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TT recovery time?

Posts: 47
Joined: Jun 2011

Hello all,
I'm scheduled for my TT on December 14th. (I am currently hypo) It is unknown if it's cancer or not. My doctors tell me to take 2-3 weeks for recovery. This time frame is near Christmas. We normally travel for Christmas--2 weeks on the road visiting family. When I explained to the husband that we may be spending Christmas at home this year (first time ever in 15 years of marriage) my sweet understanding husband turned on me. LOL His response--it's in your neck, not your abdomen or chest! I tried to explain to him that they will be removing a very important organ from my body and the body needs to adjust, he just didn't understand.

Are my doctors telling me a time frame that is too long? Keep in mind, leaving for Christmas is very stressful for me--since I do all the packing, shopping, and organizing. I normally do all the driving, but he would do that. How long did it take you to recover from your TT?


Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Everyones recovery time is different. But I'm thinking that being on the road ten days after surgery might be pushing it a bit. Are they doing a complete TT? Any lymph nodes being removed? I did not drive for about 10 days after surgery, and certainly did not do any lifting for about 2 weeks.

Why are you currrently hypo? That doesnt normally occur until your thyroid is removed - and then you should be started on thyroxine.

As for your husbands lack of understanding....grrrrrrrrrr. Its major surgery for heaven sakes! Perhaps he needs to read a few of these letters from people in this forum to get a better idea of whats up. And he should be with you at the doctors office to listen to all the details of your surgery!

Any chance of asking family to visit YOU this time? It would make much more sense. And you do not need any additional stress. Let them come to take care of you!

Hope you can get things sorted and the support you need.


Posts: 97
Joined: May 2011

One thing I didn't account for was the potential for complications -I was in the hospital for a week after my "overnight stay" for a TT. I would definitely say don't travel for 2 weeks - you will likely have a bit of trouble turning your head at first and you'll just want to rest. Perhaps my recovery was tougher due to my parathyroids shutting off for 6 weeks (I felt like crap!), but itis something to think about, just in case.

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

You will probably not be able to do the organizing shopping and such
Driveling may be a difficulty too.

There are surgical follow-ups as well

They will probably put a drain in as well this may be there for a week or longer depending on drainage.

I did my surgery in 2 parts so I can’t say on recovery for a TT but I can give you mine

1st surgery
Right side lobectomy and removal of 7.1 cm goiter.(they also removed 1 parathyroid)
2 days hospitalized
~4 days at home with a drain in my neck
10 days of hiccups (they told me they were esophageal spasms)
They then removed the drain and told me I had cancer and my surgery was in a week

2nd surgery
Left side Thyroidectomy completion (and they took out a 2nd parathyroid)
3 days hospitalized
~6 days at home with a drain in my neck
7 days of hiccups (again they were esophageal spasms)

About 2 days after they took the drain out i was up to driving.

oh and my 2 remaining parathyroid’s partially shut down and i was felt like crap for about 4 weeks but i could work... besides I had to recover enough so they could send me to get a ear surgery then a month then RAI then 3 months then surgery on my other ear.

Also if you have never been put under you may have complications there as well.

Yes it’s your neck
Yes it’s a major part of your endocrine system
Yes there are things parathyroid’s and major nerves and blood vessels and spine and Vocal cords (you have 2 sets and sometimes one or both become temporally paralyzed from thyroidectomy)

Another question "HE" needs to look at is if there is a complication is there a hospital around.

Do to some of my wife’s medical conditions any trip we take we make sure we know where the hospitals are and where the ones who take our medical coverage are...

Also depending on how extensive the surgery becomes there may be a lot of wound care that will need to be done.

I heal quickly and normally pretty well and the stitches were ready to come out when they took the drain out... but they still put steri-strips in its place and i still had to take care of the site for another week after stitches out.

Yes there are some people who can drive and play golf hours after surgery out of the about 70 thyroid patients i know of I only personally know of one who was up and going within 24 hours.

Keep in mind you will also still be hypo and the meds may also need to be adjusted or such... can this be done while traveling?

To be honest it is too unpredictable to be able to give you an answer besides

I wouldn't.

I have been through 5 major surgeries
My wife has been through 8 major surgeries and 5 other hospitalizations

Any time after any surgery we leave a month with what we call the 1 hour or less from a major hospital and 2 hours from the hospital that the surgery was done in trip range.

The only option I could think of is can you move the surgery for after your trip... if not I would plan on being home.

I went through a Christmas with a 6+cm goiter while waiting for FNA and then surgery. I didn't do much so it’s a no win situation.

Personally I suggest to have the surgery and recover if you feel up to traveling and you don’t have major wound care or a drain or such then you can probably travel but if you have any complications it is going to be bad.

If he still insists on "PLANING for the trip" ask him to find all hospitals along the path you plan to take to make sure there is always one within about an hour drive. Any ER should take your medical plan for emergencies. Also make sure you make a list of every hospital in route that takes your medical plan.

Also remember a lot of doctors do not like touching another doctors work so if you get complications they may make the plan of stabilizing you and telling you to go to the doc who did the surgery ASAP.


Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2011

I would suggest you make other plans for the holidays.

My experience was 3 weeks total down time. Couldn't think straight! mostly sat on the patio watching the clouds or sleeping.... Really. Then when I started regular life again (work) it was VERY slow going!
Also, for the first two weeks, I looked somewhat like Mrs Frankenstein- slit in the throat!

Do yourself, and your family a favor, Just Relax this year. // my opinion only

Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I had an almost perfect; text book case Thyroidectomy. Only one parathyroid damaged but it was pinned back in and I didn't have any problems with calcium levels. They pulled my drain tube after twelve hours and I was home within twenty four hours. I went back to work/Internship after one and a half weeks and it was difficult. I definitely would not have wanted to travel. All I wanted was my bed and home as soon as I got off of my Internship. And I was not up to company or visitors afterward or on the weekends following. I hate to say it but I think you are better off staying home for the holiday this year. Maybe you can work out a deal with your husband to go after the holidays and celebrate a bit later. At least that way you can shop at the after Holiday sales and save some money.

Posts: 47
Joined: Jun 2011

Thanks everybody,
I told my dh of how everyone who has been through this suggested that traveling is not recommended and he said ok. He wasn't being difficult, he just truly doesn't understand the whole process. He has been so amazing while I have been so sick with my worthless hypothyroidism. I knew it wouldn't take much. My name is Sarah, and I can be a drama queen.....I admit to overreacting at times--he knows my history--so I can't blame him for being a little skeptical. LOL

When I pointed out to him that lately every little cut on my skin becomes infected (the latest being a mosquito bite!) and how I got a serious infection from the endoscope, that Christmas is prime germ time, and that small children are prime carriers, he got it. Also, I have been under before--and I *DON'T* react well to it. A surgical nurse at our local hospital remembered me *FOUR* years after she saw me wake up from anesthesia!!!! They have a sedative waiting for me when I wake up....I have freaked out more anesthesiologists than most people....It's almost fun! LOL I have been this way since I was 6 years old (the first time I was put under). My brother is allergic to phenobarbital, and I just learned that it is in anesthesia, I wonder is maybe I am also allergic...

Anyway--thanks again.


Posts: 186
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Sarah. I glad your husband has seen your side of things. And I'm glad you seem to have a sense of humor - that will definately help you through the next few months!

I dont come out of anesthesia well either - but I just tend to throw up on everyone! It takes me a long time to be with it again though. One thing I did discover with my first surgery (thyroid removed) was that I am allergic to morphine. It makes me really agitated and my skin feels it its covered in a thousand mosquito bites.

My second surgery they didnt do morphine, but accidently gave me a similar painkiller - same effects. I felt awful for a day. AFter that I just used good old tylenol. You may want to mention your brothers allergy to the surgical team.

Anyway - good luck with everything and do keep in touch.

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

Well I almost decked someone when I woke up the first time after anesthesia

so there is a standing order in my record (and i remind them) to strap me down arms and legs until I am awake so I don't hurt anyone

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