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Old 07-09-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Hey Everyone,
Well, they finally called to schedule the surgery for my TT and surprisingly, it's on the 22nd so I won't have to wait very long!!! Can anyone tell me what to expect? Procedure, aftercare, etc....I'm a little nervous as I haven't ever had major surgery before other then on my throat when I was 15 years old...which was about 30 years ago....any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

 
Old 07-09-2008, 03:45 PM   #2
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Good for you...now your surgery is scheduled and you can get ready to move forward. My surgery was a partial...so I did not have the TT. Everyone has different surgery experiences....but here are a couple of thoughts!

I had never had surgery before so fear of the unknown was my biggest fear!! I got a little wound up as I was getting wheeled in to surgery...crying etc. but everyone was very kind (thankfully!). The next thing I remember was waking up! I was so scared of being sick from anethesia...that was managed very well and I did not get sick. I was able to come home the next day as I did have any complications.

Just like others told me...my throat was sore and tight but it was not so bad, very manageable. After leaving the hospital I was able to just take tylenol for pain management. Keep moving your head...so your neck does not get stiff...it feels weird but in the long run it will be good for you.

Coming home...make sure you rest, rest, rest! That is the best medicine for recovery. One thing I did not expect was where to sleep. I could not figure out how to get comfortable in bed..so I spent a quite a few nights sleeping in a recliner. I normally would not even consider a recliner comfortable to sleep in but it worked very well and I was really quite comfortable sleeping!

I can't think of anything specifically..but ask away. I'll try to answer as best I can as I am sure others will too.

Best wishes to you as you move forward toward surgery!
Rhonda

Last edited by RMB; 07-09-2008 at 03:53 PM. Reason: added something

 
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Congrats on the surgery coming up soon! I had a TT on the 30th of June, so here are a couple of things to expect

1. Everyone's right, try to stay calm. It is scary, but truly the hardest part is getting wheeled in there. Trust your Dr. and know that you will be SO happy to finally have it out of you.

2. Ask your Dr. about getting on calcium BEFORE the surgery. Low calcium levels kept me in the hospital for an extra four days. He put me on calcitrol but it takes 4-6 days to really start working, so see if you can start that a little early. Common signs of low calcium are a numbness or cramping in your hands and feet.

3. JUST in case, make sure you pack enough for a couple days. I over-packed and still had to make hubby get me extra socks, my slippers to walk around, coins for vending machines, etc.

4. If you wear jewelery (ex. wedding ring) leave them home. I know this is a DUH moment, but I forgot to do that.

5. Do NOT be afraid to ask your nurses and Dr. questions! And don't be afraid to tell them if you need something. The nurses especially can get VERY busy, so if you need something, push that little button. I went FAR too long without a bowel movement (almost my entire hospital stay) because I didn't think to ask them for a stool softener and no one offered me one, lol.

After the surgery, my biggest discomforts were feeling weak, dizzy and nauseated. He said a lot of this was from the pain pills and once we tweaked them, I did MUCH better. Your voice will be hoarse for a while, mostly from intubation, but it should get stronger each day. Also, you really can start walking around the next day. I was doing laps of the hospital (IV in tow, lol) about every 3-4 hours just to get out of the room and off my butt. So don't over-do it, but when you feel ready, movement is REALLY good for recovery. GOOD LUCK!!! We'll be thinking of you, so fill us in when you can!

 
Old 07-10-2008, 06:58 AM   #4
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Glad to hear that you are on your way to a new beginning!

I was terrified out of mind to have surgery but I came out of there with flying colors! I do have aweful time with anesthesia so I requested a scopolomine patch ( a tiny patch they put behind the ear for 72 hours to control nausea) and I requested TIVA which is Total Intravenous Anesthesia (no gases to knock me out). These things helped me a TON!

I did not have a single ounce of pain after surgery...it didnt even hurt when they took the port out! As a matter of fact I didnt realize I had a port until they came in with some gauze and some alcohol wipes to remove it!

I didn't use the pain medication they sent me home with EVER!

I slept with several pillows proping me up. I would be a bit stiff in the mornings but I continued to turn my head side to side and chin to chest but NEVER back! They never told me I would get a little stiff (not much) or what to do about it but the little bit of range of motion helped a great deal!

Once I took the bandage off, I cleaned and applied neosporen like 4 times a day to keep from getting an infection...something else didnt recommend but I did anyway.

I had 17 stitches and was scared to have them removed...once again, NO PAIN! Once stitches were out, I couldnt wait to use a gentel antibacterial soap on the surgical site. I went straight to Target and picked up a family size bottle of CleanWell. It felt so good to wash it!

Oh, as it is healing...it itches. I bought a tube of vitamin e and would rub it on there everytime I got an itch or anytime I felt like it (still do and I had my surgery Aug '07)!!! Its at walmart buy all the supplements and its in a white lipstick looking tube. I keep it in my purse at all times. I know I sound like a germaphobic or something but I just wanted the scar to be minimal and I did want to avoid any possible infection.

I had and still have calcium issues but this something that not everyone encounters. I am supposed to be taking calcium and Vit D.

I am experiencing hair loss (an overall shedding that is excessive)...definitely not something everyone goes through! Many dont have this problem. Mine is obviously an imbalance of other things (iron is low and has been my whole life)...so no worries there.

Now, you may not start Synthroid right away after surgery and if dont...be prepared for some uncomfortable symptoms (depending on how long you have to be without replacement). I experienced, extreme fatigue (but not immediately after surgery...took awhile). I slept heavy and for long periods of time throughout the day. I had my surgery in Aug and didnt start replacement until Oct. My TSH at that point was 127...not a comfortable place to be! But once I started Synthroid, I started feeling better immediately. The day after starting I actually could walk up stairs (couldnt do that when I didnt have anything). I was tired but I could do it. I know it can take awhile to find the right dose for you but it only took me maybe 3 months (wasnt long).

You will do great and things will fall into place as they should.
Good luck and God bless,
Bilinda
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Question for you Bilinda, if you don't mind. Did you have the RA-I treatment after your TT? Is that why they waited so long to put you on anything. I see the radiation oncologist on the 18th and am HOPING I can complete the treatment first week of August. I'm a teacher and for me, school starts Aug. 18th. Do you think I'll be up for it?

 
Old 07-10-2008, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Other than a sore throat, I really had no pain that a little tylenol or advil took care of. I was up and about within a couple of hours after surgery, and mine was really easy----my voice was weak for a couple of weeks, which I think my kids loved! No yelling!

 
Old 07-10-2008, 05:07 PM   #7
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Yes, I did have RAI. Once I went through that, I started Synthroid the following week and started having more energy immediately. That 1 little pill is amazing! I went from barely being able to lift my head off the pillow to carrying laundry baskets up 2 flights of stairs in a matter of a few days. I started on 150mcg of Snythroid and then jumped to 175 and been there ever since. I think most start out on a much lower dose and then have to work their way up to their optimal dose.

Good luck with this and the school year!!!!!

Bilinda
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:08 PM   #8
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

One thing I didn't see in this thread was recovery time. My TT hasn't been scheduled yet and I can't even get in to see the surgeon until Aug. 19th, but I'm curious how much time I will likely spend in the hospital and how much time will I be out of work? I'm pretty tolerant to pain so wouldn't expect that to be an issue. Also should I pick up some calcium and D supplements and start taking them? If so what dose?

 
Old 07-23-2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by love2fishfork View Post
One thing I didn't see in this thread was recovery time. My TT hasn't been scheduled yet and I can't even get in to see the surgeon until Aug. 19th, but I'm curious how much time I will likely spend in the hospital and how much time will I be out of work? I'm pretty tolerant to pain so wouldn't expect that to be an issue. Also should I pick up some calcium and D supplements and start taking them? If so what dose?
Normally you will stay overnight given you do not have any complications. Recovery is different for everyone. Some people take two weeks off others take a bit longer. I had a PT and I took 3 weeks off. I was feeling ok when I went back but I would get really tired by the end of the day, I teach so mentally it was exhausting just getting back in the swing of things. I think it also depends on what type of work a person does too.

As far as the supplements, I cannot answer that, maybe someone else who knows better might help out on this. I have been taking calcium (just for precaution of bone density) for awhile and continued taking it after surgery.

Rhonda

 
Old 07-23-2008, 05:18 PM   #10
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Hi all! I lost sight of this thread for a while, lol.

Thank you, fellow teachers, for helping me know what to expect. I will HOPEFULLY do the RAI on Aug. 4th. That gives me 2 weeks to recover and start meds before teachers go back, and 3 weeks before the kids come back to school. I REALLY hope my hormone levels cooperate! Blood tests are Aug 1st, so I'll let you know. I'm REALLY surprised because it's been more than 3 weeks since TT, NO meds, and I still feel pretty good! I take a nap every day and can't do too much (like exercise or be out in the heat for too long) but otherwise I don't feel that different.

Love2Fish, I would either take a supplement or ask my Dr. about calcitrol. I was in the hospital an extra 4 days because it takes 4-6 days to kick in. It MAY help you not have calcium issues, I don't know. But other than that, your recovery time should be pretty short. For me, it was about 12 days. That's for the surgery, though. Are you having RAI afterward or do you get to start meds right away?
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:09 PM   #11
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

DesertRose,
I'm glad to hear you are still feeling well. I did last week have blood drawn (10 weeks after my PT) and I have went from being very hyper to now being hypo. My TSH was 6.8. So my thyroid that is left at this point is not picking up the slack. So I got some levothyroxine to hopefully get things going again. Getting to the point I started to feel ishy about week 5-6. I too felt great at 3 weeks but slowly life started to catch up with me. So my advice to you, enjoy your weeks of feeling well. But everyone is different and maybe you will glide right through this until your RAI!

Take care...
Rhonda

Last edited by RMB; 07-23-2008 at 06:09 PM.

 
Old 07-24-2008, 03:29 AM   #12
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRose77 View Post

Love2Fish, I would either take a supplement or ask my Dr. about calcitrol. I was in the hospital an extra 4 days because it takes 4-6 days to kick in. It MAY help you not have calcium issues, I don't know. But other than that, your recovery time should be pretty short. For me, it was about 12 days. That's for the surgery, though. Are you having RAI afterward or do you get to start meds right away?
I just made an appointment with the surgeon and he can't get me in for an office visit until Aug. 19th. So at this point I really don't know what I'm getting. Cancer hasn't been confirmed so I don't know about the RAI.

 
Old 07-24-2008, 01:14 PM   #13
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

RMB, thanks! Haha, I think the happy train may be over today, though. I started getting the symptoms my Dr. and everyone has told me about. Went to the movies with hubby and daughter and it wiped me out. My thighs were tired, like I'd run around the block 20 times. My arm hurt after "swinging" my 30 lb daughter in between us, couldn't do it more than 6 times. Still, after some R&R I'm feeling good again. I'll just have to slow down now and not do as much so I don't have those lows. I just count myself lucky I felt good for so long!

Love2Fish, sorry you can't get in earlier to surgeon. If you're not taking a multi vitamin, I would definitely start taking one. Other than that, you can probably wait till you speak to the surgeon. I'm sorry, I probably read it already but what is your situation? Are you having TT because of huge growths? Have you not had a biopsy yet?
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Desert Rose,
That is kinda how the "happy train" slowed down for me too. It was very gradual. It took me awhile to cue in on the fact that I was not feeling so well. I was teaching summer school during this time, working just Monday and Tuesday. It would take me until Friday to feel charged up again. I just couldn't figure out what was going on. I could barely manage to get anything done around the house. The only way I could explain it was like I was stuck on molasses and I couldn't keep up with everyone around me.

You are fortunate that you are able to be off right now and concentrate on keeping your batteries charged. I know I feel really lucky to be on break right now!

Take care...and keep concentrating on feeling well!!
Rhonda

 
Old 07-25-2008, 05:19 AM   #15
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Re: Surgery FINALLY scheduled!!! Total Thyroidectomy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRose77 View Post
I probably read it already but what is your situation? Are you having TT because of huge growths? Have you not had a biopsy yet?
I have two growths that both show vascularity, the largest is 2.6cm but the other is also large. I also had radiation treatment as a kid which increases my risk of cancer. My Endo says I can get a biopsy if I want, but there is a chance of having a false negative. She is recommending that I just have a TT. She says my thyroid is basically dead. The surgeon may have a different opinion, but right now I'm expecting a TT. I'm going to call the surgeon and try to get on a waiting list in case he has a cancellation.

 
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