Brian had some chest pain yesterday and decided to schedule an appointment with our doctor for this afternoon. He said he felt like he was having a heart attack so I was worried. I wondered if we should have gone to the ER. I had trouble falling asleep last night because I didn’t want to wake up to a lifeless husband the next day, but he said he was fine. I finally fell asleep.
When we woke up this morning, I told Brian I wanted to work a couple of hours over and stay until 6 pm. (We carpool and both go to work at 7 am.) He reminded me that he had a doctor’s appointment. Thinking that he was feeling better, I told him that was fine and to just hang out at home after visiting with the doctor (our family doctor’s office is in Andover) until it was time to come pick me up.
Around 2 pm this afternoon Brian called me to tell me he was on his way to the doctor and that he was scared. I told him that I changed my mind about working late and to just pick me up from work after his doctor’s appointment. He asked me why I changed my mind and if I’d gotten caught up. Honestly, I’ll never get caught up because there’s always plenty of work to do. I told him that I would rather spend time with him.
Around 4 pm he called to tell me that he was still at the doctor’s office. I told him that was fine because I had plenty of work to do and I would just work until he came to pick me up. I had originally wanted to work late anyway, but felt guilty about working late when Brian wasn’t feeling well. I should be taking care of him. Anyway, it was well after 5 pm by the time he got back downtown to pick me up so I got almost an hour and a half of extra work time.
I’m such a workaholic that sometimes I take for granted how much quality time I’m spending with Brian. It worked out today that I was able to get some extra work done. I’m also grateful that we are blessed with the opportunity to hang out and spend some time together this evening. However, today put things in perspective for me. I really need to spend more quality time with my husband.
Guess what. I survived the Mayan apocalypse. Unfortunately, my thyroid didn’t. Oh, well. Although, when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll fit right in. My scar still looks pretty wicked. I’m glad I went through the surgery, though.
When we met with Dr. Sunderland, he told us that they found carcinoma in my thyroid. It’s so small — the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen — that it wouldn’t have shown up in any biopsies. Had I been stubborn and continued to insist on saving my thyroid, who knows how much it would have spread and what other health problems I would have experienced as a result.
I may be thyroidless but I feel like a million bucks. Looking forward to a speedy recovery and a long, healthy life. ¡Salud!
For those of you guys who were wondering how we ended up spending the afternoon at the ER last Sunday, here’s the story. BTW, I would have posted this sooner but it has been a really busy week.
Following my thyroidectomy, I was on a schedule of Cytomel twice a day — at 4 am and 4 pm — and then Calcium three times a day — at 8 am, 12 pm, and 8 pm. I had a prescription for Lortab which I didn’t touch because Tylenols were sufficient to keep the pain at bay. I think I only took 5 Tylenols total. I didn’t really need any pain meds because I wasn’t in any pain per se. Mostly I just felt discomfort. The way I described it to Brian is that it was like my neck was sore from a really good workout. I’ve never really needed pain meds a day or so after a really tough Group Power or Boot Camp class so I think that’s how I got by not needing pain meds after surgery. I kept joking that it’s because I’m part Viking but, in reality, I think it’s just ’cause I’m used to being sore all over.
Oh, and contrary to what ya’ll are thinking, the trip to ER last weekend had nothing to do with the “vaginal rest” post on Facebook. It mostly had to do with the Calcium. Well, that and the chest pain that I felt when I woke up on Saturday morning. It actually caused me more discomfort than my neck/throat and I couldn’t get it to go away. It didn’t help that Brian realized that I was overdosing on Calcium. The doctor had prescribed about 300 mg of Calcium three times a day but, when Brian went to the pharmacy, they sold him over the counter Citracal, which they told him was the same thing. Brian looked at the bottle which said the recommended dosage was only twice a day. Upon closer inspection of the bottle, we realized that the Citracal contains 630 mg per tablet. So I was getting twice the amount of Calcium that I really needed. We were both worried that the excess Calcium was what was causing me chest pain.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, the chest pain was still there so I called the doctor. Dr. Sunderland wasn’t available, but the nurse said she would page the on-call doctor. By noon we still hadn’t heard back so we called again. This time the nurse told us that the on-call doctor recommended that we go to the ER, so off we went.
After getting poked and prodded (again), blood tests, an EKG test, and x-rays the ER doctor determined that I was fine. The chest pain I was feeling was just normal discomfort following the type of surgery that I had. And we didn’t really have to worry about overdosing on Calcium because your body just expels the excess minerals in your urine. Your body takes what it needs and you just end up peeing the rest of it out. Who knew? Well, I think maybe I knew that already but the chest pain was clouding my judgment.
I wish we wouldn’t have panicked because we ended up spending almost the entire day at the ER. We were there for almost 4 hours. They had some emergency situations come in around the same time that I was there and, since I wasn’t bleeding or unconscious, I was pretty much put on the back burner. But whatever. It’s not like I had anywhere else to go. I couldn’t go to Zumba because I’m not supposed to workout for a while. My Sunday was wide open.
Anyway, I met with Dr. Sunderland on Tuesday to get my stitches out and we went ahead and brought the paperwork from the ER on Sunday. I’m glad we did because they used that information instead of drawing more blood. I really hate getting my blood drawn. I have such small veins that even the most experienced nurses have trouble. It usually ends up being traumatic for me.
The other good news that I had is that my parathyroid seems to be functioning okay which means I don’t really need to take the Calcium. Dr. Sunderland recommends that I take them anyway because I’m a woman and women need Calcium. These tablets are gargantuan, though. I was quite relieved on Saturday when we thought I was taking too much and we dropped it down to twice a day. After my visit with Dr. Sunderland, Brian and I agreed I could probably get by with just one Calcium tablet a day. Also, I graduated from Cytomel to Synthroid following this last visit so now, instead of taking medication multiple times a day, I just take my Synthroid once at 4 am and then my Calcium tablet at 8 pm. You guys probably think I’m weird because I keep such a strict medication schedule but Brian has been doing some research, and actually the doctor has said the same thing, the medicines work better when you take them at the same time each day.
Here’s to hoping that there are no ER trips or needles in store for me this weekend. Hopefully there won’t be any more surgeries for either. Blech.
I have always been the emotional one in our relationship. I share my feelings and don’t hide when I am upset, angry or hurt. However, when my wife had to get a Thyroidectomy, I decided that I needed to be the strong one this time. Suppress all of those emotions that I normally wear on my sleeve so that she could feel that everything was going to be OK.
What I didn’t realize was that the suppression of my emotions was going to be much harder than I anticipated. On Thursday the day of her surgery I was doing really well. I was worried but I was keeping it together pretty well. I have always been a worrier but it’s just something I have become accustomed to. With all that worry comes a great deal of impatience. I try really hard to keep that in check as well. It’s something that I have learned to be aware of and work to keep at bay. Occasionally it gets away from me but it takes a lot now. Friday evening was when my emotions boiled to the surface and reached a point that I could not hold them back.
I tell my wife everything. We started this relationship with a “No Secretes” rule and we have kept that. I fessed up and told her that I was having a hard time controlling my worry. I explained that it was hard for me to see her out of character, down for the count, not running around wanting to do so much. I always tell her that she needs to learn to relax, needs to slow down. Now that she has, I freaked out and started to worry…even miss it. She reminded me that she just had surgery, she needs to take it easy, but she was not going to let this beat her and keep her down. She wasn’t going to let this stop her from doing what she has become accustomed to doing. I explained to her that I had been researching things that I needed to look out for, things that would let me know that she was not in prime condition. The problem with this is that for every one informative post, I had to weed through twenty post of people talking about how worse off they were. The first few didn’t really worry me, but more and more posts started to wear on me to the point that I could not hold anything back. My emotions surfaced. My worry for our future started to spiral out of control and for the first time in a vary long time, I felt very helpless.
I told her all of this, crying and trying to control it all. Needless to say, even after her pep talk I still didn’t sleep that well. I even told her this morning that I may need to go back to our therapist just to try and get back on track. On the plus side, the therapist had the same procedure done several years ago. She has given me a few pointers as well as my boss and a few other friends and co-workers that I learned recently have all gone through this procedure. I actually learned over the last couple of months that this is one of the most common procedures that is done.
This still doesn’t stop me from worrying. I have learned so much over the last few months in my research. I have learned what to watch for, loss of hair, loss of concentration and memory, violent mood swings, fatigue, extreme depression, the list goes on and on. I have faith in the doctors but that still does not stop me from worrying. Honestly, I have a feeling that I will continue to worry for quite sometime.
I love my wife more than anything in the world. I just hate seeing her like this and I feel so helpless. At this point in time I wish I had the ability to heal her, give her her natural thyroid back so that she didn’t have to take any medication. I know I can’t, so my only option is to be patient, be there for her, support her as much as I can and pray for the best.
This journey began last August 2011, while we were celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. Getting rushed to the ER that night was the catalyst for a series of doctor’s visits that eventually led to the discovery of several nodules in my thyroid, causing both sides to be enlarged.
The original sonogram showed my thyroid to be quite enlarged on both sides because of the nodules. The right side more so than the left side, but there were lots of nodules everywhere and one really large one that particularly worried the endocrinologist. Dr. Zayour performed a biopsy and confirmed that the nodules weren’t cancerous. Though he recommended surgery last year, and Brian was completely for it, I decided against surgery because my goiter wasn’t hurting my swallowing or breathing and because it wasn’t cancerous. I had regular blood work done in the months that followed which showed my hormone levels within range. I was very adamant about keeping my thyroid, enlarged as it was, so the endocrinologist went along with it with the stipulation that I would get another sonogram a year later to make sure that the nodules haven’t gotten bigger. I had this idea in my head that I could will my nodules away and make my thyroid shrink through positive thoughts and energy. I guess there are certain limits to The Secret. Science prevailed unfortunately.
Fast forward to October 2012 when I had my follow up sonogram. All the nodules have gotten bigger. My whole thyroid is even much bigger than it was the year before. At this point, Dr. Zayour was more forceful about his recommendation for surgery. He said if I insisted on keeping my thyroid, he would insist on another sonogram in six months because the nodules could grow even more in that short amount of time. At that point, if the nodules were bigger still he would push for surgery right then and there. That’s really when I decided that I couldn’t put off surgery any longer. I would likely have to go through the thyroidectomy in the beginning of the next year or I could get it done this year. I wish that I could say that my concern for my health played a bigger part in the decision, but the biggest factor for me was the financial aspect of the procedure. If I wait until next year to have the surgery done, I wouldn’t have met my deductibles yet and I would have to pay more out of pocket. Whether it was for the right or wrong reasons, I at least came to the right conclusion of having surgery done as soon as possible. The only other thing I asked of Dr. Zayour was to pick a good surgeon for me and he assured me that he would pick the best in town.
I met Dr. Sunderland for the first time last month. With glowing recommendations from Dr. Zayour and my friend Andrea who had Dr. Sunderland perform her sinus surgery a few years back, I knew I was in good hands. I was actually excited about my thyroidectomy, as crazy as that sounds. Brian was more nervous about the procedure than I was. He was fretting in the weeks and days before surgery. I actually didn’t start getting nervous until they inserted my IV.
I have such small veins that I always worry that they would miss. What if the medicine doesn’t make it into my bloodstream? On the flip side of that, what if they give me so much anesthesia that I end up with amnesia? I told Brian that I hope that I still remember him when I wake up from surgery and I’m not like, “Who are you? I want my mommy!” LOL. Yeah, I’ve been watching too many amnesia movies.
Dr. Sunderland came to check on me before surgery and drew the incision mark. They actually had to cut about a quarter of an inch more on each side because my thyroid was far larger than they expected.
Brian said Dr. Sunderland told him that the right side was three times the size of a normal thyroid and the left side was about twice the size. My thyroid wasn’t that big during my last sonogram a couple of months before. It’s scary to think that it had grown that much in such a short amount of time. I’m really glad that I decided to have the thyroidectomy done this year instead of waiting until next year when it would be even bigger. Then they’d have to cut all the way across my throat.
Here’s a picture of me and my surgeon before surgery. We’re saying “Mahalo” because he’s leaving for Hawaii next week. He and his family stay in Waikiki for a month and that’s where they spend Christmas every year.
We arrived at the surgery center around 8 am and my surgery was scheduled for 10 am, but Brian said that it was closer to 11 am before they came to get me. He said they gave me some valium to relax me and I was out before we hit the end of the hallway. That was the end of the line for him. He didn’t see me again until after surgery was completed. I think they had to stabilize me before they could bring Brian in because it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon before he saw me and took this picture. I guess they fed me Tums and made me drink some water but I threw it all up when they moved me to the recovery room.
I doubt that the nurse was racing down the hallway when she moved me but it’s not out of the ordinary to be queasy after surgery. They had to make sure that the nausea had subsided before they could send me home. Anyway, they told me to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing so I showed up in my PJs that morning. I’m glad I did because when I got home, I just went straight to bed and didn’t have to worry about getting out of my clothes. I think it was almost four in the afternoon. All I wanted to do was sleep.
Mom came over around five in the afternoon to keep me company while Brian went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. I have to take a gazillion pills over the next few days. Anyway, here’s a picture of my stitches.
Mom brought me some sinigang to eat. I was really hungry because I hadn’t eaten since eight in the evening the night before and it was almost six o’clock. She kept asking me if I wanted to eat, but my urge to sleep was far stronger than the hunger. Plus, I remember that Darcy said she threw up her food after surgery and I didn’t want to have to go through that without Brian there to help me. Brian has experience cleaning up my vomit and I didn’t want mom to have to go through it.
I think it was almost seven in the evening by the time Brian came back from the pharmacy. He had to go to two different ones because they only had the generics at the one pharmacy and he didn’t want generics. I got up to eat when he showed up. Mom put some sabaw in a bowl. I sipped on it some. Then we put a little bit of rice in it. I just had a few bites. I was afraid to eat, partly because it hurt to swallow but then I didn’t want the food to spill out of the gaping hole in my neck. I have a wild imagination, I know. Anyway, part of it was always because I was afraid of eating too much and puking it all up as Darcy had done after her surgery. As much as it hurt to eat, I was thinking it would hurt even more to vomit.
Other than the incision having to be bigger than planned, I thought surgery went well. My neck and throat were sore and hurt to talk and swallow, but at least I could talk and swallow and the pain wasn’t so overwhelming that I had to take my Lortabs. I’ve taken a few Tylenol, but I haven’t touched my Lortabs yet. I think I may be able to get by without it.
Brian is a little concerned, but I’m still planning on going back to work on Monday. We’ll see how I feel over the next couple of days, but I’m thinking I will be able to manage. I am part Viking after all.
Brian went with me on my surgery consultation today with Dr. Sunderland, the best doctor of Otolaryngology/ENT in all of Wichita. I know because my super fabulous endocrinologist, Dr. Zayour said so. Oh, and my friend Andrea also agrees.
I’m so happy that I have a great surgeon. I was really scared of surgery last year and was completely against it. Now that I know I’m in very capable hands, I feel so much better about the whole thing. I’m even somewhat excited. I can’t wait until I no longer have a fat neck! LOL.
The appointment took longer than Brian and I expected. As with any doctor’s office, there’s a lot of waiting around. When Dr. Sunderland came in, he gave me a thorough once over — including shoving a scope thing down my nasal cavity after he numbed the area with a local anesthetic that he sprayed into my nose. It had a bitter taste and my nose felt weird. Though I was grateful for it because, were it not for the anesthetic, this next part would have been even more unpleasant than it was.
This was not the highlight of my day. For sure. LOL.
The highlight was noticing that Dr. Sunderland wears Prada shoes. Now I know that I’m definitely in good hands.
This is why I’ll never be able to lose the last ten pounds that I need to lose. We can’t stop eating out!
If I’m going to be fat, at least I’m fat for a reason. Ha ha ha ha!
Didn’t think so.
I have a confession to make. I don’t know how to swim. Brian and I had the pool to ourselves on Friday night, so we took advantage of the opportunity for him to teach me how to swim. Wanna know how he did it? He did it by showing me a video on YouTube kind of like the one below.
This is proof that you can learn anything through YouTube. LOL.
When Jay and Misty were hanging out with us at the pool on Sunday and I was telling Jay about Brian teaching me how to swim, Jay argued that I actually knew how to swim already since I can float backwards, dog paddle and tread water. I told him I knew enough not to drown, but I didn’t know how to “swim” swim. He said that not drowning is swimming. If I didn’t know how to swim then I would drown. He explained that I didn’t know how to “freestyle” or do other swimming strokes, but that I actually knew how to swim.
I never had formal swimming lessons though (unless you count Brian showing me a video of a guy swimming on YouTube as a swimming lesson), and my idea of swimming is actually doing specific strokes. Not just treading water or dog paddling or floating backwards, which is something that I do when I get worn out.
Anyway, I need some more practice but I’m pretty sure that I’ll know how to swim for real by the end of summer. Not swimming in the way that Jay thinks, but really swimming like being able to freestyle and stuff. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to be able to swim laps. I hear it’s pretty good exercise.
DR. P: You sure did.
Brian’s new crown broke less than 24 hours after they were installed. I’m not sure what happened, but I noticed them while we were eating Marble Slab and walking around the Bradley Fair pond that Sunday. The very next Monday, Brian called the dentist to tell them what happened. Instead of getting an emergency appointment, he figured he would just go the same time that I was scheduled to return for new teeth impressions for my Invisalign (which was yesterday). I’m going to tell you about the Invisalign in a bit, but let me tell you about Brian’s teeth first.
Brian initially thought that they would have to take the crown off and replace it with a new one, which would take a couple of hours. As luck would have it, Dr. P was able to fix the chip by simply reshaping the crown. However, that made the tooth smaller than the one next to it so it didn’t look right. The dentist then than to shape the other tooth to make them even. On the plus side, it didn’t take two hours for them to do all of that work. Brian actually finished before I did. Here’s the end result.
As for me, I originally thought that I was completely done with the Invisalign trays for my top teeth and only had one more month left on my bottom teeth. Unfortunately, I have one stubborn bottom tooth that’s not tracking properly so they had to take new impressions and they’re going to give me new aligning trays. While they’re at it, they’ve decided that they want to tweak one of my top front teeth so it’s even straighter. Meaning, I have to keep my Invisalign braces for a few more months. Instead of being finished with my top braces (which I thought I was several weeks ago), I get new ones of those too. I’m not sure how many more, though.
On the plus side, the dentist had to remove my aligning buttons to get new dental impressions and they won’t put buttons back on until I get the new trays. That’s nice because then the trays aren’t as tight making them easier to put on and take off; and, I won’t have weird buttons on my teeth for a while. The down side is that it may be a while before I’m done with my braces.
Although, from the sounds of it, it doesn’t look like I’ll ever be completely free of these trays. The appointment before the one yesterday, when I thought I was almost done, the dentist said that I would have to wear my retainers every night for the next five years even after I’m done with my braces. This is to keep the teeth from shifting back to where they were. Just as Brian and I don’t ever want to be fat again, I don’t want my teeth to ever be crooked again, so I’m certain that I will be heeding the dentist’s advice and strictly following their instructions.