Thyroid cancer

A place for people affected by thyroid cancer to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Tightness in throat when stressed

Kibby777
Posted by

I had a total thyroidectomy  8 years ago for throat cancer. All is going well however I have noticed when I get stressed my throat where the scar is gets really tight this then distressed me.  Does this happen to anyone else Thankyou 

barbaral
Posted by

Hi

I was hoping somebody who has a similar problem might have chipped in by now but sadly the site has loads of technical problems and we're not getting as much 'traffic' as normal.

I don't have this problem but I do think it's something the tight throat at times of stress 'thing' is very typical for people whether they have had thyroid surgery or not. Think about all the times when we're stressed and we go to speak out and just get a squeaky voice because everything has kind of constricted out of fear. And when you've got a scar, that constriction can pull on it.

SO whilst I'm kind of hypothesising here, I think it's nothing to worry about unless this is something that's only just started to happen - in which case I wouldn't rush to the doctor but maybe it's something to mention at your annual check up.

Best wishes

Barbara

“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Chridster
Posted by

Hi both,

The site is being a bit strange for me too, I sometimes don't see any new posts for ages then they all seem to come through. Weird.

Kibby777 I was going to say similar to Barbara in that before my operations my throat got incredible tight and I'd physically have put my head back and stretch it because it felt like I was being strangled a bit. The strangest part for me was that it felt that at any second my throat would close. I don't think it was because of my lump though cause I've had it for years, it usually happens before exams or when I used to go out with people for the first time.

Thankfully though it was down to good old anxiety, I think i had a lot of tension in my shoulders which was affecting my throat. My mum suffers with the same sort of thing ( sometimes I get annoyed when I tell my parents I have a problem and they say "Oh so do I, and your Aunty and Grandad" ) 

All I would say is mention it to your Dr next time you are there, They'll probably give you a quick examination and be able to put your mind at ease.

All the best

Chris

"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trial"

gp9702
Posted by

Hi all,

I had a total thyroidectomy and neck dissection in Nov 2017 for thyroid cancer and a large lump in my neck. I also have had a high dose of radioactive iodine late Jan 2018.

Since my surgery, I have been put on a high dosage of 150g levothyroxine. My anxiety started last year, just after I was diagnosed as I was worried about surgery and treatment, but has seemed to just keep increasing since then and I'm really struggling with tight throat and chest and borderline panic attacks but luckily haven't experienced a full on panic attack yet.

I am always wondering whether my throat is tight due to healing or anxiety.

Could this be down to my high dose of thyroxine? Or just the stress of cancer?

Has anybody else thought about high doses of thyroxine being linked to high anxiety levels?

Would love to know all your thoughts :) 

Gemma xxx

Lass
Posted by

Hey Gemma,

Sorry to hear youre having tightness and anxiety problems at the moment.

I would say though, 150 isn't a high dose. From everyone I've seen commenting here, that seems to be about average. Just wondering, what makes you think it's a high dose?

Tightness in the chest is a common sign of anxiety, while tightness in the throat could be healing and recovering from RAI and a neck dissection. Surgery like that takes a minimum of 6 months to heal, but can be over a year. Then when thyroid cells absorb the RAI, they swell. So I think you've probably got a bit of both going on.

Do you know what your last blood test showed your T4 and TSH to be? Anxiety can come from being hyperthyroid, but without the numbers we can't say if that might be the case or not.

But with any cancer diagnosis can come stress, depression, anxiety, and more. Have you tried doing any mindfulness or meditation exercises at all to help lessen the anxiety? Have you been doing the physio exercises you should have been given after your neck dissection?

Lass

Xx

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters, cannot be trusted with important matters. - Albert Einstein

gp9702
Posted by

Hey Lass,

Can't remember my last thyroid test results but I think my T4 was high and TSH was suppressed but I'm sure that is how it's supposed to be to try and prevent any cancer coming back?

Currently waiting on results so will update you then! 

I have tried mindfulness and medication but can't seem to unwind enough for it to help! 

I know after having caffeine, particularly coffee, anxiety symptoms are worse. 

Does anyone know of an caffiene intolerance when on thyroxine or just me?!!

Gemma xx

Lass
Posted by

Hey Gemma,

That is roughly how the levels are supposed to be, but it depends on how high and how suppressed they are. So it will be interesting to see what your results you're waiting for come back as.

Medication or meditation? Or both? Lol.

To help to unwind, avoid coffee, tea, and coke etc as those are stimulants. So anyone feeling any sort of anxiety will only have it made worse by stimulants. Warm milk, or a hot honey and milk, a herbal tea, etc are good if you need something warm to drink. And - depending on which herbal tea you get - have a relaxing effect.

It's also a good idea to turn the blue light off on your phone  and any other electrical devices too, as that's a stimulant as well and won't be helping.

Deep breathing exercises, and the beginners meditation and mindfulness are good. But they are not an immediate thing. You need to work at it and practice it before you get the hang of it and can turn off and relax. Definitely not a quick fix.

Some people find exercise helps as well as it uses up the excess energy they have, and tires them out so they are better able to relax.

Have you looked to see if your local cancer centre offers any sort of counselling? Because if your thyroxine levels are ok, then it does sound like this is a straight forward case of anxiety brought on by a cancer diagnosis.

Lass

Xx

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters, cannot be trusted with important matters. - Albert Einstein

Rosegirl
Posted by

Good morning everyone

i was about to create a post about this as well. I have found since I had surgery when I have to talk too much and or become stressed I get this same sensation as if my throat is closing.  I had TT and neck dissect in May 18 and have to have another neck dissection at the end of August because the have found a 1.5cm lymph (confirmed PTC). No RAI yet due to new findings.  

Once I have slept and woken up it feels ok but after an hour or so of constantly talking to a nine year old and a nineteen year old (holiday bickering ) my throat feels whacked and like it’s gonna shut down  I have tried massaging and that helps a little   Wondered if anyone has ever tried facial steamers or anything else that helps

sorry for the long whine

x

Lass
Posted by

Hey Rosegirl,

I don't see any whining there!

I can't do steam, as it seems to make the feeling of not being able to breathe worse. I get the problem of after talking too much, or if there's a strong smell, or a temp change.... It's like my body decides it's going to try and swallow my tongue. This starts me gagging, and the only thing that stops it is a quick sip of water/juice/etc.

Does that help you at all? Or something warm quite often helps folks too.

Lass

Xx

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters, cannot be trusted with important matters. - Albert Einstein

Rosegirl
Posted by

Hi Lass

yes thank you. Sorry that you experience this as well but relieved that you have shared your experience and tips. Today I decided to use my flick of the index finger to give orders to Everyone and saved my throat    Hubby and children got the gist.  So tonight I have a well relaxed throat   I have been drinking plenty of water but think I need to drink more because I seem to wake up dehydrated during the night. ( hence why I am up typing in the wee hours of the morning) 

Lass
Posted by

Hey Rosegirl,

Just thought I'd pop in and see how things were going? Any improvement?

Lass

Xx

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters, cannot be trusted with important matters. - Albert Einstein

Reggie100
Posted by

Hi Gemma,

I had my op in Jan, total thyroidectomy and lymph node removal in side of neck for papillary thyroid cancer , followed by RAI. I too have tightness problems with my throat, but I honestly have to say that this is not linked to stress. It seems to be more prominent on some days, however, perhaps I am busier on other days and do not notice it as much. I have currently started the process of asking the ENT specialist if this is a consequence of  the healing of scars, as I had 2 ops (the first to remove cyst-which was then found to be cancerous lymph node in Dec.)very quickly in succession, he has agreed to an MRI scan, just to see if all is as it should be. 

With regards to the chest, my tightness does not spread to the chest, by that is not to say that different muscle strands can't affect different areas.

I do not believe that the tightness is linked to Levothyroxine, however, I was getting little tearful about 5-6 months after op, and I have changed the brand of Levothyroxine I was on (made by TEVA) to a different brand, Athmus and that seem to have made a difference to me. 

There are fillers in different brands that people can react to.

They also reduced my dosage to 125mg, as my bloods showed 150 mg seemed too high, but I must get them to look at that again, as I do feel much more tired and get a little achy at night.

Regards,

Regina

Rosegirl
Posted by

Hi Lass

i had my second neck dissection on the 29th August   Amazingly drain taken out and discharged the next day. Surgeon said there was a lot of scar tissue from previous op but they managed to remove suspected lymph nodes. Still early days but I feel so much better than I did with last op   In fact I feel better than when I went in for second op. Still feel some tightness but nowhere near as bad as before. 

I go back on the 10th and hopefully they should have my results. 

In terms of communicating I now give my son the beady eye and he seems to get the message. Thankfully he is back at school. Plus 19 year old just turned 20 and seems to have changed overnight   So all in all less talking

I do have days where my voice feels whacked but I try to rest as much as possible now