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Wondering if it's normal to be exhausted after a total thyroidectomy

Nictate105
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi, I hope someone can shed some light who's at the end of their therapy on my topic and give me a bit of hope.

I'm 34, married to a Naval Officer and I have 2 small kids. I found out my nodule was suspicious of papillary carcinoma right after Thanksgiving of last year. Had my first surgery on the 13th of December when the Doctor said my nodule was benign. Two days later, I found out it was malignant, so I scheduled my second surgery for the 10th of January. They took out the rest of my thyroid on Tuesday and the recovery has been more difficult than the first surgery. I'm a very active person. I've gone from running 8 miles a day and taking care of my husband and kids to being exhausted because I washed my hair. I'm frustrated that doing such a simple task wipes me out as much as it does.

I'm hoping that someone who has gone through this can relate to my journey and give me some guidance. I have my radioactive iodine scheduled for the 9th of February. I'm hoping that after I recover from the iodine and give myself time to heal, that i will be close to normal. Maybe not running 8 miles a day but at least being able to take care of my family and be able to pick up the load when my husband is on deployments.

I'm very disappointed in myself though I know this is not my fault. I feel as if Ive let my kids down. My son is 4 and my daughter will be two in February. I am my own worst critic and demand more from myself. I know that's something that will have to change in order to heal.

So any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Nicole

teamwink
Posts: 97
Joined: May 2011

I was very similar to you - active exerciser and Type A everything else (also have little ones)... the TT did slow me down and I was exhausted. The RAI left me a bit different than normal, between my synthroid and new levels. I feel like I was FEELING better before the treatment for this cancer to make me better. I am sure things will even out, so hang in there. It can get better!

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Nicole,

Yes, this is normal. If you have not started on Thyroid meds, it can be even worse. Thyroid meds start to work about two weeks after starting them. That is the amount of time it takes the T4 to convert to TSH. Even after starting meds I was not myself. I have gotten used to my new normal however.

Anesthesia will also take some time to wear off and this causes you to be tired. Usually takes about four to six weeks to fully wear off, and you went under it twice in about six weeks? This will make anyone tired; thyroidless or not. Start with taking short walks to get it out of your system. Even if it is just down your street and back. Be kind and forgiving of yourself. You said it best, "I'm very disappointed in myself though I know this is not my fault." It's not your fault, it's the fault of the beast that mutates inside of us.

I was also a very active person. At a very healthy weight, energetic, I was active in many things. I started decreasing in energy and increasing in size before I was diagnosed. This is how I knew there was a problem. I gained over fifty pounds before I had my TT. Then I gained about ten more. I went from a size four-six to a size twelve-fourteen. Then last year I dropped 30 of those pounds slowly but surely. I am twenty five pounds away from my goal and I will do it this. Not sure if I will be what I was in 2009 before my TT but there is hope and hope is worth more than anything. I have been through three surgeries and two RAI treatments. I work full time in the medical field and I am doing well. You will get there, just give it time and be patient with yourself. My mom used to tell me all the time, "Rome wasn't built in a day." I try to remember this when I get impatient with myself and my endeavors.

Just play with those blessings you gave birth to. Sit on the floor or the couch and color, play Barbies, watch Sesame Street and bond with them. In no time at all you will be running in the park with them.

Blessings,
Julie-SunnyAZ

Skyeblue
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Nicole: I realize I'm responding a couple months late so I hope you're already feeling much better.

I experienced the same fatigue after my surgery. My doctors didn't communicate with each other, and I didn't know enough to ask, so I wasn't given any thyroid medication after the surgery. I went for more than a month without anything, and got to a scary point of not being able to do anything. I had no appetite, slept 10 to 12 hours at a time and couldn't even lift my arm to brush my hair.

Then I had the RAI treatment and was able to start taking the levothyroxine after that and I started feeling a lot better.

Now, eight months later, I feel better than I've felt in years. My doc upped my levothyroxine to 175mcg in December, and told me my vitamin D levels were at rock bottom. Now that I"m taking the higher dose of thyroid meds and a daily dose of vitamin D3, I have more energy than I did 10 years ago and feel great.

I wish you well in your journey! Take care of yourself. :)
Erin

virginiawright's picture
virginiawright
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2012

Nicole-- Before I answer your question about fatigue, I want to tell you a little about myself in hopes you find some words of encouragement. I'm a Thyroid Cancer Survivor x 21 years. When I was first diagnosed-- I was devastated, my husband was in the USN, a career man, and our children were young. I remember getting down on my knees and praying to God asking that he would give me more time with them. When my first child graduated high school I sat with tears streaming down my face, not only because my first born was graduating high school, but because I was given the chance to watch him graduate. When my second child graduated, I cried even harder-- while I was very proud of him graduating with honors, the tears were of thanks, that I was given more time to watch him graduate. When my first grandchild was born, you guessed it, I was streaming....the point here isn't about me being a "Cry Baby," but more that I survived Thyroid Cancer. Just today, at 53, I bought a new bicycle-- and went out as soon as we got it home and took it for a quick spin, and went for a 1 mile ride.

What you need, Nicole, is (time) to heal. Rest when your body tells you to, think "positive" thoughts,concentrate on those children of yours-- and your Naval Officer. Being exhausted is not unusual for what you have gone through. I was exhausted too when I had my cancer surgery.

Wishing you all the best and a very healthful future...

-Virginia
info [at] virginiawright [dot] com

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