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Having thyroid surgery and petrified! What can I expect?
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Having thyroid surgery and petrified! What can I expect?

Hi Everyone~

On Novemeber 4th I am having a partial TT.  I have a 3.3 cm nodule on my left lobe.  I have had a FNA that came out benign but due to size, and to make sure it is not the "C" word 100 %, I am having it removed.  I am petrified!  What can I expect from the surgery?  What can I expect after the surgery?  How hard is the recovery?  How long before you drove?  Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated!  I am so scared!  I am praying really hard it is not cancer!  

Thanks!
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19 Comments Post a Comment
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185634_tn?1257074739
Wow.....happy election day to you!!  I had my TT done over a year ago, and was really scared too.  However, it really was not a bad surgery.  Recovery is quite fast...most go back to work after a week or two.  You'll want to wait to drive until you can turn your neck without any troubles.
A neck pillow would be a good idea, because you'll want to sleep a bit elevated for a bit to reduce the swelling.  Also, remember if you're taking pain meds to get a stool softener as well, as they tend to make you constipated.
I'll pray that it's not cancer as well!  Good luck and keep us posted!

~Lori
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393419_tn?1228450993
best of luck to you!

i had a total thyroidectomy on 8/4/08 and the recovery from the actual surgery was pretty easy.  I had a relatively rare complication with my calcium levels and had to spend extra time in the hospital for them to get it regulated. (all seems to be fine now)

i'm not sure if parathyroid damage/stunning can also occur with a partial thyroid removal, but it couldn't hurt to talk to your doctor about taking calcium/vitamin D supplements after your surgery.  It is important to look out for unusual tingling and cramping after surgery (especially but not limited to hands, feet and mouth) because that can be a sign of low calcium levels.

I drove soon after I was released and went back to work full time after the surgery & only took the pain medication for a few days and only then right before I went to bed. . .it really wasn't that uncomfortable at all.

Best of luck!!
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158939_tn?1274918797
First of all it's okay to say "cancer" here.  However you have to use all lowercase letters - don't give the word more power than it deserves.  :-)

I've had the surgery twice just 'cause it was so much fun.  LOL   Actually I had the right lobe removed for a suspicious nodule - they found cancer after I was already in the recovery room.  Here's a suggestion - call your surgeon's office and *insist* on having a pathologist in the OR to do a frozen cut down on the nodule.  If there is any cancer found tell the surgeon you want the entire thing out right then and there.

You can't have the followup treatment for thyroid cancer if you still have part of your thyroid left.  That's why I had the surgery twice.

Okay - there have been 7 thyroid surgeries in my family.  All of us were only in the hospital overnight.  One sister had a difficult time with the morphine and all of us had problems with calcium drop (happens frequently after thyroid surgery - watch for numbness or tingling in your face and extremities then get your nurse ASAP).  

You can drive at any time but I'd really suggest you wait until you are off the pain meds.  It might be more fun on the meds but not so safe.  :-)  

Other than having to take calcium (and vitamin D) and my thyroid meds after the surgery I had a sore neck for a while which ice and pain meds helped.  It only really hurt lifting my head off the pillow, turning my head to look over my shoulder (backing the car) and sneezing (ouch - that was the worst).

Both of my surgeries were on Thursdays.  I went home Friday.  Back to work on Monday.

I've had *a lot* of other surgeries and this one was a walk in the park compared to them.

You'll do great!

HUGS

Utahmomma
papillary carcinoma '03, second surgery '04
  recurrence and RAI '06 and '08
three sisters with papillary carcinoma (one with three RAI/recurrences)
other sister with precancerous nodules
daughter with precancerous nodules
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Avatar_f_tn
Best of luck to you. Don't worry about the surgery. It's really not all that bad. Sure you will have some pain, but trust me, after a few weeks, you'll be fine. You will have problems turning your head and that will be a problem for driving. I couldn't drive for a few weeks because of that and pain meds. Other than that, you'll just have to trust your surgeon. My total thyroidectomy was done in two parts. First one in Feb. that took around 3 hrs. and the rest was removed 30 days later, and that was another 2 1/2 hrs.  And like Utahmomma, I too  was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma, and have other family members with more serious degrees of  thyroid cancer. Yes, we can use the cancer word here. There are a few of us out there, and we have decided to put out computers and minds together and share our stories and try to help one another. This is a great place for us to do that. Especially if you have a hard time communicating with family members and you need to talk to or ask questions from someone other than...It's nice to be able to speak freely and you don't have to have people look at you and feeling sorry for you or even hopeless. It's not what we are about. We share are ideas, we even share some silly stories and have a few laughs too. We are stronger in numbers.... We are survivors! And though we have had many bumps in the road, and though we may not agree with our doctors on some things, we can all agree that this is a great community for support and we can do it in the comfort of our homes. And best of all, It's free.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey,

I had a TT in May because of cancer, and it really wasn't all that bad.  I too had to spend extra time in the hospital because two of my parathyroids were removed and my calcium levels went a little crazy.

The biggest issue for me was swallowing food afterwards.  The first "meal" I had was chicken broth, seriously maybe the best "meal" of my life!!  It tasted sooo good!  I was still receiving pain meds through my IV.  I graduated to chicken noodle soup, and was surprised to have the noodles feel like they got stuck in my throat.  Thinking back, I'm pretty sure they weren't stuck, but I just wasn't used to the weird feeling I had.  I went back to that broth, and soon tried oatmeal.  I tried a vicodin (maybe it was vicodin, but I'm not sure) by mouth, and that didn't go well, so I got switched to a liquid which I think was percocet.  Anyway, by the time I was released from the hospital, in about a week, everything had settled down and I was able to swallow again normally.  In fact, my thyroid had been swollen so now it feels a lot better!

It really wasn't bad at all.  I hated the yucky drain but that was only in there a few days.  When I got back home, I slept sitting up a little with the help of pillows, but never used a neck pillow.  I can't remember how long it took me to drive again, but it wasn't too long.  Whenever you feel safe I think is a good answer.  You know yourself the best.   Definately don't drive on pain killers though!  and you shouldn't need too many of those.

Good luck!
Tricia S
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you everyone for your responses.  I greatly appreciate it!  I am having a frozen biopsy while on the operating table.  They said if the pathoology is still benign they will close me up but if it comes back cancer, they will do a TT.  My doctor is the top doc at Jefferson University Hospital in Phila. so I feel that I am in very good hands.  I am still a nervous wreck tho about the whole unknown.  

I really appreciate all of the responses.

Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
Just a short note. Not everyone needs a drain, I never needed one . I did have a bit of a cough that day, but after that, all was good.
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620923_tn?1405964489
Just to wish u well for ur surgery...I have not had any surgery on the thyroid.But wanted u to know u will be in my thoughts snd prayers.

Godspeed
"selma"
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Avatar_n_tn
read your question on MedHelp Member's Question
Thyroid surgery or not?
and would like to know if you had total thyroid surgery or still FNA.
iam same age and had radation for hodkins as kid and now thyroid has nodules big right side 3.5 and left side smaller
any information on what direction you took would be very helpful or if you know of anybody who had total surgery?


thank you
skybetonme
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Avatar_n_tn
thyroid surgery or not?Hi

I am having aTT.  I have a  nodule on my lobe.  I have had a FNA that came out benign but due to size, I am having it removed.  What can I expect from the surgery?  What can I expect after the surgery?  How hard is the recovery?    Any information you can give  appreciated!  

Thanks!
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662273_tn?1225158388
Wow!  You're really brave.  I would probably not do the surgery and just hope that it wasn't cancer.  I wish you the best and a speedy recovery:)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

I'm from Australia and have had recurring Graves Disease for 5 yrs.  I've just got it back again for the 4th time and my Specialist wants me to think of the 2 options available.  The radiation sounds awful and as I have 3 young children it would be hard because apparently you might not be able to go near them for awhile.  I am thinking of the surgery and as it is Graves Disease it will be the removal of all they thyroid.  I'm abit worried about the outcome after the surgery.  I have been told the medication you take for the rest of your life is natural.  I hadn't read anything on the calcium problems on any other site but this one.  I get migraines so get tingly fingers, feet and face so that could be abit confusing!  
Have any others had surgery for Graves Disease in particular?  I have been told you feel wonderful and energetic again nearly straight away and your vision improves quite quickly.

Lisa
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm scheduled for total thyroid this coming Tues and I'm so nervous! I have some suspicious tissue and my Dr is getting the whole thing out . I say I'm ready, but really I don't know....JT
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Avatar_f_tn
To read all yalls comments it makes me feel a little better. I am also having the surgery. I am actually going to meet with my endocronologist tomorrow and he is then referring me to a surgion. I am very nervous and hope all goes well. I have low thyroid, 3 nodules. 1 nodule is only 1 cm away from my windpipe and its causing difficulty breathing and swallowing and eating. The one that is near my windpipe is also growing, which my doc does not like. He did a biopsey in october and it came back benign. Then last monday I went in with trouble breathing and he ordered another ultrasound to check it and all the fluid has returned, that he took out in october. So he is definetly reccommmened surgery. I know this is a long road ahead and I hope I have a sppedy recovery.
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5050917_tn?1362872724
I was just informed today that I am having Surgery to remove my Thyroid, I've lived with Hypothyroidism for about 30 years and I am so glad to hear that it will be removed since it how appears that my Thyroid doesn't have a "mushy" feel to it (According to the Endocrinologist) it is "firm" and medication will not fix it at this point and it's grown in size (possible cancer? not sure yet) I've had trouble swallowing since I can remember, and due to this Thyroid issue my memory stinks (thanks a lot Thyroid) So I say "Hasta La Vista, Baby" to my Thyroid and let the improvements begin!! I see it this way, I would much rather take medication daily for the rest of my life to live a "normal" life without my thyroid than medication for the rest of my life trying to "manage" a goiter! And still go through life with memory loss, sweating like a cow, being cold all of the time(even at 72F degrees in the house), hair loss, etc etc etc the list goes on!
Thank God that there is a Fix to it ^_^ I'm excited! LOL
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Avatar_f_tn
I HAVE FOUND OUT THAT I HAVE HYPERTHYROIDISM ASSOCIATED NOW WITH GRAVES DISEASE I AM HAVING SURGERY IN ABOUT A WEEK TO HAVE MY THYROID REMOVED AND IM REALLY SCARED IM 21 NEVER BROKE A BONE LET ALONE NEVER HAD SURGERY AND IM REALLY FREAKING OUT IVE READ YOUR POSTS BUT ITS REALLY NOT MAKING ME THINK ANY DIFFERENTLY ABOUT IT WHAT IS TO EXPECT DURING SURGERY I MEAN IS THERE ANY RISK THAT FOLLOW.... ARE THERE COMMON THINGS AFTER ????? I NEED ALL THE INFORMATION I CAN GET THIS IS TO EVERYONE WHO KNOWS A LITTLE MORE INFO THAN WHAT IS ALREADY POSTED PLEASE HELP ME STOP FREAKING OUT IVE LOST ABOUT 10 LBS LOTS OF HAIR I HAVE EXTREME MIGRAINES ALMOST DAILY MY BODY IS SOMETIMES SORE IT HURT TO SWALLOW MOST THE TIME AND I CANNOT GET A GRIP ON ANYTHING
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Avatar_m_tn
I've had thyroid problems for over 30 years myself.  I am scheduled for a total thyroidectomy in about 3 weeks.  I'm freaking out.  The doctor says he thinks a lot of my symptoms will subside and I'm excited about that, but I'm nervous because I don't know any other way than being sick all the time.  I have a multinodular goiter, 2-nodules are at least 1.5 cm's and the other one is over 2.5 cm's.  The big one has been biopsied and came back benign, but the doc says if it gets bigger it could b cancer.  I had hypo my whole life with a goiter and nodules, then I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, and now I am hyper with a toxic nodule (the big one) but still have really high Hashi's antibodies.  My body is so out of whack at this point and its never really been controllable with meds.  I've had every symptom on either side of the spectrum so this issue has really limited my life up to this point.  I just don't want a bunch of problems after surgery and hope to gain some level of normalcy in my life going forward.  I'm hoping for a quick recovery and a fairly non-complicated life going forward.
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Avatar_m_tn
I think your going to feel better, that hyperthyroidism effects you physically and mentally big time. I was having episodes so bad they were going into thyroid storms, went on for 4 to 6 months.
Symptoms of a Thyroid Storm:



High fever of 100 to as high as 106 A high heart rate that can be as high as 200 beats per minute Palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath High blood pressure Confusion, delirium and even psychosis Extreme weakness and fatigue Extreme restlessness, nervousness, mood swings Exaggerated reflexes Difficulty breathing Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea Recent dramatic weight loss may have taken place recently Profuse sweating, dehydration Stupor or coma

Major clinical signs include weight loss (often accompanied by an increased appetite), anxiety, intolerance to heat, hair loss, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, hyperactivity, irritability, hypoglycemia, apathy, polyuria, polydipsia, delirium, tremor, pretibial myxedema, and sweating. Panic attacks, inability to concentrate, and memory problems may also occur. Psychosis and paranoia, common during thyroid storm.

Take the surgery, anything is better then the above!
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Avatar_f_tn
im in arizona, was diagnosed with graves disease after an extended period of super high stress at my old job. first dr not only over-medicated me (was told hey, lets see what happens and was the only dr this side of the state that my insurance at the time would cover) but also recommended to right away do a partial surgery, see what happens and go in again if needed. um, yeah, that sounded like sound advice, right?? growing up i had never had any health issues other than the flu, the cold, and a broken bone here and there but i was never sickly by any means. over time i decided to gradually take myself off of my meds because, lets face it, who wants to gain excessive weight by not doing anything at all different and not having the money to buy an entire new wardrobe every 4-5 weeks. it took me almost two years to get insurance again that would cover seeing a specialist and with my medicine allergies, there were only three options available to me: deal with it and eventually the consequences, take a risk having a severe reaction to the radioactive iodine and still having the symptoms and feeling icky all the time, or to go ahead and remove it. keep in mind that my thyroid was three times the size it should have been even with the graves disease, a pretty big goiter, suspicious nodules on my thyroid and surrounding lymphnodes, and getting gradually worse. we went ahead and took most of it out and he left a very small piece of the tissue in place to see if it was going to produce enough hormone over time. apparently this method has a 50/50% success rate but ill take it and if i need to ill just have to take hormones. if it goes to normal, i wont. thats a chance im willing to take at this point. something else i didnt have any clue about was what to expect after surgery. no complications thus far a few days on, able to drive within three days post-op, not needing any major painkillers than over the counter, and looking forward to going back to work. im lucky to have a great medcial team and support system. i was terrified going in because i couldnt find any information on what to expect going in, but realized that i was looking in the wrong direction. what i am trying to say is, take it at your own pace, go with your gut instinct on whats comfy and what needs to take time, and take your sweet time to recover. you will be sore but that will go soon enough. its always better to take your time and go a little longer than to rush yourself and put yourself in a bad situation. in short, you will be just fine. :-)
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