Re: Please help
Hi marsv. Have you had a chance to read through that post I mentioned about what to expect from thyroid surgery? I think it would be helpful to you. It's dated 3/15/02 on Page 2 of the Information Archive:
<A HREF="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum118/HTML/000005-2.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum118/HTML/000005-2.html</A>
I'm not sure what you specifically want help with. I can do a little interpretation, but it's difficult without knowing the specific tests you've had and their results.
You mentioned that you have a 2 cm nodule on the right side of your thyroid and that your FNA biopsy showed cells that were suspicious for papillary adenocarcinoma. FNA biopsies are not always 100% firm in their diagnoses because: 1) sometimes there was not enough fluid drawn from the area for a firm diagnosis, or 2) sometimes there are very few abnormal cells, and the fluid was drawn from an area with mostly normal cells. "Suspicious for papillary cancer" is enough of a diagnosis for a doctor to recommend surgery. Better safe than sorry.
I'm not sure about the "virus" your doctor mentioned. However, it sounds like he thinks you may have thyroid antibodies that are making you hyperthyroid (and, possibly, caused your nodule). Beta blockers and steroids are sometimes prescribed as a short-term remedy to help patients with hyperthyroid symptoms. The easiest permanent treatment for hyperthyroidism is surgery, so I assume that's why your doctor has decided to proceed.
The "calcium pockets" are likely your parathyroid glands. These glands are in the neck near the thyroid, and help our bodies to absorb calcium. Thyroid surgery generally takes as long as it does (4-5 hours) because the first several hours are spent tracing the laryngeal nerve (which helps us speak) and locating the parathyroids. It is very important that the surgeon know where all of these are so that nothing is damaged during the thyroidectomy. You need at least some of your parathyroids and your voice should be safeguarded.
It is common practice to remove one side of the thyroid (the side with the nodule), wait for pathology to complete a frozen section biopsy on that lobe, and then either close the patient (if the nodule is not cancer) or remove the other lobe (if it is cancer). If the nodule is not cancer, you may be able to keep the left lobe of your thyroid gland. It is possible that the one lobe may be able to provide all the hormone your body needs so you won't need additional medication, but only time will tell.
If your entire thyroid gland is removed, after the surgery you will no longer have hyperthyroid symptoms, but you will be permanently without a thyroid gland. It will then be very important that you take your thyroid medication every day (as directed by your doctor) for the rest of your life. You may have some hypothyroid symptoms until things are balanced, but you will definitely be on the road to good health.
My best advice would be to see if a friend or family member can watch your kids for the next few weeks so you can rest up before and after your surgery. It has got to be difficult to care for such a large family even when you're feeling well; with your symptoms, I would think you can use all the help you can get.
If you have any specific questions, please ask and we'll try to help. If you want to know about your lab tests, get copies of the report from your doctor and post the results and the lab's normal ranges here, and someone will respond.
Good luck and heal quickly.