Jillian Parkhurst

First post: 6/11/2017 Latest post: 15 hours ago
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Monday, June 12th, I will have my Cricopharyngeal Myotomy (say that 3 times fast). This will be performed at the Mayo Clinic Phoenix Campus by a bad ass surgeon that wears expensive, fitted, fancy suits. Oh, and, he calls me from his car, so that tells me he is SUPER confident. I like him.

This surgery will rectify the Zenker's Diverticulum in my esophagus. This is a pouch just above the upper esophageal sphincter that occurs from the weakening of the wall. As it takes a beating from food and fluids, it develops a pouch that continues to grow and goes nowhere. This is a rare occurrence and even more rare in my case because I'm not 80 years old and I live a nourishing dietary lifestyle.

The perk of going to Mayo is that I will be in the hands of someone that performs this procedure more than once a year (phew!) and has super cool technology to perform this endoscopically using.... wait for it... lasers!!! Manu Chao anyone?! The perk of going this route is that it is less invasive and "faster" recovery. The downside is that it doesn’t completely remove the diverticulum (it just merges it with the esophagus). Since I have this about 40 yrs. too early, we have no guarantee if another will form in its place or not.

In March, my diverticulum was 2.1 cm in size and the cut-off for endoscopic is 2 cm. (Gotta laugh). The surgeon still plans on proceeding endoscopically with the knowledge that he needs to explore the situation further. He has consent to back out and proceed with the open throat option if he believes it the best fit. We really won’t know until game day, so I guess I’ll find out when I wake up. Who doesn't love a good surprise?

Performing open throat procedure would completely remove the diverticulum, which would be good long-term. However, there is increased risk for infection and harder recovery. Given my current health condition, this may not be easiest on my body. A risk with my specific diverticulum location is that it's close to my vocal nerve endings, so he (and I) would like to avoid this surgical option, if possible.

Thankfully, Jeffrey has an amazing boss that is allowing Jeffrey the time away from work to be with me for the full two weeks that we will be in Phoenix. Our hotel is pretty much in the Mayo parking lot, so that we are close by if need be after I leave the hospital. There is talk of keeping me in the hospital longer than normal due to the severity of my angioedema. They want to monitor my airways a bit more closely and I am A-OK with this.


The other piece.
During our last visit to MAYO, a lump was found below my voice box. They are unable to determine whether the lump is cancerous or not, so the surgeon will also take a biopsy of this lump while he is in there. He will not fully remove the lump, as that would leave a hole in my esophagus and no one wants that. We're going to take this piece one step at a time and just assume that all is benign.

That's about all we have for you now. Thank you for your love, support, and taking the time to read this.

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