Surgery scheduled - what should I expect

Hi All,

I am scheduled for a TT on 3/1/13 at Georgetown Hospital and would love to know what to expect and any advice on pre and post-op. This is my first time posting and have learned so much from the postings on this site.

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Each persons recovery will be slightly different. I felt fine after. I think my only issue was that I had this silly worry about my head falling off backwards... lol. I had a little bit of a calcium deficiency afterwards- which lead to some tingling hands and feet. They gave me calcium supplements and it eventually resolved after a few days.
The biggest problem was the sore throat from intubation. You will be ok. I am sure you are just ready to get it over with.

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I had the same sore throat that Brenna mentioned. I just used some throat losengers for a few days maybe a week. I also experienced very minor pain when I tilt my head forward or looked sideways but my Thyroid was enlarged and took some extra time and neck twisting. This pain was gone with a regular Motrin or Tylenol. I have anxiety issues and couldnt sleep the first night right after surgery so the gave me ambien at night. but i was up walking around the hospital same day of surgery and eating regular food. i kind of freaked myself out the next day cause I don't like being in a hospital and ended up taking an Ativan but most people don't have this fear or so I don't think. But honestly I was fine. I walked out to the car on my iwn from the hospital. I started Synthroid and calcium the very next day and took off work just a few days. I felt a bit sleepy even a week later but I am very sensitive to anesthesia so this was not related to the surgery itself. My tip if you get nausea from anesthesia is to make sure the anesthesiologist gives you some phenergan.

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I think they must use a very large tube in your throat, so that they have a firm surface for the surgery, because mine was bad too. Felt like burning bronchitis. The surgery area was a breeze compared to that. I was not even on tylenol after the first day. Just sleep off the anesthesia for a day or two, and rest up. I just loved ice cold sherbert, and chicken soup. Oh and a nice thick foam matress topper, if you don't have one, will make the whole thing worth it.;o)

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The surgery for me was not bad at all. I did get queasy from the anesthesia but it wore off in a few hours and I never got sick. They will test your calcium levels every 4 hours via blood to make sure they are ok, if they are not they will keep you an extra day or two until they rise to at least 8.0. Don't panic if this happens, it is common for the calcium to drop, sometimes the parathyroids get stunned and need a bit of time to work again. My recovery was quick and easy. The 1st 24 hours in hospital I did use the morphine via the IV line but once it was out (around 20 hours after surgery) I was fine on extra-strength tylenol and did not need prescription pain meds. I know everyone is different, I just wanted to share my personal experience with you. The scar has heeled fast and beautifully, now post 3 and 1/2 months it is barely visible. The RAI was fine too. I did not get any of the lousy side effects that were not tolerable. The LID diet was very tolerable, do your research 1st so you are well prepared, Daria on this site has a terrific website and the on-line recipes from thyca are very good and easy. I was lucky to get thyrogen injections, hopefully if you need the RAI (some people do not) you will get the thyrogen. You do not have to stop your synthroid then, and again I had no troublesome side effects from them. Good luck, you will do fine.

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The surgery wasn't that bad. I lost my voice for a few days and took some paid meds for about a day or two. The worst part actually was getting morphine after surgery, the morphine made me really sick. My neck muscles were sore but it wasn't so bad. I think the hardest part comes after the surgery, trying to get your hormone levels back to normal.
Don't worry so much about the surgery, you'll do fine.

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I had my TT last August 20 and to tell you the truth I really don't remember that much anymore. I know that the whole procedure took about 2 hrs or less between putting me to sleep and waking up. I cant really remember how bad the pain was but I guess it wasn't that bad cause I only took some tylenol 3 for a couple of days, and in regards to my voice, I was talking as soon as I wolk up. The best thing to do is to take with you the U shape pillow cause you will need it for after the surgery. Few people here advised me to take it with me to the hospital and it was the best advise.

Everyone is different so try to relax as much as you can. This surgery is not as bad as we think, and for what I have read so far, almost every body do ok.

I will pray for you and wish you a great surgery and wonderful results. Keep us posted pls.

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Ditto all of the above. Tell whoever is with you that your time in the recovery room may be longer (as much as 4-6 hours) so they won't think something has gone wrong. The post-op team will be monitoring your calcium and watching to make sure your paralaryngial nerve was not damaged (affects breathing as well as your voice).

Once you get to your room, ask for ice for your neck area. It reduces sweling. Some people experience the swelling as a choking feeling and that can cause panic. You're not really choking, but everything in there has been beaten up pretty convincingly and the perfectly normal tightness in the neck can be very uncomfortable. Ice for 10-15 minutes at a time several times a day will speed your recovery.

Don't be a hero - if you're in pain, take meds. It's temporary. If you're queasy, ask for phenergen; it's mild and will help you sleep, too. Your throat will be sore from being intubated. Pain-killing lozenges are cheap. Use them till you can take food and liquids more comfortably. Some people experience more pain than others. If you need something stronger, it doesn't mean you're a wuss. There are a lot of large nerves in your neck and if they get roughed up during your surgery, they will act up.

All of this is temporary. Most people are bored by day 4 post-surgery and anxious to be up and around. One word about that: take it easy anyway. The anaesthesia includes some powerful toxins and you need to go easy on your body for a week or so till the byproducts are flushed out of your system. If they had put you under anaesthesia and your surgeon didn't do a thing but stand there and read a magazine for 45 minutes while you slept, you'd still feel like crap when you woke up. Dry mouth, sore throat, etc. Post surgery, drink lots of water and don't rush yourself. This is major surgery. Baby yourself for the best part of a week.

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Let see, the first thing you see in the OR is the chainsaw and the machette... or was that in the tool shed... I can't remember... TT was not a problem for me and I was home and not on pain meds 2 days after the procedure... the radical neck dissection was a bit more painful and took longer to heal but I'm well past that now too!

Good Luck!

Be Strong and Stay Positive!

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My experience was similar to the above posts - surgery, then in recovery for 4 hours, apparently. When I was told I would be in recovery for 4 hours, I thought, that's so long, what would I do...well, I was 'out' for all of it. They do this as a precaution for something. If I was told, I've forgotten why. My surgery was Oct 18/12. The incision didn't hurt while healing - just some discomfort. I didn't take ANY pain meds. Some bruising. Some swelling. Some loss of voice. Some sore throat. Nothing very painful.

You will be fine. Fingers crossed. Keep reading this site. It is great for information - no surprises, no secrets.

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Thank you all for your replies and prayers. This is a wonderful site and all the information here is very helpful.

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Do some neck stretching exercises a few times a day now to avoid stiffness after surgery.

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Also, if you do not know how you will handle anesthesia, you can ask for a nausea patch. I didn't in surgery one, and my reaction to the anesthetics was worst than the surgery. Two weeks later I used it for the second surgery, and it was much, much better. Another trick I learned from having them back-to-back was to have someone bring me real tea and soup the next day - if your hospital is anything like mine, the "liquid" meal
s are just awful and all sugar.

Good luck!

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Everyone is different and every experience is different. I had very minor sore throat. Actually it didn't bother me at all until the 3rd night after the surgery and that is all. I never took heavy pain meds and stuck with Tylenol. However, I did have a very very bad time with nausea. I had a tough time with it because I had adverse reactions to the anti-nausea meds. If I didn't have those reactions it wouldn't have been that bad. My hospital stay wasn't pleasant as the hospital was full so I wound up in the transplant unit. Things never settle down and get quiet there, so I got no rest. Once I got home and got some sleep and rest, things started getting much better. I even ate a bit of Thanksgiving dinner the next day.

I was back doing cardio circuit kick boxing classes at the 2 week exact time frame. I wasn't anywhere near 100% but I just needed to get moving again. I credit my surgeon and the fact that I'm pretty active on my seemly speedy recovery. I was working from home 5 days later. I could have started earlier but why rush it anymore than I had to.

One tip is that make sure when you are recuperating is to get up and move. I would get up and walk around the house the first few days. 2 days after I went for a short walk outside. 2nd tip, when you are tired, STOP. sit down, lay down, take a nap.

Just remember, that when you are having a bad stretch or feeling bad, that that is part of the recovery.

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Lots of good advice above, and wanted to make sure you knew that you can use the "Find It" feature in the upper right corner of the site, so access the existing threads on this same topic. I personally found the nerve-wracked period of waiting for my surgery date to arrive (a looong 3 weeks) much worse than the actual surgery and healing itself. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

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dacooper12- The TT surgery was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. I suggest you have someone drive you there, stay with you, and drive you home after... or any errands inbetween (for a milkshake maybe). Make sure you ask the questions you have on your mind prior. Write them down too so you remember them all. I seriously thought I might die with having surgery (or when I had a baby)... surgery has always been my biggest fear so this was a BIG deal for me. I am not going to lie... I did have trouble breathing for many hours after the surgery due to my neck being swollen and the breathing tube, which was horrible. Not sure if that was made worse by the elevation here in Colorado? Breathing and dehydration are always issues here for people. But once that passed, I was fine. I was eating and drinking normal too, which I was surprised about. I didn't think I would be hungry so soon, or sleep well in the hospital, but I did. I was ready to get home the first night! I kept guaze on my incision & stiches until the stiches were removed about 2 weeks later by the doc. Then I just put Vit E oil (and Kelocote) on the scar 2 times per day, and still do now. Don't lift anything/kids for at least 2 weeks. My surgery was Oct 2012... had TT and some lymph nodes removed bc of Papillary thyca. I was in bed mostly for 2 weeks post surgery. I felt a ton better after the 2 weeks, but still slow moving. Then I felt MUCH better, almost normal again, about 6 weeks post surgery. Some of your recovery will depend on how your body reacts to loosing it's thyroid... some bodies react slower, some quicker. My doc did not want me to start thyroid meds for 6-12 weeks post surgery. But I was in her office about 8 days after the surgery because I knew I was SUPER hypo and needed the meds. Just read your body, research all the info, and ask questions... you are your number one advocate! :) My doc tested my TSH at 8 days post surgery and it was 30 already. So I started taking the meds that day and felt MUCH better. Don't let docs treat you with standard protocol if you feel differently. My biggest advice... always trust your gut instinct! Lastly, coming off the drugs from being put under and surgery was not too fun for me... I felt horrible coming off all that stuff! Whatever your concerns are or worries, try to do whatever you can prior to surgery to eliminate those concerns... whether it's educate yourself, prepare your house or kids with things to do, clean before you go, etc. That will help make you more at ease and can focus on yourself. Good luck to you!!!

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