered to her satisfaction. The other one where it occurred was in a very large tumor (the size of a grapefruit). I hope that helps. I will let my scheduler know you are waiting for surgery.

Deepak Gurushanthaiah, M.D.

I think this is satisfactory. I'll still worry, but at least I know the odds of me being permanent-injury-recipient #3 are pretty slim. I do find it amusing that he actually used the "tumor the size of a grapefruit" analogy. Bleah.

1 comment:

  1. Why do they always compare tumors to citrus fruits? Why not grapes, or apples, or baseballs? Are all tumors round? Or can you have a banana sized and shaped tumor?

    Your surgeon sounds super - thoughtful, descriptive and honest.