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Old 01-12-2008, 09:10 PM   #1
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donna53 HB User
Unhappy paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

I Am 9 Weeks Post-op Total Thyroidectomy And I Have Been Diagnosed With Rt. Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Paralysis. I Have Great Difficulty Speaking, Swallowing Liquids, Breathing When Speaking, Trouble Bringing Up Mucus, Have A Choking Feeling In My Throat, Have Difficulty Bearing Down To Have A Bowel Movement, Bad Acid Reflux When I Lie Down Or Bend Down, And Have Been Diagnosed With Rt Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Paralysis, By My Dr. They Want Me To Have A Proceedure To Pulmp The Damaged Vocal Cord Muscle But I Am Hesitant To Go Thru With The Procedure Because I Won't Be Able To Speak For 3 Days, Also I Won't Be Able To Cough, Clear My Throat. My Surgeon Tells Me To Wait For 6 Mo. To See If This Resolves Spontaneously. The Ent Dr. Says He Can Aleviate Some Of These Symptoms By Having An Injection. I Am Worried How I Will Be Able To Breath If I Can't Clear My Throat. Has Anyone Ever Had These Symptoms And Did Their Nerve Come Back To Normal. If Not, Did They Have Much Improvement With The Injection? Also, Is There Anyone Who Has Had The Permanent Vocal Cord Implant And Was It Successful? This Is My First Time On The Message Board And All Responses Will Greatly Appreciated. Thank-you, Donna 53

 
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:41 AM   #2
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Sorry for such problems after your surgery.

My friend had a parlyzed vocal chord that got better on its own, so that's certainly something that can happen. It can take a while, and come back gradually.

I also wonder if you have a great deal of swelling which is affecting your swallowing---the vocal chord affected her speech, but not her swallowing/functions of the neck.

If you are as uncomfortable as you sound, what are the risks of the doctor's suggestions of an injection? If possible get a third opinion on that, and maybe it's something you should keep in mind for the future.

I'm not sure there's anyone on the board these days with that specific problem, but you never know.....I hope you feel relief soon......

 
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:52 AM   #3
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Donna, that same thing happened to me 3 years ago when i had my tt, it lasted 6 months, i even went to a speech patholigist for help as well as an ent, i never did get the injections though, i also went to my pcp and he sent me to a lung speacialist due to the breathing part,(thats another story)to drink you might want to use a thickner for the liquids it will help a little, or put your chin to your chest as you swallow, use a dry erase board so you won't continue straining your voice. take otc zantac for reflux it would happened to me when i was sound asleep.. i was told that mine was permanent and given the same options as you but through the grace of GOD literally I regained my voice..good luck and let me know how you are..

 
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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eggshellspine HB User
Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

I have heard of people that this happens too; also I know that was a possibility on the operation release before my TT.

I hope you at least try and wait out the six months before having another procedure though. (Easier said than done I know)
Good luck!
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"But hey! If that's the least of my problems then I am still ahead of the game!"

 
Old 01-14-2008, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Donna,

Be encouraged........I experienced all of the exact same symptoms after my TT in August. My right vocal cord was stuck in the open position. For many weeks my voice was very weak with no volumn and I choked all of the time. I was very concerned. Two months after the day of my surgery, I woke up one morning, went to work, spoke to a co-worker and was shocked to discover that my voice had spontaneously come back over night! Suddenly, without warning, it just started working. I was so suprised! My surgeon told me it could happen and to just be patient. He was right. :-) You could be next! Best Wishes.

Trish

 
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Marrisa, Thanks For Sharing Your Experience With Me. It Means Alot To Me To Know That Some People Do Recover From This And I Think I Am Going To Follow My Surgeon's Advice To Wait Before Having The Injection . It's So Hard To Explain To People What It's Like If They Have Not Been Thru It Themselves. I've Never Used The Internet Before This Happened To Me And I'm Not Too Good Using The Computer So I Hope You Get This Message. Again, Thanks For The Encouragement. Donna

 
Old 01-19-2008, 07:10 PM   #7
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Oh Donna You need to be writing to me! I can help! I have been through all of it. I had spine surgery ACDF where they go in the front and move everything over to work on your neck. Thats how my right vocal cord (fold) became paralyzed.

It is life altering. What a blow to have surgery for 1 thing and come out with major complications.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS!

I have had the injections and the vocal /speech therapy and the exercises.

Since you have just gotten to this board I suggest you search vocal cord and all posts will come up. (You'll see a lot of me there)

I had the first injection (yes I had 2!) 10 weeks out. What a miracle! It worked...for a while and then I had 2nd injection 2.5 months later and I have most of my voice back. Its been 1 yr and 3 months now and most people who didnt know me would never know there was a problem

You need to get to work now on your diet and vocal exercises to get the ball rolling.


Post me

Julyg

 
Old 01-25-2008, 08:59 PM   #8
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Sam0001 HB User
Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Donna, I am sorry you are experiencing this. I myself have bilateral vocal fold paralysis (recurrent laryngeal nerves) from a total thyroidectomy. After waiting a little over a year, I had laser cordotomy to improve airway, with temporary tracheostomy.(three weeks during healing process) At six months and recovery complete , 50% improvement . It doesn't seem like a lot, but it is improvement. Right now I am at twenty four months after thyroidectomy and eleven months after cordotomy. While you are in the waiting period and praying that the nerves heal, I have to agree with the other postings about thickened liquids (you can order thickened juice and water online through Walgreen's), putting your chin down as you swallow, etc. Try not to get upset (I know, easier said than done) but it does make things worse. For awhile my diet was thickened juice, creamed soup, and vanilla pudding. Keeping the room temperature a little colder helped my breathing. If it got too bad, I'd go outside and sit in the cold until i was able to breathe again. Initially I could only speak 1/2 word and gasped for air. My vocal fold was postioned near the closed position after the thyroidectomy. Doctors, family and friends will constantly encourage you to have patience. I hope that you experience a recovery and this is not permanent. Just know that you are not alone. There are others who know exactly what you are going through and hopefully can offer words of encouragement and advise. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Reading about vocal fold paralysis helped me in my understanding of what I was experiencing.
I'm sorry, but I have not experienced the injections so I can't comment on it. Best Wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

 
Old 01-26-2008, 06:47 PM   #9
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Good evening Donna. I hope you had a comfortable day. I understand all too well what you are going through. Praying each night, afraid to go to sleep and waking up to reality caused depression for me too. I was able to go to work about nine weeks after my thyroidectomy. At that point I was able to say a sentence (even if it was just a whisper) and I do recall my voice going through a stage when I sounded like Minnie Mouse. Then I think I went through a stage where it was like a gargle. It's been a tough road. Luckily my family and co-workers are very sympathetic to my situation. The thickened juice that I mentioned from Walgreen's (comes in small individual cartons by the case) tastes much better than "Thick-It" powder. Apple juice, orange juice and cranberry juice and I beleive I ordered the honey consistancy. I wasn't crazy about the water, but when you are dying of thirst, anything works. During that time, I was not able to swallow pills, so I used Children's liquid tylenol for my headache. Luckily my thyroid pill was so small, I was able to get that down by mixing it with my pudding. No lifting! EVERYTHING causes breathlessness with exhertion. When this first happened to me a couldn't even walk ten feet without losing my breath. I always felt like I was starving for air. Like I was breathing through a straw. Exhaling was okay, but then I was not able to inhale. Currently I am dealing with some of your same symptoms. After a trip to my ENT, then another to my surgeon last week, he has given me some medication. Hopefully it will help. Remember, I had the cordotomy to open my vocal fold a little for breathing. Since the beginning of December, I was having some difficulty breathing so my ENT put me on steroids to bring down any inflamation. During the past couple weeks, I thought I was going to have to call 911 because I couldn't breath. After checking my airway, doctor feels I still have adequate opening and he perscribed an inhaler w/ steroid and acid reflux medication which I will pick up in a couple of days. I guess acid reflux can cause spasms, which is how I've been feeling. My throat is feeling like it spasms, I can't breath, I can't speak, my voice won't come out at all, and I can't swallow my saliva even. My surgeon reminded me that I will never be as I was before the thyroidectomy and I know that. I've learned to accept that my voice will never sound the same, but I still have problems coping with the shortness of breath issue. Luckily my co-workers understand, but it's still embarrassing when I have a breathing attack. It scares me and them too. Don't rush. Walk at a snail's pace and avoid using stairs. Use the elevator if one is available. Try not to cry. That will make your breathing TERRIBLE. I still avoid crying. That is something I learned to do since the thyroidectomy. How often do you see your ENT or surgeon now? Have you been able to return to work yet? Do you have family with you to help take care of you? I will pray for your comfort and speedy recovery.

 
Old 01-29-2008, 01:02 PM   #10
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pevan HB User
Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

HI SAM, NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU. I JUST WENT TO SPEECH THERAPY YESTERDAY AND THEY MENTIONED DOING A SWALLOW EVALUATION ON ME . I TOLD THEM WHAT I AM CURRENTLY DOING TO DRINK LIQUIDS AND THAT IT WORKS BUT THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE I'M NOT ASPIRATING ANY LIQ. INTO MY LUNGS. CONCERN IS THAT I'LL GET PNUEMONIA AND BE IN TROUBLE, BUT I AM ABLE TO COUGH UP AND CLEAR MY AIRWAY IF I GET ANY LIQ. "down the wrong pipe". CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CORDOTOMY, EXACTLY WHY YOU HAD IT DONE , WHAT IT WAS LIKE POST-OP, AND MORE ABOUT THE RESULTS. ALSO I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW YOU CAN WORK LIKE THIS , AS THE FATIGUE FROM BROKEN UP SLEEP DUE TO THE REFLUX AND S.O.B. IS GETTING WORSE INSTEAD OF BETTER. I STILL KEEP ON PRAYING BUT I ADMIT THAT I'M GETTING IMPATIENT AND IT'S NOT EVEN 3 MONTHS YET. YOU MUST HAVE HAD THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT. THANKS FOR LISTENING! DONNA (SIGNED ON AS PEVAN)

 
Old 01-29-2008, 08:27 PM   #11
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Donna. Just hang in there! I know how tiring this can be. I don't want you to worry about my cordotomy. The laser cordotomy was done to make a larger airway for me so I could breathe better, although the voice suffers. You are not to that point. IF, and that's a big if, your nerves don't heal, than start to think about your options if you get closer to nine to twelve months. You had mentioned that your problem is unilateral, so your vocal cords are not meeting together. My problem is bilateral (both sides) and my vocal cords were too close. Almost in the closed position so my main priorty was my breathing, than my voice and swallowing. I had to get my breathing somewhat under control before I could go back to work. My job is clerical, so I sit at a desk unlike you where you have to walk around, talk to your paitients, etc. One thing I don't have to worry about at work anymore is helping answer the phones. During the stage that you are in I did go to a speech therapist for a short time and my focus was to learn to breathe from my diaphram. Currently I need to work on those exercises again. I did have problems swallowing liquid(still do sometimes), I never had a swallow test , but I was aware of the danger with liquid going into my lungs. I stayed on the "thickened " liquid for a few months I beleive. When I was at six months after my thyroidectomy and wasn't showing "major" improvement I do recall feeling in my heart that my nerves were not going to heal. But I still tried to have patience and hope. At one year is when my doctor and I discussed not healing and I met with the best surgeon at UCLA to discuss my options at that point.
So I take it you are not back to work. Do you have anyone taking care of you? How often do you go to the doctor? Have you noticed any difficulty breathing when you bend over???? I still have problems with that. Silly, I can't even put my shoes and socks on without getting out of breath. I guess I've learned to accept my frustration. And just try to take everything slower. And you know what? Everyone waits and they're OK with it. Good thing I wasn't a professional athelete!
Joyce in California (signed sam0001)

 
Old 01-29-2008, 08:44 PM   #12
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Pevan,

Your post reminded me of what I went through 5 yrs ago. I had viral thyroiditis. I couldn't talk etc plus had the constant throat pain (felt like someone was pouring hot water down my throat). I could only sleep two hrs at a time. My b/p was in the 200's all the time. I slept in a lazy boy for three months. And had all the hyperthyroid symptoms to boot.

I already had acid reflux which was only made worse by taking b/p meds & aspirin. Swallowing was a nightmare.

Here's what I ate: pumpkin custard, very soft scrambled eggs, dannon peach yogurt. I'll have to look back on my notes to see what else I could get down.

If you are trying to sleep in a bed, it helps to sleep on your left side. Those wedge pillows are good too although I find that I can arrange my pillows just so & get as good a result. Feather pillows are best because they mold to one's body.

For my mental health, I wrote in my journal constantly. I also tried to watch funny movies or old TV shows that I had never watched. I tried to re-frame the situation since I couldn't change it at the moment. Normally, I would have loved to have all that time to read but with the fatigue I couldn't read much. I reached out over the internet to friends around the country for support. Wish I had had this website at the time.

I wonder if you also have a hiatal hernia that is increasing your sob? I have one so I know it can do that. Hang in there. Fam

 
Old 01-31-2008, 05:56 PM   #13
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

When is your injection scheduled? You are going to be amazed at the results

July

 
Old 02-01-2008, 08:39 PM   #14
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pevan HB User
Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi July, I Canceled My Scheduled Injection Because My Surgeon Felt I Should Give The Nerve More Time To Heal On It's Own. The Ent Dr. Wanted To Do The Injection To Help Me With All The Symptoms I Am Experiencing And Said To Let Him Know When I'm Ready And He'll Do It. In The Meantime I'm Going For Speech Therapy And May Have Some Swallowing Evaluation And Some Resp. Tests Done. The Waiting Is Hell. It's So Hard To Breath, Speak, And I Still Keep Choking On This Thick Mucus. I'm Doing Everything The Dr. And The People On The Message Board Have Suggested But It Will Be 3 Months On The 8th Of This Month (feb) And I Don't Know How Much More Of This I Can Take. I Feel Depressed And Don't Know When I'll Be Able To Return To Work . I'm Not Used To Being Home Like This, But I'm So Fatigued From The Slightest Exertion. My Family Is Very Supportive But I'm Still Feeling Down. I Know You Know What I'm Talking About. How Are You Coming Along? Did You Get Your Voice Back? Thanks For Listening. Donna ( Signed As Pevan)

 
Old 02-14-2008, 06:32 PM   #15
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pevan HB User
Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

After 3 mos I went back to the Dr today. He did a scope of my vocal cord, right side, and it showed no improvement. I don't know what to do. Should I get a 2nd opinion? The gel injection doesn't seem so easy. Does anyone have a perspective I can think about? Thank-You Donnap

 
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