The Journey Continues: Post-Op & Recovery

Today marks Day 6 of my recovery from my total thyroidectomy and I am glad to back on here.  I’ve been wanting to blog, but wanted to wait until the right time to get back into the swing of things.  Today and for the next few weeks, I’ll share a little bit about my procedure and my recovery thus far, and I am hoping that I can ask some questions to others who are living without their thyroid or who have experiences with Hypothyroidism or Synthroid.

My Questions for Readers:

  1. If you are currently taking Synthroid, how long did it take for you to regulate your levels?  I have not yet started taking it, but am wondering what to expect.
  2. After recovering from any surgery or procedure, how did you ease back into exercise?  For two weeks, I cannot do anything strenuous.  I’m hoping that when it’s time, I can get back into my routines.  Right now is that weird waiting period.

I have been beyond blessed and fortunate this past week since my surgery.  The outpouring of love, support, and care from others has been truly exceptional.  I am so grateful for all the amazing people that I have in my life, especially my family and friends.  From all the delicious treats (I even got an ice cream sundae gift basket!!!!!!!!!!ahhhhh.png) and gifts, to amazing books, meals, and company, I really appreciate you all!

thanks

The procedure itself went very well.  I was under anesthesia for about two hours and I was fortunate enough to be my surgeon’s first procedure of the day.  As expected, I was very anxious the morning of the surgery, but my anesthesiologist and surgical team were really helpful in making me feel calm and comfortable.  The scariest thing for me was entering the operating room without being on any medication yet.  However, all I did was focus on my breathing and this made a world of difference.  As I laid down and they hooked me up to everything, I closed my eyes and focused on taking long, deep breaths, and thats the last thing I remember before waking up.  The initial recovery was rough. Waking up, I was completely delirious and uncomfortable due to the after effects of the breathing tube I had in my throat and the worst case of dry mouth I’ve ever had.  I was most nervous to cough because I felt a lot of buildup down in my throat and didn’t want to do anything to that area.  However, once the pain medication kicked in and I drank endless cups of ice cold water and cranberry juice, I felt like a human again.  A few hours later and following some lab work, I was sent home and was on my couch by the mid afternoon.  As for the recovery time, I’ll need to rest and not partake in any physical/strenuous activity for two weeks.  Luckily, I am on February Break from teaching right now and next Monday, I will be 10 days out of surgery.  Today, since it is a beautiful day, I hope to go for a little walk on the boardwalk right by my apartment.  My diet has gone back to normal for now.  The first few days I mainly ate liquids and soft foods like smoothies, soups, soft pasta, etc.  Now, I’m starting to eat some crunchier foods.  The pain has been a little up and down.  I was taking Percocet immediately after the surgery and while I’m still taking some, I’m starting to wean off.  The first few days I felt more pain in my throat, where as now it is more of an external pain around the area.  The medicine really helps the pain and so that I can sit comfortably because it hurts when I crane or turn my neck certain ways.  One thing that I need to be very cautious of now, I’ve learned, are my calcium levels.  One of the risks of a thyroidectomy are that your calcium levels can drop very low.  This has something to do with your parathyroid glands.  Thankfully, my parathyroid glands are in tact, but I am taking a prescribed calcium supplement as well as Calcitrol to make sure the levels are good.  What’s next is figuring out my levels and starting the Synthroid.  Since I had Hyperthyroidism and my TSH was so low, my body was still adjusting and acting in this way after the surgery for a few days.  I continued taking my Atenolol for palpitations.  However, it’s been two days since I took the Atenolol because I think my body is starting to process the change.  I’m definitely feeling a little off hormonally, but I’m hoping when I start the Synthroid (maybe tomorrow), that it will be the right amount for me.  In a few weeks I will go for my post-op appointment in which I will go over the pathology results from my surgery.  I had the nodule biopsied three years ago and since it stayed about the same size, this should not be a worry.  If, for some unlikely reason, the pathology results show any trace of cancer, I would need the Radioactive Iodine treatment to zap out any remainders from the area.  However, the nodule was never cancerous to begin with, so I feel very positive and strong that this will not be the case.  I’ll meet with my endocrinologist in about 6 weeks to go over new lab work and to adjust my levels if necessary.  In the meantime, I have to wait until I begin treating my scar.  It is absolutely amazing how little my scar is and I am so lucky!  The surgeon did the incision on one of the folds of my neck and it should heal very nicely.  The picture below is a picture right before I left for surgery and one from the day after.  The bruising has gone away now and my hopes are that with the right care, it won’t be visible.

img_3567

As for my vocal cords, one of the risks of the thyroidectomy was damage to my vocal cords.  This would be especially unfortunate since I already have the cyst there.  Luckily, my surgeon is amazing and nothing was harmed.  I am continuing my lip trills and exercises for my hoarse voice and cyst and hoping that this is the next obstacle I can overcome!

I’d love to share three different books that have been essential this week that I highly recommend.  They include Read This Till You Believe It by MH Clark, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay (mentioned in my last post), and adult coloring books.  My particular coloring book is also a journal and I’ve been using Crayola Fine Line Markers as well.  The books are supposed to be calming and it’s been a great tool for me during recovery.

 

One topic I hope to write about soon are healthy foods to eat when you don’t have a thyroid and healthy snacks in general.  For the meantime, I’d love to recommend products from The Good Grocer.  I received an amazing basket of a TON of healthy snacks from a good friend of mine.  So far, I am loving Nature’s Bakery’s Fig Bars.  They are super yummy and healthy.

Good Grocer.jpg

 

Lastly, I’ll finish with two quotes.  I hope that soon, I can post and share more about an array of topics and to learn more from others who have gone through similar situations.  Until then, thank you to anyone who is continuing to read!  Thanks for reading!

 

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