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Old 06-27-2012, 09:13 PM   #1
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My Thyroidectomy

Hello all,
There have been many posts about total thyroidectomy surgeries lately and I'd like to contribute my experience to the forum, in the hopes it would help others who are thinking about this option!

My surgery was yesterday with a check-in time at 5:30am. I was prepped and ready to go into surgery at about 8:00am. They did an EKG as a precaution because I was put on Propranolol in preparation for the surgery and took a urine sample as well. My anesthesiologist was so great - I mentioned that I had Thyroid Eye Disease and he made sure to keep my eyes moist and covered during the surgery. It's true what they say, all I remember is hearing him say he was going to give me something to relax and the next thing I know I am waking up in recovery! My surgery was completed at 12:45pm and I was then in recovery for about an hour before being wheeled up to my room.

My surgery went well! No damage to the parathyroids! No drain at the incision site either. My surgeon used dissolvable stitches and closed with steri strips on top, which are supposed to fall off naturally in about a week. I can shower normally, just no soaking in the tub and no swimming for three weeks.

I do have to admit I was in more pain than I expected the first three hours after surgery. Mainly it was because of the size of the intubation tube…they said they had to use a somewhat large one that also had nerve sensors on it. But, after taking some Vicodin and a nap, I felt 100% better. I stayed overnight at the hospital and mainly just drank juice. I was able to eat a little bit of jello yesterday and some rice today. My throat still is very sore but it's getting better. I couldn't go to the restroom at first so they had to catheterize me (because of the anesthesia) but after a few hours I could go on my own.

I am taking calcium supplements as a precaution and started my Synthroid and Cytomel today as well. I was a little worried about the “rush” i would experience as a result of the Cytomel but I didn't feel it today (perhaps because of the Vicodin). How long will it take for me to begin getting a sense if my dosing is close to the mark? A few weeks?

My incision is a very nice straight line, about 3 inches. There is some bruising and swelling but I am putting an ice pack on every hour. My voice is still weak, but I am practicing!

Overall, I am so happy to have this over with. The anticipation was the worst part and I am just going to take it one day at a time and be patient and optimistic that I will find the right dosages of my medicine. I will keep you updated!

 
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Thanks for sharing your experience, I am scheduled for a TT on july 5. Reading how well yours went was an encouragement for me! Exactly what you described is pretty much what my surgeon told me to expect. May i ask why you had to have a tt? I have to becuz mine is enlarged, with multi nodules, and 2 unsucessful biopsies. I also have pressure and pain in the neck when laying down or turning head side to side. when i swallow it sometimes feels as tho i have a marble stuck in my throat. I pray my surgery goes as smooth as yours does...from what my dr (both endo and surgeon) tell me, it will take about 6 wks for my natural thyroid hormones to completely leave me and then we may have to play around w/adjusting my thyroid meds til i am functioning at optimal level. I will keep you posted on how things go and please keep me updated on how you are doing!

 
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:21 PM   #3
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Hello,
Good luck on your upcoming surgery! Yes, I wanted to post my experience because it has been a good one so far and there are so many scary "doom and gloom" stories out there. I had to have a TT because I had Graves Disease and the related Ted Eye Disease, which made it more risky for me to have RAI. Anyhow, a lot less pain today...was able to just make it through the day with Tylenol, not Vicodin.

Something you said was interesting to me. I had asked a resident how long it took for any remaining Thyroid hormone in my body to dissipate. She said that since the actual thyroid was removed completely, I should barely have any residual hormone left, which is why they put me on Synthroid the day after surgery. She did say though that sometimes after surgery, remaining cells that sometimes store Thyroid hormone can burst and give you a little rush...but if that would to occur it would happen within hours after the surgery. That's all to say is that I would ask your doctor to monitor your hormone levels closely. Six weeks seems like a long time post-surgery before getting on any medication. I've been hypothyroid before because of too much medicine and it is not a great feeling...maybe you can negotiate seeing your doc sooner to see if you will need medicine? I'm not a doctor...but just a thought.

Good luck! I will say it is a relief to have it over with. The anticipation is the worst part - just focus on the positive and you will get through it I will keep you updated on my progress, please do the same!

Last edited by optimist82; 06-28-2012 at 10:22 PM.

 
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:56 AM   #4
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

HI!! so glad you are improving daily!! My dr will be sending me home on synthroid, i think i explained it wrong...he said he wont test my blood work until 6 wks after tt and being on synthroid, cuz it takes that long for your body to adjust to the synthetic hormone, and to have any remaining natural hormone gone from my body..does that make more sense? I have to f/u with the surgeon 3 wks after surgery, and endo 6 wks after surgery, both saying if i have any problems in between that time they would see me immediately. The surgeon was also very informative about the parathyroids/calcium levels and he hopes to be able to keep them intact, but says they are usually "shocked" after thyroid removal, and thats why , like u i have to spend at least 1 nite in hops,.possibly 2 depending on calcium levels........do u mind me asking where you are located? I am in western NY. I'm very happy with my endo and surgeon choice......i think being comfortable with them makes the procedure alot less worrisome!!!! I will keep you updated for sure, and thanks for your updates! Have a great day!!

 
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Oh my apologies, I misunderstood. Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me and my endo is going to check my levels in six weeks as well. I was put on 125 MCG of Synthroid and 5MCG of Cytomel off the bat.

Yes, my surgeon told me about the parathyroids becoming "shocked" so I am on calcium supplements for the next three weeks. They did check my calcium levels to ensure they were normal before I was discharged.

My pain is minimal now, but I need to keep icing. The swelling on the second day was worse than the first day, but now it's going down again. Breathing exercises are really important! They had me practice using deep breathes in the hospital using a little tool and doing it at home has helped me as well. The last thing you want is bronchitis after this surgery because it is uncomfortable to cough I'm still easily fatigued but definitely feel better with each passing day. I am located in Seattle and have been very happy with my care so far (I just moved here last October).

Good luck! I will be sending you my well wishes!!!

 
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Oh my apologies, I misunderstood. Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me and my endo is going to check my levels in six weeks as well. I was put on 125 MCG of Synthroid and 5MCG of Cytomel off the bat.

Yes, my surgeon told me about the parathyroids becoming "shocked" so I am on calcium supplements for the next three weeks. They did check my calcium levels to ensure they were normal before I was discharged.

My pain is minimal now, but I need to keep icing. The swelling on the second day was worse than the first day, but now it's going down again. Breathing exercises are really important! They had me practice using deep breathes in the hospital using a little tool and doing it at home has helped me as well. The last thing you want is bronchitis after this surgery because it is uncomfortable to cough I'm still easily fatigued but definitely feel better with each passing day. I am located in Seattle and have been very happy with my care so far (I just moved here last October).

Good luck! I will be sending you my well wishes!!!

 
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:17 AM   #7
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

HI!! I wonder how they determine how much synthroid to put you on? My dr mentioned something about probably 100mcg (i'm 5 ft and 123 lbs) but i duno if that is how they determine dose? My worst fear is not being able to breathe after the surgery without gasping.......and is your voice really different? I have to stop reading articles online, they can send me into a panic so I'm choosing to read just your positive posts!! I know my surgeon said my main discomfort would probably be from the incubation tube...but some swelling of the site is to be expected, I pray he is able to keep my parathyroids intact...thanks for your prayers and encouragement!!!!!! I will keep you posted!!!
PS yes he did say i would need to take tums or a calcium supplement as well..and stay in the hosp. til those levels are normal.......

Last edited by buffalonygal; 06-30-2012 at 05:19 AM. Reason: added more text

 
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:46 PM   #8
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

I've heard that weight is used to help docs estimate the initial dose of medicine...but that docs use your blood tests moving forward to make the adjustments.

I definitely understand your fear of not being able to breath freely. Initially, I did have to remember to take deep breathes because I did feel congested and my chest felt tight. But it definitely gets better - just keep practicing your breathing when you wake up! The first day my voice was more gravely and soft...but each day it gets better and today I sound like myself again So...that only took four days - not bad! I can't really raise my voice or laugh very hard, but I'm sure that will come with just a few more days.

Another tip I have to to try and wean yourself off of the Vicodin about 2 days after your procedure. I started to feel like myself again once I was just taking Tylenol - those painkillers are hard on your system and also affect your bowel movements (sorry! TMI), so everything just seems off.

You are going to do great! I don't normally post on boards but I felt I had to share my positive story because you're right, the majority of posts are negative and scary. One huge concern I have is with weight gain post-surgery. I'm 30 and I was close to my goal weight a few months ago. I'm not sure if this is one of your concerns but I realize that I just have to control as much as I can, and work out and track calories, etc. So far, I've actually lost 3 lbs because I haven't been eating tons because of the medicine. I plan to exercise everyday and just keep positive.

Any questions you have, no matter how insignificant you may think they are, please ask me and I will reply! I came across a positive post right before my surgery and it did a lot to help me out. She also had a very successful thyroidectomy, actually chose to go home the same day, and is back to being active in just a few short days as well.

I am so happy I spent one night in the hospital though! Are you on any prep medicines for the surgery?

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #9
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

hi!! thanks again for your encouraging posts...no I'm not on any pre-meds for surgery..i had my pre-op bloodwork done last week, as well as an EKG and heard nothing and the nurse that did that told me no news is good news.. i worked in a medical office, and i know they test your blood to see how thin/thick it is, and will sometimes recommend meds to regulate that b4 surgery but mine musta been ok, cuz i havent heard anything. I worry about weight gain after the surgery....right now, in the past 6 wks, i've lost 10 lbs without trying..no dieting, not really exercising (esp. in this heat, i might take the dog for a quick walk but other than that, no exercise) but the weight's been falling off of me...now, about a year ago, i had GAINED weight when i was exercising...i had put on about 6-8 lbs, so i've lost that and a few lbs more, yet all my thyroid bloodwork levels are considered "normal" ...so i'm not really sure whats going on...i like that fact i can fit in stuff i couldnt fit into last year at this time, i hope i can maintain this weight becuz its good for my height....its very encouraging that you said your voice is pretty much normal after a few days!!!!!!!!! Trying to relax, and be calm about the breathing. Back when i was a teenager, i had to have an emergency appendectomy, and to this day (and this goes back alot of years) i can still remember the nurse calling my name and trying to wake me up while they were still trying to remove the tubes out of my throat...i remember gasping and choking..so that is my worse fear..i plan to make it well know to the surgeon i dont want to be woken up till all that stuff is out of my throat!!!!!!! Couldnt tell you anything else about that surgery except for remembering that feeling as if it happened yesterday. how is your scar healing up? dr told me all my stitches will be inside and he will use surgical glue over the incision. he said he will work as best he can with the natural creases in my neck, to make it look as cosmetically good as possible. Are you still taking calcium supplements? any problems with the numbing or tingling feelings ? Are you on synthroid or the generic? Im telling my dr i dont want the generic, as its the same copay for either with our insurance. Well thanks again for keeping me positive!

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

o and yes, i know those perscription pain meds can play havoc on the bowels...so i will be on them for as short a time as possible and then switch to tylenol. when you were in the hospital did you have to swallow the pills or did they give you pain meds thru ur IV?

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:39 PM   #11
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Yes, I also asked for the brand name, Synthroid. I am on a tapered dosage of calcium supplements for three weeks. Week 1 is 4 pills/day, week 2 is 2 pills/day, week 3 is 1 pill/day. I do sometimes get very slight tingling in a few of my fingers, but then it goes away after a few minutes. Its only happen to me perhaps 2-3 times a day. I had to swallow the pain pills in the hospital, but I am sure if you requested they could administer the medicine via your IV.

I'm so sorry to hear about your awful experience of waking up when they were removing your intubation tubes. You poor thing - no wonder you're scared! I'm sure by mentioning it to your surgeon they will be extra cautious to have everything removed before you begin to wake up.

I can't see my scar yet, because the doc covered it up with steri strips (she also used dissolvable stitches so I do not need to get anything removed). I do have some bruises near the scar, which are normal, that are a bit unsightly. But the scar is actually smaller than I had anticipated. At first she said it would be about 5 inches but it's actually probably more like 2.5-3 inches. I bought some bio-oil because I heard it's great at helping to reduce scars and I will be massaging my scar with it as soon as the steri strips fall off in a few more days.

Last edited by optimist82; 07-01-2012 at 06:42 PM.

 
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:41 PM   #12
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Yes, I also asked for the brand name, Synthroid. I am on a tapered dosage of calcium supplements for three weeks. Week 1 is 4 pills/day, week 2 is 2 pills/day, week 3 is 1 pill/day. I do sometimes get very slight tingly in a few of my fingers, but then it goes away after a few minutes. It's only happen to me perhaps 2-3 times a day. I had to swallow the pain pills in the hospital, but I am sure if you requested they could administer the medicine via your IV.

I'm so sorry to hear about your awful experience of waking up when they were removing your intubation tubes. You poor thing - no wonder you're scared! I'm sure by mentioning it to your surgeon they will be extra cautious to have everything removed before you begin to wake up.

I can't see my scar yet, because the doc covered it up with steri strips (she also used dissolvable stitches so I do not need to get anything removed). I do have some bruises near the scar, which are normal, that are a bit unsightly. But the scar is actually smaller than I had anticipated. At first she said it would be about 5 inches but it's actually probably more like 2.5-3 inches. I bought some bio-oil because I heard it's great at helping to reduce scars and I will be massaging my scar with it as soon as the steri strips fall off in a few more days.

 
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:26 AM   #13
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

So glad you're continuing to improve every day!!!!!!!! I am praying my surgery will go as smoothly!! I will keep you posted for sure!!!! and please continue to update me on how u r doing!!!!!!!!! I've heard alot of ppl open a vit E capsule and rub that on their scar as well! I will check into the bio oil! Have a wonderful day!!!!! thanks again for all the encouragement!

 
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

Hello!

I know you said your TT is tomorrow! Just wanted to say good luck with everything! Just enjoy today and remember that by this time tomorrow you'll probably be all done and on the road to recovery

Take care and let me know how you're doing when you feel up to it! Get lots of rest.

 
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:19 PM   #15
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Re: My Thyroidectomy

thank you !!!! I will be sure to keep you updated..thanks for your encouraging words and prayers!
surgery is scheduled for 8:15 am....im glad its early in the day!

Last edited by buffalonygal; 07-04-2012 at 02:20 PM.

 
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