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Old 10-13-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
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Colleen In Ga HB User
Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Okay..so I have been having the run around with my doctor's for over three years regarding my thyroid. All my tests always came out 'subclinical hypothyroidism' and nothing has ever been done. Well, since late summer I have been having feelings of suffocating, difficulty breathing, and feeling like someone is choking me. This lead me to have panic attacks, and going to the ER thinking I am having a heart attack. Well, I went to see a new doc two weeks ago, and he palpated my neck and discovered nodules on my thyroid. I then had an ultrasound which revealed multiple nodules and goiter. Saw the doc today, and he recommends a thyroidectomy. Said that it is a pretty simple operation and I will be in the hospital for about two days. Says I can't drive for a week, but other than that, I will have pretty much no restrictions. To those who have had this procedure..what do I expect? How do I prepare for the surgery? What is all involved. I am terrified! I am worried about losing my voice, bleeding and scaring...then reading about the parathyroid issues scared me too....any and all information will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Colleen

 
Old 10-13-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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it2me HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Dito. About 2 weeks ago my dr referred me to a e.n.t. surgeon for a thyroidectomy. Told me it was no big deal, just that I will need to be on hormone pill and the surgeon can answer my questions. OK. Didn't like the approach.
At that point I needed to do some research, looked up the test info results and started reading med.****.
Went into u tube and found information regarding the Da Vinci surgical approach for thyroidectomy. This maybe a viable option, better visability for the surgeon, less invasive and minimal scarring. Warning...it is disturbing.
I found two videos that spoke about and showed the procedure: "no neck scar endoscopic thyroidectomy" w/ Titus Duncan Md. (grafic) and "break through Da Vinci endoscopic thyroid surgery eliminates neck scars" w/ Ronald Kuppersmith MD.(watch first), also found the "Da Vinci S surgincal system" narritive by the comp. explaining the system.

Now I'm searching the Chicago area for surgeons who have DaVinci experience. Good luck. Sue.

Last edited by it2me; 10-13-2009 at 11:13 PM. Reason: location info

 
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:18 AM   #3
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

I was fortunate, my surgery was pretty easy, I was up and about quickly. Nowdays (5 years later) even surgeons (ENT's) don't notice my scar (regular method). I had a great surgeon.

They need to monitor your calcium because sometimes the parathyroids get damaged---that is cured by taking calcium. I didn't have this problem. It's also important to move your neck from side to side, otherwise you get stiff, and that hurts.

I didn't need pain meds, only used tylenol pm (pain meds make me loopy I don't like them). I did eat lots of ice cream, and couldn't yell at the kids, so that made things pleasant.

Good luck with your surgery, hope yours goes easy too!

Last edited by Reece; 10-14-2009 at 05:19 AM.

 
Old 10-14-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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tami71 HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleen In Ga View Post
Okay..so I have been having the run around with my doctor's for over three years regarding my thyroid. All my tests always came out 'subclinical hypothyroidism' and nothing has ever been done. Well, since late summer I have been having feelings of suffocating, difficulty breathing, and feeling like someone is choking me. This lead me to have panic attacks, and going to the ER thinking I am having a heart attack. Well, I went to see a new doc two weeks ago, and he palpated my neck and discovered nodules on my thyroid. I then had an ultrasound which revealed multiple nodules and goiter. Saw the doc today, and he recommends a thyroidectomy. Said that it is a pretty simple operation and I will be in the hospital for about two days. Says I can't drive for a week, but other than that, I will have pretty much no restrictions. To those who have had this procedure..what do I expect? How do I prepare for the surgery? What is all involved. I am terrified! I am worried about losing my voice, bleeding and scaring...then reading about the parathyroid issues scared me too....any and all information will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Colleen
Hi Colleen, I haven't been on the boards in a while. I had a total thyroidectomy in Dec 08. I got along really good. I did have to take a prescription calcium for a short period. My scar is about 1 1/2 inches. It's still pretty noticeable to me, but hopefully in time it will get better. It really isn't that painful. I had never had surgery before so I was very scared. My throat was pretty sore and my neck was stiff, but if you try to keep moving your neck it does help alot. Good luck and I think you will do just fine :-)
Tami

 
Old 10-15-2009, 03:25 PM   #5
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Colleen In Ga HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Hi All..thanks for the responses. I will be glad to get rid of the feeling that I am suffocating, but I am terrified of another surgery. I saw some pics...eww..Jack the Ripper comes to mind....how much pain is post surgery? My doc said I will have a pain pump for 24 hours....I am also afraid I will lose my voice....I am just plain scared, folks.

 
Old 10-15-2009, 03:31 PM   #6
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

no pain meds for me, just a sore throat, and tylenol pm to sleep. My voice was weak a couple of months and then fine.

 
Old 10-16-2009, 06:42 AM   #7
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Archie343 HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

There is always some risk to the voice but that risk can be minimized by your choice of surgeon. You don't want one who does a TT every now and again. Your surgeon of choice should be doing them several times a week with a thousand or more under his/her belt.

But there are other risks to consider as well. My surgeon explained he would rather leave a little thyroid tissue behind than risk damage to the vocal cords. The follow-up RAI will kill those tiny bits in MOST cases.

But not in mine.

My Ca came back and we had to find an alternative to RAI, which wasn't working. I had no permanent damage from the surgery, but, the new tumor in the thyroid bed crowded the right vocal chord and I had what was thought to be permanent damage, from THAT! Imagine our surprise when my voice--a raspy whisper for about 5 months--came back suddenly! The new treatment (an experimental drug called pazopanib) apparently killed enough of the tumor to allow the vocal chord to recover.

None of this is meant to frighten you. I think it illustrates how varied the whole business can be, how surprising the outcomes can be. Unless you are a professional singer I wouldn't be too concerned about what might happen to your voice. In most instances the effects on the voice are temporary.

You pays your money and takes your chances.

 
Old 10-17-2009, 12:46 AM   #8
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Sum1234 HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

I had mine out in August. I only stayed in the hospital for 1 night. I think the most pain I had was from the tube they put down my throat when I was in surgery! I didn't take too much pain meds either. BTW I was scared to death as well, didn't know what to expect. The surgery itself was 4 hours and just thinking of your neck kinked backwards for 4 hours for surgery hurts! My voice ended up being just fine as well. My story is a little different because I had thyroid cancer and had to follow-up with the radioactive iodine. Good luck!

 
Old 10-17-2009, 02:46 AM   #9
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patty kay HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

hello Colleen,
My mom had a thyroidectomy in I believe 1990, I was just a baby, I am only 20 years old. She says she had a great surgeon, she was on a calcium and potassium iv and after surgery, recovery time was quick. Now she takes synthroid every day.
Luckily, thyroid cancer is the most survivable cancers ever, thats what my mom had. In your case, its a good thing you went to a new doctor, sorry to hear about your three year struggle :/
My sister has hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is basically hypothyroidism with some other symptoms such as thinning hair, whch she definately has, puffy face, water weight, and aching muscles.
I currently have hyperthyroidism, which I'm getting treated for in december. Seems all the women in my family have thyroid issues.
Good luck on the thyroidectomy and post some updates to let us know how you're doing. The only risks I know of are vocal chord damage.
Hope I helped:]
~Patty Kay~

 
Old 10-17-2009, 07:45 AM   #10
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tami71 HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Hi again Colleen, The pain was not that bad for me. I took just a few hydrocodine sp? after I came home and then just some ibuprofen as needed. I spent one night in the hospital and my voice was a little raspy for a few days. Then it was fine. I was hyperthyroid and had three nodules on my thyroid, I know what that choking feeling feels like, it's a relief to not feel like that anymore. After surgery the doctor said one of my nodules was the size of a golfball. I just take synthroid now and get along just fine. I have seven children and hardly missed a beat after surgery. Like the others said just fine a good surgeon that has alot of experience under his belt and you will do just fine :-) Keep us updated...

Tami~

 
Old 06-26-2011, 08:14 PM   #11
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TGreene HB User
Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleen In Ga View Post
Hi All..thanks for the responses. I will be glad to get rid of the feeling that I am suffocating, but I am terrified of another surgery. I saw some pics...eww..Jack the Ripper comes to mind....how much pain is post surgery? My doc said I will have a pain pump for 24 hours....I am also afraid I will lose my voice....I am just plain scared, folks.
HI Collen I just had my whole thyroid taken out on the 23rd of June 2011. It is 5 days later now. The day of you are more less drugged up and don't feel much. Day two was the worst my calcium kept dropping and I was home by then and it was sat so I had to keep calling an on call dr which didn't make me feel comforted at all but I ended up being fine I just took a lot of tums to get more calcium. Day 3 I was much better and today I was good besides the stiff neck and tightness around the incision. It sucks pretty bad but not horrible. My emotions are getting the best of me right now. My mom has been here helping take care of me and she is leaving tomorrow so I am sad about that. And also it is hard to look at yourself in the mirror not cause you feel ugly with the scar but just that you can't believe this has happend to you kinda feeling. Im glad I had it removed and thankful my cancer was found. This is hard but you can get through it if I am. Any questions you have I would be happy to answer everything is pretty much fresh in my head right now. Just let me know what you want to know.

 
Old 06-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #12
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Colleen....I had surgery 4 weeks ago. A few threads down, I made one that says "Hurthle Cell Nodule Story". It's all about my story and especially my surgery!!! You'll be o.k.

 
Old 06-26-2011, 08:30 PM   #13
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleen In Ga View Post
Hi All..thanks for the responses. I will be glad to get rid of the feeling that I am suffocating, but I am terrified of another surgery. I saw some pics...eww..Jack the Ripper comes to mind....how much pain is post surgery? My doc said I will have a pain pump for 24 hours....I am also afraid I will lose my voice....I am just plain scared, folks.

Hey, look at my pic in my thread that I told you about. My incision is only 4 weeks old there. The tape is barely coming off at that point. It really depends on the surgeon. Jack the Ripper....No!

 
Old 06-28-2011, 11:07 AM   #14
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Can you tell me a little more about the iodine treatment. I had my thyroid taken out last Thursday and I know that they are going to want me to take that pill also. I have read a lot of diff stories about the pill I would like to know how it went for you. Thanks , Tawny

 
Old 06-28-2011, 11:17 AM   #15
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Re: Need To Have a Thyroidectomy..what to expect?

Hi Colleen my name is Tawny I had a thyroidectomy last thur the 23rd Ive never had surgery so I was very nervous about the whole thing. Before surgery I was very nervous while they were prepping me the day of but it all went by so fast that it was over before I knew it. The day of surgery afterwards you are pretty much out of it and drugged the whole day so its not bad at all. Second day when they sent me home I thought I was doing good but then my calcium started to drop and I was having a hard time to get it up high enough. Unfortunatly it was a sat then and I had to call and on call dr which I felt like he was annoyed I was bothering him. I called him twice because I was having so much tingling going on in my fingers and toes. He didn't seem to concerned just told me what to do. So I got through that day and every day since then has gotten better and better. Now I only have stiffness in my neck and tightness around the incision area. I can't wait for the time when I can lay down and just rest my head I miss it I can eat anything I want I just get tired eating its like a work out all in itself. Well I am day 6 now so If you want to follow my posts you can if you have any specific questions just let me know. Hope I could help a little.
Tawny

 
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