Tuesday, January 22, 2013

total thyroidectomy

It's been one week since I had my "total thyroidectomy" also known as "skinny neck time"! I was diagnosed with Hashimotos thyroiditis when I was 12 when "the goiter" (what a nasty word) had first appeared. It basically meant I had a slow metabolism and would inevitably have to supplement my thyroid hormone production with synthroid. We put it off because it was managable and once you decide to start medication you can never stop and it is harder to stabilize while your thyroid is still functioning. 

Back in September, I went for a physical and my doctor discovered a lump in my throat. I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it, after an ultrasound and a few tests, they found one large nodule on the left side of my thyroid and several small ones on the right side. The "cancer" word was tossed around but the more likely culprit was the Hashimotos. I met with my endocrinologist and he hooked me up with a really awesome surgeon. The whole process of tests and doctor visits drug out for 3 months and that lump continued to grow. 

It was pretty noticeable, here it is a few days before surgery:

I basically had no collar bone and the lump was actually sticking out a little bit!

I was nervous about the surgery and sad to have a scar on such a visible part of my body. I also knew the worst part of the recovery would be getting the synthroid right. That's why I have a good endocrinologist, you don't want to mess around with the hormones that can make you tired and fat or super hyper and stressed out.

The lump made surgery inevitable so I had my one time allowed meltdown and then pulled on my big girl panties and accepted it.

The surgery was fairly quick, an hour or so and when I woke up I was in A LOT of pain. That was definitely the worst part. I couldn't move my neck, I couldn't talk and they wouldn't let me drink anything because it would be terrible if I threw up.

Here's a picture 24 hours after the surgery 
(the one I took right after surgery included drains and I didn't think that would be such a nice picture to see):


I hope that's not too gross! There wasn't a bandage, it's just a bit of glue with some clear stuff on top. I prefer it because I would hate to have to pull anything off later and if I couldn't see it, I would imagine it to be worse.

The pain started to subside on Thursday and by Friday I was fine taking tylenol instead of the loretab. The thyroid is near "parathyroids" one of which produces calcium. As my surgeon described it, even if they aren't damaged during surgery, they tend to be sensitive and will temporarily shut down after surgery. So with numb finger tips I had to take 3 tums 3x a day. Since I think of Tums as candy, I was happiest about this one.

My voice is back although I cannot sing. I can't talk very loud and I can't make my voice go up like I'm surprised or excited. This is most disappointing for Emmy. She will do something funny and I will say "oh. yay." I can't do any better than that! My voice should be back to normal over the next few weeks. 

And, of course, my main concern about recovery came true: I'm moody. It's not too bad, not like I'm angry and then happy. It's more like I'm happy then I'm knock-down-need-a-nap-now tired. Then I get cold. Like, I'm living in an igloo and my toes might fall off. I wrapped a heated blanket around me on high and it took 30 minutes to warm up. 

I am such a naturally warm person that it makes me feel bad that I was so hard on the cold-natured people in my office. Being hot is annoying but being cold takes over all thoughts and it's immobilizing. 

I'll keep you updated on my progress. I am hoping to get back to the gym next week and back to "normal" by Feb 1st.

It's good to set goals, right!? 




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