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La Jolla Mom

What It’s Like to Have a Partial Thyroidectomy

BY La Jolla Mom

Despite my husband’s repeated advice to not “internet doctor” my upcoming thyroid surgery, I scoured the web for information anyway. At the time it wasn’t clear if I was going to have a partial thyroidectomy or full thyroidectomy, but I wanted to know what to expect in either case.

(Googling “death by thyroidectomy” doesn’t bring up much of anything so you can skip that search and breathe a sigh of relief. I did the legwork on that one for you.)

Between the two years of pondering whether or not I should do this, biopsies and appointments with various surgeons, nothing really prepared me for how it really would go for me, which may be different from how you will recover. But, since my gum graft surgery recap seemed to help so many people, I thought I’d share my partial thyroidectomy experience.

The Diagnosis

In early 2012, my dental hygienist noticed a lump on my throat as she was cleaning my teeth. So, I went to my general practitioner who referred me to an endocrinologist—a specialty here that books out months in advance for an initial appointment. By the time I had an actual appointment and scan in probably around July, it was revealed that I had about a 4cm node on my left thyroid. The biopsy came back negative but I was advised due to its size that I might want to have it removed because they couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t keep growing. The bigger it got, the more difficult the surgery would be and I would never be as healthy as I am now.

Until I decided what to do, they would monitor it every 6 months or so. In the meantime, my dad passed away and I wasn’t in the mood to go under the knife. In 2014, a scan that revealed slight growth to 4.2cm so I received a very pointed letter from my endocrinologist that basically said, “You need to get this removed as soon as possible.” OK. Then came meetings with multiple surgeons. I found one I liked and decided to bite the bullet and have the surgery after the holidays.

My thyroid levels have always been fine.

The Surgery

My surgery was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. which meant a 7:30 a.m. arrival time. I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything from midnight onward. If you take medication, you’re allowed a sip of water with it.

I was also not able to take vitamins or or pain relievers other than Tylenol for the entire week prior (no one said anything about wine, so I drank it). I caught the world’s most horrible head cold that week so received an OK to take my normal cold medicine.

The anesthesiologist I met with in my pre-op appointment OK’d Xanax on the morning of surgery. Boy did that ever help soothe the nerves.

Basically, the early hospical arrival involved checking in, changing, reviewing medical history, meeting with the surgeon one last time, and getting hooked up to an IV. There wasn’t too much downtime and my husband was permitted to hang with me.

At “go” time, they injected anesthesia into my IV and rolled me into the operating room. I felt zero anxiety, due to the medication. I remember being transferred on to the table and that was it until I woke up in recovery with half of my thyroid gone. Easy.

I was told in advance that if I felt the slightest bit nauseous upon waking up that I needed to let them know so they could get ahead of it. I felt queasy. Benadryl was immediately injected into my IV. I woke up and fell asleep a number of times before finally being pretty much kicked out of recovery.

I went home the same day as surgery and ate a fairly normal dinner.

The Next Few Days Were the Worst

Apparently, I am not one of those people who handle anesthesia very well. I had migraines and nausea for several long days after the fact.

My incision? No pain whatsoever. The surgeon said it’s one of those miraculous things where they cut the nerves there during surgery and by the time you heal, there’s no pain. I couldn’t turn my neck very well for almost two weeks. I drove one week later but to turn my head required turning my entire body. Don’t play on driving for at least a week, if not a little longer. Energy isn’t abundant.

My incision was closed with stitches that would dissolve behind some kind of surgical tape that was supposed to fall off in 10 days or so. It never did so I used nail polish remover and a Q-tip to break the bonds and get it off (per the surgeon’s recommendation)… no big deal. I never saw the stitches and that was fine.

In regard to eating, because I felt ill, I only wanted bland food for several days after surgery. But, there’s no way that I’d recommend you chew a steak or anything like that in the days afterward. You’ll need to get used to your limitations, which include feeling a little odd when swallowing.

Recovery from Partial Thyroidectomy

Meeting with multiple surgeons results in potentially confusing the information regarding how long I’d be out of commission. One surgeon told me that my down time would be 2 days (which is a complete crock, on hindsight). Another said a week. My surgeon said that if I had a full time job outside the home, I should take off two weeks and if I worked from home on my own time, a week would probably be OK. As an otherwise healthy human, I figured that I’d land somewhere in the middle.

Wrong. Two weeks is about right. I was pretty much useless during the first week. I could do a little bit here or there during the second week, but not much. I was back to full productivity during weeks three and four but I did need naps and was still unable to exercise. Unfortunately, I caught a horrible cold during week four and the coughing really irritated my surgical site. Do whatever it takes not to get sick for the first two months after surgery because it will set you back.

Otherwise, my surgeon said people are back to normal pretty much at about the six week mark.

How to Prevent Scarring from Surgery

I asked my dermatologist how best to avoid scarring and she said that vitamin E and other scarring ointments are basically worthless. She had me buy over-the-counter, professional grade silicone strips. I chose (affiliate link) ScarAway and have been pleased from the results but they do require patience.

She said that the silicone basically prevents a new scar from popping out. But, everyone heals differently. Should I still scar, there are lasers that help and steroid injections should the scar pop out. So far, I can tell the silicone strips are working.

Things to Ask

While partial thyroidectomy is a fairly routine and simple (relatively speaking) surgery, surgeons seem to have different incision sizes. Ask how big yours will be and where it will be. Some tout a minimally-invasive technique with very small incisions. I was told that all surgery is minimally-invasive if you have a good surgeon because they will get in and out quickly with minimal damage.

My incision is about 2 inches. While it doesn’t seem like much, seeing it actually on your neck after the fact is quite a shock. If you have creases in your neck, they will try to put it there but do ask in advance. I might even suggest looking at photos in advance so that you can visualize and get comfortable with what your new neck may look like.

Minimally-invasive is worth looking in to if you’re a candidate. It is offered where I had my surgery but I was never given the option probably due to the size of my node.

Surgery in the Winter Is Ideal

It’s easy to cover the incision with a scarf or turtle neck in the winter, plus staying out of the sun will reduce scarring. I can’t tell you how glad I am that my surgery fell in January. I still wear the silicone bandages and probably will until at least April.

The Bottom Line

Don’t delay a thyroidectomy or partial thyroidectomy because you’re scared. The surgery itself is pretty easy. Have you had it?

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193 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Have a Partial Thyroidectomy

  1. Hello, Loving your news from across the globe, although not great to hear you had thyroid surgery, I do hope you are on the mend. I had partial and then full removal ( a few years ago, cough, cough – 20 years ago) – and bounced back from both those surgeries, it took a while to get the medication dose right and infant that is what I struggle with constantly, but the hospital stay – that was just fine…keep well x

  2. I am having a Partial Thyroidectomy on April 10th, I am meeting with my surgeon today. I have a 5cm benign nodule that grew about 50% in volume in 6 months. I have been monitoring it for 18 months now, and it finally got bigger. It is time to take it out. My TSH numbers are fantastic. I hate removing half of a perfectly functioning organ. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to read the experiences of others…both positive and negative. xoxo

  3. I will have my partial thypidectomy on July 8th, I have put this off for months. Lately I’ve really had a rough time, I cold then hot, tired all the time, not sleeping and not to mention the weight gain. Now, I am ready to get this done, with hopes that, I will have my life back!

  4. I just came across your website, and am very grateful you posted. I am having a large 6cm thyroid nodule removed at the end of this month, along with a suspected parathyroid tumor. I am terrified! I have three small children under the age of 6, and know I need to do this. But I am dreading the painful recovery, downtime, etc. I also work full-time and have no idea what to say to my office. The surgeons are supposedly going to do this minimally invasively and say I will go home that same day, and will only need to take a week off of work. But I am suspicious of the pain, etc., that will be involved. Supposedly I am having a lighter anesthesia as opposed to a fully-intubated general. Do you now have to take thyroid replacement hormones? My levels have always been normal, even with the large nodules, so I too feel nervous about taking out an organ that seems to be functioning alright. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for posting your experience. Hope that you are feeling better and are fully recovered.

    1. I’m so glad you’re having minimally invasive. I heard that the scarring isn’t as dire. Mine is a pretty good, clean scar but 2″ long and visible above a t-shirt (!!!) so I’m about to do Fraxel lasers and whatever it takes to minimize it. My recovery was a bit hard because of my reaction to the anesthesia but I think normal recovery is quicker. After a week I think even I was driving again and running errands. I do not have to take medication, thankfully. You’ll probably have a blood test 4-6 weeks out to see if things are normal hormone-wise. Good luck. You’ll do fine!

  5. Hi,
    It’s nice to read about your experience with this surgery. I’m going to have a partial also and I’m really concerned about my voice changing. Especially my singing voice (I am a professional singer in the car and shower!). Did you have a hoarse voice for awhile? And if so, did it return to normal? My doctor says it can change in pitch. I’m glad you mentioned the silicone scar pads…I will definitely use those.
    Thanks!

    1. Apologies for the late reply. How did it go with your voice? My voice was a bit funky for a few months but it resolved itself.

  6. Thank you so much for your post about the partial thyroidectomy. I am having it done next week and your very forthcoming and well written post did a lot to lessen my fears.

  7. Thank u for your insight. I am scheduled for a partial/poss total thyroidectomy on Nov 5th due to an extremely suspicious nodule in my left thyroid. They were unable to biopsy twice by aspiration. Due to suspicious nature & high rate of numerous cancers in my family we are just going to surgically remove it. It’s nice to hear from others who have gone through it what to expect & how long to expect to be down

    1. Post-surgery day 3 and I feel ready to go by to work. I had a wonderful surgeon who performs 70-80 of these surgeries a year! That makes a huge difference. My nodule was benign as well, but continued to grow so I wanted it out.

      I was very anxious about what to expect after the surgery, especially after reading horror stories on the net. So far so good. My surgeon used Dermabond and wants to meet in 2 weeks to see how I am healing. Six weeks until I meet with endo to determine if my left lobe picked up the slack. Fingers crossed I won’t need meds!!

      Good luck to all. It is not near as bad as it seems.

      1. Hi.

        I am scheduled for a partial tomorrow afternoon. Also thankful mine is in January. In addition to multi-toxic goiter, I have hyperthyroidism. You mentioned about the possibility of the other side kicking in and possibly not needing meds. What happened in the end? Did it kick in? Did you gain any weight during the wait time?
        Thanks for sharing your experience.

        1. Hi! I still have not needed medication though there are times I’ve wondered if I do, but my schedule is also a lot different now (more active) so I wonder often if I’m just plain tired like a normal person. I did gain a few lbs but think it was more because I was conscious of being tired and didn’t want to push myself to exercise. That being said I exercised 5 days a week for 3 weeks and dropped the weight very easily–just like I’ve normally been able to do–until the holidays came. So, I think I was paranoid and more sedentary even months later than I needed to be. I just need to hit the gym! Good luck!

          1. I can’t thank you enough for posting this I have a 4 centimeter nodule and a two centimeter nodule that they just found. I have had unexplained anxiety for the past couple years and a matter how many therapists are doctors I go to they all seem to tell me they think it’s related to my thyroid. Except the thyroid doctor. My levels are normal so no one wants to take it out only now I feel like I’m choking can’t see out of my right eye so I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I do have some underlying other health issues, so my biggest concern for this is did you feel any sort of depression afterwards and are you on medicine at this time. I can’t afford to gain any weight I have 35 on me from a nine year old baby LOL…,

        2. Sharon,
          Did you end up experiencing any weight gain? I also have a toxic multi-nodular goiter and thus have very high T3 levels, and weight gain is a concern of mine because I was told if I only had half removed, the remaining half should be able to keep up (in theory). My surgery is 10 days away and this whole thread has been so helpful in getting me mentally prepared for it. I was told 3 weeks for total recovery, so interesting to hear that many people here experienced a bit longer and were told longer by their doctors!

  8. I’m scheduled for a partial on the 2nd of February. Highly nervous and such. Biopsy wad suspicious for cancer but they didn’t have enough of whatever to tell. My family is filled.with different types of cancer. My job giving me a hard time about getting time off and thinks I can return the next day. Any suggestions to ease the nerves…or what to eat afterwards…hopefully my thyroid levels stay normal like they are now

    1. Returning to work the next day is simply not possible. I met with a number of surgeons and all said that next day activity was a no-go. I am sure they could provide a letter for you to give to your employer. I was actually able to eat a pretty full meal the same night, however, I think I opted for something soft. You should be able to swallow pretty much anything but your doctor will tell you what you’ll be capable of. Maybe you could ask for something like Xanax to take the morning of or perhaps the night prior to ease your nerves? You will feel such a huge sense of relief once the procedure is over… so look forward to that. I think the anxiety I felt beforehand was the worst part. I have my fingers crossed for you that it is not cancer.

  9. I am reading so many examples of benign nodules with normal hormone levels being removed… Why?
    I can understand is a module is malignant or if there are other symptoms that could suspect cancer . If hormone levels are normal and a module is present and monitored regularly with ultrasound and biopsies, I’m curious as to why they would need to be removed, I am such a case. Inconclusive biopsy, no other cancer-like symptoms or family history and normal T3-T4. Doc suggested I have total thyroidectomy. I am not convinced. Thoughts??

    1. Thyroid nodules can contain anything from liquid to solid material. Though benign and while nodules containing liquid can be drained, they will continue to refill and grow. The nodules do not have to be massive to put a significant amount of pressure on vocal chords and throat and can be extremely uncomfortable to swallow and in extreme cases can even put pressure on your airway. The nodules can also contribute to excess/deficient hormone levels (hypo/hyper thyroidism), and though many have no hormonal changes with the nodules, you can end up having symptoms that mimic one or the other or have one but the symptoms mimicking the opposite. For me, I have a 5cm benign cyst that I’ve had aspirated but it immediately filled back up and grew. The inside of the large nodule is not a typical cyst with a round center of material; the inside is like a honeycomb and has a ton of small pockets that will continue to grow and fill up, so having that side out.

    2. I am having half of my thyroid removed Tuesday may 17th. Starting to get nervous. 2 nodules:1 large that was suscpoius for papillary cancer and the second smaller nodule was inconclusive (Bethesda score 3) I have either seen or spoke to more than 6 doctors. Most were eager to remove my thyroid before the genetic molecular testing results came back. I found that to be disturbing. I finally found a doc at UNC Chapel Hill who said to wait for the molecular results and repeat the biospy. I did this. 7 months later: nodules were larger and both were now suscpoius. I could put this off and re test again but the cells will never be normal and can only turn cancerous over time.
      Having said all this, I am firm believer in keeping your thyroid. It is so important and under appreciated.
      If given the option based on a poor FNA I would most defin retest . There is a certain finesse involved in pulling the sample and staining it promptly.
      I also have normal thyroid function. My module were found by accident

  10. I had a partial thyroidectomy 3 days ago, on Feb 17, 2016. I am feeling better than I thought I would, mainly just a little stiffness in my neck. I’m off pain meds already and planning to go back to work in a few days. I’m nervous about whether I will need medication, but realize I won’t know this for 4-6 weeks.

    1. Glad to hear you are recovering O.K. My neck was stiff, too. Let us know what your outcome is. Many people wonder whether or not they’ll need medication. I didn’t but test on the high range of normal.

  11. So thankful to read this post, I am scheduled to have the right lobe of my thyroid and the 4.5cm nodule removed in April. My thyroid levels are normal at the moment and I’m praying the left side keeps up and can do the job. I guess my biggest fear is that it won’t keep up and I gain an enormous amount of weight. Sounds vain I know, anyone have problems with weight gain after partial thyroidectomy? Thanks in advance for your time! God bless

    1. I think weight gain is a common worry. I did gain a few pounds but I think it’s to do with age and lots of recent travel. I haven’t heard from anyone who has gained notable weight after this surgery. I did know someone who needed medication and experienced weight fluctuation until the doctors got the dosage correct. But once they did, she shed the pounds without effort. That’s probably 1 out of 100 people though so I would not stress about it.

  12. Hi, I have Hemi thyroidectomy surgery scheduled for 8th April, 2016 to remove 4.5cm (non toxic) nodule and a left thyroid, mid section and slither of right. Endo/surgeon says I am so borderline hyper its not worth mentioning. Biospy FNA was inconclusive, wouldnt attempt second FNA as too vascular and dr was concerned I would hemmorage. Ultra sound results were not so kind, ticking off 6 characteristics for cancer – though this does not automatically mean, as I understand it, that cancer cells are definately present as yet. Nervous and anxious is an understatement. I am very emotional (though hiding it from family and friends) and not sleeping much. Infact I feel sick most of the time and have lost my appetite. I have talked myself out of going through with surgery too many times to count and am very concerned about too many things….weight gain, how I will feel immediately after surgery, the biospy results of removed section, whether or not I have to go back for a second round, damaging vocal cords, will I need mediction, what probs does meds present….etc… There is not much I am not worried about. Sorry for unloading and I feel like a wuss. This has just got the better of me.

    1. I understand completely. I think you should tell your doctor about your anxiety. There’s several weeks between now and your surgery and you need to get some rest! Perhaps they can give you something to combat it on the day of, if you think it might be tough to manage otherwise. I am telling you though, you will be so relieved to get the surgery over with. It was something I dreaded for ages and then all of a sudden it was done. And if it is cancer (which odds are it’s probably not), it’s better to get it out and start treatment ASAP. Don’t worry about weight gain, medication (which many people take and do great with), and things like this, I would just focus on getting things in order so you could take a few days off after surgery to rest. Good luck. You will be O.K.!

    2. Lisa, I hope you went thru with the surgery. My nodule was 5cm only on the right, so I only had that side taken out. I was also very nervous, but now I’m so thankful that I had it removed. The surgery and recovery were so easy. I’d only had one other surgery and knew I’d be nauseous after. I went home the same day and other that being a little tired and tiring out faster than normal, I was good.

  13. I had a partial thyroidectomy last week. I had migraines for a few days after and still have a slightly hoarse throat. It has now been 7 days. All OK (except headaches), my only concern is how the thyroid reacts to half of it being taken out. For a few days I was unable to sleep, shaky, really cold hands and feet with twitching muscles. Last night I slept for 16 hours and only awoke as my wife was worried. I tried to do a bit of work over the last couple of days but foggy brain is making it take 20 times longer than it should (the amount of times I walked into a room forgetting what I wanted was astounding). Did you have any symptoms which would imply fluctuating thyroid hormone levels and if so how long before they calmed down? Does the thyroid go into a crisis state after having half of itself removed?

    1. It sounds like you’re having a reaction to the anesthesia. I had the headaches, too, and they told me it’s because some people react this way after being put under while others recover from the anesthesia itself quite quickly. I did eventually feel better but it took several days or a week… can’t remember.

    2. I had only the right side removed on March 16th. I haven’t experienced any of the side effects that you described. I hope that you have scheduled an appt with an endocrinologist.

    3. Just had my left side removed 4/15/16 at La Jolla and its a week today. Horse throat shaky with muscles twitches in my left leg. I hope this all goes away, light head aches also nothing I can’t handle but still. My sister recovered quick from hers and went to work 4 days later, I don’t work and I can’t imagine there is no way. I use to be up by 7 am now I can’t wake up it’s hard to sleep my neck hurts not the incision. I want to be normal again.

  14. I had a partial thyroidectomy on 8th March 2016 I was up and walking about within 1 hour ,i stayed in hospital overnight apart from a lot of swelling on my neck and it overhanging my scar I’ve also got a hard swelling across the scar, I am at the hospital on 28th March for results I had 3 fine needle biopsies which all came back inconclusive so surgery was the only option anyone worried about the operation it’s been really easy for me

    1. My doc said it could take 2 months. I’m only at 3 weeks and it’s still a little swollen. My doc also suggested placing papaya skin on the incision to help with healing and said he’s seen people completely heal without a scar. Has anyone heard of this or tried it? I’ve been using Medihoney and coconut oil.

  15. Hi there – your post helped me so much. I am having a partial on 5/31. Very nervous as I have never had surgery. We are scheduled to go on vacation to Florida (live in Ohio) June 25th – we are flying. Not sure if I should postpone my surgery until after. Thoughts?

  16. Hi, I had a partial thyroidectomy and lobectomy 8 weeks ago today. Pain afterwards was hard for two weeks but movement is fine now and scar is big but calming down. Just very sleepy all the time now, such a struggle every morning to get up!
    Had 3.8 cm malignant and 1 cm cancerous lump removed but didn’t know until if was out. They don’t want to see me for a year now as my tests all came back normal (even before I even went under) Not even for blood checks etc, which I find a bit weird. Went through private insurance but might just book a check up with a GP.
    Am I being over cautious or should I just get on with the tiredness and slight weight gain to wait and see. Bit confused!

  17. Just had a partial thyroidectomy to remove a 3.5cm nodule. My experience was just like LA Jolla mom’said experience. I am 5 days post op and feeling pretty good. Not too tired. Eating get normally. Drove to grocery store yesterday and did fine. Not full range of motion on neck but pretty good and no pain. Only very minor throat irritation. Voice working well but not ready to shout yet. I teach starting next week…day 11…think it will go okay. Will use a lapel Mike to keep from needing to raise my voice unnecessarily.

  18. Thank you, thank you for your post. I had a partial thyroidectomy last week on July 27, 2016 and I don’t seem to have any energy. This is probably my number one complaint. Im sleeping like a newborn baby. My voice is hoarse and shaky but thanks to your post and everyone’s comments, I’m happy to know what I’m experiencing is normal.

  19. I had a partial thyroidectomy 3 days ago. No problem with the anesthesia. I could eat right away after surgery.
    I had a very sore throat until this morning. Now, my throat feels better. I lost my voice after the first night.
    I have a large scar on my throat (about 2.5 inches long). I slept for a couple days and now feel tired in the afternoon and evening.
    I hope I will get my voice back, soon. My surgeon’s nurse recommended iced tea and Advil.

    1. Hi had my partial thyroidectomy September 27 2016, you are all correct fairly no pain just discomfort. Anyone feel like you have a constant thing tied around your neck that’s the only thing that’s bothering me. And God forbid I cough swallowing is still a little tender. Doing good and yes I do need a nap during the day after daily chores. Anyone else having these experiences.

      1. I had a partial thyroidectomy October 4th 2016 to remove a nodule and didn’t know until after surgery if it was cancer.
        At my 4 week check up my doctor told me that the healing process takes 8 weeks, so to continue in NOT extending my neck upwards. In my 4th week I’m feeling less tired during the day (I also experienced that naps were necessary) but there are some evenings where I’m in bed by 8pm. It’s crazy! I’ve also experienced random days of energy. So. Much. Energy. I try to take advantage of those days 😉
        No throat irritation (except the day of surgery) but I’m having trouble singing. Weird, I know, but true.
        I’m just taking notes and keeping track of what’s new/different with myself so I can better inform the doctor.

  20. I had a Thyroidectomy on May the 12th, Less than 2 months later I had an appointment with my surgeon on July the 10th and he was amazed to see that my scar is almost none existent. For two months I was using the Dr Max Powers Scar Serum and it worked. The surgeon was surprised and even wrote down the name of the Scar Serum to recommend to his clients.

  21. Hello,
    I am one day post op. Having some problems with my face feeling flushed. Had a partial thyroidectomy. Lt 3.9 cm nodule. Has anyone experienced any other bodily adjustments during early postop.
    Thanks.
    Keep recovering

  22. My first parathyroid surgery was November 2015 and within 6 mos, the symptoms came back but with like a crazy rushing tornado. Had partial thyroidectomy 11/28/16 after the exploratory did not find anything. My PTH post op never decreased; my calcium level never went down, my vitamin D was never checked. How is it that with all the sophisticated radio tracing equipment that shows something is present, the surgery doesn’t show anything. So is all this for naught? The terribly debilitating symptoms you have still have you entrapped in your own body, you have a horrifying “cut your throat scar” , your medical issue is more complicated than before and according to some, there’s nothing more they can do for me – Is there anyone out there that may be able to shed some light on where do I go from here – thanks

    1. Allie, I just had parathyroid surgery to remove a large adenoma, plus a benign thyroid nodule. A person can have more than one adenoma (enlarged parathyroid gland). Since your calcium and PTH is still high, it sounds like you might have had a second one that is still in there, or perhaps a healthy gland was removed and the original adenoma is still present. I highly recommend you check out parathyroid.com. So much helpful information. After researching, I chose them to perform my surgery, because of their experience, and willingly traveled from Pennsylvania to Tampa. You deserve to feel well. Good luck!

      1. Quick question- did you have yours done by Dr. Clayman? I know a lot of people travel to Tampa for him and I’m having a partial thyroid lobectomy done by him on Monday.

        1. Hi Andrea, I did not have Dr Clayman. I had Dr Lopez at the Norman Parathyroid Center, also in Tampa. My primary problem was hyperparathyroidism caused by an adenoma on one of my parathyroid glands. I also had a benign thyroid nodule that had been slowly growing so he conveniently removed it at the same time. I hope your thyroid surgery went well!

  23. Five days ago, I had a partial thyroidectomy. In my case, it was a big follicular neoplasm (until the results comes back, in which it will be an adenoma or a carcinoma). Scar is about 8 cm, or 3 inches, maybe a little less or more. I felt pretty great when I first woke up after surgery, but after a few hours, it started to hurt. It still hurts, not as bad, but my voice is weak, and it hurts to swallow and talk. Just like a bad throat infection. Even my ears hurt. I am not in the greatest shape, but this will be different for everyone. My wound is still a bit swollen. I’m looking forward to a full recovery, and hopefully negative for cancer.

    At least I’m having an easier time to breathe, and my neck doesn’t look as “fat” as it did before the removal! 😛

  24. I just had my needle biopsy on February 16, 2017. I have multiple nodules on both sides of my thyroid with my largest nodule on my left which has doubled in size since February 2016. It is 5.2 cm. During the biopsy, my doctor made the comment that my large nodule is very deep within my thyroid and regardless of the results, suggests a partial removal due to the fact that it is causing a tracheal deviation making it hard to swallow food, liquids, and sometimes breathe. I’m very torn on what I should do. I knew I would eventually have to have some sort of removal, but am nervous at the timing. My mother was just diagnosed last month with breast cancer and had her surgery the week before my biopsy. I’m seeing so many posts of lack of energy and the upheaval of the body that I’m just not sure what to do. Thoughts??

    1. Amanda! I had the same thing, even the trachea deviation! I had the surgery on February 9th. It is now a little over two weeks and I feel great! Do not put this off. Happily, mine was benign despite a previous needle biopsy show8ng an inordinate number of bad celks, including Hurthle cells. Two weeks is about right fir recovery as LaJolla Mom said. Unfortunately I owna business so surgery Thursday, back to work Monday. I fell asleep at my desk. Anyway, you get the picture…

      1. hi Mary, I’m planning the same – partial thyroidectomy surgery Thursday, and back to work on Monday, because I own a business and cannot get any more time off than that. Were you able to go back to work okay? I see clients for 5 hrs in afternoons, but it’s fairly busy and I have to talk alot.

        1. Hi Emily! I know exactly what you mean. I had my surgery on a Thursday and I slept through the weekend. I did go to work that Monday but I did fall asleep at my desk by the afternoon. If you can, try to go in late and no matter how tempted you are, do not work late. I have to do a lot of talking in my business and my voice gave out on me after an hour. I never told anyone I was having surgery so I had my assistant tell clients I had laryngitis. If you can, try to make Monday as easy as possible! Im not sure you will have the same problem but nothing was coming out of my mouth. Not even a whisper. It shocked me. Please keep me posted on your progress. This message board is very helpful to everyone and your details will be very helpful to others.

          1. Mary, great advice! Thanks! You helped me decide I needed 3 more days off work and I was thankful I did that. I’m now 3 weeks post-op. Things were super easy with the surgery and recovery, except my energy has not returned. What’s the timeline like for fatigue going away? I’m a long distance runner and am shocked I can’t do more than 6 miles. Even 3 miles tires me out! I was running half marathons right before surgery. Something’s not right.

  25. Thanks for your post.

    I had a partial left throidectomy due to nodules continued growing over the past 2 1/2 -3 yrs with the same hesitations.
    How is your incision healing since you manipulated removing the glued protection off sooner ?

    Scarring much? Energy level?

    Thanks

    1. My partial surgery was 9 Feb 2017 ; tonight had to do back to ER for neuropathy left hand, wrist while cooking me a lite supper .

      1. I had surgery on a right nodule, which turned out to be benign! The day after surgery, I noticed neuropathy in my right hand and wrist and began wearing a wrist splint for the nerve pain.
        I researched and found only one study done with IOMN and hand neuropathy. With the splint on I can do anything with my hand. When I remove the splint, I can not use my hand/wrist due to the nerve pain.
        Your post is the only one that even talks about this seemingly rare complication.
        My calcium is fine this is not due to calcium, but rather to the nerve stimulator used during the surgery to protect the Lyrangeal nerve.
        What was your diagnosis in the ER and how long to overcome the symptoms?
        Thanks,

  26. Hi Everyone, i had partial thyroidectomy last 4days ago….everythings turn out great. Didnt feel any pain and no complications. .after 2days of operation i stop taking my pain killer. My surprise theres no pain..im healing well..hope everythings will work out fine for you guys. .

    1. Having my partial lobectomy on Tues April 18, 2017. I am an RN and I’m extremely nervous. These post have help with many questions I have. Thank you for posting.

      1. hi maria, don’t be nervous everything will be fine.. there’s a lot of post in the we that exaggerate the procedure. the first day was the worst for me bcuz i don’t do well with anasethia so i vomited when i got home from surgery and at night. i didn’t have any pain in the surgery area but i didn’t take pain killers just in case. what did bother me was having to sleep sitting up & for some reason my body ached especially my hip area. i asked my dr during post appt & he said one gets tossed around a lot during surgery :0/ what the heck. well i was just tired of laying around bcuz i’m a very active person. long story short i was back to zumba in 3 weeks. my surgery was this year in Jan.
        then since my left love didn’t have cancerous cells i need the right side taken out & that will be on May 17. so just stock up on apple sauce, jello, soups etc. i ate light for a few weeks. i wish i didn’t. have to get my remaining thyroid out bcuz i feel great right now no symptoms of nothing. i’m not tired, not crabby, my hair doesn’t fall out. the only thing is the my 1 inch insicion is super itchy sometimes but i keep out of the sun & use a light scarf.Best of luck on your surgery, think positive & take care of yourself ?

      2. My prayers will be with you after surgery take one day at a time don’t rush. Good luck God bless.
        If you need to chat just shoot a post

        1. Had my partial lobectomy, The right lobe and the isthmus removed. Was suppose to be a quick in and out, but unfortunately he found one nodule that grew deep behind my trachea. It turned out to be large and more extensive than he had imagined. Had I waited 6 months to have this surgery, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I was sent home on a Medrol Pack, which is making me ill. Anyone had to use oral steroids post op?

      3. So happy to hear you ok. I too had a large nodule left love growing down into my chest wall pressing and pushing my treachea. No I have medrol pack before due to asthma but not post op. Keep in touch praying all goes well feel better.

  27. Hi
    How is the weight management going after surgery ?

    I have a solid nodule 1cm only. I feel like the doctor is fishing me for surgery for no apparent reason. They did biopsy on my solid nodule and came up inconclusive
    However, he advised to have it removed. I told him I wanted to wait and lets monitor every 6 months since it’s small and no symptoms. However, I’m going for a second opinion now.
    I’m worried aboit gaining uncontrolled weight. I exercise regularly, but not sure what to expect after surgery.

    Your post made me feel better about the procedure though

    1. Weight has been O.K. but I am not sure if the difficulty I’m having is because of a post-40 metabolism. 😉 My hormone levels all test within normal range and I have half a thyroid. I would get a second opinion. The worry is that it will grow probably and that you’ll never be as healthy as you are at present time to handle a surgery.

    2. I’ve had multiple nodules which were discovered 10 years ago. One has grown to over 4cm now and are now disturbing my ability to swallow large pulls, etc. I never had anyone suggest I have removal until now due to size. I think would get another opinion. Even though I have a small nodule on the other side as well, the surgeon is leaving that lobe in. I was advised to have them monitored, blood work, scans etc on a regular basis. I think another opinion would be wise.

  28. I had a total thyroidectomy in 1999, due to nodules that kept growing. In February 2017 I went to the emergency room they did a cat scan and said that I have a large heterogeneous goiter on my thyroid. I laughed and said that I had my thyroid removed 18 years ago and have been on synthroid since. Went to endocrinologist who sent me for a ultra sound and it appears that my thyroid grew back and it us growing substernal. It is 6cm and am having it removed in 2 days. Has anyone ever heard if this happening? I’m thinking it would be considered a partial thyroidectomy, because the right side is surgically absenti.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this – just found out this morning I’ll be having a partial thyroidectomy and so it was super helpful when this was the first link I found when i consulted “Dr. Google!”

    I was told that if I worked from home (which I do), that I could likely return to work the following week – which I hope is true!

    1. Hi Paula
      I think a week would be a bit quick – depending on the operation and the size of your thyroid. I work from home and initially took 2 weeks but decided on a few more days, generally because I still needed to sleep at odd times. It’s now 5 and a half weeks after my op and I’m feeling fantastic have a huge amount of energy (which has been lacking for sometime) and easily able to work. Scar is healing nicely too.

  30. Thank you for your post and all the comments. I just received the call from my Endocrinologist that I have to have a left lobe partial. They have been monitoring me for 3 years and the right has been there concern. The nodules on the left doubled in size, suspicions shape and have microcalcification. I have had swallowing problems for years and recently it has gotten so bad that I am choking and coughing daily. Told my Primary last month that I am unwell with sweats, chills, dramatic weight gain, mood swings and other symptoms. I was surprised and relieved yet concerned to hear from my doctor that I need to have the surgery right away. Can’t get in to see the surgeon for one month . I have a relative with thyroid cancer plus we were in Europe during the Chernobyl incident and we were told the food and grounds were affected. My challenge is I am allergic to many medications and other allergens including pain medication and most antibiotics.
    For those of you who had the surgery did the doctor prescribe antibiotics ?
    I just had a rare reaction to 1 antibiotic that sent me to the hospital with a rare allergic reaction called serum sickness.
    Appreciate all the comments, because I feel more informed and calmer. Than you

    1. I had my surgery yesterday, and just like you, I was born in the Chernobyl area and have allergies to broad-spectrum antibiotics. However, they asked me about allergies beforehand and I know for sure they double checked and kept that in my mind. I don’t think you should be worried, it’s only my second day and I’m already home writing comments 😀

    2. Patti, what did you decide to do?
      I am 56 and have also been going every 6 months to have a nodule on my right thyroid drained. Each time it is bigger. Today he suggested I get the right thyroid removed. There has never been any signs of cancer, but I wonder if it could turn cancerous if I don’t have it removed? I lost my mom & brother to cancer, and my dad had his thyroid removed.
      I have read so many horror stories about weigbt gain and horrid mood swings – neither of which I can handle right now. I do spin class 4x week and run 2 days….this is just to maintain my weight since I ran a marathon last Oct.
      Other than feeling like I have a slight sore throat, and more coughing, it doesn’t really bother me. Unless there is a chance of it turning cancerous, I would prefer to just keep doing the same 6 mo checkups.
      Thank you for any input.

  31. Hello all,

    I had a partial thyroid gland removal on March 7th this year 2017 I was wondering if anyone has had issues 2 months after the surgery? When I eat or drink anything I feel pain in my throat as I swallow just wondering if this is normal and will it go away on its own?

    1. Hi Amelia It’s only 2 months it should go away your throat is still irratated from the surgery. Speed recovery dear.

  32. I had a transoral partial thyroidectomy two weeks ago (it’s a relatively new procedure kind of like laparoscopy except they go in through an incision in your mouth instead of your belly button. The benefit is that it’s scarless).

    The worst part for me was that they to put a drain in and overextended my shoulder in the process. If it wasn’t for that, I think I’d have been off the heavy duty painkillers within a couple days of the surgery instead of taking them for a week.

    I’ve still got swelling in my jaw and chin – but it’s pretty much only noticeable to me and anyone who knows me well. My next is completely fine. I’ve got full range of movement (except in my shoulder), so driving isn’t a problem. Mostly, I feel fine at this point – though I definitely notice when I over do it (because I spend the next day in bed sleeping all day).

  33. Hi I recently turned 19 and had part of my thyroid removed about two weeks ago. And I wanted to know if anyone has experienced being slightly depressed after having the surgery. I have always been a very joyful person and after my surgery I notice that I am more irritated and tend to be more harsh on myself than I need to be. I tend to snap at people which is unusual of me. And even when I know I’m about to be mean and snappy I can’t help but continue with the attitude. I have always been up for hanging out with friends but all of a sudden its as if I have lost interest in doing anything. I’ve always been an active person and after surgery I just can’t do anything like I used to. I know it takes time but it makes me so frustrated and makes me want to burst into tears because I rely on workouts to help me get rid of stress and it just upsets me to not be able to rely on it and I just would like to know if any of y’all had this experience and how y’all fixed it. I’m afraid that this will be my attitude forever and I don’t want that.

    1. Janette,
      Happy Belated 19th Birthday!
      Just my thoughts here after my surgery I felt a little down too. You must know your hormones are at a stand right now for still for several weeks. Basically, if half was removed the other side needs to work harder. Your levels need monitoring as I am checking mine every two months via blood work. As with my levels, they appear normal… But what is normal the standard medical range. Give it time each week, continue to keep your mind off the procedure but be aware as you are. Sometimes it’s mind over matter just get up get out and try to enjoy what you did before. Again happy birthday!!!

      1. I became very emotional and depressed after my surgery, I didn’t really know why at the time but it’s reassuring to know someone else had a similar experience. I was 22 at the time.

  34. I had a partial thyroidectomy 3 weeks ago. Has anyone experiences menstrual problems? Mine usually last 5-6 days and I’m currently on day 12. I’m not sure if this is a side effect of the surgery? My levels before were 0.3 and they’re 0.9 as of yesterday.

    1. My name is Julie and I just turned 44. I’m on day 6 in post op from having a partial thyroidectomy. All benign thank God!!! I have no energy and my voice is strained easily , frustrated. I know everyone is different and responds differently as well. They didn’t check the thyroid after surgery so that concerns me a little. I have my follow up on the 30th with my ENT doctor. I call BS on the YouTube videos that I watched, the surgery itself I don’t remember but the removal of the drain(PAINFUL) and this getting so exhausted walking to the restroom can’t be normal, can it?? Any one who can give me any advice on how to make this easier would be so much appreciated!!
      Thank you Jewels x

  35. Hi. I found this article sometime after I found out I had a goiter after a year or so with visiting an ENT after messing up my one of my ears. He did an inspection and said it was about the size of a lemon. (Then)

    I am now in recovery after having my left gland removed and my goiter is out. Why I got it done was due to possible concerns if would compromise my breathing, eating, and drinking all together. Before hand I was absolutely terrified but this gave me some comfort that life after Thyroidectomy isn’t that drastic a change.

    I’m waiting on my pathology results and hoping for the best. One thing being my right picks up the slack. It might not, but again hoping for the best.

      1. I just had my partial removal surgery Oct 17th and I too am getting a burning pain when I swallow but it seems to radiate from the incision. I am also hoarse so forget about singing anything! I just wanted to share in case someone else is dealing with the same thing. I am sure it will all heal but will take some time as I am 53.

    1. Thanks so much for posting your experience. It was very reassuring, and I read it daily leading up to my surgery. My experience was very similar to yours. My nodule was 4.8 cm when it was discovered about 3 years ago. Biopsy was benign, so we checked it yearly. This year it was just shy of 7 cm and my ENT strongly suggested a cat scan (I forced myself although I am so claustrophobic that I didn’t think I could. I did and I counted off 22 seconds which wasn’t too bad). The scan showed that my trachea was being pushed out of place which freaked me out. I scheduled surgery for Sept. 21. My experience was very similar to yours. I did stay one night in the hospital, I had no drain, no pain from the surgical site. My throat was sore but I didn’t even need the pain meds. I didn’t get nauseated from the anesthesia. The most annoying thing that I’m dealing with is the cough that started 2 days before surgery. I slept sitting up in the lazyboy for the first two nights, but am able to sleep in bed now. This is day five after surgery and I have a bit of edema in my feet, loose bowels, and I’m quite content to just chill. My steri strips are still in place and I see the surgeon tomorrow for my post surgery appointment. It was so comforting to hear your experience and how similar mine is. I’d also tell people not to worry about this surgery.

      1. Update: Two weeks later: I am back to feeling like myself, although I’m retired so it’s easy to “take it easy”. If I was working, I think time off would be at least two week, maybe three. The edema went away after about 5 days. I was able to move my neck enough to drive after about 5 days. I went back for my post op appointment to find out that all was benign (!!). The scar looks great. It is right in the crease of my neck. For two weeks, I have been dabbing with peroxide and applying Bacitracin. I feel a twinge when I bend or lift something. Other than that, all is well. Don’t hesitate to have this done. It’s very manageable with minimal pain. I go back in January to have my thyroid levels checked.

          1. Hi Linda!
            I had my partial in February. Thanks to this blog, it was a breeze. Mine had pushed my trachea out of line and I was unable to swallow. Anyway, I started using Scar Away as soon as the post-op bandage (which was waxy) flaked off completely. I only used for about a month and I can’t see or feel the scar! I now put Earth Science Skin Serum on it every day. I’m Vegan so this brand is safe if that is a consideration. I follow that with their facial cream. I has read that someone recommended La Met skin serum but the price is just ridiculous. Oh, my surgeon told me to stay out of the sun. No less than 50spf suntan lotion if I do, for at least a year! I hope this is helpful.

          2. Thanks, Mary. Good info. I just ordered ScarAway today. I have to say that my surgeon did a great job. The scar is right in the crease of my neck and really isn’t that bad. I’m hoping the ScarAway will just lessen the redness a bit.

  36. I had my left lobe removed 2 days ago. My nodule was 4cm. I had severe nausea from the anesthesia. The surgery took about 2 hours. I ended staying overnight at the hospital for observation. Currently I have had a slight sore throat. I can drink and eat as normal. I actually have more energy now than I had before. Waiting on the biopsy. I had the needle biopsy prior to the surgery and it came out as benign. There is always a possibility that they find cells not found on the needle biopsy. I have periodic tingling sensation the incision site. I imagine that is a sign that it is healing. This has been one of the least painful surgeries have had. It pays to have a good surgeon. This is a good blog. I wish I would have found it prior to the surgery. Good luck to everyone!

  37. Well I posted a couple months ago about my partial thyroidectomy, found out it was positive for cancer but so early!! It’s been 2.5 months and seems my thyroid that was left is functioning fine but the recovery time was rough, very weak for 2 weeks, voice came back after about a month and half, I do have to get check ups every 3 months for a year and go from there. I’m just glad I’m back to work and doing well right now. I get me check up in about 2 weeks…prayers pleAse!!
    Jewels xo

    1. Good luck to you, Julie. I see everyone is different. My voice was fine after surgery, just a bit scratchy. That was a great relief, because my biggest fear was that my voice would be affected. It’s been about 6 weeks since my surgery and I got back to my normal routine about 2 weeks ago. It really helped to just take it easy for a good month after surgery. My recheck visit where they’ll test my thyroid levels is in January. So far, I feel totally normal…so I’m hoping meds won’t be needed. If they are, then so be it. I’m so glad I just scheduled and had it done.

      1. I had my thyroid function checked and it is in the normal range. I won’t need to take thyroid medication. It’s been almost 5 months since my surgery, and the scar is hardly noticeable.

  38. I found this site before my partial op in February, the article and all the comments are so great for info and support! My nodule was approximately 5cm, and was causing hyperthyroid symptoms (tremors/heart palpitations/anxiety/etc). After my op my left lobe seemed to be functioning fine (no mroe tremors and other symptoms) for about 2 weeks but then went hypothyroid (a whole new set of symptoms!), and now I am on eltroxin. Has anybody here been on medication and then been weened off? I also see that several people here go for regular blood tests (every two odd months), my doctor told me to go for blood tests again in a year, should I go sooner? I am not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I found other sites to be quite scary.

    1. Hi, Orpa, I agree, this site was so valuable to me when I had my hemithyroidectomy. It was comforting to know what to expect and then to be able to share my experience. My nodule was over 7cm, but I didn’t notice any effects, just that it was large and needed to come out. My thyroid function tested in the normal range one month after surgery, so I am not on any meds and feel fine. I get tested every 6 months.

    2. Hi Orpa. I am glad you are okay. I find it a little odd that your doctor doesn’t want to test for again for another year. The standard seems to be six months. I guess as long as long as you don’t notice any other symptoms, you might be okay. But please monitor yourself and if your doctor is putting you off, find another doctor. I believe the drug you were given is a brand of Levothyroxine. I was prescribed 25mg daily of Synthroid which is another brand. All I can say is pay very close attention to what your body is telling you. If this one doesn’t work there are others they can try. You have to take an active role. If you don’t feel right, or if you are experiencing any unpleasant side effects, say something. Don’t wait.

  39. This was so helpful to me, I went into hospital so much more relaxed. I had my op 3 weeks ago. I was driving within days, I didn’t have the problems with turning my head but my throat was really sore so I was on soft foods for a week. I too agree that you need 2 weeks to properly recover. I overdid things during the first few days and regretted it! I because really tired so was glad to have a second recovery week. Now I am at the stage where my throat feels like it is tightening. I have a long scar as the surgeon said it was a ‘battle’ to remove the cyst and part of the thyroid. I get histo results next month.

  40. My doctor found a few nodules on the right side of my thyroid. This was found incedentaly. I had/have no symptoms whatsoever and thyroid functions are completely normal. However, due to the size of one nodule (1.2 cm) they ordered a biopsy. It took me weeks to get up the nerve but I did it. The results came back as suspicious for malignant papilary carcinoma. One doc said it has a 70% chance of turning bad so he is wanting to remove my right side. He said watch and wait is not for me. Should I seek one more opinion? Or is this standard?

    1. Hello Robin. If you can get a second opinion, and if it will help remove any doubts, then yes get it. The thing is, you don’t want to wait too long because whatever it is, it’s not going to get any better. You’ve done the biopsy, that’s the hard part. The surgery is easier. Don’t fool around with this. The sooner you have it removed, the sooner you can move on.

      1. Mary, thank you for the response. I’ve been thinking about what you said and you’re right it’s not going away. The only surgeries I’ve had were c-sections. Some would say that is more scary than thyroid surgery. I’m wondering what life will be like after thyroid surgery. My doctor says I may not even need medication if the left side does fine without the right. In reality I think another doctor would recommend surgery. Being a new patient it could take months to get an appointment. I just have to mentally prepare myself for this. Thanks again for responding.

        1. Hi, Robin, I agree that the second opinion would most likely recommend the same because of the biopsy findings. I had a hemithyroidectomy last September (7cm nodule, benign but large). I was hesitant about the surgery, but I can honestly tell you that it was not bad at all. I had no pain, just a bit of a sore throat for a few days from the tube during surgery. I felt pretty good but took it easy for about 2 weeks. Don’t put it off, it was not a problem at all. Also, after surgery I still test in the normal range and do not need thyroid meds.

        2. Hi Robin,
          Linda makes a good point. You really need to allow yourself to rest after the procedure. That was the one thing that surprised me. I had surgery on a Thursday and was back at work on Monday. By the afternoon I was sound asleep at my desk and I didn’t remember putting my head down! LOL!

          Please continue to post on this blog. Keeping us in the loop also helps other people who are looking for advise or just want an idea of what to expect.

          Also, even though we don’t all know each personally, we do care what happens to each other.

          1. Thank you Mary & Linda for replying and advice. I have an appointment with the surgeon 07/02. However, my primary doctor has told me not to expect surgery for at least 3 months. I’m severely anemic and have to take iron infusions to get my iron to a normal level. I’m actually sick from the anemia but have no symptoms from the thyroid issue. He assures me I will get better soon. I tell him I’m looking foward to it! ☺ I will continue to post here and share my story.

  41. Thanks for your post and all the response. I just had a partial thyroidectomy and so far thyroid level is fine no med required. I book an appt with endocrine though just so to ensure i catch hypothyroidism on its onset. 🙂 are you taking any med for now?

    1. Hi, Jenny, I am ten months out from a hemithyroidectomy. So far, my levels have been fine. I have an appointment on Tuesday for blood work results. I feel absolutely fine, but I’ll report if the levels are still normal.

    2. At my appointment on Tuesday, my thyroid level was still within the normal range (at the high end of the normal range). This is 10 months out from hemi-thyroidectomy. No medication needed. I don’t have to go back for one year.

  42. Thank you for posting about your experience. I just came across this and I am scheduled 8/22/18 for surgery. I am terrified. They are removing my right thyroid (4cm nodule) and a left parathyroid gland as there is a small adenoma on it. Two surgeries together into one. My worst fear of course are the possible complications. Hitting the voice box or causing issues with my breathing. I pray I feel like me and require no permanent meds. I do know I will be on megadoses of calcium right away until they see how my calcium levels do after removing the parathyroid gland, rechecking 2 weeks later. I am fearful also of hypothyroidism as I don’t need any weight gain and feeling sluggish, etc as I work full time. I’m glad you had a good outcome and warned of feeling not yourself that first week or two. I was told 1-2 weeks as well. I have a small nodule on the left so my concern is they may decide to take the whole thyroid. Fingers crossed. Thank you again.

  43. Thank you so much for this site. Reading through has been so helpful.
    I have a benign 4 cm nodule. My doctor strongly advised a partial thyroidectomy for 2 reasons. One, I am having difficulty swallowing and it’s really interfering with my eating. Two, he says it’s not going to get smaller and I might as well remove it now. I’m scheduled for surgery August 24.
    I was wondering what people thought of this. Anyone have similar experience?
    The ENT looked in my throat and told me nothing is blocked so what am I feeling? Am I doing surgery for no good reason?
    Also, did anyone else have symptoms of feeling like your throat was swelling after eating? I’m wondering what that’s about.
    Any responses would be SO appreciated! Thanks all so much!!!

    1. Molly,
      I had my right thyroid removed 2 weeks ago today. Like you, I was very nervous from reading some of the posts. I also had difficulty swallowing and things like vitamins would get stuck. My right ear also had weird sensations. I felt like I always had a sore throat. I had multiple nodes on mine, and had been having them drained for the past 2 years. They came back quicker and bigger after each draining.
      My doctor advised having it removed. Even though the fluid was always benign, I lost my mom & brother to cancer, so didn’t want to take any chances.
      I am so glad I had it done. The whole thing went very smooth. I had to stay overnight, which is normal. I felt fine 2 days later. I had my follow up last Friday (11 days after the surgery) and the incision was healed, the biopsy came back 100% benign.
      I went to spin class last Saturday & today. I had been having difficulty breathing in spin. My throat always seemed ‘goopy’ and I would take menthol cough drops to help clear it. I had trouble getting my heart hate up too. Well, the last 2 spin classes I felt great. I could breathe & my heart rate was good. I am also a runner, so I’m anxious to see if that is easier (it’s been too hot to run lately).
      I would say to get it done. The nodes are not going away, and I figured it was best to do it while I was in good shape & healthy. I am 57.
      Let me know if you have any other concerns.
      Good luck.
      Karla

      1. Hi Molly, this is the week 3 after removing my right lobe. It’s a safe procedure. I have a 4cm solid nodule and biopsy result is benign. The post op test result also came back benign. I don’t suffer any pain or loss of voice, I guess my surgeon had done a great job. The wound is healing perfectly although there is still sense of tightness around it. There is a slight fullness sensation on my right ear though, I’m not sure whether orhers do have the same experience.
        It’s a safe procedure, don’t Google too much like I did, it makes you nervous more. Good luck to you.

        1. Thank you! I’m going for a CAT scan tomorrow. I’m kind of nervous, but I hope it will be OK. Thanks for the reassurance!

      2. Karla – were you as tired as some people are saying after? At what point were you able to workout? Did this affect your weight?

    2. Hi, Molly, I agree with your doctor. Mine was also benign and 5cm when it was discovered. I had ultrasounds and biopsies over a 4 year period. Most recently, it had grown to 7 cm and still benign. It wasn’t until I had my pre-op catscan that we saw the it was actually pushing my trachea to the side. That did it for me. Even though benign, I would have been scheduled for an ultrasound and biopsy every six months. Plus, I am 63 and the doctor said there is no time like the present to have it removed. Even if it grew slowly over the years……I could end up with a real problem down the line. I had the hemi-thyroidectomy last September. The surgery and after period were much easier than I expected. My voice was fine from day one. My sister asked where my scar was the other day because you can’t even see it now. My thyroid levels are still fine. Don’t hesitate. Have it removed while it is still benign and fine. You will notice a great difference in your swallowing and neck appearance.

      1. Thanks Karla and Linda so much! It’s so helpful and calming to hear from people with positive experiences and that I’m not crazy for wanting to get this removed. I just looked over my ultrasound report and it says it’s pushing the trachea to the right. I’m not sure what that means (I don’t think its compressing anything) but I do feel like I just want it out. Now there is a suggestion that I do a CT to see better what’s going on. I’m nervous but I’m trying to get as much information as possible in order to make a good decision that I can feel good about. Thanks so much for your replies- I really appreciate it and find it helpful. Best to you!!

        1. Molly, A CT scan is a good idea. I had one prior to my surgery and it was good that I did. I really didn’t want to because I am claustrophobic, but was assured that it was very quick (21 seconds to be exact). The cat scan showed that the nodule had some tentacles that were growing down along my trachea . The ultrasound had not shown this. With that situation, they have a thoracic surgeon on standby in case they have to go down deeper. This freaked me out a bit, but I was happy for their caution and thoroughness. In the end, the nodule came out fine without the assistance of the thoracic surgeon. All was well, but that is another thing to consider with a large nodule. You will feel so relieved when you have it removed. Plus, it was a very mild and painless surgery and recovery.

    3. Hi Molly, my name is Khalil and I’m 28 years old .Three weeks ago I was daignosed with 4.5 com nodule after doing Ultra sound ,CT scan, MRI and Fine needle . The doctors could not recognize whether its benign or melignant .
      they said I’m in the ( Grey area ) and the only option is surgery. I was depressed, devistated and angry . But if you think in this way you will lose your mind and stability. ( Which you need the most)
      As a result , on August 9th I had done the surgery and results were Benign and now I’m recovering.
      hope the best for you

      1. Thank you!
        I did a CT which confirmed where it was sitting, and that it needs to come out. I’m going in on Friday morning. I’m nervous because I’ve been a little ill this week, but since there is no fever, they are proceeding as scheduled.
        Thanks everyone for all the support. Wishing a good recovery to all!

        1. Hi. I just wanted to update that I am post surgery. It went pretty well but I am surprised by the amount of pain I still feel. I have swelling and redness, as well as a major bruise (black and blue) all the way down my chest. Not fun. Also a lot of congestion. But I’m hoping that every day it will get better!

          1. Geez, I’m sorry to hear about the pain and bruising down your chest. I would definitely ask the surgeon on your return visit why you had bruising down there. I only recall a bit of a sore throat from the throat tube. I remember a bit of swelling (also my ankles swelled) but that was all gone within a few days. Hang in there. You’ll be back to normal in no time and very happy that you had this done.

          2. Molly, I had my surgery 8/22 and went home the 23rd. Right side removed & 1 of the left parathyroid glands. He also biopsied a small nodule on the left thyroid & a right parathyroid gland. Thankfully all came back benign. I’m very swollen also but no pain. Terrible sore throat for 48 hours along with intense headache and back of neck pain. I was leaned backward for 4 1/2 hours so it explains why I was so sore. I’m on 3,000mg calcium, hopefully temporary. Go back for post op appt 9/4. Good luck!

  44. Hello-I love this thread. I did leave a comment a week or so ago but notice it did not post. Did I do something wrong?
    I am having my right thyroid removed 8/22/18 along with one of my left parathyroid glands. I have a 4cm nodule that has been biopsied 3 times over the last several years but because it continues to grow the doctor said to get it out. Thyroid levels are normal. My PTH has been elevated as well as my Calcium. Calcium just a bit, runs around 9.9-10.1. PTH anywhere from 80-110.
    Has anyone had both surgeries at once? They intend to keep me overnight to keep an eye on my Calcium levels. I am so very nervous about the recovery and possible complications. Also is bad timing since I just started a new job 3 weeks ago.
    Any advice?

  45. Hi, I am planning to get my partial thyroidectomy done soon for my indeterminate thyroid nodule on my right lobe. I am in San Diego, who are the top surgeons here? Who do you guys recommend I talk to?I am planning to interview some of them next.

    1. Hi
      I live in San Diego (North County) and had a partial right thyroidectomy done on July 17. I had it done at Palomar Hospital in Escondido and was very happy with my surgeon and the staff at Palomar. I did stay overnight, which is standard. Here is the link to my surgeon.
      https://www.graybill.org/physicians/ramin-sorkhi-md/

  46. I had the left side of my thyroid removed 8 days ago and the steri strips removed yesterday. I can relate to being extremely tired, feel like I need a nap every 2-3 hours. Still a tad swollen above the incision. My nodules were found by accident on a chest CT of my lungs and the biopsy said suspicious and atypical so we really had no choice but to remove them. My thyroid functions were normal. They were NOT cancerous BUT…I had lost most of my voice due to having a tube rammed down my throat during a bladder surgery 5 yrs ago and the vocal cord had to be repaired. My surgeon had a monitor on my locating my vocal cords and here 8 days after surgery my voice is no longer horse sounding and I can sing AGAIN!!!! Apparently the nodules were pressing on my vocal cords continuing to make me horse and with the nodules gone I have my voice back!!! A miracle finding them by accident and a miracle getting my voice totally back!!!

  47. Reading this site has been such a relief for me. I have a thyroidectomy scheduled for Wednesday, possibly partial but won’t know until they go in. I’m mostly concerned about weight gain, as I have high blood pressure already. Plus, I’m getting married next year and don’t want to deal with weight gain or a scar. My levels have been normal, and my parathyroid seems fine, too. My other major concern is fatigue after the surgery. Are there any teachers out there? I go back to work in about 3 weeks, and I’m worried about being able to do the job. The beginning of the year as exhausting as it is! Any words of wisdom will be appreciated! Most of the experiences on here have put me at ease though, and I thank you all for that.

    1. Hi, Bern, Good luck with your surgery. I would say that my scar faded within about 6 months. My scar was in the crease of my neck. I had surgery last September and you can’t even see it. I had a hemi-thyroidectomy, my levels stayed the same, there has been no effect on my weight. Let us know how you make out….

  48. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. As soon as I got the diagnosis, I put myself on a plane from Norfolk VA to San Diego and checked myself into the Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove where I successfully reversed the condition with diet, wheatgrass, colonics and a bunch of hippy dippy stuff that I must say, worked like a charm. 2 years later and the lack of all the nourishment, colonics and spiritual enlightenment I received at OHI, I gained 40 pounds due to some extremely large nodules on my right thyroid area that kind or crept up without my knowledge. I gained this weight within a few short months. My hormone levels were all normal. This alarmed my extremely competent doctor and he immediately wanted biopsies, ultra sounds and my first born. The results from the biopsy came back as “suspicious” and my Dr checked me into the hospital 2 days later. I just had my right section removed. The “frozen” pathology during surgery came back cancer free. We are awaiting the other report from pathology in hopes that it is truly cancer free. The weight is almost all in my stomach. I am wondering if anyone has had the same symptoms and procedure with any weight loss afterwards. PLEASE SAY YES!!! 🙂 I was always so thin and now look like a beer drinking trucker. UGHHH I am really hoping that the nodules were causing the weight gain and I don’t have to join the circus, but instead will return to my slender self again.

    1. Yes! Weight gain everywhere but mainly stomach! Had a partial thyroidectomy Oct 25th for initially suspected nodular Papillary/Follicular thyroid cancer. Surgery went well! No cancer found! Painful recovery but ok?

  49. Loving all the comments on this site. I am going to have thyroid surgery this Fall – hasn’t been scheduled yet. I have a nodule on the right lobe which is about 5.5cm now. It was discovered in 2011, was about 4.4cm then, and has been monitored periodically since then with ultrasounds and biopsies (benign). The plan is to just remove the right lobe.

    Definitely nervous about the surgery but ready too. Hearing everyone’s experiences is really helpful. I’m also wondering what my energy level will be like afterward, as well as the scar. Do folks tend to work with endocrinologists afterwards to determine med needs?

    1. Hi, Lorraine, Your experience seems very similar to mine. I started with a large nodule which grew to about 7 cm over 3 years of ultrasounds and biopsies (benign). I had mine remove last September. The operation went smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised by the easy recovery. I would say 2 to 3 weeks of feeling a bit tired before you feel back to normal. The ENT who removed half of my thyroid monitors my thyroid levels. It is testing in the normal range, so no medication is needed. I feel fine, same as before. I got the impression that if my levels went out of the normal range, my ENT would prescribe meds or I could move on to an endocrinologist. Good luck!

  50. It was great to read such encouraging story, but mine has been a little bit of roller coaster. Wondering if anyone hada similar experience. Surgery was 8/22/18. My nodule was in the middle of the thyroid so the doctor was hoping to take half but I had to take full thyroid, plus 2 parathyroids (one with an cancer specimen, the other was swollen and my mom has a condition with hypercalcemia). The surgery went very well, I felt great after three days even went to lunch Etc. Fast forward to 8/26, and I’m tingling in the fingers toes face teeth. Go to the ER and it turns out my parathyroids did not kick in again, so my calcium was at a 6.2. was in the hospital from Sunday through Friday, and finally my calcium was above 8 for 24 hours. I was released with a boatload of calcium supplements and pills to help absorption. got blood work done this past Thursday, and this past Friday had to go back to the hospital because my calcium was now 13.5, and my creatinine level was 2.1. This was because of the combination of too much calcium medication and another medication. You could imagine my concern and fear and I was told that that combination I was taking made my kidneys “fail a little.” I only stayed in hospital about 36 hours this time, but need to get blood drawn frequently because my creatinine level is still too high. It’s very frustrating and definitely not as easy as people told me it would be. Hopefully I’ll get the right balance of things hashed out this week.

  51. I am going to have a partial thyroidectomy this fall, and my doctor did a biopsy a few weeks ago just to get an updated reading (biopsy results were benign a year ago). this year’s biopsy did not get conclusive samples, so he gave me two choices – a) plan for the partial thyroidectomy and the pathologist will do a real-time analysis during surgery to determine whether to remove the whole thyroid or b) do a second biopsy.

    my doctor said he doesn’t feel a strong need for b), but wanted to put it out there since there’s ample time to do one before the surgery.

    has anyone had the experience of planning to do a partial, but winding up with a full thyroidectomy due to findings during the surgery? or, has anyone ever had to have a second surgery to remove the other half?

    the thing is, it’s possible the second biopsy could also be inconclusive and he agreed with me on that. honestly, the recent biopsy was more painful than i’d expected and i was swollen for a week. so you can imagine i’m biased towards skipping a second one.

    1. I I just had a parallel experience. I went for a partial thyroidectomy for a tumor that they said was benign (one FNA came back benign and the other was inclusive). It turn out to be a 4 mm tumor- papillary carcinoma with follicular variant. So a month later I just had to go in to completion thyroidectomy. Needless to say, this whole process – two surgeries- was not fun.
      So yes, I would much rather have had one surgery and have been done. On the other hand, I have to be honest that I am experiencing things with the second surgery- no thyroid (nausea, sweating) that I didn’t have with just a partial thyroidectomy.
      Good luck and wishing you all the best.
      I’d be happy to answer any further questions.

      1. Thanks for sharing your story. Did the tumor grow at a fast rate? And what do you mean about experiencing things with the second surgery?

        1. Hi Lorraine,
          I kept asking if the tumor grew at a fast rate, and all the Drs are telling me that it wasn’t a factor, but honestly who knows? They discovered it in April and it was 3.7 cm, and when they took it out it was 4 or 4.2 cm, but the doctors say they that it’s just the different sonogram readings and it didn’t really grow.

          What I meant about the second surgery was that I had a lot more side effects with no thyroid than I did after the first surgery with half a thyroid. These were due to my body getting used to having no thyroid and to the medication. My symptoms were nausea, sweats, and some heightened anxiety.
          I hope all goes well for you.

  52. First of all thank you for posting your experience, it helped me feel more comfortable about getting my surgery. I had a goiter for 10 years and had been last measured at about 5.5cm. I just had a partial thyroidectomy this past Wednesday 9/26/18 and my surgeon said the goiter was about the size of a small adult fist. It has only been 4 days since surgery. The goiter tested 3 times benign including the test after surgery. The surgery itself went well and the day of was not bad. Days 2 and 3 were the toughest between adjusting to swallowing discomfort and recovering from anesthesia. With that said, I have only taken Tylenol for pain. Today was pretty good as the anesthesia effects are over. I agree that if you need this done, then do not delay because of fear. I was very nervous before the surgery but I am glad I went through with it. Also, make sure you ask all your questions and have family member go with you for the surgery. The comments on this site were so helpful for me. Again thank you all for your comments.

    1. Hi, Don, Your experience is similar to mine (one year ago). I was pleasantly surprised that the surgery and recovery was not bad at all. Be prepared to feel a bit tired for a week or two. Also, after my bandage came off I started using ScarAway silicone strips on the scar for about one month. The scar is hardly noticeable. Good luck with your recovery.

      1. Linda,

        Yes. I plan to use scar away. I have noticed some tiredness. Thanks for all the tips.

        For anyone considering this surgery. Make sure you talk to multiple doctors. An experienced high volume surgeon is best.

    2. Update:

      So its been about a month (28 days) and I feel pretty normal. I do get tightness sparingly but it seems to happen less and less. Two of my parathyroids were removed and put back during surgery. I have not taken medicine since the day before surgery. I visit the endo this week to see if I require the levothyroxin.

  53. Thanks for the info.
    I had a partial thyroidectomy yesterday morning.
    My scar is about 4″ long as it turned out my right lobe was huge….7cm x 4cm x 5cm. Being a guy, I don’t care about the scar too much and I can make up a bunch of stories about a hanging that went bad, Al Queda operatives at Taco Bell or a herd of rabid raccoons…but really my doctor is a plastic surgeon as well as an ENT so I doubt I will have much of a scar and it is very low. They gave me Norco for pain but the pain is less troublesome than the effects of the Norco for me. I took them last night before bed but I get dizzy and waves of nausea on that stuff and ended up staying up all night. The pain is fairly intense for sure. I am trying Extra strength Tylenol for it now and it seems to be as good as the Norco without the side effects. The pillow pile on the bed is helping but any movement hurts right now.

  54. I had my surgery on the 21st of September and just received my pathology report that it is benign.

    For the benefit of others here are the details.
    HISTORY
    I am male in early 30s…. Noticed nodule while shaving in 2013… Ultrasound said I have 3.7cm nodule in right lobe. All multiple FNAs were indeterminate. Affirma Gene testing said 40% chances cancer, but ruled out aggressive cancers like MTC. Decided to wait and watch as my mom had the same thing and her’s was benign upon removal. Having a conservative Endo and supportive wife helped. Followed it up with ultrasound every 6 months. It kept growing little by little to about 5.2cm in 2018. All ultrasounds noted vascularity in nodule with no lymph adenopathy. I have always been full of energy with otherwise normally functioning thyroid with no need for medications. Some symptoms that I think i was getting were snoring, waking up from sleep due to shortness of breath?, throat fatigue while speaking a lot, dentist telling me that I may have sleep apnea.

    THE SURGERY & recovery
    Had it at UCSD with Dr Bouvet, apparently nodule was well encapsulated in the lobe with no sign of lymph adenopathy. Went in for hemi with possible total if there are signs of cancer(lymph adenopathy with frozen section on lymph node showing thyroid cells). Surgery was quick and surprisingly painless as I did not have to take even Tylenol after surgery. Incision is about 6 cm long. Steri strips were removed at doctors office 10 days after surgery today. I have a thyroid function test in 6 weeks to see if the remaining lobe’s function would suffice.

    Let me know if you have any Qs and I will answer.

    1. Hi,

      I am a 33 years old male and have discovered in 2016 a 2.2cm nodule in my left thyroid. It has grown since than to a current 3.9cm. I had 3 biopsies all of them benign but the surgeon ENT has booked me for a surgery at the end of November. Can you please tell me how you managed the stress leading up to the surgery and the day off. The anxiety is killing me. Also, how long was your surgery ? It is hard to find any comments from men having thyroidectomy so thanks for sharing.

      1. Hi Hyperion

        To manage stress, try to pick up something you like and do it till the day before surgery. In my case, it was home improvement. I went on an overdrive with that and became anxiety free. I think surgery was like 120 min including prep.

    2. Hi, how did you manage the anxiety going into this and also how long was your surgery and for how long in the hospital after the surgery. Any complications ?

      Thank you,

      1. My surgery was about 1 1/2 hours. I stayed in the hospital one night and went home the next morning. I wasn’t too anxious before the surgery since I had a benign result about 6 months before. I was a bit nervous about the site of the surgery (the neck area), but have to say that this forum helped ease my nervousness. I will also say that it was a very easy recovery and I would tell anyone not to hesitate.

  55. I had a partial almost two weeks ago. My right lobe was 7cm x 5cm x 4cm which is huge. You could not see it because I am a big guy. It was actually found during a CT of my chest.
    They did a test when they pulled it out and it came back negative for cancer so they did not take the other half.

    I am feeling fine and was feeling fine after about 4 days. I had it Monday morning and by Thursday was feeling great but I over did it and started feeling anxiety, tired and dizzy. I took it easy and was fine after that. Take it easy longer than you think you have to.

    I still feel tightness in my throat when I tip my head back but other than that, it is all OK.

    For anyone nervous about the procedure, it is not that big a deal. I was anxious but after I was in recovery I knew I should not have been.

  56. Hello everyone, I have a 1cm nodule on my right lobe. ultrasound result is with cslcification. My biopsy result is indetermine with microcalcification. y Endo is a bit concern about the result so he refer me to surgeon snd the surgeon sdvneed some advice is to have a partial thyrodectomy.My plan is this winter but still undecided on my surgery 50/50. I hsve this nodule for 5 yrs now same size no changes. My bloodtest result in my thyroid is
    normal . Any advice pls. Thank you

    1. Hi, Christian, I had half of my thyroid removed a year ago for a large (7 cm) nodule benign. I don’t know much about the pathology “indetermine”, but what I was told was that if it wasn’t pure “benign” they would recommend removal. I can tell you that the surgery was very simple, just a sore throat for about 2 days and no pain. You have to take it easy for about 2 weeks with no neck stretching or turning. I had normal thyroid levels before and after my surgery, so need no meds. In your case, you’d have to consider that if you don’t have the surgery you will probably need scans and biopsies over and over while they monitor this. Weigh the stress of that over just having the surgery done. Good luck with your decision.

  57. So great to read this because everything else I I have read has scared the you-know-what out of me. I have a 6cm nodule on the left side, FNA shows “atypicality” but experienced surgeon and radiologist both say it looks benign to them. 1cm nodule on right side – definitely benign. Surgeon giving me the option of a partial or full thyroidectomy – says it’s up to me. I can have a “full” and be done with it and never worry or need follow-up on anything (but more surgical risk and meds for the rest of my life). Or I can have a partial — and if the 6cm nodule turns out to be cancer (risk seems to be 5-15% from what I have read), then I would have to do a second surgery and get the whole thing out. I’ve read so many scary posts about managing hormone levels and poor quality of life issues after full thyroid surgery, etc. – that I think I’d rather take my chances and do a partial (less risky surgery, 80% chance of not needing synthroid, and 80-85% chance that honking big nodule is totally benign anyway). It seems that anyone who has had a hemi and then needed a total wishes they did all at once. So what to do????

    1. Mine was almost like yours. 7cm on right side with and smaller cyst like on the left side. My doctor offered a similar option. Take it all now or do a quick test in ER, if it shows negative, leave half. I told him that he was the expert so he should make the choice. They did a freeze test while in surgery and it came back negative so he only took half. The post op biopsy proved it was negative so it ended up being the right choice. I am 20 day out now except for a bit of tightness still, I am fine. My first thyroid level tests have shown that my levels are good. We will do one a month for a couple of months to be sure but it looks like the half will do its job.

    2. The nodule on my left side was 7cm…there was hardly any thyroid tissue. I also have a small nodule on the other side. With a nodule of that size, even though my 3 biopsies showed “benign”, there was always the question. I’ve been having both sides ultrasounded for about 5 years. The small nodule on the right side has never changed in size. For that reason, they never suggested removal of the right side. If the small nodule seems stable, I’d be inclined to leave that side in. Is there the option for them to do pathology on the left side while still in surgery?

    3. Hi Raquel,
      I had what they thought was a benign nodule on one lobe (4 cm), so had partial thyroidectomy. After it was out they found it was malignant on the biopsy so 3 weeks later I had a completion thyroidectomy. That turned out to be benign. Now I’m really struggling because I’m nauseous and weak all the time. I’m sharing this to say – you are not wrong to take seriously the difference between having no thyroid and half a thyroid. I wish I had realized how different I was. At the same time, If you do eventually need a second surgery, you will get through it! Good luck! These decisions are so hard. But I guess what I’m trying to say is we make the best decisions we can at the time and we can manage whatever happens, especially with support. I wish you all the best!

    1. Hi,

      I just had my surgery on Friday Oct 26th Dr.Lawrence Kim at UNC Chapel Hill is my surgeon. He has 30 years of experience and I am very pleased. I would highly recommend Dr.Kim and his team.

  58. Hello,

    I literally had this surgery hours ago. I had a 4.9cm nodule on my left lobe. I was super anxious all month, but so far, I’m ecstatic that it’s out! Theirs definitely some tightness and throat soreness but no pain, and I’m not taking the tramadol my surgeon prescribed, as of yet. So that’s without pain meds from 7:00 am this morning!

  59. Hi,
    I had a 4 cm nodule on my left lobe for 4 years that stayed the same size from 2012-2017. Late 2017 through 2018 I was having a lot of weird symptoms like feeling like I was suffocating while in bed and trouble swallowing and waking up choking on Saliva.

    I had gone to the ER with extreme pain swallowing and they got it calmed down, but did a routine chest x-Ray and found a mass in my chest… turned out to be a substernal thyroid nodule ( my thyroid had gotten so large it grew into my chest ).

    Ct scan showed it had deviated my trachea and esophagus to the right and was compressing both.

    I had surgery November 15 for removal of my left thyroid lobe, they removed a 9 x 6 x 4.3 nodule. It was large!
    They were able to remove it through my neck without having to open my sternum which I was thankful for. I had a great surgeon at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Dr Lisa Orloff.

    I would not wait if you have a large nodule, it gets more difficult to remove the larger it gets.

    I was so nervous prior to surgery, but it was a piece of cake. I took 1 pain pill when I got home because we had a 4 hour drive due to very heavy traffic. I took a half after that and that was it. After that If I started to hurt I took Tylenol and it was fine. It helped to sleep elevated for about a week and I agree with most that you need two weeks off work. I got tired super easy. I’m actually still tired 4 weeks out, but I think I need to have a thyroid test to make sure my right lobe is functioning fully.

    1. Hi, Kimberly,
      You are the first person that I’ve heard had a nodule larger than mine. Mine was a little over 7cm. I was just starting to have the symptoms you described when I had mine removed. The minute my ENT said my trachea was pushed to the side was my decision-making moment. A cat scan revealed that mine was sub-sternal. Thankfully, it was removed easily and didn’t require separating the sternum. I was told that is a much more complicated surgery and recovery. It’s been a bit more than a year and my thyroid levels are still fine without medication. It did take a few weeks to feel back to my normal self. It is such a relief not to feel the full feeling in my throat. Good luck!

      1. I am so relieved to have it out! I used to tell my husband that I feel like I’m going to die at night… I felt like I was suffocating and I didn’t know why. I got to the point of sleeping very little. Im sleeping much better.

  60. I have a 5mm papillary cancer nodule on the right side that has been under Active Surveillance for 6 years, but has now grown. I’m scheduled for partial thyroidectomy on Monday. I’m extremely nervous, especially about surgery, fatigue, weight gain and voice change. I’m also worried that they’ll end up doing the total thyroidectomy. I’m a very active person, workout 6 days a week and have my own business.

    1. Hi, Dawn,
      I had a 7cm nodule removed last year by hemi-thyroidectomy. I was worried about all of the above just as you are………especially voice and weight. I can tell you that the surgery and recovery were very easy. The only pain after was a sore throat for a few days from the anesthesia tube. Also, you need to be careful to not stretch your neck for about a week so no driving. The minute I woke up from surgery, I was using my voice with no problem. My thyroid levels have remained the same since surgery with no change in weight. You feel a bit tired for about 2 weeks but nothing terrible. I am retired, but if working I would say that you may need 2 to 3 weeks off. All I can say is don’t worry. I put off surgery for a couple of years, but if I had known that the recovery was so easy I would have had it done sooner. Plus, the relief of having that out of your neck is wonderful.

      1. Hi Linda,
        Thank you so much for this reply! I put off this inevitable surgery for 7 years! It is such a relief to hear about your experience. I should probably stay off other websites and forums, which are filled with horror stories. I’m very nervous about this surgery on Monday, so any tips I need to know would be appreciated!

        Best,
        Dawn

        1. Also wondering if you or anyone else can tell me when you were able to start working out again? I love to workout and do yoga, so want to go back as soon as possible.

          1. Hi, Dawn, I would stay off of other websites. I found this forum right before I had my surgery. I probably read it 3 times per day just to assure myself that people did fine with the surgery. It was very reassuring. I don’t work out like you do, so I really can’t say. What I can say is that my doctor only put 2 weeks physical restrictions on me (no bending, stretching your neck, heavy lifting). I didn’t drive for one week. They also tell you that you might be tired for a few weeks. I took it easy for about 3 weeks. I didn’t feel bad during that time, only taking it easy to recover.

            Here’s what I would say. I am not one who works out like you do and I am 64. You are fit, work out frequently, and younger (haha). I would think you will do fine and be back to your regimen in a few weeks. Of course, your doctor will give you the best advice on this. You will be so glad when this is behind you. If I knew how easy the surgery was, I would have had it done much sooner.

      2. Thanks so much, Linda. You are right – this forum has been a godsend and you have been so amazing, compassionate and kind. I really appreciate it. Btw, I’m 56, not that much younger! Lol!

      3. Hi Linda,
        Do you, or anyone here have a good surgeon/Dr. you can recommend? I have Dr. Theodore Mazer. He wants to remove my right thyroid (partial thyroidectomy) due to a 6cm BENING nodule as per my biopsy and an ultrasound. He did, however mentioned that on surgery day he’ll have a pathologist on site to check my complete thyroid and if he sees something abnormal he will do a complete Thyroidectomy. I’m petrified to have my whole thyroid removed as I’m afraid to take medication for the rest of my life and long lasting symptoms. Please note my Thyroid levels are normal. It’s just been bothering me that he wants to potentially take my whole thyroid. I’d rather have him perform the half thyroidectomy and send my nodule to get dissected and analyzed by the pathologist. If he were to find any further abnormallity not caught on my biopsy or ultrasound, then I think I can make a decision then to go under another surgery to completely remove it.
        What you guys think? I’m so anxious about the whole thing.
        Also I have had 2 opinions so far his and another ENT as well, mentioning as well I should just need half thyroid removed.

        1. Hi, Eunice,
          Mine was 7cm benign. My surgeon told me that the half with the nodule would be removed. Then, if the pathology showed cancer cells, he would re-operate to take the other side. I had a great surgeon here in NJ…..not sure where you are located. I do understand your concern about not knowing if you will wake up with half of your thyroid or none. Maybe you feel more comfortable with the second-opinion doctor?

        2. Hi, I had a very similar situation. Mine was 7cm x 4cm x 5cm on the right side. It was a complex mass so my doctor was not convinced that if we did a fine needle test that I would be cancer free due to the size and chance that the needle could miss a cancerous part. The doctor said he could just do the right and then do the full biopsy but if it was positive, then I would have a second surgery. On the table he offered me the option to take the half, do a test there and if it was bad or unsure, that he would take the whole thing. I told him to make the decision when he sees what is there…he is the one who went to med school and has done a few hundred of these. The test was clean and he only took the right half. I think that doing the surgery twice would be a bigger risk due to potential anesthesia issues. Also, while the recovery is not bad, it is not fun for a couple of days. I’d personally rather do it once.

  61. Just wondering how long before you started yoga or exercise again? I like to do either Barre or Power Yoga daily and will really miss it.

  62. I’m one week past a partial thyroidectomy for a 5mm papillary carcinoma. Although I was terrified, I sailed through it! Only took 35 minutes under local anesthesia. Yesterday, I headed back to the gym and can do almost everything. Going back to my office today too. I put this surgery off and was under Active Surveillance for 7 years. It was always in the back of my mind. So, if you’re afraid, don’t put it off! Two questions for those on the other side of this – 1) How/when did you take off the glue strip? 2) Did you need Synthroid or did the other half compensate?

    1. Hi, Dawn,
      I’m so glad everything went well. I had a follow up visit at my doctor’s office one week after surgery. That is when they removed the strips. After that, I used ScarAway silicone strips for about 3 weeks to help fade the scar. The scar faded so nicely that I’m not even sure I needed it. I had an appointment 6 months post op to have my levels checked. The are still within normal range so I haven’t needed any meds. The doctor said that with the size of the nodule (7cm), it’s possible that this side of the thyroid had not been functioning for some time. Makes sense.

  63. This was such a great article. I just had my surgery in January and it was as though you were taking the words right out of my mouth. I’m so grateful I had it during the winter, I’ve been wearing scarves ever since and I love those silicone strips. my seven-year-old doesn’t like to look at my scar because it makes him sad so it’s been encouraging to wear the strips I guess it’s a win-win situation haha. since the surgery I’ve had mixed emotions. people say it’s no big deal but when I look in that mirror and see the scar I get a mixed range of emotions, grateful for my health but sad at the same time. I’ve had a great surgeon and actually just had my blood work done today praying for good results. although I’ve had some strange symptoms the tiredness is unreal. I’m a mom of three boys and this is not anything like I’ve ever experienced before but I’m not sure if it’s just because I’ve had a month off and this isn’t my Norm or if there is truly something off balance. I’ve done what they’ve said I’ve rested and there are days when I feel recovered but then there are days or I feel like I’m back where I started..so if you’re having the surgery or thinking about having the surgery I would suggest not have having any preconceived notions on how you’re going to feel because everyone is different and it seems as though every doctor says something different. trust your body and give yourself time to heal and most importantly don’t be down on yourself. I’ve certainly gone through my fair share of highs and lows since my surgery. But reading articles like this makes you feel better..knowing you’re not the only one.

  64. This site was so helpful for me as I mentally prepared for my partial thyroidectomy. I finally had it yesterday and it went well, although the nodule was much larger than the ultrasound had detected. It was about 5.5cm based on my last reading but yesterday the doctor said it had extended behind the collarbone. Fortunately they didn’t have to do anything too differently during the surgery, though the procedure took a long time (over 3 hours). It was still diagnosed as benign. Today, my throat is feeling sore and overall I’m feeling more aches coming out of the anesthesia so am taking pain meds.

    Thanks again for the supportive and informative comments! So glad I happened upon this article.

  65. Questions about scar care. I am 3 weeks post-op and the second batch of steri strips are only now falling off. The scar is a bit red/firm/raised which sounds normal from what I’ve read. Is it safe to apply any of the scar treatments at this time? I don’t want to irritate it further. It’s itchy.

    I bought Dr. Max’s serum and also have the Scar Away silicone strips. I heard another recommendation for Scar Guard MD – anyone try that?

  66. Thank you so much for this article. It helped me prepare for what to expect quite a bit. I had my surgery about 3 weeks ago to remove a large nodule (the size of a small mango) that had been pressing against my windpipe. I was really tired for the first 2 weeks after surgery. I could do things here or there, but did not have much energy overall. My throat hurt quite a bit, and my neck was stiff. I took a decent amount of pain meds for the first week and ate mostly soft foods. My voice still isn’t back to normal, and it is tiring to talk for too long or too loudly. My surgeon says he expects my vocal chords to make a complete recovery over the next few months. I caught a terrible flu/cold during my 2nd week of recovery – just as I was ready to return to work. The coughing has irritated my throat/voice even more. I will do a blood test in a few weeks to determine whether the remaining portion of my thyroid is functioning normally. I returned to light exercise 3 weeks in, and feel pretty good overall. I also bought the silicone strips to help reduce my scarring – thanks so much for that tip!

  67. Had my partial thyroidectomy 6 days ago due to a hyperfunctioning autonomous nodule (aka “hot nodule”). Surgery was a breeze. Very minor pain after, similar to a sore throat for about 3 days. Neck was sore just like they told me it would be from the angle during surgery. 6 days post op and no pain.

    I’m extremely exhausted but from previous posts that seems to be normal. Still have a very foggy brain it seems. I’m hoping the exhaustion will start to lift this coming week.

    Overall not a bad surgery at all!

    1. My experience was similar to other folks’ – I slept a lot the first week. By the second week, I was still very tired and requiring naps although I was working from home. I went back to the office the third week, and energy levels felt good, but by Friday I had to leave early and go home to sleep. The energy takes a while but it’ll come back. Going for increasingly longer walks helped me in the early days.

    2. Yamille- yes! I was so worried about the same but 1.5 weeks after surgery the energy came back. It seems like a lot of people don’t get it back for 2-3 weeks. Hang in there.

  68. I wanted to share my experience from the UK after surgery because this thread helped me tremendously in the days running up to my op when I was panicking. I needed a hemi-thyroidectomy (left side) due to a large multi nodular goitre that was suspicious after FNA. Like the original poster, I developed a nasty head cold the week before the planned op date and was worried it would be cancelled. Luckily, everything went ahead (I had no fever or cough) as planned on the Monday. I spent seven long hours in recovery, not because of complications, merely because no bed was available for me on a ward. I had some mild nausea and a headache post-op but other than that the surgery was a breeze. I spent one night in hospital and the next afternoon my drain and half the clips were removed. I was sent home an hour later with instructions to make an appointment with my GP to remove the remaining clips two days later. I was worried that might be too soon, but when I went along she said the clips were definitely ready to come out. That wasn’t painful at all either. I’m now four days post-op and all my clips are out. I have no dressing on the wound and I have to say my surgeon did a great job – a neat cut on a natural crease. It’s lower down that I anticipated – I’d say it’s on my chest rather than neck but it’s looking really good and I reckon that in a few months it will be virtually invisible. The worst thing has been the tiredness. I didn’t sleep at all in hospital because of the constant activity and noise. My appetite is also currently non-existent which is a bonus for me because it means I’m shedding a few excess pounds! So if you’re due to have this surgery, good luck and I hope mine and other people’s experiences can help to calm your nerves.

  69. Hello – thank you for having this thread, so full of wonderful info. I, too, have a need for a partial thyroidectomy and am pretty scared, unsure what to expect, etc. I had put on weight a few years back, my BP was high and they put me on meds. I asked about my thyroid, was told nothing was wrong (based on blood test…) So I go for 3-6 mos checkups… dr always makes it sound like “if you could lost 10 lbs or more you could get of BP meds…” Well, this past winter I signed up for a Cross Fit class (you push yourself to do a lot of reps of workouts). I felt like “ugh!” but after felt good, so was hoping this would help lose weight… after a couple of months, I had a cold and didn’t feel well, had swelling in neck, thought it was swollen glands. Ended up going to dr to rule out strep, only to find it was my thyroid. My dr sent me for blood test, again it was normal. She wanted to rule out anything else, so I went for Ultrasound… that showed nodules… sent me for biopsy… that showed suspicious for Papillary [something with thyroid]. So she had me contact another dr office, which I found was a surgeon. I have a consult in a few weeks. My dr says they will evaluate me but I will be having a portion of my thyroid out (where it is suspicious). From what I have been told, it’s common(?) and a lot of people have this. Well I turned 50 this year and none of my friends have it, so… I was a little frazzled by it all, but I suppose the fact I noticed the lump in my neck and asked questions was a good thing. And the fact I’ve put on weight, feel tired and sometimes have insomnia can be attributed to my thyroid as well. I am hoping it will all go well and now that I know this, I can make more mindful lifestyle changes. I have quit cross fit for now, but I do yoga (love it!) Just wondering about exercise after having surgery; will I have to stop yoga for a while to heal, or does anyone know if I can continue this (let’s say a week) after surgery? Thanks again to everyone who has contributed their stories on this site. It is comforting to hear other stories and know others out there have gone thru the same thing. Stay strong & healthy!!

    1. Hi Sonni – I didn’t feel quite ready to do yoga or any type of mild exercises until 3-4 weeks after surgery. This was partly out of exhaustion (was still needing an occasional nap 2 weeks post-op and I’m 42). But you’ll get there, just try to allow yourself a generous amount of time to heal. For those first few weeks I mostly went for walks to keep the blood flowing. I’m about 5 months post-op now and feeling great – I enjoy yoga even more now because I don’t have that heavy nodule getting in the way during any type of head inversion. Best of luck to you, you will be healed in no time! 🙂

  70. I’m so thankful for this thread. It’s really calming my nerves to know that I’m not alone in this. I have a cystic thyroid nodule on my right side that was first discovered in 2013 or 2014. Since it wasn’t causing any symptoms, my endo decided to go with a wait and see approach and to get an ultrasound every 2-3 years.
    My last ultrasound at the end of 2015 showed that my nodule grew to 3.7 cm. My hormones were fine, I had no symptoms so my endo still believed observation was the best course of action.
    I know I’m overdue for another ultrasound. A few days ago, I have been feeling pressure in my throat, some difficulty swallowing and realize I keep having to catch my breath. My appt with my pcp isn’t until August 15th(two weeks from now!). I’m super nervous because of the long waiting time to be seen by a doctor. Even though I’m scared, I hope I can get surgery to remove this thing asap and not have another long wait.

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