Until recently, I hadn’t heard of many people with thyroid problems. Seems it’s pretty common, so, in case you’re about to face thyroid surgery yourself, here’s the scoop (according to my recent experience). The surgery itself isn’t a big deal. My thyroid lobectomy started at 7.40 am on a Thursday, took about 2.5 hours, then it was off to post op recovery. Anaesthesia wore off quickly and I was on my feet, albeit it unsteadily, by 11.40am.
Pain wasn’t bad – on a scale of 1-10, it hovered around a 3-4, manageable, made better by Vicodin, which I took every 4 hours on the day of surgery. By 2am on Friday, the morning after surgery, I didn’t need pain meds., although I could have used an Advil or 4 after a night of no sleep (noisy place, hospitals), constant blood pressure checks, and a painful attempt to reinsert my IV. Later in the morning, I had blood drawn for calcium level checks, saw my surgeon and was released with instructions on what to do and what to expect in the next few days.
Per the surgeon’s instructions, I peeled the outer gauze pack off on day 3. Underneath, the incision, covered by 6 steri-strips in place of external stitches, didn’t look as bad as I feared. I’m more squeamish than most, so I was scared to peek. Not bad at all. No pain, only tightness and limited movement in my neck. I slept with the pillows stacked as I couldn’t tilt my head all the way back.
4 days after surgery I drove, and on day 5 I went back to work. On day 12, I managed to peel off one of the steri-strips, which are supposed to fall off by themselves, however, they are sticky, stubborn little buggers and needed a little help. Here I am 16 days after surgery, with 2 of the (trimmed) strips still clinging on for dear life, and healing like a champ.
Calcium levels are good, no pain, only minor discomfort from the tightness and tenderness of the incision. My biggest complaint about the whole process, and I hate to cliche, was the food; it’s true what they say about hospital food, it’s horrible, and on a clear liquid diet (doctors orders) I had beef broth for dinner, breakfast and lunch. Yuck.
If you’re facing thyroid surgery, I hope you won’t worry. In my experience, it’s not bad at all.