Thyroidectomy part 9

My Thyroidectomy, part 9: Final Pathology Results and Follow-Up

6/9/17 Big day. Follow up with the surgeon in the afternoon. Justin had a meeting in the morning that he went to since my mom was here to help with the boys. Because of that meeting, Justin scheduled my appointment for 1:30 in the afternoon, and on Fridays he sees patients in an office at Kingwood Hospital, so we didn’t have to drive all the way up to his primary office this time. I was thankful for the shorter trip because driving is a little uncomfortable still with all the movement. As soon as we got there, the nurse brought us back to a room, and said it may be a few minutes because he was finishing up in his last surgery for the morning before coming to the office. A few minutes later she popped in asking if I had stitches or staples that needed to be removed and I said no, because I had asked him not to and he didn’t for me. We waited about 10-15 minutes and then Dr. Sampson came in. The first thing he did was reiterate that the results came back completely benign. He had me sit on the exam table and just took a look at the incision and touched just a little bit around it all. I don’t like my neck being touched, so luckily he didn’t need to do much. He said it looked like it was healing well, and shouldn’t have any problems. He asked if I had noticed any problems with my fingers tingling or lockjaw feeling like I would if my calcium levels are low, and I said I only felt it that one time in the hospital when they gave me a bunch of Tums. He said that was probably my body in shock from the sudden drop, and just to keep it in mind. I told him we bought a bottle of Tums to have on hand, and he said if I start feeling it to take one, and if it becomes consistent to talk to my regular doctor about it. He reiterated what exactly was done, with taking the entire left thyroid lobe with the nodule and the isthmus together and sent that to pathology, then while they waited on that he decided to take the bottom 40% of the right lobe with the cyst on it and once pathology called and said it looked benign he decided to leave the rest of the right lobe.

This is what was called into Dr. Sampson during the surgery that made him decide to leave as much of the right lobe as possible.
The final report after complete testing… most important lines: “No Malignancy Seen”!!

Then Dr. Sampson asked what questions I had and I got out my list. I asked about exercise/yoga and lifting the boys and he suggested to wait another 2-3 weeks before doing any real exercising, especially anything that uses my upper body, and I could maybe lift Ryan, but Tyler is too much. I asked about going in the pool, and he said I can go if I keep my neck from being submerged, but it’s ok if I get splashed, just take a shower as soon as I get home to keep it clean. As for driving, he suggested waiting another week, and then just as I felt comfortable with turning my head enough to be able to look for other cars around me. I told him my shoulders and neck have been very tense, and he assured me that is completely normal, and not to worry about it. He said that has a lot to do with the position they had me during surgery and that the surgery took longer than expected. The last thing I asked about was what I can do to try to minimize scarring and he said once the incision has completely healed over, I can use vitamin e, or cocoa butter or coconut oil to keep it moisturized, and keep it out of the sun as much as possible over the next few months. For the incision/scar, he said to expect it to stay hard and raised possibly for a few more weeks when it will start to soften and flatten out. Once it softens, it often will turn bright red, which is completely normal and as long as I don’t have any other symptoms it is not a sign of infection. Then after a few weeks to months of it being red it will start to fade. He said by the end of the year it should be starting to fade into a regular white scar. The last thing he noted was the swelling I had is just normal swelling and nothing to worry about.

Before we left I asked him for a copy of the pathology report, which he already had in hand to give me, and a copy of the operative report, which he did not have there and said to ask the nurse. She did not have my full chart with her, but said I can walk into the hospital to medical records and get a copy from there, so we did that before leaving the hospital. I like to have copies of all my medical records because I find it interesting to read the procedure he used, and if we move or change doctors then I have copies rather than having to remember which doctor did what and keep track of where I would get those records from in the future if I need them. On the way home from the appointment, I was fully reading the pathology and operative reports. I know Justin had said that the surgery took longer because the nodule was bigger than they thought, and in the operative report he noted that the nodule took up the entire surgical field. The pathology report noted that they were sent a left thyroid lobe, and about 85% of the tissue that was sent was the nodule. On the operative report it showed that I lost very little blood during the procedure, and also noted that he used Vicryl to close the incision. I looked that up and that is the absorbable stitches. I wasn’t sure exactly how he had closed the incision until then, I just knew it wasn’t anything that had to be removed. Basically, after our appointment with Dr. Sampson, I still need to take it easy and only do what is comfortable for a few more week, which will take us right up until we leave for Florida, which is what I wanted. I wanted the surgery to be early enough in the year that I would be recovered for when we go to Florida. I may not be able to do it all at the beach, but I should be good enough to still be able to enjoy it. The last thing we did that day was start to get everything ready for Tyler’s birthday party in the morning.

6/10/17 We hit the ground running in birthday party mode. Tyler’s 4th birthday party was at 11am since my mom had to go to the airport at 4pm to head back to Florida. Usually I do their parties in the afternoon, but we wouldn’t have had time for the party and be able to get mom back to the airport if I scheduled the party for after Ryan’s nap. And I’m glad it was early because the entire morning Tyler was so excited and kept asking when his friends would be here and when he could get in the pool and when it would be his party. When I took a shower before the party, it was the first time I felt like I was able to lightly wash over the incision. I didn’t scrub, but just let a little bit of soap get on it and immediately washed it off. I had figured out that I could get my cami on over my head (rather than having to step into it and pull it all the way up), but still couldn’t take them off that way. We had a great time at Tyler’s party and he loved having his friends over. We set up their inflatable pools and just let the kids play in the water. By the end of the party, though, my throat and voice were getting worn out, but I did notice it’s only a small part of the tip of my tongue that still had that burned feeling. We had a couple hours still with my mom in town, so we all hung out in the playroom so she could play with the boys before leaving. When Justin and the boys left to take her to the airport, I took a Norco and laid down for a little while. There isn’t really room in the vehicle for another person anyways, and I needed the rest because Justin and I had a house-warming party to go to that evening. Justin dropped my mom off, then took the boys to his parent’s house so Tyler could get his big present from them: a ride-on Jeep that both boys can sit in. He loved it, and drove it over to our house so I could see it too. Justin came home and woke me up to go see Tyler on the Jeep and get ready for the party. Justin’s parents kept the boys for us, then brought them home for bedtime and stayed here while we were at the party. It was fun to get out and be able to talk with other adults, but after a couple hours I was starting to get exhausted and my throat and voice were hurting again, so we headed home. We talked with his parents for a few minutes, then I got ready for bed pretty quickly. It was an exhausting day for me.

6/11/17 When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was how little of my tongue felt burned now. Since that was something I was not expecting at all, I was keeping track of that to see how long it takes for that feeling to completely go away. Still not yet, but getting a little better every day, just like everything else. When I took a shower, I was able to wash the incision area just a little bit more. After that, Justin had to run to the grocery store to get just a couple things, and that was the first time I was home by myself with the boys when they weren’t already in bed. They were so good, though, and just played in the playroom since they know I still can’t do a whole lot yet. In the afternoon, I noticed that the incision was really starting to itch, but usually that’s a good thing because it means it is healing. It was so hard not to scratch at it, so I put some coconut oil above and below the incision area, but not on it since it is still a little open. When I put that on, I noticed that there’s a small area above the incision, about the width of my finger, that the skin is numb. I’m hoping that is temporary and not permanent nerve damage, but I had the same after my c-section and still have numbness there over two years later. We went over to Justin’s parents for a few hours, and the boys ended up staying there for a while and we went home. I took advantage of the complete quiet and took a nap. That night we tried to have sex for the first time (sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this!), and I told Justin to be gentle with me. He was, but it still was a little too much movement at some points. Although we did still find other ways to enjoy ourselves. Then we spent the evening together watching the new Beauty and the Beast movie which was really good.

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Related:  My Thyroidectomy, part 6: Surgery and First 48 Hours Post-Op

Thyroidectomy part 9 Thyroidectomy part 9

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