Post Thyroidectomy

I’ve been healing from having my thyroid removed. I wanted to post about the thyroidectomy experience and post healing process, because I haven’t been able to find any that are NOT insane horror stories and were all non-normal scenarios. So hopefully someone who has thyroid cancer (or has to have their thyroid removed) will do a Google search and read my experience and help them feel better.

3 weeks after the cut. Note weird neck line above the cut - that was not there before - I think it's cuz there is a chunk of body missing on the inside, resulting in excess skin.

1. The worst part of the whole experience is waking up in the holding room after the surgery. You might find it hard to breathe – DO NOT PANIC. Take slow, deep breaths. It will be uncomfortable, but you should really focus on trying to breathe.

2. The hospital sucks. They will take your blood once at night and again in the morning to check your calcium levels. If they went up a bit overnight, they will probably set you free. I was able to leave by 8 AM the next day.

3. People will try talking to you. Your vocal chords are temporarily damaged and you can probably croak at them but it will suck. Text them on your mobile device and tell them to stop trying to make you talk. Texting is your friend for the first few days after the surgery.

4. You’ll be able to walk around, etc. In fact, two days after the surgery, you will start your new medication and you might feel AMAAAAAAAZIIING!! You will feel like you can run, bike, go hog wild. Don’t do it! It’s your body hyped up on hormones, since the old thyroid hormones take over a week to go away, so you are doubled up. The thyroid controls your energy levels, so of course with too many thyroid hormones coursing through you, you will feel amaazing!! wooo! superwoman! yaeahhhh!!

5. This will end. You will crash. Sleep is your friend.

6. You might feel great after two weeks and decide to go back to work. DO NOT DO THIS. You will get tired really easily and by that 1 PM meeting, feel like you got hit by bricks. Take THREE WEEKS OFF. I made this mistake and suffered heavily.

7. It takes about three weeks for the neck swelling to go down. My scar looks like a red line drawn on my neck, but that all depends on your skin type, etc. I smear Vitamin E on it every day and wear my hair back so it doesn’t stick to my neck. Classy.

8. It’s been about three weeks and I have most of my voice back. It’s hard to talk loud and I can’t hit the high ranges. Expect to NOT sing in your car for about a month.

Overall, I feel great CONSIDERING that only three weeks ago I had my neck slit open and my thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes cut out of me. I’m still a little tired, but overall pleased.

Please share your story about your positive post thyroidectomy story!

8 Comments

Filed under Thyroid Cancer

8 Responses to Post Thyroidectomy

  1. Karen

    Just curious if you had shortness of breath issues, I had my surgery two weeks ago and that is my only real complaint. I get winded walking up stairs and pre surgery I was a 5 miles brisk walk person.

    Did you do additional RA treatment.
    Thanks for the answers!

    • YES I very much did have shortness of breath for several weeks after. I was a VERY active person before the thyroidectomy; it is amazing how much it takes out of you!! You went through a major surgery – be kind to yourself and use the next few months to REST and ease yourself back into things. I did not do the additional RA treatment. <3

  2. Stacy

    Loved reading your experience. Thank you for sharing it. I’m curious if you are still feeling tired? My TSH came back as .65 3 weeks post total removal. I’m on 150m of Levo. Besides being very tired, I’m feeling a little emotional and have gained a couple of pounds. I dont have the energy to go for walks or much anything. I too went back to work after 2 weeks and regret it. I would urge anyone I know to stay home for at least 3 weeks as well.

    Thanks much! Stacy

    • Hi Stacy,
      Yes, I do sometimes feel tired or a little more slow on occasion. You are only 3 weeks out from your surgery? If so, you have every right to feel slow, tired and emotional! That first week, everything feels fine until all your original thyroid hormones leave your body. You are sooo right about taking at lesat 3 – 4 weeks off; I went back to work after 2 weeks, what a nightmare.

      When do you get your thyroid levels checked again by your doctor? Are you seeing an endocrinologist? My endo says, it’s not about the numbers but about how you feel. So get your levels checked every few weeks and your med levels adjusted until you feel better!! You got this!!!!

  3. Tricia Paul Bernstein

    Sparky, thank you for this blog. I have questions and there is no real information on the internet. I was amazed. I am a competitive power lifter and got to a point it was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work much less go to the gym and lift heavy weights. No energy and felt like my t-shirts were too tight–kept cutting them down the front. ENT finally sent me for a thyroid scan (he was just going to wait and see) My endo went ballistic and I was having biopsies done on the nodules immediately. My TSH and T4 were within normal ranges.
    I am three weeks out from surgery (2/3/15) and I feel like I have a golf ball up to a tennis ball shoved down my throat. Mine was not cancer but the nodules (even though benign) were quite large–2+cm on one side and 1+cm on the other. So, a total thyroidectomy. I agree 3-4 weeks would probably be good. I was out for two weeks and I am on the phone at work all day as well as speaking with people. I am really exhausted and voice is almost gone by the time I go home.
    Singing is definitely not on the program for awhile. LOL

    • Hi Tricia,
      WOW Competitive Power Lifter, that is SOOOOO COOOL!! Fierce and sexy!
      Gurrrl, how are you talking all day??? Are you able to take any more time off for awhile?
      Please take it easy on yourself, your body just went through a huge shock. It seems so minor but it’s actually a big deal.
      Please keep me updated <3
      Love,
      Sparky

    • Also, congrats on getting rid of that pesty thyroid. Now YOU are in control of your hormones and well being! Keep going back to the endocrinologist and have your meds adjusted based on how you FEEL, not the ‘numbers’ the doctor gives you.

  4. laurie

    Tricia – I was wondering how you are feeling now since your surgery? Are your energy levels back and are you back to your heavy lifting at the gym?

    I love lifting as well and am just wondering how long it took you to get back into the swing of things and how you feel overall.

    Thanks!!

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