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Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!


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Old 04-09-2005, 03:32 PM   #1
MrsSportcat
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Question Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

I just had surgery on 4/5/05 to remove my entire thyroid gland. I had a nodule that had grown quite large and my blood tests also came back showing I was hyperthyroid. A thyroid uptake scan showed that the large nodule was absorbing the iodine but the smaller, left nodule was not. I will get the results of my biopsies on Monday but the doctor is optimistic it had not turned cancerous yet (crossing my fingers! My dad had thyroid cancer two years ago but thankfully is doing well now). Recovery is going well and I have started taking synthroid. I know it will take a few months or longer to get me to at the right levels and I know I'll have to check my levels often.

Pre-surgery I lived a pretty healthy life and I plan to continue that. I am 5'2" and weight appx. 107 - 111lbs depending on the time of month. I am almost 27 years old (birthday is April 20th).

My questions are...now that you have some background...is there anything unexpected I should be prepared for as far as "life without a thyroid" goes? I know I'll need to continue to eat right and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. But, I'm hoping that as long as my meds are at the correct dosage that I'll have a normal life. Are there any surprises I should be in for? I guess I am technically hypothyroid now, but that is because I have no thyroid anymore...not because I have a diseased or malfunctioning thyroid. Does that make a difference?

I am just starting my research on all this and am a little overwhelmed. I feel pretty optimistic, but am looking for a place for support and came across this board today.

Thanks for any and all advice. It is appreciated more than you know!

Stacy

 
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Old 04-09-2005, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

Hi. My younger sister had her thyroid totally removed about five years ago. She got married and is expecting her second child in a few weeks. She has never had any problems with thyroid replacement. Howeverjust a week (I think) or so after the surgery she had a calcium problem (shock?) and they had to take care of that but quick...so just be aware of that and you can ask your doctor about it as well. Pixiek

 
Old 04-09-2005, 05:18 PM   #3
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

Agree...if you start feeling "shock sensations" call your doctor and take some calcium supplements per his direction. Other than that if your parathyroids were not injured in the thyroidectomy, your calcium level should be stable. It happens most often the first week or two after surgery. Just be aware that the condition exists and to acknowledge the signs of calcium deficiency. Its typically described as a bunch of small electrical shock sensations going through your head and extremities. If you get this, DO NOT ingonore it. Call the doctor and take about 6 Tums or some Caltrate (calcium suplements) until you hear from the doctor but don't put it off.

Other than parathyroid injury (the calcium controller) which is about the most common problem with thyroid removal, you should be fine. Even if it happens, once your parathyroids kick back in and heal you will be fine. Don't want to alarm you in any way....just something to keep in the back of your head just in case.

By the way, how did it go? Was there a lot of pain? Swelling? Any trouble at all? I might be going under the knife soon myself and love to hear success stories every now and then.

Last edited by nastyhashi; 04-09-2005 at 05:20 PM.

 
Old 04-09-2005, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

Hey there. Got my thyroid out Jan 3rd. I am finally getting the feeling back in my neck- up to my chin. It's weird, very sensitive, almost hurts or stings.
I am hypo of course, which the only real difference (in my opinion) is that we have no thyroid functions. In a way we feel probably worse than a lot of hypos who gradually become hypo. We became hypo in a matter of a week or 2- coming off of HYPER! However our benefit is that it's expected so we can get treated faster than some hypos who go undiagnosed!
I've been fortunate enough not to have weight gain, despite the fact at this point I am still hypo. I have horrible periods now, which sucks. The cramps are nightmares. Of course tired often, cold all of the time and hair still falls out - oh ! I can't forget about the brain fog. geesh!
I never had problems with parathyroids. Thank goodness. Took about a week before I could drive. Started volleyball by the end of Jan.

Just be careful what you eat- anything regarding diet/exercise plans will do nothing but help. I can't say if you wanted to lose weight it would be easy and then of course it still doesn't mean you won't gain weight.

I am still new at this so down the road who knows what else could go wrong. It's a never ending saga I am afraid.

April

 
Old 04-09-2005, 05:37 PM   #5
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

As Nasty has stated, just be aware of the calcium deficiency. For me, it took only a couple days for my levels to go way below normal, and I was still in the hospital at that time. I am 7 weeks out now and still have very low calcium, but going to see an endo next week. I am not sure how common the problem is, as I read it was a rarity...in my opinion it happens more often than is reported. I take 20 600mg calcium pills a day and 2 vitamin D as well as my thyroid meds.

My experience has been that with your thyroid gone, your levels will plummet and your most bothersome symptom will be extreme fatigue. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but I started meds 13 days after surgery and my levels are in "normal" range, but are fluctuating somewhat.

Just expect to be tired and real laggy. I am still fighting off naps during the day, but since the kids are back in school after easter break, I am napping 3 hrs in the day again.

Take care and heal quick

 
Old 04-09-2005, 05:42 PM   #6
skewch
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

April I haven't had any weight gain yet either and that's great in my eyes. I'm already overweight 5'2" 147 lbs...don't need to add any extras there at all!

My periods have always been very heavy and painful. My first one after my surgery was the grossest I've ever seen...kinda like after having a baby. I wish that would just go away...

I hope we all recover from this surgery and that we all get the lives we once had, back!!

 
Old 04-09-2005, 05:57 PM   #7
MrsSportcat
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

Thanks for the advice so far! My surgeon did tell me that he watched out for my parathyroid glands closely and that they were all easily identifiable and untouched. So far, I have not had any of the tingling sensations that I was told to watch out for just in case. Thanks goodness!

Nastyhashi: The surgery was not bad at all. In fact, the worst part was the nausea from the anesthesia, but that was just how I reacted to it. I threw up a couple of times which was uncomfortable on my incisions (I had one under my chin as well because they removed a calcified lymph gland while I was already under the knife). I did not have a lot of pain, just normal discomfort. I felt like a had a sore throat...kind of that hot scratchy feeling like when you are sick. It was uncofortable to swallow but not too bad. Four days after surgery I'm still slightly swollen but not much. Turning my head side to side has been difficult mainly just because I'm scared to do it. My incision area feels a little tight and swollen. Also, I've had some problems with the muscles in my neck and back of my head being sore from holding my head still (and being tense). I got my mom to massage my neck and shoulder muscles last night and it helped a lot. Some of that is also because of how they had my head positioned during surgery. It really hasn't been too bad though. I took pain meds the first two days as needed. Today, I actually planted a few flowers in my front yard and I had lunch with some friends. I feel almost back to normal except for not being able to turn my head like normal. Oh and one more thing, I found that using my hand as a lever to lift my head sitting up (or laying down) at the hospital helped to not strain my neck muscles too much. I noticed today that some of the redness and swelling has already gone down also. I am a little bothered by a little sensation in my throat...kind of like I keep having to swallow something, but I figure that might just be some swelling and all with everything healing in there.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! I was told before surgery that it was a pretty easy surgery and now I know I should have believed everyone. If you need surgery, relax...it really isn't that bad at all!

Stacy

 
Old 04-09-2005, 06:10 PM   #8
MrsSportcat
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Re: Just had thyroid surgery on 4/5/05 - lots of questions!

Wow I'm so glad to see responses to my post! I was hyper, obviously, but my endo had to give me some meds to bring my levels down before surgery, so I actually went to the low end of normal right before surgery. Then the morning after my surgery they started me on synthroid. I take it every morning. I'm hoping I won't go too hypo at any point! I'll be ready for the day my doctor tells me my levels are in a good range. Then I'll feel comfortable with all this. It is just a lot to think about at first.

Stacy

 
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