109/365 – Damaged nerves from thymectomy

It’s been more than six months since my thymectomy but my scar and the memories of hospital food are not all that I’m left with. From what I read, I’m not alone in this.

When I woke up from the operation in intensive care, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and it took all I had to focus on breathing and not crying from the pain. However, once the initial pain of the trauma decreased I realised that the back of my right arm felt strange. 

As a teenager, I had fallen on my knee while snowboarding on a dry slope and the impact made my knee feel numb to touch and tingly for years. The back of my arm felt exactly the same but all it had done was have a little sleep while my chest was being cut open, right? Clearly not – when I told the nurse about it she spoke to the surgeons team. They said it was probably temporary nerve damage from the way I was lying during the operation. That it should disappear after a short period of time. 

I’m still waiting for it to go. Most of the time I don’t notice it, but after exercise it goes a shade of red that the rest of my body does not. It also tingles more than anywhere else if I’m cold and go in the shower. Occasionally it gives me an uncomfortable sensation when someone touches me there. Overall, I know I’m lucky compared to others.

I’ve read of people who have had the full thymectomy and lost sensation in their chest and elsewhere around the area. That must be really difficult and affect so many different aspects of life. Mine is just occasionally uncomfortable and a bit weird. Hopefully, like my knee, I’ll eventually regain full sensation. 

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