Thyroid Exorcism – Thyroid Removal
Today marks one month since surgery. Half of me wanted to keep it private. The other half of me wanted to do what others had done. Post about it. So people like me, that had questions before surgery could read about it. After much thought, I chose to blog about my thyroid exorcism.
I Told Nobody Until a Week Before Surgery
I hadn’t told anyone in my family or even our children that I had to go in for surgery until about a week before the surgery date. Partly because I wasn’t 100% sure on what was going on within my body. I know my primary doctor and a surgeon both told me I would be fine after surgery. My primary doctor said not to worry. Thyroid cancer was the good cancer.
I just shake my head EVERYTIME I hear that. The good cancer? Why would you ever say that? I’ll give you that the percentage rate for survival is much higher but in my case with lymph nodes in my neck being brought into the equation that makes thing all the more risky.
On the Road
The morning of November 14th, 2012 my husband and I set out for the 2 1/2 hour drive at 3:00 in the morning. We arrived, they placed my fancy new ID bracelet on my arm. I joked with my husband this is for after surgery so I can look at it to remember my name. He wasn’t impressed. I was just trying to ease his anxiety and direct my attention away from the tear away gown I was now donning.
Blood Sample and onto the Anesthesiologist
They took a blood sample and then had me lay in a hospital bed until they were ready for surgery. I got a chance to kiss my husband and they wheeled me down about four hallways into another room. This room had curtain dividers and is where I spoke with the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
The anesthesiologist giggled at me because I was so nervous and asked if I wanted something to calm me. I said if you have some magic drug that will make it so I don’t remember anything from now until after surgery, I’ll take that drug.
He put a medication in my IV after he asked if I had any additional questions. After administering it, I wouldn’t feel like talking he told me. It was a magical drug. But, He lied! I do remember two things after administering that drug. One was I know that I told him he had the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen and also I remember them asking me to slide off one table on to the other. Other than that. It was perfect.
I woke up on the other side of the recovery curtain room I was in before surgery. Again, there isn’t much I remember about being in that room. The only thing I recall is the nurse stating I had to wake up and me swatting at her like she was a fly. I just wanted to sleep! My first real memory was a vitals check on the hospital floor and my husband was in the room.
In My Room
When I woke up the nurse was taking my blood pressure and asked me to rate the pain on a scale from 1-10. I remember saying a 6, only because my throat felt raw and hurt. She asked if I wanted anything for pain and I said I was good. I asked for a glass of water and she said I couldn’t eat or drink anything.
I looked over at my husband and said “I survived and I don’t need an ID bracelet to remember my name,” I also told him that I think I remember telling the anesthesiologist he was cute and had beautiful brown eyes. My husband smiled and said you are pretty funny all drugged up.
Only thing going through my head was I wonder what else I was saying….
I Promise I Will Not Turn Into a Gremlin
A half hour later the nurse was back in again for vitals check and to get me up to use the bathroom. Again, I asked for water. I was told nothing to eat or drink because I might have to go back in for surgery tomorrow, depending on the results. My husband and I had no knowledge of additional surgery. I said I would be asking in depth questions when I saw the surgeon. If anything, even if I had to have additional surgery it should be nothing to eat or drink after midnight (much like a Gremlin). It was before noon, so I was pretty sure I was ok.
I’m Trying to Get Some Sleep
I’m trying to get some sleep and my husband is over there in his chair asking each nurse for something different as they come in and out of the room. A pillow, blanket, bed and finally, a fan. Is this the Hilton Mr. Vig? After his requests were GRANTED he was out cold and snoring like a Mack Truck. All I want to do is sleep! For the first time in months, I wanted to sleep. People! Let me, please.
Finally, Someone Who Was In My Surgery
About an hour later I received a visit from the assistant to my surgery. I asked her only two questions at the time. One was why the inside of my throat felt so raw and the second could I eat or drink.
The inside of my throat felt sore and raw because they use 2 different tubes for thyroid surgery and in my case a third instrument that moves your vocal cords to be sure that they don’t accidental damage your vocal cord when cutting so close. The assistant ok’d me for food and drink until midnight and also gave me throat lozenges. If I had additional questions I was to ask the surgeon who was wrapping up surgery and would be making his rounds shortly.
Visit From Surgeon
Finally, my questions answered. It seemed like it took days for the surgeon to come and see me, but really it was really only a few hours. The surgery went well. Doc Evans removed the left lobe of my thyroid and the isthmus too. He wanted to keep my parathyroids intact if at all possible.
Which meant he had to sew one back into the muscles of my neck after he took a biopsy of all. Hoping that they will all function properly. He also a biopsy for my suspicious lymph nodes, right thyroid section and all the rest of the parathyroids as well. We would have the results back in the morning. If anything else proved to be cancer we had to go back in and remove it.
Why Couldn’t You Just Remove Everything?
I asked why he didn’t just remove everything at one time. Just to be sure. I already was told I would be on medication the rest of my life, so why not.
The lymph nodes, can spread cancer through your body but are needed in healthy bodies. So, if that was the case it was best to find out if removal was really needed. The parathyroids regulate the calcium in your body, so you don’t want to just go and take them out. The right side of the thyroid can help keep your metabolism running smooth. If there is no problems, insurance and surgeons don’t like to take out organs just in case. There has to be a reason. If the right lobe came back as cancer, then it would come out too. Right now as it stands, the left side of thyroid was the issue. Everything was neatly contained, it appears. The isthmus was removed to be on the safeside.
I Feel Better but Waiting is Hard
I felt at ease. I know he had my best interest. He did remove all the left lobe and got everything because it was contained. He took out the isthmus just in case because it was so close. Now we wait.
Results Are In
The results were in, early in the morning. The additional tests proved that the right side growths were a follicular adenoma – a hurthle cell variant. That means the rest of the growth in my other half of my thyroid and variants are not cancer. The growths can be halted by medication.
One Month Since Surgery
It has been one month since surgery. In three weeks I go and get my thyroid blood tests performed. Since I have been on medication I feel normal again. No more manic or depression bouts, I can swallow again. For the first time in many, many years, I sleep at night!
The Incision is Healing Nicely
I have been placing vitamin e oil on it a few times a week. I also purchased some silicone scar strips from my local drug store. I am happy I chose the fine mono-filament nylon suture to maximize cosmetic benefit.
Now, if only my bruising and swelling would disappear for good, all would be well. That is more or less from the parathyroid transplant. I am told that it takes a little longer for the swelling to dissipate. Patience, I know! It doesn’t come easy for me.