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Hello everyone! I'm new here and I'm glad to have found you all. I was diagnosed July 13 with moderately advanced papillary thyroid cancer (4.5 cm tumor on left lobe). It spread to my lymph nodes and my esophagus muscle. My TT with left neck dissection was 1 week ago on July 18.
Prior to the surgery, my left vocal cords were no longer working, my voice had changed dramatically and was constantly hoarse. I was short of breath when I spoke at longer lengths of time - but at least I had a voice... A week after surgery, I still cannot speak beyond a very low, hoarse whisper. No one can hear me unless they are right in front of me and there is no other sounds to compete with. I've read several of the discussions posted here to see what people have experienced after their TT's and I haven't read much of anything about the inability to speak. Has anyone here experienced this besides me? It's maddening because it's not getting any better. I was told at my post-op appt. that my voice "should come back on it's own eventually" after a probe was sent down my nose to check the status of the right vocal cords which appeared to still be functioning (left ones still dead, of course). I was prescribed a steriod, methylprednisolone, and I'm hoping this will help any vocal cord swelling. They discussed the possibility of another surgery to strengthen my voice but said that won't happen until at least 6 months from now after RAI and the WBS is completed. If I don't get my voice back before then, 6 months is a long time to wait. I know the main goal is to kill all the cancer cells, and that's always been the number one priority, but I do rely heavily on my voice at work and home (attorney, mom of 2 young girls), so it's weighing heavy on my mind each day that goes by that I am unable to talk. If I'm worried over nothing and just overly anxious, please let me know! Any advice or words of wisdom would be much appreciated - thanks!
I too lost my voice after my 2nd op. It was very hoarse and if i used it, after a few minutes it would disappear. This was very annoying esp as people on the phone could not hear me and it was a nightmare when working. My partner and I do wedding photography and my job is to shout and get all the groups together ready for the photos! knightmare!! I had my tt on the 22nd of march 2012. Still no voice at check up on april 19th, but he checked my chords and said they were ok the left one was a bit slack, but my voice should return. Still no voice when i met my onc on 26th april but he said it still could come back. Went for RAI on 15th of May and that night while in hospital my voice came back! Was very strange, was on the phone to my partner and he said your voice sounds better, dont know if the radioactive pill did something, but when I came out 2 days later it was back to normal and i've had no trouble since. So hopefully yours will come back too! x
Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your voice. I am just going into week 7 post op from a TT and right radical neck dissection and I haven't had any voice issues as such, maybe just that I can't quite sing just yet, talking is ok. I think you are probably are being anxious and you have any right to be. I feel overly anxious about everything at the moment, the fact that my arm still doesn't work so well and that my eye is all weak. Doing exercises everyday and you hope that after each day it will amazingly get better, not so. That is so hard to deal with, no matter how many times people tell you it takes time, oh that bloody word time, it is still frustrating!!!
I know this is so annoying to hear, cause I even hate saying it and having to believe it also takes alot of effort, but it is only a week since your op, your throat has been though a lot. It needs rest. You could maybe ask if honey would help, Manuka honey is the best stuff to get 5+. My dad had radiotherapy on this vocal cord for cancer and he takes it in tea or just add some hot water. Might be nice for your throat, but I would just check that it would be ok 1st.
Hi, I too lost my voice following TT and lymph node removal at the end of Oct 2011 and can sympathise with your frustration at not being able to raise your voice further than a whisper. The nasal scope I had confirmed that my right vocal fold was paralysed at that stage. My advice to you is be very patient, don't try to force your voice to do things it can't do at this very early stage and relax as much as possible. My voice returned gradually after two months of whispering. I was also referred to my community speech therapist who knew exactly what regime of gentle exercises to use to maximise the speech I had and to help strengthen it on it's way back to normality. She was a God-send as she was also qualified in CBT (Cognative Behavioural Therapy) so became a bit of a personal psycologist and understood how I was feeling and helped me through those early dark days. I wish you a speedy recovery. Rachel64
Tracy - Thanks for sharing your story - it gives me some relief knowing that it may take a couple months, but to keep the faith that my voice will come back just like yours did. I still have a long way to go so I'll do my best to be patient and have confidence in the wonders of medicine. My doctor did leave a small part of my thyroid when he did the surgery to ensure that my voice box was not compromised. He assured me that RAI should take of it. I'm praying that after RAI, my voice will go back to normal just like yours did. Thanks so much. :)
Hi Lolabean - Loved your reply! I think it's true that frustration has got the best of me! But your words have been so encouraging. I'll be sure to ask my doc about what I can take to help (honey and tea sounds great!) My doc did mention something about possibly getting a speech therapist if my voice is slow to return, so maybe I'll get some advice about what exercises might be helpful to speed things along. I'm looking froward to getting on with life and preparing myself to beat this cancer. Being patient, getting lots of rest, and staying positive should be my focus. Thank you so much for your kind words of support! :)
Rachel64 - What a relief to read your story! I'm so glad everything worked out for you and I pray that my situation will be similar. Even with one set of paralyzed vocal cords (just like me), your voice eventually returned which is what I'm hoping will happen with me. My doc did suggest looking into to working with a speech therapist if after a few months my voice doesn't return. It'd be nice if he/she was a CBT, too, because I could use a good shoulder to cry on and a trained ear to listen some days. Thanks again for sharing your advice! I'm so glad I found this support group! :)
Hello fellow TT recoverers - we're not sufferers!! I too have lost my voice and am finding it so frustrating. I no longer work but phone calls are really difficult. I had my op on 31 May so that is about 8 weeks ago. People tell me the voice is getting better, but i tstill feels as if I am shouting all the time just to be heard. I had the op at Carlisle but was also sent to Newcastle to see if I needed radio-iodine treatment - since there was no clear indication that I did need it,I was asked if I would like to join a research study. Half the patients will be given radio iodine and half will not. Over 5 years we will all be monitored to see how many of us have a recurrence of the cancer. It is such a low incidence of recurrence that the RI treatment is not thought to make any real difference, but this needs to be proved statistically. Has anyone else been asked to join this study? It is called ION. Good luck to you all and keep smiling. Cancer does not have to be the end of the world, this is the third time I have had it and it is not going to beat me this time either.
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