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Eagle Syndrome - Online Support Group

Styloid Process surgery during COVID - 19

Hi All,
I am on the other side of the surgery which was performed on April 20, 2020 by Dr Samji in the Silicon Valley in California.
Before the surgery I reached out to this community and it has been my compass in the uncharted territory of Eagle’s Syndrome. The whole entire community and this site has provided tremendous support for me! I want to personally thank @Isaiah_40_31 in taking the time to speak to me and provide most valuable information of the process, expectations, First Hand experiences, and just the voice of someone who is on the other side of the fence.

Since the outbreak of COVID - 19, which for California the epicenter was in my county (Santa Clara County), a lot of things changed for procedures being performed by medical professionals. We were ordered to shelter in place quite early therefore my original surgery was still scheduled until the day before, when Dr Samji called me and explained that he is postponing it due to shortage of sterile surgical equipment. The reason my surgery was still on, is because it is not elective since my pain and symptoms couldn’t be managed using non surgical methods.

We rescheduled the surgery for April 20 and tried to manage my symptoms with an increased dose of Gabapentin (up to 3 a day). The side effects I had to Neurontin, were increased or new anxiety (could have been amplified because my Vagus nerve was affected by my right styloid process), restlessness, and occasional insomnia.

With a lot of prayers with my community and support from my husband, family and friends I was ready to put this surgery behind me. I was uneasy about all the possible risks that can materialize but had strong faith that God will guide all of us in the process, faith in my surgeon who has been nothing but a a superhero in my eyes, and the support team from Camino ENT.

On Monday, a week ago, I showed up at the Silicon Valley Surgical center and signed in. Got checked for COVID-19 possible symptoms, filled out the questionnaires and forms, and spent some time praying to help me with the stress I felt. The administrative staff were amazing and I was made very comfortable by the level of compassion they showed for the situation, where you can’t have a loved one next to you.

A nurse MarieClaire picked me up from the waiting room and helped me get setup in the pre-op area. MarieClaire had amazing bedside manners, but I feel like her and the staff in the pre-op area were going the extra mile to keep us comfortable. I know that a lot of facilities are very professional, but this one definitely had an element of compassion towards everyone I could see that really enforced my strong faith in the process that will take place. She stayed with me and other nurses stopped by to ask me how I felt, until I was ready to be taken to the operating room.

Dr. Samji showed up, with a bright smile on his face even though I wasn’t his first surgery of the day. He helped me by answering some follow up questions I had. His energy was amazingly reassuring. By this time my confidence of the process is beyond my expectations and overran my fears!

Next was the anesthesiologist (Don’t remember his last name unfortunately for me), who came by and went over what I should expect. He had a great attitude and handled my questions with an ease that made me feel a lot more comfortable. I only asked one thing of him, I said " My husband will most likely wait with his phone camera on, hoping I’ll have a Taylor Swift moment after the anesthesia and cry over a banana. Please make sure that doesn’t happen to me?! I’ll never be able to recover". Even though this was a joke, he really handled it well (after laughing of course) and told me that he’ll make sure I metabolize the anesthetic soon after I am out of surgery.

At 9:40AM (surgery was scheduled for 10AM) they took me into the operating room. Once again Dr Samji covered the details with everyone, asking for confirmation of the side we are operating and the procedure we are doing. That and a nurse name Sara(h) is the last thing I remember.

I woke up around 12:30PM by another nurse. Even though I was a little hazy, I knew that this was the time to perform the test if I can drink, chew, swallow and move my lips, tongue, eye lids etc. My head felt really clear and I started with ice chips (worst thing you can do is go too fast and choke), and moved to crackers and a 1/2 a cup of water. The nurse offered me my first dose of Percocet, and based on everyone’s recommendation I wasn’t going to play a hero and I took it. I was hungry and couldn’t wait to get home to eat something.

I sat on the bed and got dressed quickly. Then, while another nurse was by me, I got up, because I knew I needed to sweat this off a bit before I get out of the facility.

The hand over process was great and my husband was armed with all the information he needed to make sure he takes care of me.

While in the car, I texted my family, friends and co-workers, and made few phone calls to let everyone know that the surgery was a success. Once we got home, I took a 20 minute nap and got up and was ready to start my day. We went out for a two hour walk (great way to get rid of the anesthetic in your system) around our neighborhood. When we came home we had some dinner (I ate a soup made of veggies with little meat in it and I chewed even though I know I should have tried to go liquid)…

The rest of the day we spent video conferencing with our friends and family who supported us tremendously during these times.

I wasn’t in pain like I expected so the next day I wrote to Dr. Samji’s office and asked if I can just move to Tylenol with Gabapentin and he said yes if I don’t feel pain. So as of Day 1 after surgery I was off the Oxycodone which really helped me stay focused and active during the day.

My jaw and part of my neck has been numb and is just starting to get the sensation back. I came back to work (working from home, mainly conference calls etc.) the day after the surgery and haven’t stopped since. On day 7 I started developing the first bite syndrome, which is intense but I think that Gabapentin helps me so I increased my dose to 2 times a day instead of 1. Dr Samji prescribed a dose of 3 times a day, but asked me to assess myself if I really need it that often or 2 will suffice.

Sleeping hasn’t been a problem for me, even though I am belly down sleeper. I also suffer from Asthma and sleeping on my back is not ideal, but this hasn’t bothered me at all. I bought two wedge pillows to use for my head and legs. They are modular, so you can adjust them in height and position to help you get to your best comfort.
This is to help alleviate pressure from the lower back and help with staying in position.

Icing has been crucial to this process and I have been doing it every day in the evening. On day 7 is the first time I didn’t go to bed with an Ice pad around my neck.

If anyone needs any tips or help, please let me know. I just went through this and I can share a lot more information where needed.

Thanks,

Riki

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Such an AWESOME testimonial Riki! I’m so glad everything went so well for you & especially that your post op pain level has been so manageable. That is wonderful! God has certainly answered your (our) prayers.

:hugs:

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Thank you @Isaiah_40_31 for all your support.
I wanted to post few pictures i didn’t have on this machine earlier from before and after the surgery :blush:

This is after I woke up and dressed

and this is when i got home

Cheers,

Risto

You look fantastic! Except for the bandage, I would not have guessed you were just home from surgery!!

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Im glad to hear that your surgery went well. How have you felt in regards to the symptoms you previously had and how they feel now? Post surgery

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Very glad that you’ve had a successful surgery & it’s behind you now. Thanks for the very informative post, I’m sure that it’ll be helpful for other members who are waiting too.
Make sure you don’t rush & overdo things, although what you’ve been doing already sounds like an impressive recovery! don’t think I’d have wanted to do so much talking soon afterwards, you’ve done well going back to work!
Nerves can take even up to a year to settle & heal, I’m sure that you’ve read that, so be patient with the rest of your healing…
Take care of yourself & thank you again for sharing!

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Hello @Anthonyp8484,

The symptoms I had before were/are not completely gone but are definitely alleviated. Some of the sensations that happen during the recovery process are all the symptoms that I have had in the past.

I had a burning sensation at the base of my tongue, shooting through the right side towards the tip. This has subsided tremendously, even though occasionally I feel it coming back but with less intensity. The throat aches and the sensation of something being stuck at the back of my throat are completely gone. Occasionally I feel burning when I swallow but not nearly as often as I did before.

The pressure behind my chest bone and the crunch in my stomach along side anxiety, has really subsided. This one was the hardest one for me because I couldn’t control it with meditation, exercise, medications or alcohol (known to help because meds are benzodiazepines, which is alcohol in chemical components).

The pain in my right ear, the pressure in my right eye, and the numbness along my jaw line into my lower lip is also gone. Part of it could be that I am numb from the surgery so the nerves haven’t reactivated fully yet, but I am hoping that I am on the way to recovery.

The pain I felt from my neck going into my shoulder has completely disappeared. The sensation I had before was as though I leaned to long to the right side, so my muscles from my neck into my shoulder were very sore. It would also happen at night while I sleep.

I also had headaches when the nerve pain was very active before, and it only affected my right hand side near my forehead. This hasn’t happened since I had the surgery at all. The headaches were mild, but were exhausting and accompanied with earache and a form of mild tinnitus.

If you want to talk more or ask more questions, I can provide you with my phone number and we can chat, or just send me a private message.

Let me know,

Risto

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Thank you @Jules,

I appreciate your support. It was this Forum that helped me understand all the aspects of the Syndrome, the process, the emotional state, and what to expect so it is not a foreign experience.

I am also ready for things to start happening after my nerves start healing, which comes with the territory.

Have a great day,

Risto

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sounds like quite a list has improved :+1:

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Great news.

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Thank you very much Emma!