Patient Comments: Thyroid Cancer - Share Your Surgery Experience

Question:

Please share your experience with surgery for thyroid cancer. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Sumiller59 , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

I was 15 when my softball coach told my parents I couldn't come back to school until I had seen a doctor. A thyroid scan was done, and I was sent to see a surgeon. This was in February, I turned 16. The surgeon said he was going to remove 1/2 of my thyroid and I'd have to stay in the hospital for 3 days. That the surgery for thyroid cancer could be done in the summer after school was out, but I said no, I swim and have meets in the summer. So the surgery was set for March. I went into the hospital Thursday evening, in March, was given a shot in my rear and didn't wake up until Monday or Tuesday. I was put on medicines every 4 hours, and sometimes I wouldn't get them in time and I'd have convulsions. That was scary. I had 4 or 5 convulsions, mostly at night. A few days later I was wheeled into a conference room with my parents. In the room were 4 or 5 doctors sitting with my surgeon. At that time I was told that the surgery took much longer than they had planned. They took my thyroid, parathyroid and 31 lymph glands. The cancer had spread that much in less than a month. And here's the kicker; they didn't get it all. I was mad! These people wanted to wait for summer to do the surgery. At that time my father wheeled me out of the room and told me to calm down. My mother stayed in the room and was told what was next. During that meeting my mother was told I probably wouldn't make it 6 months but if I did I'd have to have heavy radiation, something my mother didn't tell my father or me. Anyway, I stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks, had a few more convulsions while the doctors tried to get my medicines right. I was on 400 mg levothyroxine, 100,000 units of vitamin D, 1000 mg of calcium, which if I felt a convulsion coming on had to take 2 and chew them up. Keep in mind that this was in the 70s and medicine has come a long way. I did have to have the radiation, but that's another story. Since then I've had several radiation treatments. A few months ago had my yearly ultrasound, and I had to have a CT with contrast. So I had surgery on April 13th which was a Friday for bi-lateral Wharton tumors. And also my tumor markers are up and the test show a nodule where my thyroid used to be. They are going to do the right side of my neck soon as my face heals from the last surgery. Then maybe another round of radiation.

Comment from: PN, 25-34 (Caregiver) Published: March 13

My cousin has had the fourth surgery as he has thyroid cancer. After almost two month he still cannot eat anything. The tongue cannot propel the chewed food into the throat, and if he by chance could swallow a small piece of food, he would suffer from the stomachache as the acid in his stomach is higher than the amount of food. He has got a kind of intestinal tube for feeding, but the problem of swallowing is still something that he suffers a lot from. His doctor says that it takes 6 months for him to recover since the nerves are not destroyed. I am wondering if there is any device or solution for making the swallowing act possible for him.

Comment from: Ken, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 06

My mother and sisters always had thyroid issues and I consistently had my thyroid levels checked and they were always fine, but I didn"t feel fine. I finally asked for an ultrasound and the doctor said there was no point unless my thyroid was not smooth. After feeling my thyroid, she sent me for an ultra sound. The results came in and she referred me to a surgeon. They did not do a biopsy since the largest nodule was 4.6cm and had to be removed. Surgery was fine and the biopsy took almost two weeks to get back. The endocrinologist said based on the size I likely had it for decades, so very fortunate it was non-invasive. There was debate on if it was cancer or not, but ultimately determined it was, so I took the radioactive iodine. It has been a year and all is good; adjusted medicine a few times and blood work still looks good. I wish I would have pushed to have ultrasound years earlier.

Comment from: christiw, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 26

I just had thyroid surgery on February 17 2014 I had my whole thyroid out due to nodules on both sides. My food would get stuck in my throat and I would get shortness of breath. They put me on Synthroid 25 mg which was supposed to shrink it but didn't. So that"s when they decided the only thing to do is to remove it. I"m not going to lie I was extremely nervous about the surgery. But when I got to the hospital I calmed down. They got me hooked up to the IV drip and then rolled me to the surgery room .They put a tube in my throat after I was out, to monitor my veins and stuff in my throat . So when I woke up from surgery I started throwing up from the anesthesia. But then I was fine. My throat felt like it was on fire at first, my first meal at the hospital was potato soup chocolate pudding and chocolate ice cream. But after that I was eating regular food. My throat was still sore but bearable. I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and 3 days because of my calcium levels. I take Synthroid 112 mg and I take Rocaltrol 25 mg and TUMS Ultra. I"m at day 4 and I feel great. My neck is kind of stiff on the outside but other than that I feel pretty good. Just still taking it easy though. If I had to do it again I would.

Comment from: Mustang5451, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 06

I had my thyroid completely taken out on 10/27/17. No cancer and no nodules. Just Graves' disease which drove me crazy and very sick. I was in the operating room at 1 pm and out by 4 pm. By 8 pm I ate half of a turkey sandwich and ice cream. It hurt very much to swallow, but I had not eaten for 24 hours. On Saturday I was sent home. My calcium levels had gone down and stayed overnight to watch and take more calcium. I take Synthroid 137 and calcium with vitamin D. I used the Vicodin for really 3 days total and been off that medicine for 4 days now. Each day I get better and better. I can swallow a lot better and I have gone out shopping already to buy groceries. Everything went better than I expected. Hands and arm are black and blue from IV and blood draws for calcium, but I am in my own home, eating whatever I want and I was told I can go back to work next week. Not ready yet. I can't see only being off work a week from this. My surgeon was terrific and answered all my questions. Better than taking the radioactive pill for 4 1/2 months.

SLIDESHOW

Thyroid Problems Explained See Slideshow
Comment from: Drew, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 13

I'm 56 and my nodules were found during a health screening. That screening changed and saved my life. I've had a biopsy which was suspicious, so I opted on surgery that found both sides were cancerous. I'll recoup and then move on with whatever they suggest as far as treatments. I'm not thinking the worst until told differently. It won't rule my life!

Comment from: mamie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

I had my entire thyroid removed 1 week ago, there was cancer on both sides which I knew going in. I was and am so scared, I did not tell anyone what was wrong except my husband and while in hospital on pain meds, and two of my best friends. How will I know if I need chemo or radiation? I have to beat this as I have two grandchildren who need me.

Comment from: Sergio, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 28

I had medullary thyroid cancer surgery four years ago, but in 2012 the calcitonin marker reappeared. I wonder if increased fatigue, along with general aches and pains, are symptoms of recurring medullary thyroid cancer or if I'm just getting old? Everything else is normal: mental function, sex drive, passion for literature/art/ and ideas.

Comment from: lori j, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

In January of 2012 I went to see a doctor about a lump in my throat. A biopsy was performed, but it was inconclusive. I had half my thyroid removed in August of 2012, and it was diagnosed as papillary thyroid cancer. A second surgery is booked for March 22, 2013. I was told I'll need to have radioactive treatments--just not sure when that will be done.

QUESTION

Cancer is the result of the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in the body. See Answer

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Cancer Report Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW