I had a TT and left and central neck dissection on June 19. 10 of the 57 lymph nodes removed were cancerous as well as my thyroid. My surgery was somewhat more delicate than "usual" in that I also have Graves Disease. I had RAI ablation treatment for the Graves in Feb 2012. Consequently, the thyroid was very shrunken thus making the surgery a bit more tedious. Thankfully, everything went well during the course of the long surgery - the repositioning of the parathyroids and function - everything went smoothly - ALMOST. I suffered some thermal damage to the right vocal cord. The surgeon said that although they temporarily "lost signal" on that nerve during surgery, they were hopeful that the injury would be temporary as the nerve "regained signal" on its own accord during surgery.
It now has been almost 9 weeks since surgery and my voice is still weak, very soft, and somewhat hoarse. But, the bigger issue for me is the breathing issue it has created. I am an endurance athlete and I have a very difficult time getting enough air into my lungs when I increase my exertion level. Walking around and normal daily activities I am fine. But anytime I try to increase speed or effort (ie: climb any type of hill), I suffer terribly. It is like I have a very bad case of bronchitis or what I imagine asthma to be but have no inhaler to clear it up! I also feel like I have a bunch of gunk in my throat that I can't clear and I cough a lot.
A visit to the ENT today confirmed that the right vocal cord is indeed paralyzed (larynxscopy). The doc said I could give it more time or I could choose to have the collagen injection, which might help temporarily (her recommendation). From what I have read, this procedure is aimed more toward restoring normal voice sound but not necessarily breathing issues, which for me as an athlete, is more important than my voice right now. Plus, there is general anesthesia and always risks - neither of which I am too excited about at the moment.
Has anyone had any experience with this procedure? How about just giving the nerve more time to heal? I am willing to be patient. I am thankful I can still get out and run and ride - it just is very challenging.
Thanks for you input!
PS: RAI is tentatively scheduled for Sept 6. Low iodine diet, here I come!!! :-)
Edited August 20, 2013 at 9:09 am