Terrified of thyroid operation next week


I am having a partial thyroidectomy next week and am absolutely terrified. I'm already having nightmares about it and just very scared about something going wrong. I've only ever had one general anaesthetic before and am also scared about that. Does anyone have any tips in order to decrease my anxiety before the op? I don't want to get myself into a state beforehand but the way I am going at the moment I know I will be! Also, any other tips in general about recovery etc. after the op would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

5 Replies

  • KristineR,

    There's really no need to be anxious but that is easier said than done. If you are really struggling with anxiety ask your GP to prescribe you anti-anxiety meds for a few days.

    I had no complications and made good recovery from a partial thyroidectomy (hemilobectomy) followed by completion thyroidectomy 3 months later.

    I was able to eat and drink normally when I woke from surgery but some people may have a sore throat so it is a good idea to have soups and soft foods available for a few days. Drinking lots of fluids will flush the general anaesthetic from your system which will make you feel better.

    The hospital offered plenty of pain relief for those who needed it and I was sent home with copious amounts which I hardly needed after the first couple of days. I was very tired but that's to be expected and I was advised to rest for a week or two.

    The wound healed quickly on both occasions and I'm left with a fine white scar which is barely visible in the hollow of my throat.

  • Thank you so much for your reply - that's all very helpful and reassuring! I am seeing the surgeon who will be doing the operation this afternoon and plan on asking her a bit more about what will happen on the day etc as don't feel like I've been told very much at all. The hospital also keep cancelling and moving my operation which does not help with anxiety!

  • Clutter's experience sounds just like my friend who just had a tt for genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer. I went to visit him a day or two after surgery and instead of being tucked up on the sofa he was dressed and making lunch. His incision was not covered and looked very tidy, and only a month or so later is barely visible. He seems to be getting on very well on his meds and has always had multiple times more energy than me, which seems to be unchanged.

    He reported that his gut was a bit sluggish after surgery but I suspect that was a combination of getting his meds levels right and a consequence of the anaesthesia. To avoid that you may want to prepare by having something at home (flaxseeds, stool softener or similar) and taking some a day or two beforehand.

    Re the anxiety, I think Clutter is right. Get some tablets just to ease you into the setting w minimal worry and trauma. (Best thing I ever did was to make sure I get some valium for any substantial dental procedures.) It really will help you feel more in control and it won't hurt you to take it for a day or two.

  • You will be fine. I had to go through it twice. I had my left removed in 08 and they didn't bother to put me on medication so the right one blew up and I had to have that removed in 2012. In-between that I had to have my tonsils removed in 2011! From experience, the tonsils were a lot more painful.

    All you can do, it keep in mind that once its removed, that's the first step of your road to recovery.

    A tip is to sleep upright for the first few days as you will not be able to lay down straight. Its amazing how much we use our neck muscles without realising.

    The removal of the stitches aren't too bad. You feel a little sore after but pain killer will help. Use Bio Oil to help reduce the scar and take arnica tables to help with the bruising and swelling. My first scar healed lovely but my current one is still quite red and he's pulled it too tight so its bumpy :/ But people tell me that they don't notice it.

    The only thing that I really didn't like was having to have a camera down my throat at the ENT doctor once I was healed. The first one I panicked and pulled it out and but the second he told me when to breath in to help it go down and it was soooo much better! I was never told about this so although its not nice, at least you will be prepared for what is to come.

    Apart from that, make sure that you take the recommend time off work and wear either a pretty neck scarf or a knitted scarf when out in public dependent on the weather. It will also help to keep any dirt away from the wound while your outside. Although I did find it funny to tell people that Id had my throat slit and the look of horror on their faces before telling them that it was planned and not a random attack :) Good luck.

  • Well I made it through op!! Feel so relieved! Thanks for all the advice.

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