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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This forum was pretty useful to me as I was prepping for surgery so I thought I would share my story and let people know that it isn't really that bad!

Back in Oct. my primary care Dr. felt what he thought was an enlargement on the left side of my thyroid (he checks often due to a family history of thyroid issues. 6 of 10 grandchildren on 1 side of the family have some sort of issue) and ordered an ultrasound. He is pretty cautious so I figured it was just a precaution but then I got the "The Dr. would like to discuss your test" phone call. Uh oh!

I had 8 nodules, all fairly small (2mm-ish) except for 1 that was 1.3cm. He sent me to an endo who surprised me with a ultrasound guided biopsy after the apt with him. Apparently, 1cm is the threshold that they use, anything bigger gets a biopsy. I'll say that of the whole process, that was probably the worst thing, I didn't really enjoy the biopsy! The initial results came back atypical (some odd cells, but they can't call it cancer) so it was sent out for genetic testing. That came back with a 40% chance that it was cancer so off to meet the surgeon I went. (side note, they sent me to a general surgeon who I'm sure was capable but I wanted someone who specializes in this. I found a Dr. locally that is an ENT surgeon and has done thousands of these surgeries)

Met with the surgeon and made the decision to do a total thyroidectomy since the nodules on the other side would have to be monitored forever and I wanted to avoid being cut open again if possible!

Surgery day I was pretty nervous, I'm 42 and have never had ANY medical procedure, I was really worried about going under and had read too many horror books about people being awake during surgery, etc. Got all wired up with the IV, met with the surgeon and anesthesiologist (who helped put me at ease a bit), they gave me a shot of happy juice and off I went. Went into the OR at 7:30 and woke up in recovery at 9:30. 1st reaction was more of a sore throat from the tube than pain from the incision so they gave me some pain meds and some anti-nausea meds too. Spent 1 night in the hospital, the PA came around 7:00 the next morning to remove the drain, that woke me up a bit! It stings but its over pretty quick. I took 1 week off work but was pretty mobile the day after I got home, driving within 2 days. Pain was minimal, never took the hydrocodone they gave me for home. I did sleep in a chair the 1st couple nights to keep the neck elevated and help with swelling.

2 week post op follow up, the bumped me from 175mcg levothyroxine to 200 (I'm not particularly small) and took the steristrips off. The incision had some swelling (and even now has some texture to it) but they said that its all normal and that my incision was pretty small for a TT. I was back working out after 2 weeks. I was on the very low end of normal for my pre-op numbers so being on the meds I actually feel really good. Have lots of energy, etc! Blood work every 6 weeks for a little while to monitor things.

The final pathology was interesting. The 1.3cm nodule came back clear but one of the 2mm ones on the other side did show cancer so it was good that we decided to take the whole thing! It was small enough and lymph nodes were clear so most likely no RAI will be needed but I meet with the endo next week to discuss.

Sorry for being so long, it helped to process the whole thing by writing it out. All in all, the process was not that bad, if it's the worst thing that ever happens to me I think I'm still doing pretty well! Feel free to ask me any questions, its all still pretty fresh in my mind.
 

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Sounds like you had a good experience, all things considered. I'm glad to hear you are doing well!
 
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Excellent summary - thanks for sharing!
 
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Sounds like you had a completely routine surgical experience, which is good!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like you had a completely routine surgical experience, which is good!
I was VERY happy with the surgeon and think I made the right choice by doing some research and finding the best one locally that I could (and would encourage everyone to do the same. I polled a very well known neurosurgeon and my primary care dr. and they both gave me the same name). I'll take routine all day long :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Appt. with the endo this week and he confirmed that there was no need for the radioactive iodine. Said that everything was clear and looked good. I liked his line, "Someday, you'll die of something but it won't be thyroid cancer" :)
 

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Great news, Mike!
 

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I have to agree on the drainage tube. That was the worst part of the whole ordeal. Other than that my surgery was routine done by my ENT doctor. I didn't touch my pain meds and had a sore throat for a couple of days.
 
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