Can't sing since Total Thyroidectomy, Cancer Mets, Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve

I had a TT and Parathyroidectomy three months ago for Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer. 77 lymph nodes removed (22 were malignant) followed by RAI and then sustained Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism. Now I can't sing. Surgeon said tumor was in voice box and fused to recurrent Laryngeal nerve. He shaved off as much as he couldm he couldn't get it out. I nearly lose my voice after I talk awhile. I'm frustrated that I'm back to work and it hurts to talk and I get a very deep smokers voice but I don't smoke. Can anyone relate?

10 Replies

  • Hi thevoice

    I have had TT 33 years ago at the age of 21 and I had difficulties with my voice as well. I lost upper range and I dont think I regained it fully but after so many years it has become the normal. I remember having speech therapy!! I am very sorry to hear what has happened but what I remember it got better very gradually and over a very long time

    Hope you feel better soon


  • Thank you Roslin. It does help to hear you story.

  • Hi thevoice,

    Yes very sorry to hear your news...I think a referral to speech and language therapy would be very useful....they also look at problems with the voice after trauma such as surgery....You need some good advise as you could start straining your voice to increase your volume ...this misuse could lead to 'vocal abuse' turn leading to more difficulties. Usually a prerequisite is a referral to ENT but I feel a letter from your surgeon would be surfice... Try to limit the use of your voice in noisy environments...drink lots of water and keep hydrated...if your throat hurts limit your 'talking'...... hope this is useful...Take care and all the very best

  • good point, I will consider it, thank you

  • Hi, yes I can relate to this but I only had a PartialT, my voice was very weak to start, but is much better now, as Roslin says upper singing range is still weak and I've given up trying to shout! However it is early days for you yet, rest and don't over do it, and as Sorrel says, speech therapy sounds like a good place to start. With very best wishes Jane :D

  • A friend had half of his thyroid removed. He ended up only able co whisper, he had speech therapy and exercises ( which he did!) and now, probably almost a year later you can carry out a conversation with him without everyone talking in whispers. Speaking to his OH recently and she said when he had a cold his voice was better. So in his case speech therapy helped along with time, hopefully that will work for you.

    Liz :-)

  • I had no voice at all following my TT but it slowly came back after about 3 months and I then had speech therapy which helped along with time as LizH says. Hope this is the case with you too.

  • Thank you all. It is nice to chat with people who understand. I have had some very odd things said to me, wow! I saw an ENT and he referred me to his partner who is a Laryntologist who is going to video my vocal chords next week. I'm voting for some magic spray.

    Does anyone worry about cancer spread outside of the neck?

    Also, does anyone know the difference between a WBS and a PET scan?

    Thank you

  • Had a total thyroid in 2009. I also had radioactive therapy in 2010 and 2011....I now have no signs of cancer.

    I miss singing, as I could harmonize "like a songbird".....but from what I've been hearing, I am "thankful" to have a voice at all.

  • CJ49, I am so encouraged to hear no signs of cancer!

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