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Old 02-02-2011, 10:52 AM   #16
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Hi,
I had a total thyroidectomy 2 weeks ago. I started writing up my story to maybe help others. If you'd like to see the pictures, please email me. This is the part about the surgery:

The day of the surgery I had to be there at 9:30am. I figured I was scheduled for 11am, as it takes a good hour to get you "prepped" in the gown and cleaned and start the IV and all that. They couldn't start my IV because I have tiny veins and the nurse doing it says, "I am not turning ANYONE into a sprinkler. They can do it in the operating room", which I found funny. I wasn't too scared, which I usually am. Perhaps because I felt comfortable with my decision. Or maybe because I wasn't HYPERthryoid at that moment.

Finally, at a little before 12pm, I am wheeled into the operating room. They put me onto the table and that's when I lost it. "I don't want to do this...." The guy doing my IV starts to say, "this is where you get the good stuff" but before he was done I had lost consciousness.

I woke up and asked what time it was. I was told "6:15". Holy sh**. That wasn't three hours. That was SIX hours! I could barely whisper, but the nurse seemed to understand what I was saying. She gave me ice chips and boy were they good! My throat really needed that ice! I also noticed this thing that looked like a hand grenade (rubbery plastic) hanging from my throat. They told me they actually called it a hand grenade, but there must be a really technical name for it. It was a drain. I was told before the procedure that 50% of thyroidectomies wake up with drains. When you lose an organ or body part, the cavity fills with fluids. Before I went home, the grenade filled 3 times.

My doctor seemed to always be there. I thought, "Doesn't this guy have a social life?" Or maybe I was in such sad shape he was watching over me? I don't know. I watch all these medical shows and the doctors who sit by their patients are the ones who thought the person wasn't going to make it. Did little to comfort me.

They eventually moved me to a room, by myself. The blood people came to take calcium levels every 4-6 hours (I think, not 100% clear on times). My arms were so beaten up it hurt really bad to take the blood. At around 4am, they moved in a roommate for me, an older woman who seemed to be used to having things done for her. She was not amused that she had lost her other room.

That first night it was AMAZING to go to sleep and feel like I had no heartbeat. I kept feeling for it. Even when on ATD'S, the heart still bumped along pretty strong. It was so weird.

The next day when I went to the bathroom, I struggled to see my neck in the mirror. I cannot lift my head up very far. This cut, which is pretty big, feels like a tight noose around my neck. I cannot turn side to side very easily, either.


____________________PIX_________________ __________

My kids and husband show up that night and all three winced empathetically when they saw my neck. I had bruises on both top and bottom of the cut and the drain thing sticking out. I was closed up with some glue-like substance, which I was told was better for the scar. Between the top of the cut and my chin I am numb. I talked to the doctor about that later and he said muscles that are usually moved during surgery were cut and sewn back together. I may or may not get feeling back in this area.

Doctors were coming in. They had to "meet the thyroid". No one could believe what went on in that operating room. My thyroid was so huge and snaked around every single thing in my neck. Things had to be cut, things had to be sewn back together. My simple surgery was a MAJOR surgery.

Regarding pain, there wasn't THAT much, like I expected. My throat was sore (tube from anesthesia?), I had a little difficulty swallowing - which I expected. I did not expect to feel like a rope was tightening around my neck, though. I took a pain pill here and there which put me to sleep for hours.

On about the third day after surgery, my surgeon came in and nonchalantly announced he was removing the drain. "Little pinch" he says. It hurt like a mother! Owwww! "You lie!" I yelled in my extremely hoarse voice. So drain removal HURTS.

My calcium levels dipped, as expected. I was told no total thyroidectomy DOESN'T hurt the parathyroid glands, the ones that regulate your calcium level. They have to cut the thyroid off of the parathyroids - they are attached. They expected this dip and they fed me calcium and vitamin D to absorb it. It dipped twice and I guess seemed level enough for me to go home after that.

I might also add that at this time I started with nausea. From the surgery? From the anesthesia? It comes and goes. The nurse gives me anti-nausea meds in my IV.

I went home the evening of the third night. Getting home was tiring and I just walked in the door and onto the couch. Within minutes I was asleep.

The next morning, around 10am, I took a pain pill and slept til 3pm. After that I really only needed tylenol.

It's been quite an ordeal to get to this place. It is now 7 days after surgery. My tight noose is finally starting to loosen. I am still plagued by nausea, but I just read < edited > that you're supposed to take calcium HOURS after taking the synthroid. Calcium blocks the absorption of replacement hormone. Calcium overdose causes nausea. I don't know what it is. I hate to call the doctor, he never knows anything - ha ha - but I guess I have to. I also feel lightheaded when I stand up - which could be lack of thyroid hormone. And horribly, my palpitations are back.

The day of this last paragraph - 7 days after surgery - I went to the ER because of my symptoms. My TSH was 67. It's supposed to hover around 2. My T4 was "non-existant". I was SEVERELY hypothyroid due to lack of medication. My endocrinologist obviously lacks the skills to deal with thyroids and I am searching for yet another one. Unfortunately, I have to go back to him at least once more to get the medication.

The ER upped my 50mg to 200mg and I feel much better. The nausea is almost completely gone and I have some energy. I am still cold, which tells me 200mg is still not enough.

It is now 11 days after the surgery. The noose is still loosening. Not enough for my liking, but we're getting there. I'm still cold. I have more energy. My hair feels nice. I am worried about losing more of it as hair loss is a side-effect of synthroid. It's also a side-effect of hypothyroidism so I don't think I'll be keeping it all. My puffy face, from before the surgery, is slimming down. I am still at the same weight. I am still numb.

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Old 02-06-2011, 05:47 PM   #17
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepyallday View Post
Ok...I have found an ENT that I absolutely love. He went over my labs and symptoms and has decided to go for a full thyroidectomy. Surgery is scheduled for the week of February 1st. Of course I am nervous, but I am also feeling like this might be an end to 9 years of being told nothing was wrong.

I am looking for any comments from people who have had a FULL thryoidectomy about what I can expect to feel like and anything else after surgery. When I should go back to feeling like myself and any other advice you can offer. Thanks so much!!!!
Hi there,
Just was wondering how you are doing? I am scheduled for full thyroidectomy on Feb. 16th. Very nervous as well. Just wanted to see how you did and anything you can tell me...thanks so much.

 
Old 02-07-2011, 06:23 AM   #18
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjanierun View Post
Hi there,
Just was wondering how you are doing? I am scheduled for full thyroidectomy on Feb. 16th. Very nervous as well. Just wanted to see how you did and anything you can tell me...thanks so much.

I am now 18 days post-op (if I've counted correctly!). I am still numb from the chin to the cut. On the left side of my neck it hurts, kinda feels like burning. I don't know if the numbness wore off in this spot or what - seeing the surgeon on Friday. I can turn my head easily in all directions now. My voice is still extremely hoarse and I can't talk loud. The "glue" holding the cut together is starting to peel off. Tightness I described as a noose is less and less. I think it's loosening with the glue coming off. My 200mg of synthroid is definately not enough hormone, but endo doesn't want to up it too fast. Have to wait another two weeks for bloodwork. I'm not feeling totally hypothyroid, but some. The meds are enough to feel OKAY.

It's normal to feel nervous. I always have complications in all my surgeries. You probably won't. Remember, my thyroid was EXTREMELY large. Everyone I've talked to has done really well. Everyone I've talked to was happy with the outcome. And I've talked to ALOT of people. Just make sure they give you replacement hormone RIGHT AWAY. You are probably already hypothyroid just getting ready for the surgery. I ended up in the ER thanks to my crappy doctor, not the surgery. You might want to take a small rolled-up towel (kitchen towel size works great) for neck support. Those c-shaped pillows will annoy your incision. Also, if you have any dietary issues, BRING FOOD. I have gluten intolerance and it took my meals 2 hours longer to get. Sooooo glad I brought snacks! Good luck and feel free to ask questions!
Terry

 
Old 02-07-2011, 04:55 PM   #19
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Hi. I just had a total thyroidectomy on Thursday. I had been diagnosed with Graves disease about 25 years ago. Blood levels leveled off over the years and I have been off all meds for about 20 years.

I was left with nodules which I was told to keep an eye on. I had 1 sono about 10 years ago and never had a repeat test. Don't know why I decided to get checked out again recently, but it was a good thing that I did. After the sono, the doctor suggested a biopsy. When the biopsy results came in it was suggestive of cancer. Needless to say, I was extremely upset. I was recommended a surgeon (who was wonderful) and I was told to have my entire thyroid removed asap.

I was terrified of the surgery (not my first of surgeries) but was still scared.
After the surgery I awoke with the worst neck pain imaginable. I was so scared I had a panic attack in the recovery room. The doctor applied warm compresses to the back of my neck along with pain medication and it helped. Believe it or not, the incision did not hurt me one bit. The stiffness in my neck hurt more. I had pain in my throat from the anesthesia tube and muscles around the neck. I was able to eat and speak the very next day. I was actually released to go home the day after the surgery. Other than the fact that once and a while I get a palpitation or a little pain when swallowing I feel great.

It is now 4 days post surgery. I return to the doctor tomorrow to have my incision checked and to go over the pathology results. What can I expect at that visit???? Will synthroid be prescribed? I was already prescribed 2400 mg of calicum with D. I have never been overweight and am terrified that I will become hypo and gain weight. Is this something I can expect? Does anyone know how long I have to wait before I can apply something on the neck scar?

Any additional questions I should ask tomorrow?

 
Old 02-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #20
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Terrybee HB User
Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty1952 View Post
Hi. I just had a total thyroidectomy on Thursday. I had been diagnosed with Graves disease about 25 years ago. Blood levels leveled off over the years and I have been off all meds for about 20 years.

I was left with nodules which I was told to keep an eye on. I had 1 sono about 10 years ago and never had a repeat test. Don't know why I decided to get checked out again recently, but it was a good thing that I did. After the sono, the doctor suggested a biopsy. When the biopsy results came in it was suggestive of cancer. Needless to say, I was extremely upset. I was recommended a surgeon (who was wonderful) and I was told to have my entire thyroid removed asap.

I was terrified of the surgery (not my first of surgeries) but was still scared.
After the surgery I awoke with the worst neck pain imaginable. I was so scared I had a panic attack in the recovery room. The doctor applied warm compresses to the back of my neck along with pain medication and it helped. Believe it or not, the incision did not hurt me one bit. The stiffness in my neck hurt more. I had pain in my throat from the anesthesia tube and muscles around the neck. I was able to eat and speak the very next day. I was actually released to go home the day after the surgery. Other than the fact that once and a while I get a palpitation or a little pain when swallowing I feel great.

It is now 4 days post surgery. I return to the doctor tomorrow to have my incision checked and to go over the pathology results. What can I expect at that visit???? Will synthroid be prescribed? I was already prescribed 2400 mg of calicum with D. I have never been overweight and am terrified that I will become hypo and gain weight. Is this something I can expect? Does anyone know how long I have to wait before I can apply something on the neck scar?

Any additional questions I should ask tomorrow?
I think the quicker we're on the correct dose, the better our weights will be. I am terrified of weight gain, also, but so far, so good. Not even an extra pound. I have a list of questions for my surgeon, which I will see on Friday like how long to continue this high dose of calcium (I'm on 2,650 mg), when will the tightness go away, voice come back, etc. But I'm sure you have your own questions. Synthroid, from all the research I've done, is supposed to be started within 3 days of removal. This is why I ended up in the ER - not enough. I BEGGED and got a tiny dose of 50mg/day. The ER upped it to 200mg. My TSH was 67! Re: the scar - they told me not to put anything on it until the glue fell off. Did you get glue, staples or stitches?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 04:46 AM   #21
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Thanks. I will post once I get back from the doctor today.

I see that you are from Long Island. So am I. Where did you have your surgery?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 04:49 AM   #22
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

In response to the glue, stiches etc., I had a partial left side thyroidectomy on the 1st of November. My surgeon was absolutely wonderful and he used the glue to close the incision. Doing some research I read where Bio-Oil was great for scars from surgery. I purchased some and a week after my surgery I started using it twice a day on the incision. I went to my endo at 5 weeks and he couldn't believe how well it looked. Said he had never seen one look so good at that stage. 3 months later people have to ask me where they cut me. I was happy I decided to go with the Bio-Oil. You can purchase it at most drug stores. It's around $11 for a small bottle but a little goes a long way. Worked for me Hope all goes well for you!

 
Old 02-08-2011, 05:38 AM   #23
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Thank you. I purchased Mederma Scar cream, but I will return it. I've been told that the Bio-oil and just plain Vitamin E work better.

 
Old 02-08-2011, 06:04 AM   #24
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty1952 View Post
Thanks. I will post once I get back from the doctor today.

I see that you are from Long Island. So am I. Where did you have your surgery?
I had it at Southside in Bay Shore. I could've had it at Good Sam, but I was recently there and they had quite the nurse shortage so opted for Southside. Oh - and they have a shortage, too Where did you have yours done?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 06:47 AM   #25
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Had it at LIJ. I must say the staff there were all very accommodating.

I've been feeling a little out of breath lately, just bending or climbing a short flight of steps. Should I mention this to the doctor? I really just hope I get good news today as far as radiation treatment. She said I wouldn't need it if the pathology showed that it was contained within the thyroid.

 
Old 02-08-2011, 07:02 AM   #26
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty1952 View Post
Had it at LIJ. I must say the staff there were all very accommodating.

I've been feeling a little out of breath lately, just bending or climbing a short flight of steps. Should I mention this to the doctor? I really just hope I get good news today as far as radiation treatment. She said I wouldn't need it if the pathology showed that it was contained within the thyroid.
I would mention it. Never hurts to get an opinion. Climbing stairs do you feel like your muscles hurt?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 12:54 PM   #27
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Well., I'm back home.

No pathology results! She said she would probably have them tomorrow. Something wrong with the hospital computer program.

Gave me RX for synthroid 75mcg 1x a day. Cut my calcium down to 1200 mg and sent me for blood work. She was pleased with my incision, as
I am Happy to hear that I am in no pain and have full range of motion.

Said I should try Vitamin E oil 3 x a day for the first month, then 2x a day for the next month. As needed thereafter. Also said to keep sunblock on the area whenever I am in the sun.

I also mentioned to her that I felt my heart racing and was out of breath. She suggested I double up on my fluid intake and if it should get worse, call her immediately.

Suggested I follow up with Endo in a month's time and back to see her in 4 months, unless of course, the pathology requires that I take radiation treatment.

How long did it take you for the Syndroid to adjust to your body?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #28
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty1952 View Post
Well., I'm back home.

No pathology results! She said she would probably have them tomorrow. Something wrong with the hospital computer program.

Gave me RX for synthroid 75mcg 1x a day. Cut my calcium down to 1200 mg and sent me for blood work. She was pleased with my incision, as
I am Happy to hear that I am in no pain and have full range of motion.

Said I should try Vitamin E oil 3 x a day for the first month, then 2x a day for the next month. As needed thereafter. Also said to keep sunblock on the area whenever I am in the sun.

I also mentioned to her that I felt my heart racing and was out of breath. She suggested I double up on my fluid intake and if it should get worse, call her immediately.

Suggested I follow up with Endo in a month's time and back to see her in 4 months, unless of course, the pathology requires that I take radiation treatment.

How long did it take you for the Syndroid to adjust to your body?
Heart racing/palpitations is a symptom of not enough thyroid hormone. You really should keep an eye on that. If you have absolutely no thyroid, you need way more than 75mg a day. I'm not a doctor, just someone who's just gone through this, but I had the same symptoms. It took about 4 days to adjust to the larger dose. Well, not really adjust, but to feel a difference. And it was a big (and very good) change. I feel practically normal. Are you cold? I know it's winter, but is the normal temperature in your house not enough? My normal house temperature at 200mg of synthroid is not enough heat. So I know I need more meds. What is your body telling you?

 
Old 02-08-2011, 05:57 PM   #29
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

I start taking the synthroid tomorrow. It's only been 5 days since my surgery. I will definitely keep an eye on the heart racing etc. I really don't have an endo right now. How soon should I make an appt. with one?

Thank you so much for your advice.

 
Old 02-09-2011, 06:15 AM   #30
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Re: What should I expect Post-Op??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty1952 View Post
I start taking the synthroid tomorrow. It's only been 5 days since my surgery. I will definitely keep an eye on the heart racing etc. I really don't have an endo right now. How soon should I make an appt. with one?

Thank you so much for your advice.
You should get one right away. Someone has to regulate/figure out exactly what dose of synthroid works for you. It's going to be trial and error for a while and you need a doctor who can order the tests. Sometimes your general practitioner can take this on. Mine refuses to, but maybe yours can do it.

 
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