Recently diagnosed with papillary carcinoma...

Hi Everyone,

My name is Ashley, I'm 19 and a few weeks ago I had a biopsy done on a solid nodule on my thyroid and it turned out to be cancer. Luckily, my doctors caught it early and it's only stage I. I was told I would need to have a total thyroidectomy and so I met with the surgeon last Tuesday. He explained everything related to the procedure but told me I would be discharged from the hospital the same day (which was odd to me because my endocrinologist told me I would have to stay overnight). I assume he told me that because of the drain that's placed in afterwards but the surgeon told me I just had to go back to his office in the morning after the surgery and he'd remove it. Has anyone had a similar experience where they left the same day?

Also, I have a few questions about post-surgery if anyone is up to answering. I would consider myself decently tolerant of pain but I just wanted to know if it hurts a lot once the anesthesia and all of the pain meds through the IV wear off (especially since I'll be coming home the same day). Also, I'm currently off from college until January 28th and my surgery is scheduled for February 4th, should I go back or should I take the semester off? The surgeon said I'd be able to go to school about a week after and told me I didn't have to take off. However, I live in NYC and go to a commuter school so I have to commute an hour by train every day and I don't know if that's going to work against me with healing and adjusting to synthroid and everything. Do you guys have any advice? Did anyone go back to school so soon post-surgery? How was it? If anyone who went through it already can answer any of these questions or just give me some general insight into your experience, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you in advance, happy holidays! :)


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  • Hi Ashley! My thyroid cancer was also caught at stage 1, but mine was slightly different: I was having TT for other thyroid problems and they did a biopsy just to be safe, and that's how they found the cancer.

    I did stay overnight in the hospital, and I remember the second day was more painful than the first. I had taken 2 weeks off work, and at least the first week, I really did feel crappy and didn't do much of anything. By the second week, the pain was much less, and I also consider myself having a high pain tolerance.

    I had the RAI a month after my surgery, and if you also have to have that and go on the low idodine diet, that's where the time off from school may be what you need. I had the 2 weeks off for my surgery, then went back to work part time for 2 weeks, but the last 2 weeks before my RAI I was too exhausted to really drive or get around much. I did a little work from home, but that was it. Luckilly I had an understanding job. After my treatment, I started back on synthroid. I was out of work almost a month, I still worked less than part time from home (I do computer stuff so I could). After a month on synthroid, I was feeling well enough to go into the office regularly, and it took about 2 months for me to go back to a regular full time schedule, and I was also well enough to travel cross country to a wedding. I still got tired easily, and often napped, but I could do stuff.

    It really took a little over a year after my surgery and RAI to get my synthroid level correct. My endocrinologist said that's not out of the ordinary for a timeline. If you have the option to take the time off to take care of yourself properly, I'd certainly seriously consider it. Trust your own instincts, not just what your surgeon is telling you. Good luck, and feel free to drop me a note if you want to chat more!

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