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another surgery booked

Posts: 135
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi All. I have just booked my surgery for around July 1st...had a tt in 2009, but no RAI. I asked for it, but was told I didn't need it. Thy ca is really strong in my family...2 sisters and 2 nephews with it. Also many siblings with nodules.

So I pushed and they did further testing, my last ultrasound in jan showed a cystic lymph node. biopsy confirmed it's cancer again. But, I am currently just finishing treatment for breast cancer...also was confirmed after lumpectomy in Jan.

So, the oncologist and surgeon talked and decided breast first, then thyroid.

Now, I am almost finished radiation for the breast cancer. I will get a right neck disction surgery, so they will cut from my existing scar up to under my ear on the right side.

The side effects can cause problem with my shoulder, or the usual problems like the first surgery...

I'm just so exhausted already...can't imagine having to go through this new surgery...

Don't know what to think anymore...

Sorry to vent...anyone that has had this surgery, can you please tell me how long before you went back to work, or were able to do normal stuff around the house,etc

I have 2 kids, summer is coming and I'm wondering if I can even plan a vacation this summer...

Any advise or info would be appreciated...take care all.

Baldy's picture
Posts: 243
Joined: Mar 2011


Several of us have had a neck disection.

For me, I think mine was fairly aggressive, 54 lymph nodes removed. I had no severe complications. I had very little pain, but swelling, stiffness and reduced range of movement in my neck. I was in the OR at 10 am and out 3 pm and home 2 pm the next day. I took pain killers for a few days, but that was more to combat a bad sore throat from being intubated for 5 hours. If I hadn't been on the pain meds, I probably could have driven the day after I got home, as it was I waited for the post-op appt with the surgeon 7 days after when he cleared me to do pretty much anything but heavy lifting.

I think it should be easier for you since you've already had your TT done, you won't be in the OR as long.

You'll probably leave the hospital with a drain or two in {for me it was two}. They're an inconvenience, but not that limiting. Fortunately, the flow of fluid to the drains had subsided enough that the surgeon was able to remove them during the post-op appt. You may want to fortify yourself with a pain pill before you go to have your drains removed. One of mine came out very easy but the other was medium painful and may have been very painful if I hadn't taken a pain pill a couple of hours before the appt.

I'm something like 16 weeks post-op right now. I've had and am having some nerve issues with the spinal accessory nerve that runs down to my shoulder. This is what you've been warned about. I was given physical therapy exercises for my shoulder that were a great help. I don't do them three times a day anymore, but I still do them if my shoulder starts feeling a little sore. You could have some loss of feeling or increased feeling, which is what I've had. The increased feeling is strange, for a few weeks post-op it felt like someone was tugging on my right ear and the shower water hitting my shoulder and upper chest stung. I've been told by a number of doctors and nurses it will be at least a year before all my post-op symptoms will be completely gone.


Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi there. I had my neck dissection done in March - 50 nodes out in total (25 each side). Only 7 on the right side were positive, so I did another round of RAI.

I recovered from the neck surgery much much faster than I expected - I was actually able to drive(carefully) a week after the surgery. My neck and left shoulder were stiff, but with physio thats improved a lot. I was swimming 2 weeks after my surgery - it felt really good to be in the water. I just cant lift a lot of weight with my left arm - it'll get there.

I went back to work part time after about 3 weeks - I'm a middle school teacher, so doing a full day tired me out. Plus I did the RAI within 2 months
My neck is still numb, its unconfortable, but not painful.

And on a positive note....I just got my last scan results - at the moment everything looks clear. Other than bloodwork, I dont need another checkup for 6 months.

All the best with your surgery.


Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I have had two neck dissections. The first was more complicated than the second. I had a drain tube in the hospital but it was removed before I went home. Thirty four nodes removed, thirteen cancerous.

Second surgery was much more simple, better doctor. Ten more nodes removed and three were positive. I didn't have a drain tube for this surgery. My new surgeon doesn't believe in using them. They just watched for swelling.

After my first neck dissection I had loss of feeling in my ear, neck, shoulder and chest area on the right side where the surgery was done. I am almost a year out from my second surgery (June 2010). I have feeling coming back. I can feel my right ear, chest and shoulder area but still a bit of numbness in my neck and lower jaw area. My doctor is not really sure if it will fully come back or not. I am getting used to the numbness however and it doesn't bother me at all. I don't have the pins and needles feeling and haven't for at least six months now.

It will probably be one night in the hospital and go home with pain killers. I used my Vicodin for about three to four days and then switched to Ibuprofen. I actually went swimming and down water slides two weeks after my first neck dissection. The water felt great! You should be fine to go on vacation a couple of weeks after surgery.

Blessings and Good Healing thoughts to you,

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