My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 3

I woke up around 6:00 on Tuesday morning and was ravenous. I ordered some breakfast and turned on the television, to our local channel 3. It was good to see familiar faces, comforting to feel like I was back (almost) in the real world. Kristen came in with my Synthroid, Calcitriol and Tums. It hurt to swallow even these tiny pills. It hurt to swallow water. I wondered how I would fare with my breakfast.

The dietary worker arrived with my cheese omelette and sausage and I was able to get it all down, one painful bite after another. I was so hungry that my appetite overruled my sore throat and I kept going. It was truly delicious and it seemed to get easier to swallow with each bite I took. I think the hot tea I ordered helped some, too.

I had a nasty cough that was probably caused from the anesthesia in addition to my constant allergy issues, and it really hurt to cough. I’m still coughing some, but it is far less painful a week and a half out from surgery than it was the day after! I laid in bed, waiting for more pain meds and water. At 8:00 someone came in and delivered my pills and refilled my handy-dandy 32 oz. mug with the hospital logo with ice and water! Hooray!!

Kristen came in a little while later and removed the dressing from my incision. I still had the tape, but the larger bandage was gone. I was much more comfortable once I saw the taped incision. It didn’t really seem all that bad. It was swollen, but that was expected. And it hurt some, but it wasn’t too awful. The pain from my sore throat and upper shoulders and back of my neck was worse by far than the incision site.

I had residual stickiness from the tape that held my dressing in place. Yuck. I’m slightly sensitive to adhesives like that anyway, so it was red and itchy as well as being sticky. I went in to my sink and tried to remove some of the mess with a little soap and water on my washcloth. It helped some and I felt better. I washed my face and sponge bathed the rest of me as I wasn’t allowed to take a shower until Wednesday. Aunt Flo was still visiting, but was much more manageable than the previous two days. I was still cursing the timing of THAT event. I mean seriously, 6 months of NOTHING, and then the DAY BEFORE SURGERY!!! UGH. (Sorry guys, I know it’s gross, but women deal with it, and it’s relevant to my experience, so I’m writing about it.) It definitely brightened my morning to feel a little fresher and cleaner.

Hubby got to the hospital around 11:30, just about the time my lunch arrived. I ate my lunch, he ate his Subway sandwich that he brought with him, and we chatted. He said I looked a lot better than the day before and I think he felt better seeing me feeling more like myself. The nursing staff was awesome (well except Robin, but she’s an aide, and I’m still not sure she was all that bad) and my daytime nurse came in with more pain meds. I was definitely ready! About 30 minutes post drug I was ready to fall asleep again and hubby decided he’d run home and take a nap, too. We were both bone weary with all the hullaballo surrounding this surgery and I think it had just caught up with us. We kissed, he left, I slept. I slept for 4 hours! Then it was time to take my vitals again.

Everything looked good according to my vital signs. I was no longer on oxygen or the constant blood pressure  monitoring and was a little more free to move around. I was able to go back and forth to the bathroom at will, which is good because between the IV and the copious amounts of water I was drinking I was in there a lot! I was bored with television so I decided to order dinner.

It’s pretty cool, this restuarant/room service type system of ordering your food at this hospital. And the food, it was delicious! I ordered a chicken dish and some apple pie for dessert with milk to drink. I tried using the ordering thing on the tv…but after an hour of no food I realized that I had botched that order up somehow and called in my order instead. They could see that I had ATTEMPTED to order an hour earlier, so they put a priority on my meal and I had it in about 20 minutes instead of the usual 45. It was 6:10, and I was starving. It was still hard to swallow, but not as hard as it was the day before, or even earlier that morning. I chewed carefully and swallowed slowly, following up each bite with a sip of water.

Hubby showed up shortly after I ate and we watched television, a baseball game, I think, while we yakked and waited for the doctor to come in and, hopefully, tell me that I could go home. Dr. VLR showed up around 8:30 PM. After reviewing my bloodwork and charts he said that if I felt like going home I was free to go. Yay! He filled out the release paperwork, the nurse filled out hers and I left with discharge instructions, three prescriptions and orders to get another blood draw to check my calcium levels in 7 days (ooops, it’s been 10 days and I still need to get in to do that!).

We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home and went back an hour later to pick them up. I slammed down two Percocet the minute I walked into the house, and then checked my email and my blog. I was too tired and sore to do anything but read, so I spent about 15 minutes just sitting there staring at the computer until the meds hit me and I went to bed.

On Wednesday morning I got up and started to go downstairs to do some things that I normally do…like bringing my hubby his first cup of coffee. I do this because I love him, and I like to do something that shows him how special he is to me. But this particular morning he was having NONE of it! I was told, in no uncertain terms, to get back up there and get in bed and to let HIM take care of ME for a change…dammit!! So I did. 🙂  I spent most of the day in bed, scarfing down pain pills and moaning while watching baseball and basketball!

Now I’m 10 days past my surgery. My tape is gone, my incision is healing nicely and the swelling is going down more each day. I feel pretty good for the most part. It still hurts to cough, or sneeze, and I’m a little tired, but that’s improving each day as well. I haven’t slept well since the surgery until last night but I don’t really know why. My pain is nearly gone other than when I cough. My back and shoulders are still a little stressed and I’m taking Tylenol at night to help with that. Our hot tub has been wonderful for helping with the back pain! 

I’m acclimating to taking a pill every morning (Synthroid, which I will take for the rest of my life) and have my post operative appointments scheduled with the surgeon and endocrinologist. I’m back at work and have been able to put in full days all this week. So I’d say I’m doing pretty darned good!

I’m relieved that the pathology report did not show any other cancer whatsoever. None on the right side of my thyroid, no more than what we already knew about on the left side, and none in any of the lymph nodes  that were removed during surgery. I won’t know about having to go through the RAI treatment until I see my endocrinologist later in May.

I’ve only had a little bit of trouble with my voice, kind of like a 13 year old boy going through puberty. I crack and squeak a little at times. I can’t yell but I’m not much of a screamer unless I’m watching sports. I’m grateful because I know sometimes damage to the vocal cords and/or nerves is unavoidable during this kind of operation. I think having a skilled surgeon who has done over a thousand of these procedures was key to coming out of this with very little damage to my voice and to my parathyroid glands. I’m very grateful for Dr. VLR.

I’m grateful to all my family and friends who have supported me with their words, their prayers and their phone calls, emails and blog comments.

I’m very grateful to my aunt and uncle who were here with me while I was going through the FNA biopsy  and my CT scan as well as several doctor’s visits that they attended with us. They took us out to dinner the night that I got the first pathology report that indicated that I might have thyroid cancer. My aunt went to bat for me with my insurance company and got some things straightened out that there was serious confusion around.  My uncle was traveling here to be with us for my surgery when he hit a patch of ice in the mountains of New Mexico and rolled his truck. I’m so thankful he wasn’t hurt badly, but I’m so sorry that he was hurt at all. Both of them have given my hubby and I so much support through this and  we love them very much!!

I’m extremely grateful to my husband for taking excellent care of me throughout this whole last week, despite the fact that he’s been sick. He took a week of vacation time off from work to be there for me whenever I needed him. He took me to two baseball games and yelled for me when I couldn’t yell for myself! He’s been there for me every step of the way through this whole ordeal, from October of 2007 through today. Thank you Honey!! You’re the BESTEST!! I love you more than life itself!



5 thoughts on “My Thyroid Surgery Experience – Part 3

  1. GAAAAKKK, this all just sounds so painful!!! It took me a very long time to read thru all 3 experiences because everything was described so vividly that at times I cringed and other times I ran from the room screaming…………………

    So so so so glad you got through it and are on the road to recovery.

  2. I had my surgery, April 8th, 2008, it was great to read this, I had a enlarged thryoid on the left side, when I went in for surgery they thought it was the size of a grapefruit, well infact it had grown down into my chest behind my clavicle bone around my neck, just about to my spine. Thank god no cancer!!!!I am still have having a tough time adjusting. it still bothers me to swallow and I still just dont feel like me. Iam soo tired!! I sure hope this gets better. So much of what you wrote was soo true. The first night for me, I was in so much pain, and didnt sleep, had a reaction to morphine, so kept me on the Perkicet as well. I hope your doing well and thanks for sharing your story

  3. I am so glad you came through it all with flying colors. I am also very grateful to your hubby for taking such good care of you. He deserves a cookie… 🙂

    Here’s to recovering!

  4. I am so glad everything turned out OK. I am a 911 dispatcher so the idea of having damage to my voice box has been a bit of a concern for me. I dont know yet if one lobe or my entire thyroid will be removed. I will find out more next Wednesday

    Thanks for posting your story!

  5. Lynda,

    Just had a lobectomy on Monday – your story really helped me prepare for this surgery – we didn’t know if it was going to be a total or just the lobectomy. I also got Aunt Flow for my surgery!!! Thanks again for the great blog entry on your surgery.

    – Julie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s