Hence the title this is going to be a positive thyroidectomy story. I say that because when I was in the midst of making the decision to have my thyroid removed, I scoured the internet and all I found was negative awful stories. These Google searches scared me to death. It left me wondering, where are all the positive stories. Doctors would not remove thyroid if it always lowers the standard of life. Would they?
After the birth of my daughter (10 weeks postpartum), I went to the doctor for a bus driving physical. The felt my neck and noticed that my thyroid was enlarged. He sent me for a sonogram and iodine test. The results showed an extremely overactive thyroid. Then, he put me on a medicine called PTU (Propylthiouracil) for hyperthyroidism. With this medicine, I felt a little better, but I was having to take it 3 times a day. Eventually, I had to set alarms on my phone, computer, watch, and Ipad to remember to take my medicine. After about a year on this medicine, I was not feeling better and the blood results were still not improving. I was referred to an endocrinologist where they diagnosed me with Graves disease.
The Lifestyle Change
This was the best thing that could have happened to me. They changed my meds to Methimazole, and I immediately started feeling better. I was feeling better; the blood results were improving. However, the goiter on my neck was not shrinking. It was still at 60% enlarged. The doctor then recommended that I have my thyroid removed. I said no and attempted to see if diet and exercise would help improve the hyperthyroidism and Graves disease. For a year, I focused on improving my health by drinking 100 ounces of water a day, exercising regularly, and eating more of a Paleo diet. But still, my results stay the same. I was stuck with the same results and the medicine I was on was not considered safe for long-term use. I was 30 years old and wanted to have another child. When someone is on Methimazole, it is recommended not to conceive because of high risk or miscarriage and still births. So, I decided to have a thyroidectomy.
On March 15, 2016, I had my thyroid removed. I went home the next day. I started Levothyroxine (for low thyroid hormone) about 2 weeks later. The first month was a little rough. I felt off. I was exhausted, not hungry, and grumpy. 2 Weeks later the doctor upped my medication to the highest dosage which he said was normal for my lifestyle and the amount of muscle I carried. I started to feel better immediately. The only problem is that I kept eating the same. I gained 12 pounds within a month. Then, I started focusing on my diet and eating mostly unprocessed foods. I counted my macros and within a month lost 9 pounds. For the first time in 3 years, I was starting to feel and act like myself again.
Eight Months after Surgery
I am so happy with my decision to remove my thyroid. It took about 4 to 6 months after surgery to start feeling the results. I feel happy again. I do not feel depressed like I did before. I enjoy time with my family and daughter. I have the energy throughout the whole day unlike before when a 2-hour daily nap must happen for me to survive the day. My weight is under control. I do not have to eat so strictly anymore and can maintain my current weight by choosing to eat right most of the time. I exercise daily, wake early, and feel back to normal. My husband and I have recently been given the go ahead to try and conceive. Life is looking up. I do not regret my decision one bit.
I wrote this blog to give people hope when they are considering a thyroidectomy. People usually only share their negative stories. Not all results are horrible. I feel better than I have in years. It has not been an easy journey and there have been plenty of set-backs and unhappiness; however, I do not regret my decision one bit. Yes, I will have to take medicine the rest of my life, but I was probably going to have to do that anyways. At one point, I weighed 30 pounds less than I do now. I am healthy, strong, and full of energy.
Note: This is not advice. It is only my experience.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about my journey with Graves disease.
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs:
What to expect before, during, and after a thyroid removal.
Living with Graves disease.