I had been struggling with the symptoms for approximately the last three years. I was always cold, experienced unexplained weight gain, severe headaches, digestion problems, losing hair, dry skin, brittle nails, and consistent trouble swallowing. And one of the worst symptoms was the feeling like something was stuck in my throat 24 hours a day. I had to work at even swallowing my own saliva!
About a year and a half ago, I went to my doctor and after an ultrasound they discovered multiple nodules on my thyroid. A FNA biopsy was done and no cancer was found so I was told to follow up in about six months. In the meantime I was told my symptoms could not possibly be contributed to my thyroid.
I had every medical test I could think of to include an Endoscopy, ultrasound, swallow test, blood tests, MRI, and I was even scheduled for a CT scan, but by that point I had given up all hope and didn’t go. I was very discouraged.
My blood tests always came back within the “normal range” so It seemed synthetic thyroid hormones would do me no good.
I finally insisted they test me for antibodies and low and behold I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. However, even with this diagnosis my blood test came back within the “normal range”, so no medication was prescribed. I was again advised to follow up in a couple of months and I just had to deal with all the symptoms.
For a little while I just gave up and dealt with that until I couldn’t take it anymore and went back to a doctor at a clinic sponsored by my employer. I finally found someone to listen to me and she sent me to a general surgeon. He assured me I wasn’t going crazy and the swallowing issues were in fact likely due to my thyroid nodules. New nodules were also found an a follow-up ultrasound so it was decided I would have a total thyroidectomy on September 28, 2015.
Fast forward to today. I am approximately three weeks out from my surgery and I have zero regrets! There was a fair amount of pain after surgery but nothing compared to what I’ve experienced the last three years. The pain medication took care of it. I was also given levothyroxine immediately after surgery and started it the next day. The surgeon said my thyroid was quite large and had started wrapping around my esophagus and that was why I was having the swallowing issues. He told me with my diseased thyroid out of my body I would begin to feel much better and guess what….
I feel great! feel like I have finally got my life back. I’m able to stay warm, I have energy again, the headaches have decreased drastically, and most importantly I CAN SWALLOW! I am experiencing tightness and swelling in my neck where the incision is, but I have faith that that will soon disappear with time. The scar is minimal and is already starting to fade. I am using silicone strips and they seem to be doing the trick.
I,too, only found horror stories about the surgery and recovery, but I’m happy to share that mine is just the opposite and I have faith I will only continue to improve. I know my medication may need to be adjusted, but right now it seems to be working and I’m very happy with the results.
My only advice is to advocate advocate advocate for yourself. You know your own body and when something feels wrong trust your instincts. I wish I would have pushed to the doctors years ago and not suffered the last couple years but I’m not going to look back I’m just going to look forward and be glad I have been getting my life back.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story and I wish you all the best!