My experience 48 hours post full thyroidectomy

Hi guys! I had surgery on Thursday afternoon (2 days ago) and I am pleased to say that everything went well and the care I received from doctors, nurses, HCAs to student nurses were faultless. I was asked to come to the Day Care Unit at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford at noon for an afternoon operation. I took with me an overnight hospital bag (more like a month worth of stuff, but that's just me) and I hardly used any of it while I was there. I also fast from the night before but I was told that I could have a light breakfast before 7am. When I arrived at the Day Care Unit, I was seen by an assistant anaesthetist who was very reassuring and answered all my questions. She explained to me about how they will administer anaesthesia and the possible side effects. I was second on the operating list for that afternoon. So bring something or someone to entertain you whilst waiting. Soon after, a nurse came to see me for admission (more paperwork and she did my blood pressure and took a urine sample). In between all of this, I was asked to sit in the waiting area. I was called in again, this time to see the man himself, Mr Mc. He popped in and drew a little something on my neck to make sure that he was operating on the right site. We also went through the consent forms once more, which I signed. Sometimes you are asked to sign the consent forms before that day. I have known MrMc as I was previously under his care for a left lobectomy of my thyroid 7 years ago. He is a vascular surgeon and pays attention to details. I like to think he's a brilliant "seamstress" as you could hardly see my previous scar. I'm hoping this time will be the same. I can see from my current scar that he has tried to join the same line. He has a very good reputation in the area.

So, 3 hours later, I was called in by the nurse and asked to change into my hospital gown, "sexy" net knickers and stockings that they give to you. I was behind curtains on the day care unit. I had a few minutes to take in what was happening to me and how life will change after this. This was short lived as the assistant anaesthetist came to pick me up. She told me that I could leave my overnight bag in that cubicle and that someone will take it for me. I never put my name on my bag but it definitely arrived by my bedside later on. I walked through the recovery unit (I had a good look this time) and asked if this is where I would come round after the op. She said yes. I could see a lady waking up on a bed and there was a nurse allocated to her (1:1) which was reassuring. Through double doors I went and there was the consultant anaesthetist. He was very friendly and tried to distract me by asking me about my job. Being a nurse myself, we had a brief chat about where I work. He put in an intravenous needle / cannula on the back of my hand and explained that he will be giving me strong pain killers and medication to prevent nausea through this site. Both anaesthetists were fantastic and made me feel less stressed. I could hear all the noises coming from behind the double doors in front of me and I knew it was the theatre room. Whilst we were chatting, I was given the anaesthetic and didn't even have time to count 1 to 2. That was it, I never saw the theatre room.

The next time I opened my eyes, I saw 3 lovely nurses with big smiles. They said I was in recovery and that they will be looking after me. I was in and out of conciousness at that point. I do remember Mr Mc's voice telling me that he had seen my parathyroid but my eyes were closed, so didn't see him. I now think he said that to me because I asked him to try preserve my parathyroids if he could. The nurses in recovery were amazing. It was very reassuring to hear them chatting and laughing among themselves and this gave me reassurance that everything went fine. If they were relaxed, then I should be too. I was also lucky as one of the nurses was a mum from my kids school. She recognised me and said she would called my husband which she did there and then. I was wheeled off by 2 porters, one nurse and a student nurse to a ward upstairs (I could hear the porters talking about their holidays - again nice and reassuring) and a few minutes later I woke up on the ward with my husband by my bedside. I was given Tramadol and Paracetamol straight away for pain. It wasn't the wound aching, it was more like a very sore throat. I didn't have a drain in this time (I had a drain 7 years ago when I had a lobectomy). My wound was covered with a blue dressing which I have now removed. The surgeon has used dissolvable stitches and steri strips on the wound which I'll remove myself after a few days. I had a drip attached to me but that was removed straight after it finished.

I spent that night in hospital. The care provided was faultless and the nurses checked my vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and temperature) throughout the night. Oh by the way, I was starving when I came to the ward. Unfortunately, meal time was over, so no food left. The nurse did find me some jelly and ice cream and my husband got me a chocolate from the vending machine. So I would recommend that you take some biscuits or something soft in your overnight bag to eat later on. I didn't sleep that night because of discomfort (I can only explain it as a bad sore throat) and just the general noises around me. I was given Morphine at 4 am and slept for 2 hours. Pain reliefs was available and I recommend that you use it. There is no need to be in pain when you can prevent it. I was able to talk straight away although a bit hoarse at times. But I was pleased I could talk as it meant that my vocal chord was not damaged (one of the complications of thyroidectomy). I have been told to keep my wound dry for a few days, so washing my hair will be a bit tricky. Or dry shampoo might come in handy.

The following morning (Friday morning) a phlebotomist came to take a blood sample to check for my calcium level. This is the important bit after a thyroidectomy. I got the results 3 hours later and it came back as slightly low. I was also seen by a group of doctors including a consultant and ward sister. They told me everything went well and said that I will be asked to come back for blood work in 3 weeks time and to see Mr Mc for a follow up appointment and for the results of my histology. That's when they will tell me if the nodules on my thyroid are benign or malignant. Fingers crossed! They were happy for me to be discharged with 150 mcg Levothyroxine, Calcium tablets 4 times a day, Tramadol and Paracetamol. Calcium level should resolved itself after a few weeks. They gave me a sickness certificate for 2 weeks and my GP should give me another 2 weeks. I had breakfast and lunch at the hospital. Eating and drinking has been fine just a little bit sore. I was discharged Friday afternoon at 5pm.

I wanted to share this with you as when I was doing my own research prior to surgery, I read a lot of negative stories. Mine has been different and I hope it will help and reassure others. I was very worried prior to surgery but reading others stories made it a bit easier. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. I am now home (Saturday morning) and I had a good night sleep but slept upright, 3 pillows. My neck look swollen around the wound site but it's dry and I know it will go down with time. I continue to take the pain relief. I know now the challenge I face is for me to get the dose of Levothyroxine right. To be honest this is my only worry, as I reacted badly to Actavis before. I have been taking Levo Brand name Wockhardt which only comes in 25 mcg and I am now on 150 mcg which means 6 tablets. I will give Mercury Pharma a try once I feel fully recovered.

Take care

Tamzin27

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7 Replies

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  • Thanks Tamzin27 for your informative post, particularly for those who might have to undergo a thyroidectomy or even a partial one.

    It is very encouraging and glad you had such a good experience and wish you a quick recovery.

  • Tamzin27,

    Great post. It should reassure anyone having a lobectomy or thyroidectomy. You remember much more than I did. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

  • Very pleased you are on the mend. Thanks for a great post. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  • So pleased you got that over with, best wishes for a good recovery.

  • Lovely.story thanks for sharing Best wishes for the next part of journey and recovery x

  • Really happy for you and wishing you a speedy recovery x

  • The recover is also pretty fast and easy, continue to be confident because it heals immediately. one important point - would recommend using anti scarring cream for the incision, it really made wonders for me, I have used it religiously for 3 weeks and now the scar is barely visible

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