Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Thyroidectomy story

One day post op

On November 14, 2014 I had a total Thyroidectomy.  I had a 3cm nodule on the right side that continuously grew over the years.  It was always the hope that it would shrink, but each year I'd have an ultrasound to find it had grown.  I had a fine needle aspiration in October and it came back with atypical cells.  We knew it would be abnormal, but atypical cells either meant thyroid disease or there was a slight chance of it being cancer.  It was left up to me to decide if I wanted to watch it longer or take it out now.  Taking it out seemed so extreme!  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that taking it out was the smarter choice.  I knew leaving it alone would consume me with worry. With my family's medical history and all of the x-rays I was exposed to as a child, it didn't seem like something to play around with.  Reluctantly, I scheduled the surgery.

Pre-op was easy.  I saw my family physician and he did blood work, urinalysis, and a chest x-ray.  I met with the surgeon to go over the procedure and risks.  I couldn't eat or drink after midnight, but I could take a Xanax and my Synthroid with a tiny sip of water in the morning.

I was so nervous.  Anxiety was just eating me up in the days prior to the surgery. I had to be at the hospital for 6:30am.  They got me started on an IV. My doctor came in to see me and said he had a small 20 minute procedure first, then it would be my turn.  We waited and waited.  They made me take a pregnancy test (negative of course!)   Finally just before 9am the anesthesia team walked in and introduced themselves.  A big guy says to me.  "I like you already!!  I don't know you but I liked you before I met you!!"  Huh?  "I heard one of the first questions you asked was WHEN CAN YOU GO BACK TO THE GYM!  That means you're healthy and I like healthy people."

Haha, it was true.  I asked about down time and asked how long before I could go back to the gym.  It makes me wonder what was being said about me?!?  LOL!

I waved Clint over and someone said to say our goodbyes now.  Clint gave me a peck on the lips and before I was wheeled out the room, the world went black.

I remember opening my eyes and seeing lights.  I cant say if it was before or after surgery or in recovery.  I remember being moved from the table to a bed.  A nurse was asking me my name.  Someone was telling me to breathe into a mask. I heard the nurse call into the waiting area to let Clint know I was in recovery.  I heard the nurse call in my stats to get my room ready.  I think they asked me about my pain level - 4 or 5 I think I said.  There were people around and they kept talking to me, but I don't remember what they said.  After a little while, a man moved me to my room.  Clint met us in the hallway.  I had been gone for about 5 hours.  The actual surgery took about 3 hours.  I was hooked up to a morphine pump and they said I could push the button ever 12 minutes.  Push I did!  I wasn't in a lot of pain, but I didn't want to wait and see.  I had a drain bulb on the right side, and that hurt more than the actual incision.

I think the doctor came in to talk to me and said everything went great.  Calcium held steady. Parathyroids were intact.  He didn't see anything bad or anything that looked like a tumor.  Nurses were in and out.  My voice... I was surprised how well I sounded!!  Just a little weak but I had my voice!!

After I got settled, the roller coaster began - literally.  Every time I moved, the room would spin.  I shifted in bed, and the room would shift with me.  I got up to pee, and couldn't stand on my own.  By the time I'd get back to bed, I'd be on the verge of vomiting from the dizziness.  I'd lay very still on my back until the world settled down.  I tried to rest, but you know how it is in a hospital.  The nurses keep coming in.  All night long.  Sometimes they'd just walk in, look at me, and walk out!  They'd come and draw blood.  Check vitals.  The man next to me was hard of hearing and I could hear him having LOUD, long, drawn our conversations.... at 2:30am.  Clint's snoring.  I know all of this in and out is to care for you after surgery, but it also makes it very hard to rest.

The next day, Saturday,.... oh I felt just awful.  My voice completely quit on me so I couldn't speak above a whisper.  The dizziness was still very bad.  During the night I decided to hold off on pushing the morphine button to see if that would help.  It didn't.  Surprisingly the pain wasn't bad though.  It hurt a but to swallow but I didn't have a sore throat at all.  Feeling as bad as I did, I was still discharged.  All my vitals and blood work were perfect.  Calcium held steady at 9 the whole time.  My doctor came in and removed the drain and gave me discharge instructions.  I felt so bad I wondered how I'd even sit it in a wheelchair or in the truck to drive home.  I made it somehow.

I slept for twelve hours.  Sunday, I woke up still dizzy, still feeling very off.  By the afternoon, I felt very strange.  My head ached and my legs felt tingly and twitchy.  That was one of the 'seek medical care' warnings on my discharge papers.  I was concerned that my calcium had dropped, so Clint called the emergency number, and was told to give me some Tums and go see my doctor in the morning.  Later, the rash appeared.  OH MY the rash.  Something they prepped me with made me break out in awful, itching hives.  From my shoulders, all across my chest.... red, angry bumps.  Just awful!!!  The doc sent me for a calcium check in the morning, and it thankfully came back normal.

FIVE days post op:  All clear...  Pathology says NO CANCER!  I just had a very inflamed Hashi diseased thyroid.  Very thankful that nothing further is needed.  I'm still very dizzy and light headed.  It has to be an anesthesia hangover.  I feel ok for a moment and the next I need to lay down.  Can't wait to feel better.  Now we wait.  In six week we check thyroid levels to see if my meds need to be adjusted.

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  1. Glad everything went well. Our diet does affect the production of our thyroid hormones. Actually, I have a post to share. You might want to check this out -

  2. Oops! I just realised you have already commented on the post!

  3. Yes, now that I've read it I remembered your story! Thanks for sharing!