I had the surgery January 22 and the results came back BENIGN. Yeah. But what a recovery period! I'm still recovering. Try removing something as big as a man's fist from your throat and see how you feel. Actually it was two small, petite women's fists size wise. One on each side of my neck. I actually have those dimples at the bottom of my neck again. Before I felt like there with a tree trunk or an elephant's leg in the place of my neck.
The surgery took a long time. It took 30 minutes and 12 pricks to find a usable vein. I had a LOT of blood work in the last weeks prior to surgery so I already had bruising and shy veins. They finally gassed me and found a vein in my upper chest and then later someone found a yet unpricked vein on my hand for IV fluids.
Post-op I awoke to a compression bandage around my neck. I threw up all the Ringers IV solution as soon at it found its way to my stomach. By 2 am they were giving me an anti-nausea med for chemo patients and had cut off all IV fluids trying to stop the vomiting. The pain medicine was too much. And I couldn't keep down Calcium pills which are supposed to soothe the stomach.
I was released 30 hours after checking in and I should have stayed longer, because when I got home, I got worse. I developed a sinus/ear infection which caused my ears to bleed and the meds for pain-percocet- left me feeling terrible. Why anyone takes them for fun, I'll never know. Then to top it off, my husband gets mad on day 2 home and says, "I thought this surgery was supposed to make you better. I can't take this much longer. I'm not going to put up with this for the rest of my life." Asshole! So glad my 14 yr old son was willing to take care of me. I still had to get up and make meals and clean house as usual so all-in-all, worst surgery recovery ever.
I had chills for 2 days after arriving home, then I developed a bad case of the shakes. My feet and my arms shook in uncontrolled fits and this was every 4-6 hours. All the while, my sinus and ear infection got worse. But I didn't have a fever, so when I called the surgeon's office a week post-op, I was told this was not a surgical issue and to see a GP. By this point I was in tears from sheer misery. So I get a relative from 30 miles away to drive me another 30 miles to see a doctor - because I can't turn my head from the surgery. I'm told I have a sinus and ear infection. No duh! What I didn't know was this: the chills, the emotions, the shakes, all a result of surgery and specifically, from having my thyroid cut away. This info I find out from my GP, not the surgeon. I'm given a 10 day regimen of antibiotics, which leaves me sick to the stomach. At this point, I'm thinking. "What next?"
Next day the same relative drives me to my specialist for a regularly scheduled appointment. I am a complete wreck at this point. 8 days post-op. I start having the shakes at the office. I start crying. This is not me! I have been so mellow and down right unemotional for so long, I'm even scaring myself. The doctor calls my relative in and asks if I'm normally like this. Fortunately, it's his doctor too and they have an established relationship, and they're both men, so when my relation replies, "Never," I'm relieved and the doctor realizes (believes) this is not normal. In other words, I'm not just another emotional female.
End result, I am put on a complete replacement dose of thyroid medicine. I am taken off all meds that are pain killers, cough suppressants, and chemo level anti-nausea medicine. My calcium is blocking the thyroid meds and I am told to take it in the afternoons and evenings. Within 24 hours, the shakes are almost gone. Within 72 hours, I am as near to normal as I can be less than 2 weeks post-op. My specialist went so far as to call anesthesia "controlled poisoning".
Later on the phone the same relative reminds me to take it like a man and don't complain. "No one likes a whiner." Where do I get these wonderful men in my life? So yes, all these lovely comments have left me reticent to post any of this, fearing I'll be just another complainer.
So I'm coming up on a month post op and adjusting Calcium levels and adjusting to a new diet and new metabolism which had slowed to nil in the past 5 years. I have more energy and sleep a lot less. The numbness in my hands is gone and my hands are working again. The swelling on my neck and shoulder is greatly reduced. I lost 15 pounds in the hospital. My son jokes 5 pounds was tumors, though I wonder how close to right he is. I still have a long way to go and look forward to continuing to get better. I had my post op check today and was told I am normal and recovering well. So I'm off to a good start, even if it was a little long in reaching this point.