It seems like there has always been something going on here from the day I moved to Logan. This last month has been no exception. In November I had gotten a common cold and noticed one of my "glands" as I called it at the time was getting swollen. Obviously I didn't think much of it and went home for Thanksgiving and showed Mom. It still hadn't gone away by December. I was planning on going home for Christmas and Mom wanted me to fly home. I had always had problems with my ears and was concerned with that lump being there that the elevation would cause my ears to KILL me (figuring it was all related). I ended up flying... much to my dismay. (I got stuck in Denver on my way home for Thanksgiving for a day and wasn't looking forward to my fate in Denver again.) Mom made me a doctors appointment and the doctor was concerned about it being lymphoma so he wanted me to see an ENT (Ears, nose, and throat) doctor. Well... it was Christmas time and we were doing family vacation stuff so I ended up being back in Logan before the could get me in to see a doctor in Williston, ND.
I got back to Logan and started looking up doctors, (kind of a frustrating thing when you don't know who is good). Mom told me to look up a Dr. Bennion and once again I did as I was told. I went to the doctor and he wanted that thing out in November. Well.... the semester had just started and I wasn't about to miss school. I had finally gotten accepted into the Huntsman School of Business here in Logan and finally got put into my accounting classes and there was no way that I had time for surgery. I started looking at my schedule and noticed oh hey I have a 3 day break in February, we'll do it then. So I scheduled the surgery date and that was kind of that. It was kind of forgotten about since it was the beginning of January and surgery wasn't scheduled until February 18th.
During this time, Tyson had found this thing on campus that was called USU's Next Top Model and he wanted me to try and compete in this thing. At first I wanted nothing to do with it. I did not want to be parading around in a bikini by any means. I find out that there are no bikinis involved and I finally was convinced to submit a picture of myself, compliments to the photographer (Tys). Ok, no biggy I submitted a picture and that's the end of that. (At least he'll quit bugging me about sending in a picture). Voting starts..... and I'm a bit competitive so now this thing started getting a little serious and I started stressing "Ok I just want to make it in the top three because how cool would that be?" I started sending out e-mails, "Hey! Vote for me sort of deals!" and it got down to the last few minutes and it was neck in neck. I woke up that morning and "Congratulations to our Top 3....... Contestant 1, Contestant 2, and Chelsea Dahle." Woah dude! I was a bit excited. I had an interview soon following and ended up getting a phone call from one excited mom (while I was in class) telling me that I won the contest. I was pretty excited. I thought it would be way fun!
We hadn't heard anything about when a photo shoot would be and then we started getting close to surgery day....AHHHH! Well Tuesday before I'm supposed to have surgery I get an e-mail saying we would like to do a photo shoot later this week for upcoming events. At this time my "twin" as Kara Adams started calling it had grown to be about half the size of a tennis ball sticking out from underneath my jaw and it was getting very uncomfortable. I was a bit self conscious and had been wearing scarfs for the end of January and the whole month of February. I replied to the e-mail and asked if we could do the photo shoot February 17th (the day before surgery) and left out that I was having surgery. The photo shoot ended up happening on the 17th and they never said anything about the lump and I ended up wearing a scarf to model anyways. WOOHOO!
Now by this time my Mom and Dad had gotten to Logan for the surgery. I had to be at the hospital by 6:00 a.m. on the 18th to get all "dolled" up for surgery. (Those people need to learn to be less invasive.) I also love the fact that when you go in there for surgery (on your neck) you have to be FULLY naked in a gown that has a pocket that has a hole right where your boob just happens to be... my hell. OH then you get the sweet back... I don't think I need to go into that. Try walking into the O.R. holding your chest and blocking off your backside from the world... rough. I get into the O.R. and see what looks to be like a stretcher...(Did I mention before I had surgery they asked if I'd be an organ donor...COMFORTING!) So I lay down on the stretcher that's made for a size 0 girl and try to balance myself so I don't topple onto the ground exposing myself. This uncomfortable stage only lasted a bit before I was passed out.
I woke up in a bed, not sure how I got there but I ended up there and the first thing I did was grab my face. The doctor said that he was concerned with the location of the thing that getting it out might damage the nerves and cause the left side of my face to be paralyzed. I was so excited that when I smiled and touched my face I felt my lips move and my cheek on the left side tense up. I was brought into a recovery room where Mom, Dad, and Tyson all ended up joining me. Much to my dismay Tyson got some lovely pictures. I had a tube in my neck at that time that was connected to a bottle that collected fluids from inside my neck. (That was enough to make me want to pass out.) That was hard to handle, especially when you saw your own blood being collected in this bottle that was on your chest. Luckily I got that out and off the next morning.
Mom and Tyson were there to accompany me getting the tube out and it really didn't hurt getting it out, it was just the thought that grossed me out. Mom sat down I guess to prepare herself and all I heard from my support (Tyson) was "OH MY GOSH! THAT'S HUGE! I WASN'T EXPECTING IT TO BE THAT LONG." As the tube is being pulled from MY neck..... if that's not enough to make you dizzy I don't know what is.
Recovery has been fast and painless for the most part. I haven't had pain medicine since the day of surgery. I also got results from the thing and they called it a Branchial Cleft Cyst and there was no cancer so that is awesome! I also found out that the cyst was so massive that it ended up rupturing before the doctor could get it out. He said it was bigger then a tennis ball. The only thing I have that's a reminder for me that I had surgery is that the whole left side of my face from about nose level on over to my left ear lobe and down is numb. The doctor said this could take a year to go away. Nobody can tell that it's numb because I have full mobility as I mentioned. The only thing that is noticeable to other people is my about 2 inch incision on my neck. Not too shabby. :) So thankful for all the prayers that were being sent my way and for my grandpa, grandma, and Lisa for putting my name in the temple. I really think it was all the prayers that made the surgery go so well. :D