Potential Thyroid Surgery

Updated on October 21, 2008
L.S. asks from San Juan Capistrano, CA
13 answers

I have a cyst on my thyroid that has grown slightly in size since my last exam. I will have a biopsy on Tuesday to determine whether it remains benign. Even if it is benign, surgery will be an option because it is growing and that needs to stop. Please share your thyroid experience. I do have Hashimoto's disease. Obviously if the cyst is not benign, I will have to have it and potentially my thyroid removed. If it is benign, there are three courses of action to take, do nothing and continue to observe it, take medication to shrink and control it or surgery to eliminate it. None of these sound attractive to me! The cyst causes a lump in my neck that I have come to hate. I really don't want to be on pills and routine blood tests for the rest of my life and surgery is always full of risks. Please fill in the blanks for me. Tell me what I should be considering. Tell me about the decision you made and how it is working for you. Thank you!

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So What Happened?

The biopsy was much more painful than advertised! However, my results were benign and I am very much relieved. I am now planning to change my insurance over to Greater Newport Physicians group so that any surgery can be preformed at Hoag Hospital. If anyone knows a great family practice or general practioner in this group, I would love a recommendation. Thank you so much for your advice and support. It meant a lot to me.

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B.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

This is a link to a website containing a LOT of information about thyroid issues:

www.stopthethyroidmadness.com

Hope it helps.
--BB

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P.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, both my sis and I have had our thyroids removed. She had a cyst at the back of it and the doctors left a small part of the thyroid that still functions. She doesn't need to take any meds because it gives off enough hormones. Both she and my mom had hyper functioning thyroid unlike me, low functioning after giving birth. I always had a large thyroid and my levels had always been normal until 3 yrs ago. When they did an ultrasound, they found my thyroid was full of nodules and one of them was big. Thank God the biopsy showed benign. I went ahead and choice the surgery, because at any point in my life any of those nodules could continue growing and possibly become cancerous. The surgery went well, recovery was ok. The area is just really sensitive. It was difficult for me for a little while because I had a toddler and every single time I held him he would touch, hit, you name it, that area. Not on purpose of course. You don't realize how much a child touches in places until it's a sensitive area. Anyway, I do have to be on the pill for the rest of my life because they weren't able to leave any part of the thyroid, too full of nodules. It really hasn't been much of a problem. Remembering to take my pill has been easy. Every night I set it next to my alarm clock so I don't forget. To this day I've never forgotten.
Oh, my mom's thyroid, she had hers radioactively killed with special pills years ago. She's been on the thyroid meds for ages.
It's more common than you would think to have thyroid problems. Good luck and hope you make the right choice for you and your family.

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D.D.

answers from San Diego on

Hi L.,
I had a similar situation a few years ago. I had a cyst on my throat and I hated it! Surgery was not an option for me and my cyst was benign. So my doc started me on synthroid and my nodule is almost gone! They can barely find it now. It reacted very well to the medication. My question for you is do you have any other symptoms? Are you tired all the time or have insomnia? These were my main symptoms and the medication is amazing at giving me that part of my life back. After you get the thyroid under control, (and for me it didn't take long at all - like two months) you really don't have to go in very often. I go in like twice a year. It is really a non event for me, other than taking a pill every day. I am one of those who takes the least amount of medication possible, but it really works for me. Let me know if you have any more questions, and good luck desicing what is best for you!
D.

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D.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.

All of your concerns are valid. I went through all of this 7 years ago. I have 3 children and I am very active in their school. If your thyroid or part of it is removed you will be on medication for the rest of your life and you will have to have blood tests every 3 -6 months to make sure that it is at the correct levels. That is the easy part! The hardest part for me is weight loss but remember I have no thyroid. The surgery was very easy and very little pain. I was only in the hospital for 2 days. My biggest piece of advice take someone with you when you go for your biopsy. It is very nice to have someone waiting when you come out! I didn't wish i had. The thyroid is easily removed and they can give you medication to help regulate~that's the good part!

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L.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had half my thyroid removed about 8 years ago due to a cyst. Surgery was totally no big deal--swelling went away quickly and I didn't miss a day of fun with my daughter. The only hassle was finding the right dose of medications to replace the missing thyroid! It took about a year to figure out how much synthroid and cytomel was needed for me to have the right energy level and for me to feel normal. That's the negative to having a portion of your thyroid removed---not the surgery but getting the meds right to replace the thyroid function. Best of luck to you.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had a partial thyroidectomy in 2003. Before finding out that my cyst or tumor was benign I was very tired all the time, I literally was drained of my high power energy. Once the surgery was over I instantly felt better. The surgery was really no big deal, and I am such a baby about stuff like that. I was in the hospital for only about three days and then was out and fine. I def. agree with the lady about the Bride of Frankenstein! However, now there is hardly a scar(make sure to rub and break down the scar tissue and use maderma). I don't have to take any medication now in my life and may never need to. Also, you will always have to have blood work done every 6 months for your thyroid. But really the surgery was fine.
Good luck.

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Z.M.

answers from San Diego on

Hi L. - My OB detected a "lump" on my thyroid after the birth of my first daughter (7 years ago). They attempted to biopsy it and couldn't get a sample so they watched it. It never changed in size (noticeably) and my endocrinologist decided to try and biopsy it again a year ago because the recommendations changed for biopsies on lumps (anything larger than 1mm needs to be biopsied regularly). Unfortunately mine was malignant and I had to have my thyroid removed. I went through radioactive iodine last December and now I have to go through it again this December. I have had a great experience through it all - the surgery was fine. My surgeon is the BEST - Dr. Michael Bouvet at UCSD. He is the best in the area and specializes in endocrine surgeries. He had one year of surgical residency specializing in thyroid surgeries. I did a lot of research in this area and I wouldn't even consider anyone else. My endocrinologist is also really good and very proactive and conservative - Dr. Chris Guerin in Vista/Oceanside. Keep in mind that even if it's removed you will need thyroid medication for the rest of your life and blood tests every few months. So I'm not sure if there is any way around this. Feel free to call or e-mail me with questions - I too am a photographer :) and you can find me through my site www.photographybyzoe.com I wish you the best on Tuesday. It will all be FINE - I never thought I would say that, but it's OK. Take good care, Z.

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K.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

I had thyroid issues after the birth of my second child last year. I continued under the care of my accupuncturist (who is an MD here in Las Vegas, I can give you the info if you'd like) and my blood levels went back to normal and the size of the nodules went down. I struggled with post partum and stumbled into this Dr's office and it was the best decision I've ever made. Accupuncture has changed my life.
P.s. I'm not some crazy ganola either... :)

Smiles,
K.

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P.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi,
I would recommend talking to Jeff Sherman, Master Herbologist. 877-Herbs57.
He has helped me and my family with a number of health issues. Both me and my 19 year old daughter are dealing with thyroid and hormonal imbalances. I worked in the western medicine field for 15 years. I understand the regular approach to thyroid problems and trust Jeff because of the results we have had.
Wishing you well,
P. C.

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M.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi L.,

I too have a cyst on my thyroid. I had it drained & biopsied a year ago. It was benign, thank God! Since then, we moved to San Diego, so I'm in need of finding a good endocrinologist to follow up with, as I am past due for an exam/ulrasound. Would you reccommend your doctor? If so, I would appreciate getting his info.

It sounds like you've gottn some good input already! I wish you all the best on Tuesday, and don't worry too much (like did!). I don't know if you've already been through a biopsy, but it wasn't bad at all for me, in fact it was much more comfortable than I ever imagined it would be. Let us know how things go tomorrow!

M.
[email protected]____.com

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L.A.

answers from San Diego on

No health issue is attractive or fun, but they are a fact of human life. This particular health issue is about as minimal as one could hope for. The surgery in question is nearly risk-free and simple, as surgeries go. And taking one small pill a day is no big deal. I've done it for years. Do what has to be done. You have two kids. You do what you need to do in order to become a gray-haired grandma for their kids. If that includes having your thyroid removed, consider yourself extremely fortunate that your health issue is so extremely mild. As for the lump in your neck, an added bonus! The surgery will take care of that.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.:
Well, your in the same position I was in about 20 years ago. It began with an unsightly lump on my neck,and it appeared to get bigger,which scared me. I began having trouble breathing while lying down, as the lump was beginning to block my larynex and i began using an extra pillow at night to prop my neck up,to breathe easier.I finally went to my Dr. and he sent me to a specialist,to have it checked. I had a good sized goiter,on my thyroid. After their attempt to shrink it failed and a ultra sound detected several other lumps,they decided to remove my thyroid. It was frightening,to think of having my throat cut open. to say the least. I think the scariest part was being told, that I could possibly lose my voice. I come from a musical family,and my oldest sister and I both grew up singing locally,in youth choirs. We even sang at the opening ceremonies of the Angel stadium,back in the 60s. After the surgery,the first thing I wanted to do is see if i could still talk,but i waited a few days,as I was terrified to realize my worst fears. I had to see my neck,as the scar was a concern. I have to laugh about it now, as when I took my first look,in the hospital mirror...I was reminded of that old movie..(the bride of frankinstein) They used those large staples across my neck,and I felt all i was missing was one of those screws at the side!! I about freaked. My mom came to visit,and suggested that I buy an array of scarves lmao. I thought yeah...they'll go great with a bathing suit!! lol.Not to worry L.. The scar healed pretty well. If you have a good surgeon,he will do a good job.If I would have had merely one growth, I would never have had the surgery. First, because the laryngeal nerves which control the vocal cords can be damaged. I haven't been able to sing,on key since the surgery. The parathyroid glands that regulate the calcium level of the blood can be damaged,causing higher blood pressure,higher levels of cholesterol,and your body can rob your bones of calcium,causing problems latter with osteo,or teeth problems.Your Dr. will tell you, these are possibilities but not probabilities. I take a thyroid pill every day,and Now 20 years later, am dealing with high cholesterol,and have been put on a Stain drug for that. My calcium level is low,and I take that and vitimin D. I want you to know, that I am not offering this information,to frighten you,as I'm just one case.However, I believe,if you have the option right now, to shrink your coiter,rather than have surgery,I'd attempt to take that avenue before the surgery.If you have any other questions regarding the surgery,please feel free to message me. I wish you the very best. J.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi:

I had almost all of my thyroid removed and the cyst itself was benign, but when they looked at the rest of the thyroid tissue that was removed, they found two cancer growths in the area behind where the cyst was. I guess the cyst was like an early warning of what was really going on. The only thing I wish now is that they had removed all of the thyroid, but the surgeon had no reason to since the cyst biopsy was normal. The surgery is pretty OK and I haven't found the medication to be a hassle. I had two babies post my surgery & the only inconvenience was that I had to be tested monthly during each pregnancy because thyroid levels change so dramatically when you're pregnant. As for weight loss, I haven't had a problem getting back to pre-pregnancy weight. I'd love to lose more weight beyond the pregnancy weight, but it is a bit tough with two kids under two!

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