Today marks two weeks since the removal of my thyroid.
Perhaps I should’ve updated more often, because now the first week is kind of a hazy memory. I started weening off the pain meds at about one week. Then, on Monday, I drove for the first time. I still have to turn my whole torso to look behind me, I can’t tilt my head back much at all, and it still feels like my neck is sewn on too tight. My incision is pretty dark and is about 3 inches across – longer than I thought it would be. I’m used to it now and am taking pictures as it heals.
Almost from the day I got home, I had a good bit of energy. When they handled my thyroid to cut it out, it likely stimulated it to release a bunch of extra hormone into my bloodstream before it was removed. I experienced palpitations during surgery (I was told by the anesthesiologist) and for a few days afterward, but they felt very minor compared to those I experienced in my hyper days. Because it is often difficult for me to take it easy when I’d rather be productive, I don’t think I allowed myself as much rest as I really needed. I forgot that just because I felt fine didn’t mean that there wasn’t a big slice across my neck that needed healing, and that the body heals when at rest. So two nights ago I crashed. My digestive system started acting crazy, I had terrible cramping all night and into the next morning. The minute my morning green smoothie hit my lips, it felt like my entire intestinal tract went into spasm and I couldn’t even stand up straight. I was informed that I was probably dehydrated on top of not getting enough rest.
In an effort to aid in my further healing, I rested all day yesterday with my kitty Lilly, who did not leave my side and is currently napping next to me as I write this. I got a full night’s sleep, took an easy walk and then napped three or four times throughout the day and still went to bed and slept like a log. I must have needed it. I’m taking it easy again today, drinking plenty of water and resting. I ran the essential errands – kitty litter, kitty food, and groceries. I have all these other things that I’d like to do today: make soap, clean out the refrigerator, put my laundry away, clean the kitchen floor. Then I remind myself that there is plenty of time to do those things and the priority now is rest and healing. I go back to work on Tuesday and I’m not going to take the chance of exhausting myself during the time that I need to be recovering. It’s easy to forget that my body is using a lot of energy to regenerate tissue and heal the space where my thyroid used to be, I just need to step aside and give it the opportunity to do so.
I don’t really know yet how the synthroid dose is suiting me, since I’m only two weeks out and I still have my own hormone running through my bloodstream. My educated guess is that I’ll start to have an idea starting at about six weeks out from surgery. I’m hoping for a relatively seamless transition since I feel I’ve already paid my dues over the last six year roller-coaster ride of hormone fluctuations. I’ve already wasted too much energy on anxiety and feel there’s no more to spare on something so useless. From here on out, I can only look forward. I promised this to myself before the surgery and so far that promise is holding solid.
I have a follow up appointment with my surgeon on Monday and another with my Endocrinologist on Wednesday. I am fairly confident that they will both tell me that everything is looking good and that I’m recovering nicely. It’s really strange. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve already done it. That the surgery is behind me. I feel like along with my thyroid, the surgery removed a lot of the weight of the world from my shoulders. Granted, I still have my struggles, like anyone does, but I feel lighter. I’ve always laughed easily, but the last couple of weeks have been full of laughter and ease that were hidden in shadow, previously. I have a tremendous sense of freedom and relief.
I feel joyful that I can walk around with my hair back and my head held high. I almost feel as if I had plastic surgery. I’ve rid that sense of shame and embarrassment formerly choking me. I may have a big red slice across my neck, but I feel good and proud and slightly bad ass about it. It’s proof to me and everyone who sees me that I’ve faced one of my biggest fears and came through with flying colors. It’s my own permanent merit badge. I love my scar and life! I am a walking medical miracle now. Without the little pill I take every morning, I would slip into a myxedema coma and die within a matter of weeks. We are all lucky to be here, to be alive. “There, but for the grace of God”, I genuinely get it now, to my core, and I hope to hold it with me further on this path. All we have is now, and right now is good. In that spirit, I’d like to leave you with another lesson in the words of Pema Chodron:
The Path Is the Goal
What does it take to use the life we already have in order to make us wiser rather than more stuck? What is the source of wisdom at a personal, individual level?
The answer to these questions seems to have to do with bringing everything that we encounter to the path. Everything naturally has a ground, path, and fruition. This is like saying that everything has a beginning, middle, and end. But it is also said that the path itself is both the ground and the fruition. The path is the goal.
This path has one very distinct characteristic: it is not prefabricated. It doesn’t already exist. The path that we’re talking about is the moment-by-moment evolution of the world of phenomena, the moment -by-moment evolution of our thoughts and emotions. The path is uncharted. It comes into existence moment by moment and at the same time drops away behind us.
When we realize that the path is the goal, there’s a sense of workability. Everything that occurs in our confused mind we can regard as the path. Everything is workable.
I would like to say, again, a big, big thank you for all the support I have been receiving throughout this experience. Well wishes, flowers, smiles, hugs, thoughtful texts and inquiries, prayers, vibes, and all the rest. It’s truly had a positive influence on how well things have gone so far and has helped lift my spirits overall. Thank you, thank you. What an incredible healing force you have all been.