Total Thyroidectomy and Left Neck Dissection – Surgery Pre-Op

So once I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer and they confirmed the nodules were on all sides of the Thyroid, they decided to remove the entire Thyroid rather than just one lobe (or one half). During the ultrasound, they also discovered that my lymph nodes were affected to the point that they knew it was going to be an extensive surgery. I met with one of the most highly recommended Surgeons in the D.C. Metro to discuss – he informed me that all of my lymph nodes on the central and left side of my neck are abnormal and would need to be removed. I would need to get a hockey stick shaped incision starting with the normal Thyroid incision going across my throat and up to just below my ear. I knew it was going to be hard but when he said it was going to be a 4 week long recovery time I just couldn’t believe it. He said in order to remove the lymph nodes on the far left side of my neck and under my muscle, they would need to pull and clamp my muscle back for a certain length of time. This would cause major discomfort in my neck, shoulder, and arm. I would lose some movement and strength. Of course I knew it was going to be hard but I truly didn’t know what to expect. Surgery was expected for 12/1 with an estimated 2 night stay.

It was Black Friday (the Friday before my surgery) that I received my Nurse call to discuss surgery logistics – they wanted to make sure I was scheduled and ready to go for Wednesday, 12/3….ummmm what?! NO – I’m scheduled for 12/1!!! UGH yes, they rescheduled me without telling me and I had my parents who flew in for the surgery and made arrangements based on these dates, which included my kids being taken care of, my Hubby taking off of work, and my sanity haha. I know it was only two day but my life was already turned upside down – the only thing I wanted was some stability!

Pre-Surgery - Thumbs Up

The morning of my surgery I tossed and turned all night – I planned a huge post for FB so my Hubby could easily keep everyone updated and I started a mass group test so he could keep our closest family and friends updated with update from the doctor and nurses. But I have to say that the best part of my support was the day of my surgery seeing all the notifications that kept popping up on my phone. It was my “village” posting on FB and texting me saying they were thinking about me. I pretty much cried the whole way to the hospital and read each one to my Hubby. In case yall didn’t know – it meant the WORLD to me!!! Just some of the things that were sent to me:

No One Fights Alone Band Support for Kat Brady Thyroid Cancer Ribbon Thyroid Cancer - Warrior

Either way, I made it to my surgery on 12/3, with all kinds of butterflies in my stomach (and the remaining one in my neck for the remaining hours – haha I got jokes). My Daddy and Step-Mom held down the fort at home with my kiddos while my Hubby and MIL took me to the hospital. It was a long wait of checking in, then changing wearing my awesome “party hat” (aka hair net), and waiting for the surgeon and anesthesiologist to come by and let me know the plan. FINALLY after a couple gruesome hours they asked what my favorite cocktail was – which anyone who knows me, is a SoCo and Coke so that’s what she told me to thinking about when she put the “cocktail” in my IV while wheeling me off.

I have to say, when I woke up in recovery, it was just like the movies – I thought I heard people talking about me. I barely moved and then all I felt was excruciating pain. I couldn’t talk – just cry. The Nurse came by and told me to hang tight and she was getting more pain meds for me. All I wanted was my Hubby to come and tell me everything was going to be ok. I heard her talking to him saying I wasn’t ready and I just couldn’t get the words out that I needed him. She asked if I needed anything else, so I finally was able to ask when I could see him – she smiled and said he could now. I was so relieved to see him and my MIL. To have someone to hold my hand and it meant everything to have them there.

Eventually I made it to my own room – and I’m not sure how because the man that wheeled me in the bed did NOT make it easy. I’m pretty sure we bounced off each and every wall available between the recovery floor up to the main floor; and there are a LOT of walls, doors, elevator doors, etc!! Haha it made for a good laugh later after the fact (especially for the two following behind me)! Got settled into my room for a very long and uncomfortable night. Once I was situated, my Hubby was starving and offered to grab me some ice cream as I wanted to try but didn’t know what I could handle at the time. Eventually I gave in to the fries with a Frosty and it was the perfect duo following my surgery! Kinda like me and Hubby – I seriously don’t know what I would have done without him by my side!

Now on to recovery…. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Total Thyroidectomy and Left Neck Dissection – Surgery Pre-Op

  1. Kristen Harless says:

    You have no idea how comforting and inspirational your story has been to me! I was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer a couple months ago, and am now going in for a 3rd biopsy due to possible spreading to my lymph nodes on the left as well. I’ve been trying to find any info possible about someone going through the same thing and have found absolutely nothing… Everything you talk about in your story is exactly what I’m going through, and it has given me such a relief! It’s nice to finally find answers to some of my questions that no one else could give. Thank you so much!


    • I am no sure how I missed this comment as i took a break last year. But that is the exact reason why I created this blog. I hope you’ve found some sort of peace and understanding!!


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