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List of pre-op questions for the Doctor

leaderdog's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 2005

Hello.. I go in next Tuesday for my surgery consultation. I made a list of questions. If anyone has something to add that I've forgotten I'm open for suggestions.. Thanks Tom

A little background. This is regarding a mass in the sphenoid sinus and another area they think is a thornwaldt cyst. He said they can get it endoscopiclly. He did see the area with his scope and could only say it was NOT a polyp. Since it is irregular in shape it would suggest it IS a tumor of some kind..

Questions for the Doctor
( I want him to be up front with me.. and want to say this the first thing)

I am a person who wants to know what you are thinking. Even if this is determined to be cancerous, treatable or not, I want to know.

2. Pre-surgery
a. What will I need to do to get ready
i. Pre-Tests, when and how long will they take?
ii. Will I need to store up a blood supply?

3. Surgery
a. Tell me again why you are concerned about this mass?
b. Will you remove the Thornwaldt cyst too?
c. Will you examine the other sinuses during the operation?
d. Have you worked in this area of the sinus before?
i. What procedures have you done?
ii. How many times?
e. What complications have you encountered?
f. Will you be able to determine if this is cancerous during the operation?
g. If it is cancerous, will this change the course of the operation?
h. If cancerous or more invasive than known, ould it then become necessary to perform open surgery at that time? How would open surgery be performed?
i. What risks are inherent in this type of surgery endoscopic and Open?

4. Recovery
a. Best case scenario: how many days will it take till I can return to work?
b. Is there usually a lot of postoperative pain?
c. Will my job demands effect my recovery?
d. What types of rechecks will be needed and how often?
e. Will I be able to play piano after surgery?? ( I've always wanted to play the piano! smile - ok.. bad joke)

Thank you in advance.. Tom

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2005


Your questions look very well thought out and I can't think of any others that i would ask.

Still new to this too though you know.


Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2005

As a survivor of both melanoma and cervical cancer, AND as a medical assistant, I can say you have come up with an excellent list of questions! Depending on how your doctor does things, he/she may have a nurse go over some of the "finer" points with you. Keep your inquisitive nature and your sense of humor -- they will serve you well. Hope everything goes well for you!

Best of luck!

leaderdog's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 2005

Thank you for the feed back... One of the important questions I missed was "does the surgeon's work include any kind of warranty?" (and GOD I hope he does not say it's a life time warranty.. )

Luvinlife - I don't know about others.. but humor has always been my best coping mechanism. I may drive other's bonkers... but I can't help coming up with the cornyest thoughts I can imagine.... It provides a balancing effect for me.

Actually my sister came up with one.. regarding anesthesia. Since I have arthritis in my neck and disk/ nerve involvement they will need to know so they don't create more problems.

leaderdog's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 2005

Just a note on my consultation and my best intentions to be prepared. Even though I had a list and thought I was prepared.. It was like I stepped through a worm hole into another time and body. Luckily my sister was there our I might not have even used the list. I felt mentally numb, and unable to think clearly or formulate relevant questions.

Others' situations may be different.. but since my mass is so deep within my sinus and it has to come out no matter what it is, and so even the doctor does not have specific answers to many of my questions. What happens depends on what he encounters. This is the first time I'll have surgery where I will not know until I wake up specifically what has happened to me.

IF I've learned one thing during all this it is the limits of information and myself. Even the doctor who specializes in sinuses does not have the answers, how could I expect to understand what is or will be happening even if even he can not predict this.
Morale of the story... don't mix up the desire to know more about your situation with the fear driven reaction to control the situation. (This may be impossible at first) This is all literally out of my control. I guess I have found peace in that. The fear is still there, I'm very anxious.. but I'm not burning the candle at both ends trying to do the impossible.

Susan956's picture
Posts: 510
Joined: Dec 2005

Good Luck. I hope your surgery goes well and you will find out that it isn't cancer. If it is I am sure that you will deal with it.

Take Care.. God Bless..

Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi Tom,
What happened to you has happened to many of us so I hope you are not feeling bad about it. That is the reason they always advise you to go to the consultation with someone else (advocate) to take notes and, if necessary, ask the questions. Our brains go mush when in front of doctor. It gets better later.

Many times docs do not know the whole thing until surgery and they can actually see what's there and send a small piece to the lab (done while in surgery).

It is a difficult situation when you do not know, so try not to worry and concentrate on healing, tell yourself you are going to make it no matter what. Faith helps, no matter what God you believe in. Sometimes we have to let go of the things we cannot control.

I always want to know what is going to happen to me but I have learned that there are not always answers.

I can understand the fear still being there, that is very normal. Not easy to do but try to relax, meditate, pray or whatever helps you relax.

You are in my prayers, Tom. All the best,

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