It’s Flashback Time!

Following my partial thyroidectomy that took place 20 years ago, I took Synthroid. I used it for a couple of years only to develop a headache that wouldn’t go away. My doctor then told me about natural desiccated thyroid meds, and put me on Armour. This worked well for quite a number of years, until that nagging headache came back. Back then my blood test results were in the “normal range” so there was nothing else to do except, try a different med….again, and Nature-Throid came into my life. I cruised along pretty well taking Nature-Throid, and life seemed stable.
Fast forward to 2015, and my energy levels seemed off. I managed to get thru the holidays, but gradually began feeling ill. Then I noticed when sleeping on my side and putting my fists up under my neck, yea I know it’s a weird sleeping habit, that I couldn’t breathe. Well, great, it’s flashback time. I went thru this years earlier and knew the routine, so I scheduled a doctors appt. That doctor sent me to an ENT as she couldn’t find anything. The ENT, found a lump in my thyroid area, and I found myself sitting in that office realizing I’ve been down that road before. I made the decision to have it removed, not even giving it much thought. I knew what I was going to be in for if I was already feeling bad, and experiencing my air being cut off.
Despite the ENT being qualified to do the surgery, I knew nothing about her. If I can drive any point home to anyone who might read this, do your research, or have someone help you to find the best surgeon. My primary care physician knew of a surgeon that had done a parathyroid surgery on his wife, and they were pleased with him and the result. So I made an appt. to consult with him and then starting compiling my labs, history, and questions. My next post will cover that consult-

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Thyroid Surgery Round One

To have or have not. For the first thyroid surgery, I was presented with a fast growing nodule that wasn’t going away, and just making itself more known to me. Ugh!
My gynecologist and endocrinologist both came up with the same surgeon’s name that would remove the nodule that seemed to be taking over my life, and they all wanted it out fast. So the surgery happened. Pretty scary not knowing what they might find. Going into it thinking about my family. And I had No clue about those little things called Parathyroids!
The surgery was a horizontal incision below the center of my throat. I woke up with a sore throat, not really able to talk well, but the nodule was benign, whew!
They removed one side of my thyroid, as the nodule was located inside on one half of the gland. I had one half left.
I was pretty tired for a few weeks, not knowing if it was just residual surgery drugs or the leftover part of my thyroid trying to adjust its function…… or both. I was put on 25 mcg. SYNTHROID (levothyroxine) to start, because the thyroid half I had didn’t seem to be supporting me enough after those weeks. But was it Synthroid I needed?

In the Beginning

Why was I loosing my voice? 20 plus years ago, I couldn’t understand why I was gradually sounding like I had a raspy voice. I knew my allergies might encourage that, but when I had allergies the previous year, I didn’t recall my voice sounding like that. Strange.

It wasn’t until I had a yearly exam that my doctor did a check on my lymph nodes in my neck, and discovered a lump toward the bottom of my throat. “I don’t want to alarm you, but you have a good size lump here.” He said he felt like it was in my thyroid, and sent me to an endocrinologist for further investigation.

Upon visiting the endocrinologist, he decided to do a needle biopsy to get more info. That needle biopsy….. always a fun thing to have done. To lie there seeing a needle come at you that resembles something a vet might use on a large animal, sends your mind to an out of body experience! Granted this was a couple decades ago, and everything was different then, but I’m sure the mind reaction is still the same. You just have to keep thinking you need the answer the procedure will give you. However, sometimes those procedures don’t find the answer. In my case they couldn’t get enough substance to give them that answer. We still didn’t know what it was. Ok, then, lets try that needle biopsy one more time and with a different doctor doing it. Same result. So back then, they thought there was a chance to possibly shrink the lump or nodule, by giving me some medication prior to making any other decision, i.e. surgery. Turns out over a period of a couple of months, there was no change with the medication (synthroid), but the lump had grown significantly. Yep, now the surgery talk.