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Thyroid cancer

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

Partial thyroidectomy - what to expect?

5571
Posted by

Hi everyone, 

I hope you are all well!

I have my operation on Friday and would just like some advice on what to expect from people who have gone through it.

Any tips for after or anything you would recommend to take with me? All I’ve had from the hospital is an appointment time, date and ward to attend on the day. 

I have just had a baby so will I be able to pick him up or will I be needing to not lift him for a while? I am breastfeeding so will this still be possible?

Thanks in advance xx

Char x
KTatHome
Posted by

Hi , I’ve just popped into this group, as I noticed your post hasn’t been answered. I wanted to wish you luck for tomorrow’s surgery. My cancer is a bit different and my only surgery has been the removal of a lymph node in my groin, so I don’t meet the criteria of the reply your looking for.

For my op I was hanging around for ages and could only sip water so I took something along to do I like code words so I took a small book of them. My hospital wanted to avoid taking expensive items in like iPads and phones so this fitted the bill for me. I packed earplugs and a face mask in case I had to stay overnight, I did stay but was zonked out so didn’t need them. I wish I had taken a breakfast bar in, as an emergency snack, as I had nothing to eat over 36 hours and was starving,  but I’m thinking that won’t be appropriate for you as you will probably need soft foods. 

I hope someone in this group replies before you go in, I expect you’ve had and read a hospital guideline like the one below.

https://www.uhb.nhs.uk/Downloads/pdf/PiThyroidectomy.pdf

Its a good question about not picking up your newborn infant, Im assuming your child will count as heavy, I find if I’ve forgotten to ask anything my cancer nurses are happy to get a phone call to help the Macmillan support line 0808 808 0000 is also open. 

Good luck for tomorrow.

KT 

What is a Community Champion?

You can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or contact them by email.

Bagpuss73
Posted by

Hello Char,

I’m really sorry you’ve not had a reply from anyone on here. So I’ve two partial thyroidectomies- my first didn’t go that well but the second was a breeze. Myself (and many others on here) struggled to sleep after the surgery. I see your baby is very young so you’re probably up a lot in the night anyway? However it can be difficult to get comfortable. You might already have a V pillow or something similar to help with breastfeeding. I didn’t have one for my first op but I bought one in preparation for my second op and found it invaluable to keep me comfortable when sleeping. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to sleep more upright but stack of pillows can do the trick  

re breastfeeding- have you spoken with your team about this? I think (pretty sure but not 100%) you’re not supposed to breastfeed for 24 hours after an anaesthetic as the drugs can be passed through your breast milk. Normally women are advised to store some up in advance but that might be difficult for you. I’m hoping you’ve had some more advice from your team about that. Anyway, make sure you tell the anaesthetist that you’re breastfeeding. 

I remember feeling dreadfully anxious before my surgery but the second op was a breeze.  I had a lot of problems with my drain after the first op so I won’t go into details, though I guess my main take home was that I thought something was wrong- and it was. But I didn’t say enough and so I had to go back to hospital a few days later. 

take care and I hope it all goes well for you tomorrow x

ClaireRus
Posted by

Hi I had op 4years ago. Minimal discomfort. Expect a few days of exhaustion following anaesthetic 

I found lozenges useful and simple Paracetemol . Listen to your body and rest when able . 

LittleGibbon
Posted by

Sorry I missed this (I was in hospital having the other side of my thyroid removed!). 

Hope all went well and you are starting to recover. I was pleasantly surprised at how straightforward both my ops were, but you will feel tired and possibly a bit low in the first week or two. It's normal I think and nothing to worry about. 

In case anyone else is reading this who is anticipating this op, I would give the following advice:

  • go dressed in loose and comfortable clothing that will be easy to put on when you come out, and which doesn't cover your neck. 
  • take extra snacks in case you get peckish - my appetite returned pretty quickly!
  • don't be afraid to tell the anaesthetist if you are worried about pain or sickness. They can adjust what they give you during the op to help with this. 
  • drink plenty of water afterwards - it helps to prevent infection apparently 
  • take any pain relief as directed, even if you don't feel you need it. 
5571
Posted by

Hi all,

I’m finally home and back with my baby! I’m still really tired and short of breathe. Did anyone else experience this? They said it was due to them interfering with the larynx which can take a while to settle. My voice is really croaky like I’ve been a heavy smoker all my life (I have never tried a cigarette but that’s what I sound like!). Will this get better and will my speaking in general improve? It’s like I’m having to force the words out and then some sound really odd! 

I had a store of milk for baby and I have breast fed him today but got karate chopped in the neck so I’m swaddling before feeding him from now on for a while! 

I have been eating well boiled veg today as well as ice cream which is nice and easy on my throat.

 

Thank you to all that replied! 

Char x

Char x
ClaireRus
Posted by

Hi I had vocal cord damage after second operation. Settled on the whole.

I am still aware at times that not quite as it was, but nobody else notices.

I cannot sing now but there again I never  could

If breathlessness increases should be checked.

Rest and regular pain relief.

Have you been started on Thyroxine If you have it comes under medical exemptions so no longer pay for prescriptions.

stay safe and well

5571
Posted by

Hi ClaireRus,

Thanks for the info, I couldn’t sing before either but I definitely can’t now!

I am still quite tired today so just been taking it easy and my partner and family have been great helping me out. Luckily we moved in with my parents before lockdown because we knew I would have to have the operation when baby was still very small. 

I will keep an eye on the breathing because I’m still catching my breathe sometimes. My hormone levels were fine when tested the next day so they haven’t started thyroxine yet but I have blood tests booked every 2 weeks for a while. Did anyone’s hormone levels drop and they needed to take thyroxine or did anyone’s half thyroid manage to pick up the slack for the missing half? 

Stay safe and well too!

Char x
ClaireRus
Posted by

I would be surprised if you don’t end upending a little Thyroxine.. It’s good that you are getting bloods checked. I

would request a referrall to Endocrinologist so that levels-can be kept an eye on. Unless your GP is good ?

Staysafe 

5571
Posted by

I have a follow up with the consultant 4 weeks post op so I’m guessing he will discuss the need of thyroxine then? 

I will have the bloods done in a couple of weeks and see if the hormone levels have changed. They were good checking them throughout my pregnancy so I’m hoping the GP will continue to be helpful. I will ask about a referral, thanks for the advice. I had so many questions but couldn’t get the words out at the hospital. I think it was a combination of being allowed home to my baby and the sore throat! At least I can ask on here and keep any I’m unsure on for the consultant in a few weeks! 

Thanks again and stay safe!

Char x
ClaireRus
Posted by

I always say have note pad beside  you during the day. When you get to appointments ,if you are anything like me ,you forget what you wanted to ask

If it’s allowed do not go on your own to results appointments .I made  that mistake when I had the news .

This time I made sure I had somebody with me.  Have a good night 

5571
Posted by

Hi ClaireRus,

Did you remove your own dressings? They told me I could remove them Friday but didn’t mention if they needed covering again? I am a bit nervous about removing them myself because I don’t know what to expect the wound to look like a week after surgery. They said I could book at the local hospital for them to remove them but they have no appointments for Friday.

Will my GP be able to help?

I have dissolvable stitches so I’m not to get it wet until Friday. 

Char x
ClaireRus
Posted by

My dressing was removed before I left hospital.I had a running stitch with beads either end. Wound just looked like a rather long scratch .

I left wound open to air a just kept clean and dry .

Stitch was removed at the hospital7 days post operation. Not uncomfortable at all just a slight tickle. Yours even better as dissolve. I have just had breast operation and dissolvable stitches healed very well

Then the wound tends to be in a natural crease and eventually is bearly visible.

Stay safe good healing xx

Bagpuss73
Posted by

Hello again,

It's ok to remove your own dressing. I'd just recommend you try and keep your skin taught while you're doing it so that it doesn't drag... a bit like waxing (not sure if that makes sense or helps). Did they give you any more dressings? You might feel like it's a bit exposed and may want to keep it covered up a bit. I think my stitches were in for 2 weeks so I had to keep them dry and was given dressings to cover it up when I showered. Dissolvable stitches are a bit different so don't worry if they've not given you any dressings.

Take care x

5571
Posted by

Hi Bagpuss73 and ClaireRus,

I did reply but it must of not posted for some reason!

I managed to take my dressings off; they are sticky little things aren’t they! I would take one bit off and start on the next bit then the first part would stick back on again!

The wound isn’t as bad as I was imagining and really neat. It still feels a bit bruised above the wound and talking is still a working progress. I sound like Marg Simpson! GP receptionist couldn’t understand what I was saying when booking baby’s jabs so my partner had to take over bless him.

Thank you both for the advice.

Char x