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Old 12-11-2009, 08:19 AM   #1
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What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

After a lot of thought and agonizing for 2.5 months I am going to have 1/2 thyroid removed on 12/15/09 with 1/2 inch incession no drain and internal stiches . Will I be in a lot of pain after surger, can I do normal activities. Will take off 3 weeks from job so it that enough. My hurthcell nodule only went from 1.5 to 1.9 cm in 3 mths(nothing). Still thing surgery is mistake but doing it anyway.

When will I feel any hypo effects with 1/2 thyroid. I saw 5 endo doctors and my internerst and I got a range of 2 weeks to to months to check blood after surgery.

If I have to I will go to all 6 doctors to check blood and my tests must be equal to my pre surgery numbers
I already got 25mcg and 50mcg brand name synchroid on my own and not from canada just in case doctor will not give me any med and I feel hypo

Last edited by captain2; 12-11-2009 at 09:08 AM.

 
Old 12-11-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Everyone is different, my surgery was pretty easy. I was up and around within a couple of hours after. The anesthesia made me feel tired for like a week. But within a few days I was driving and doing stuff. I think you could work, if your commute and job aren't strenuous, by 2 weeks, depending on how you heal. I worked from home, so I was ready by day 4, just tired easily.

I was on no meds to prep for RAI, and I didn't feel anything until about week 4. You still have plenty of hormone stored and converting in your body and I doubt it would show in blood work for at the earliest 3 weeks.

Let us know how the surgery goes---keep a positive attitude, it will help you do great!

 
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:52 PM   #3
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Good luck Captain! I've read your other posts and I think your doing the right thing...

 
Old 12-11-2009, 05:48 PM   #4
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Hi there, captain2. Iím going in for the same kind of surgery, also on Dec. 15. Iíve gone through the same agony you mention. I have a 3cm nodule on the left side, so they have me in for a partial thyroidectomy. They wonít know the extent of it until they go in and see. I hope if itís grown over to the right side they will take care of that too, because I donít ever want to go back. My decision was to have the surgery instead of carry that around and worry about it anymore. For over a year Iíve obsessed over it, so itís got to go.

I almost changed my mind totally yesterday though. Hereís why. First this is all so new to me. Mind you, Iíve never gone through surgery and have never spent the night in a hospital. Yesterday was my pre-op appointment. First I went in and they want to make sure they get the money first, that will be $5,300 on my part. I have very expensive insurance on my own with a $5,000 deductible, and it is not very good. Paying up is a hardship for me because Iím not employed, and obviously canít start interviewing until I get through this. Anyway, they wanted my name, address, social, insurance card, credit card, and I had to sign my life away that I would pay for it. I charged half and they put me on a plan for the rest. They asked me if I have a religious preference. I said no. If I die what difference does it make? I hope I go to a good place. Next question, do I have a living will? No. Do I want one? No, I donít have the few thousand dollars that it will cost to have one made.

Then I went to another room where they took my vitals. But first they asked me the exact same questions. I am suffering from terror and anxiety at this point. I said I just answered all those questions. But they want to input it in the system. So wasnít that a computer the woman was typing all my information into not 10 minutes before?

This gets worse, and I answered the questions a second time. I understand they are trying to help me, but I also understand they want to be sure they donít get sued too. Ok, so they took blood, did an EKG, blood pressure and temp. I suppose it all checked out.

Hereís where I about said just forget it. The nurse came in and once again asked me the same set of questions! I said nothing has changed in the last hour. Why donít they all get on the same page? She asked what side of my thyroid the surgery will be on. I said Ďyou tell me, you all are the doctors.í Iím feeling at this point that this is a 10th grade first dissection project. I may just draw a target around the left side with an arrow pointing to ďhereĒ to make sure they get it right. Just to make sure. She asked me then if I had all kinds of things like hepatitis a Ė z, any communicable diseases. I said not to my knowledge. But then I never had a clue something was wrong with my thyroid either. I said you tell me (again). I have no idea what I have at this point.

But here is the frosting on the cake. At this time I am shaking, crying, and freaking out. Then comes the time for me to sign the surgical agreement. I shouldnít have read it because it scared the daylights out of me. And Iím not going to sign it until I go in there. I understand they have protocols but by the same token they shouldnít scare people half to death, especially someone who has never been through it like me. I read a 4 inch long microscopic paragraph which detailed every single ghastly thing that could/might happen to me. It starts with a perforated bowel, blood clots, irregular heartbeat, pooling of blood in the chest, further operations from complications, blindness, inability to ever talk again, carrying an ostomy bag, hernia, possible lethal results. That was just the beginning. Iím at the point where I am thinking now that this is more dangerous with all these caveats than I previously even imagined. I am reading 1,000 gory ways to die. I asked her why donít you just narrow this whole microscopic paragraph into 20 words or less, ďyou might die, and if you do, it isnít our fault.Ē I asked ďwhere does it say that on the other hand I might have at least a 20 percent chance of living through it and seeing the light of the next day?Ē Iím just freaking out. They said I wasnít the only one who has freaked. No, I guess not. They donít want to get sued. Well, I just want to live and return to being a normal functioning person. Iím thinking I should call the nearest funeral home and make plans for donating my organs, selling my skeleton to a medical school, and they can cremate the rest. Maybe you can imagine why I just about changed my mind. This all became just a little more than I was able to handle. It took everything I had not to walk out.

I asked the million dollar question what about pain management? I know this is going to hurt like a bear when the anesthesia and pain drugs wear off. I donít intend to suffer horribly when I go home. When a doctor ways it isnít going to hurt, thatís a lie, it IS going to hurt. I asked am I going to have to bear the pain with extra strength Tylenol (which does nothing for me) for a few days after when it really is going to throb and hurt? I said no, no, no. I expect adequate medical help because I canít tolerate pain and donít expect to be told the crock of biofeedback. I already live by the beach with palm trees, so imagining being there is not going to help either. Even the blood test hurt more than I expected it to.

So, like you, I have no idea what to expect. They couldnít answer me about how long I would be in the hospital afterwards. I want to go home, I canít afford a few thousand dollars more to spend the night there. They said it was an outpatient procedure and if the doctor thought I was doing alright I could go home within 24 hours. Thatís good because thatís less than a night there.

My other concern is no food or drink after midnight the previous night. Are they kidding? Iím going to go 12 hours without water? I will panic for sure. I drink a lot of water and Gatorade and canít imagine not having a drink of water for even more than two hours. Well, it could aspirate yadda yadda yadda. Being thirsty is one of the worst things I can imagine.

Bottom line. I am scared spitless and wonder if I made the right decision? Iím starting to think no. I donít feel a thing or see anything anywhere on my neck that is not perfectly symmetrical. These people scared the living daylights out of me. I am terrified about going in there Tuesday. I imagine my throat will look like a slab of raw meat after this and will hurt more than I can stand.

I wish all this could change and that employees of pre-ops would understand that this is no big deal to them, but to a person whoís never been through it before, it is a very big deal. All I want is the problem cut out, but now Iím wondering. It _sounds_ like the most dangerous thing on earth to have done.

The final kicker is they all asked ďhow are you?Ē What a question. Well other than the fact that I am going to lose half or all my thyroid and then face financial ruin afterward, Iíve never had a better day in my life. Because I was melting down, I said to the next person please donít ask how I am because Iím not good. This is not being polite. This is a stupid question, it does NOT alleviate my anxiety. Instead, they should ask, ďare you alright?Ē Iím not normally this mean sounding, it is my defense mechanism for coping with dread and fear.

Iím sorry all, Iím just scared. So captain2, tell me how yours goes and if I live to see the light of the next day, Iíll let you know what it was like for me. I wish you the very best luck, and I sure understand your concerns.

 
Old 12-12-2009, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Sher A---I think you should contact the thyroid cancer organization, and get some support, they have people you can contact there to get in touch with those who can help. You can also ask if there are those who can help you financially, or if they know someone who can. You should also tell the hospital about your situation, sometimes they and the surgeon can work out payment plans for you. Since this isn't emergency surgery, if you are about to get a job or something, you can put it off until better insurance will cover it.

The pain I had after surgery was basically a sore throat, I used tylenol pm to sleep, if you need something stronger you can get percoset from your doctor, so talk to your surgeon about it (warning, it will constipate you).

You might also ask the doctor for valium or xanax, as you seem to have a high anxiety level and doctors will offer this if you ask.

 
Old 12-13-2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Thanks Reece, that helped. I need to get this out now because my insurance only allows six doctor visits a year. The insurance expires on Dec. 31 and just went up $100 more a month. They will probably drop me after this. If I donít find a job soon, Iím not going to be able to keep paying that kind of money not if I want to keep this roof over my head and eat. When I talked to the endocrinologist he told me and this is no exaggeration they simply would not operate without the money up front. I have no problem coming up with $100 now and then, but $1,000 here and there, now that is a hardship. Here in Florida it is very hard to get hired by anyone if you are in debt, so that leaves me out. I feel like one of the untouchables of India. It might not be an emergency but I canít waste my doctor visits (or sanity) on biopsies and repeated visits to the endocrinologist. Itís got to go now. I wonít have the nerve later and barely have it now. This is a fine time for all this to happen. Always around the holidays. But the good thing is that next week at this time it will be behind me.

I only wish the personnel had more compassion and understanding for what a person goes through. Of course this is all magnified by my own anxiety. I really hated answering the same set of questions 3 different times.

How long was it after the operation that you actually felt like resuming normal daily activities? How did it affect your voice? Could you speak above a whisper? If so when did your voice start coming back? What were you able to eat afterward?

Iím a brave person, not afraid of much, able to defend myself, but somehow all this comes crashing down in the face of doctors and hospitals, then Iím a blubbering idiot. Iíve even been stabbed before, but even that pales in light of this surgery.

Please keep your fingers crossed for captain2 and me. Too bad he canít trade his right thyroid for mine, and me his left one, then weíd be fine.

 
Old 12-14-2009, 04:34 AM   #7
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

Nobody can feel brave going into a surgical environment, it's not quite a natural place. I was very happy to get that thing out of my body, and looking forward to it though. I actually had a pretty easy recovery---up and about immediately, and at my neice's party for a few hours in two days. (after my 4 hour surgery)---the only tough part for me is anesthesia, which made me feel yucky for a few days. I was driving by day 4, but just local by the end of the week, I was doing whatever I had to do, just got tired. Remember, people on the internet are on there often because they are having problems, most people come out of this okay.

I couldn't yell at my kids for a few weeks, so they were quite happy. My voice was normal by two weeks, but I couldn't extend it for about 3 months to sing and such.

My advice is to move your neck (not snap it back) from side to side, otherwise it becomes very stiff and impedes movement. My surgeon said it was important, and he was right.

Have ice cream and soup around for the first few days, it's soothing for that sore throat feeling.

I think your doctor was pretty cruel, in demanding payment up front in your situation. I remember when I paid the hospital, they gave me a discount because I paid in full, so I know that they seemed accustomed to negotiating. I've had doctors let me pay over time when insurance had issues, but maybe they've gotten more difficult in the past couple of years.

When this is over, I hope you can get everything else in your life straightened out, find a great job, and be healthy!

Let us know how the surgery goes!

 
Old 12-14-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: What should I expect right surgery for 1/2 removal

sher a. Dont be scard of the surgery. I had to 2 spinal cervical lamectomies to releive pinched nerves in the neck. They actuall drill the bone away next to the spinal cord nerves. This was more dangerious becase one slip up and I would have been paralized. I had had my galblader removed. All the forms you sign are scary, but I am still here today.

What scares me the most is after removing 1/2 thyroid, the possibility my metabilism will be screwed up, no so much the surgery because again I have been through 3 surgeries with general anastia. My nodule is in right isthmus and there is a remote possibility that can only remove isthmus, but I dont think that will happen. As far as I am concerntd once they take out nodule, I will not go back and take out left loeb even with a cancer diagnosis another nodule unless a nother nodule forms. I am 58 yrs old and if cancer is going take another 20 yrs to grow so be it. I will probably die of old age first.

supposely my doctor does this surgery everyday. I will pay nothing because my insurance covers everything,

Last edited by captain2; 12-14-2009 at 04:28 PM.

 
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