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Old 06-10-2008, 07:12 PM   #1
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Unhappy vocal cord paralysis following thyroidectomy

I have read with great interest all the posts regarding vocal cord paralysis following thyroidectomy and it seems it can happen to anyone anywhere. So gidday from Brisbane Australia. I had a total thyroidectomy 40 days ago (Yes I am counting the days) and have been told after a laryngoscopy that I have a paralyzed left vocal cord. My voice is very soft and sometimes high pitched. I can communicate with someone standing in front of me but not in any noisy environment. The problem is my job was in a call centre, talking on the phone and over a 2-way radio. I have tried to continue at work but it is very difficult for everyone so I cut my hours in half. I am going to speech therapy next week. I guess it is best to give my vocal cord a chance to return even though that means many months of waiting. I will certainly start on the MMMs & NNNNs today. Thanks to all those people who have posted their experiences. My heart goes out to the tough stories and is lifted by the messages of hope.

 
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Old 06-11-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

MMM and NNNs rock!!!!! Good luck to you and work hard for your voice! Also switch to the GERD diet so no acid reflux comes up (normally your vocal cords help protect but 1 isnt working anymore) Acid reflux compounds the problems.

If you read my old posts you will see I did voice overs, and speak professionally. Voice overs are no longer an option but my voice sounds normal again and breathing and choking a non-issue.

I was very fearful of losing job and supporting family had me incredibly motivated.

My speech therapist I worked 1 on 1 with gave me 14 pages of exercises to do daily but when I found the therapist from Yale hospital who encouraged me to do M and N s it was a break thru!

Please find an ENT to do the gel injection. It is an immediate relief, yes you cannot speak for 3 days but afterwards woohoo! speak breathe and it makes the vocal exercising easier.


Use a straw to drink with your chin tucked down so you do not aspirate liquids
and drink room temp liquids anything cold tends to give you mucus.


Many many meaningful mending mornings! (use that one!)

July

 
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hello July.I have made up my own sheet of MMs & NNs and am taking it in the car with me. Reflux is not a big problem but I am experiencing it and I will certainly look at the GERD diet. I learnt very early on to be careful eating and drinking after one scary choking episode. Can you tell me more about the gel injection you had, what was the name of the substance? How far post surgery were you when you had the first injection? Reading the story of the lady who had the injection and then couldn't breathe scares the hell out of me. I don't mind the not talking for 3 days - I have become pretty quiet of late! I also have a very supportive partner and family. I have worked for the same boss for 7 years so he is also very understanding and happy for me to do whatever I can do to maintain some income. I did feel depressed about the whole situation but after reading your story I became inspired to fight and do whatever it takes to get my voice back. So across the miles thank you.

 
Old 06-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

I think it was Restalyn, one of those cosmetic temporary fillers (definatly NOT teflon) that is absorbed by the body over a period of time. I know it started with an "r". My surgery was Oct 16 and my first injection was on Dec 21 than had another injecton done 3 months later end of March a yr ago.


What a huge difference they make. I had mine done under general anestheshia and the process is very quick. First day of speaking (day 4)voice was very croaky and then next day it was very good, not great but certainly much better and I was able to work.

2nd injection same dr had me not speak for 5 days with longer lasting results.

Yes you do get quiet

The injections and m and ns gave me my life back! Oh and you will know when your vocal cord is coming back as it gets fatigued and you will have a pain on the side of your throat. Drink tons of water when you exercise. The second your voice gets raspy SIP!!!!!! and never whisper, it does more damage to cord.

I am rooting for you!

July

 
Old 06-17-2008, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi July I had an appointment today with the voice clinic. Once again laryngoscopy showed left vocal cord not moving. The Dr has booked me in for an injection of fat from my stomach into the paralysed cord. I will get a letter in the mail with the date. The speech therapy classes are very full but the staff are getting back to me with a date to start and I am looking forward to that. They realize my income depends on my voice. I don't quite understand the exercises without someone telling me just what to do to avoid the high pitch voice. the MMs& NNs help with this because they bring the voice from the nose. But I just can't seem to be able to bring the voice from the nose. I feel it is still coming from my throat. Anyway a day closer to getting my voice back. If I have to listen to another joke about being the perfect wife I'll slap someone! lol

Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2008 at 10:40 AM.

 
Old 06-19-2008, 05:30 AM   #6
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

I am really laughing now as I got all the jokes as my husband must be so pleased. Anyway after you have your surgery and you have to say quiet for 3 days. My husband said I wrote more notes than I ever spoke!

Here is what happened when I went to speech therapy...They will show you on a color chart where your voice is and isnt. (You will speak into a mic) They are going go over facial and tongue exercises. Then after next few sessions they add sounds and words, and you do this gradually. Ist week I had 3 pages and eventually I had 14. At first you are going to be exhausted. I would say "another page???!!!

Now you know where it says place the face and try to get it thru nose? Like you, I didn't get it.

My "real" speech therapist has a lot of ego so after I explained and got the withering look after I mentioned other "therapy" I just added all the m and ns to her exercises. After I could tell m and ns helped, I took a leap of faith and dropped EVERYTHING but m and ns.


My husband came up to me yesterday and said I had a beautiful voice but I really didn't need to be that loud!!!!!!!!

Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2008 at 10:40 AM.

 
Old 07-10-2008, 08:30 PM   #7
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Wink Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Hi Hieee!! I am SO GLAD to find this board I hope this thread is still active. Appreciated reading all of your experiences. I am 13 weeks post op total thyroidectomy due to stage 3 papillary thyroid cancer. They did take my right laryngeal nerve as it was encased in cancer, but my left laryngeal nerve is intact.

I have bilateral vocal chord paralysis. I also am gearing up for radiation the first week of August. They decided to postpone my radiation a bit due to the complications of my surgery. As of my last scope they tell me my "function" is improving, but my vocal chords remain paralyzed. As with all of you fellow thyroidectomy folks, I went from a very healthy, very active person to a very debilitated person. I have a positive outlook on life, and basically live by the "fall down seven times, get up eight" rule. But man! This whole cancer/surgery/complications has given me and my positive attitude a run for its money! I'll read more of the threads, but was curious of anyone else's experience with the vocal chord paralysis and the radioactive iodine treatment?? After all the complications with the surgery, it's difficult to face this next step. Thanks for your feedback

 
Old 07-10-2008, 11:38 PM   #8
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi, I read your story and I just want to reach out and send some positive vibes your way. I am 10 weeks post TT today and my paralysed vocal cord is moving again. My voice is getting stronger and more audible each day. I also had papillary carcinoma but very early stage and completely contained in the Thyroid. Lucky for me I do not require any further treatment. So whilst I cannot shed any light on the radiation side of things I just wanted to wish you strength in facing the next step.

 
Old 07-11-2008, 07:54 AM   #9
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Thanks Karmer for reaching out! So glad your vocal chord is moving again. Who knew when we went into this journey all that we would face? Appreciate very much the positive vibes. I can feel them from here

 
Old 07-11-2008, 07:33 PM   #10
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

TC08

Welcome to our little vocal cord club! You have quite a challange to manage, and you will manage it. You need a GREAT speech therapist to help you with swallowing,breathing, and speaking.

I had cancer of nasal septum surgery (with complications) and removal of thyroid isthmus prior to my neck surgery which caused my vocal cord damage. I have an idea of what you are going thru. Rest, and work for your recovery, rest an work harder for your recovery

KARMER!!! What fantastic news. Remember not to over do it! I screamed yesterday (By God I did scream and it was LOUD) was outdoors gardening and a large spider was crawling on me. Anyway very hoarse today. Drinking lots of liquids and back to m and ns for voice protection!

July

Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2008 at 10:39 AM.

 
Old 07-13-2008, 06:44 PM   #11
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi July Yes amazing turnaround

Off-topic.


I am back at work in my usual capacity. My voice got quite a workout yesterday as we were very busy so I had a never ending cup of chamomile tea with Manuka honey in it beside me and a glass of water!

TC08 - Keep us posted. Each day that passes is a day closer to recovery. Whenever I felt low I logged on and read and reread everyone's vocal cord stories and it made me feel part of something special, re-energised and definately not alone in the QUIET struggle.

Last edited by Administrator; 08-23-2008 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Off-topic: stay on the health topic

 
Old 07-14-2008, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi Karmer! ]

I feel your pain with on the job voice fatigue. I am on the phone nonstop at work, lots of back ground noise and I also use a radio for communications. You would not believe the amount of Chamomile sun tea I have made since my paralysis! I used to drink buckets of coffee and now I cannot tolerate it.
Just a tea drinker now. Since the spider incident I am back to chamomile. I am really hoarse to my ear (noone else has noticed) but I have to sip alot to keep voice clear.

July

Last edited by Administrator; 08-23-2008 at 08:18 AM. Reason: stay on the health topic

 
Old 07-14-2008, 11:13 PM   #13
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

Hi July.

deleted


Regarding using the radio at work I trained the drivers to 'go ahead' after hearing my 2 clicks on the radio. It worked a treat and certainly cut down on the radio chatter.


deleted

Last edited by Administrator; 08-23-2008 at 08:25 AM. Reason: posted disallowed website(s)

 
Old 07-18-2008, 09:58 AM   #14
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

I'm going to follow the advice of you Julyg and focus more on the Ms and Ns. Sounds like (oops - no pun intended) that's where the money's at!

I've dropped the Cytomel as of today. Am gearing up for RAI the 4th of August. Had a big stressor dropped in my lap yesterday re: a family issue. Not sure that I should get that off topic here, but will say that it is going to be paramount that I manage my stress. My best to everyone

Last edited by moderator2; 08-13-2008 at 10:38 AM.

 
Old 07-18-2008, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: paralyzed vocal cord post op thyroidectomy

TC08

I credit much of my
recovery to my lists of M and Ns posted everywhere in giant type so I could read and recite them driving, at work in the back room, in the bathroom and at my desk!

I understand stress! Imagine working full time, my profession is all about speaking, (50% phone 50% face to face with clients) had no time to "quietly heal" as sole support of family and also caring for a hard of hearing mother who blasts the TV and shouts to me while I am cooking for her in another room and she expected a reply (she wanted a shout back over the TV )
Had to lay the ground rules down for Mom repeatedly!
July

Last edited by Administrator; 08-23-2008 at 08:27 AM. Reason: stay on topic.

 
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