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I had a total Thyroidectomy yesterday afternoon to remove a 5.4cm benign mass that was on my left Thyroid. I did not want to do this, but I felt like I had no choice due to the fact that the mass was so large and I was at an increased risk of developing Thyroid cancer due to heavy doses of radiation I received in the neck and abdomen to treat Hodgekin's disease (cancer) which I had when I was younger.

After waking up from the surgery and one day later my voice is completely ruined. I can't speak above a whisper, I can't clear my throat, when I try to drink water, some of it leaks down the wrong tube on the left side of my throat it's like the left side of my throat is paralyzed or something. I also keep getting an uncomfortable feeling of a reoccurring air bubble that gets trapped in the middle of my chest (that's the only way I can think to describe it), it kind of comes out of nowhere causes discomfort for a second and then releases. Also, I've always had problems needing to clear my throat and now after the surgery, I can't clear my throat at all. I try to do it and nothing happens, it just sounds like I'm growling and my throat is irritated further. I have difficulty swallowing and if I try to talk more than a few sentences at a time, I run out of breath and have to pause to take a breath before continuing.

My doctor was very vague with me, saying that it "should" improve within a few days, with some people taking a few weeks or even months. But the amount of issues I am having is overwhelming, I didn't expect anything of this magnitude postopeartively.

I'm completely miserable and disheartened, i can't even drink a glass of water without feeling the water go down the wrong pipe, which then gives me the sensation to clear my throat which I can't do, it's like a vicious cycle. My job requires that I speak, I don't know what to do now as I can only whisper, I can't talk to my kids. I feel devastated.

The research that I have done on the Internet so far about this only returns negative results indicating that I have laryngeal nerve damage and the doctor told me that he had to stretch the nerve to remove the mass because it was so large.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where I should go from here, I am extremely concerned.

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Kyle 75 - I can't speak to all your experiences but I recently had a hemithyroidectomey along with parathyroidectomy. I expect that some of your hoarseness and irritation is the result of having a breathing tube in your throat during surgery. That will get better in a few days. Soft food, either cold or warm felt good on the first days. Things like jello and cold drinks really helped.
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Well, I'm a week removed from the surgery and the news is not good. My left vocal cord is paralyzed which is what I expected after doing some extensive research indicated just that.

My six year old son came within two feet of being hit by a car full of speeding teenagers in the parking lot of my local move theater, he took off running and I tried to yell at him to stop and obviously nothing came out of my mouth since my voice was dead. If it hadn't been for my other son (9) yelling at him to stop I would have had a tragedy that is unimaginable for me to even consider.

My symptoms were so debilitating and disruptive to my quality of life that I had to go in for another surgical procedure earlier today which involved inserting fat into my paralyzed vocal cord to help me gain some volume to my voice and decrease the incidents of aspiration which were occurring almost any time I tried to drink liquid.

The General Surgeon told me that he did not cut the nerve, just stretched it, the ENT tells me that as long as it wasn't cut, It should eventually heal itself, but at this point, I don't have much hope. I have this sinking feeling that permanent damage has been done to me.

This is nothing short of devastating.
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I had a total thyroidectomy two months ago. It was many times larger than it should have been, and had bent my trachea and esophagus. I had many of your symptoms. The voice trouble is common. Most everyone has it to some extent. I still don't have the volume I want but my voice is back to normal. And I can sing. My friend had a four month period of her voice returning to normal.

Re swallowing: Use a straw and tip your head forward and down. Chin on your chest or close. That's a trick we nurses use to put tubes into people's stomachs. It cuts off the airway so it goes down the right hole.

I couldn't clear my throat for the longest time. In fact, I just noticed that I can now.

I have the advantage of being a nurse plus have two good friends who have been through this recently so I was prepared. Sorry you weren't expecting all this.
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Wow, I'm glad to see I'm not alone in what I'm experiencing. I too just had a Total Thyroidectomy to remove non-suppressible nodules. My pathology shows cancer and I have to now go for Radioactive Iodine treatment. My voice is very quiet and whispery too. My surgeon said I have vocal nerve damage which is affecting my voice and my ability to drink liquids. I sometimes choke and can't cough anymore. Let's see it's been 2 weeks since my surgery. I go to see my surgeon in a few weeks to see how my voice is doing. I too need my voice for work and I have been told I sound totally different, almost "child-like" when I speak. I am hoping with time my voice comes back and I can drink liquid without choking. I also hope that I can cough again. It's a small price to pay I guess noting the cancer was caught and I'm being treated now to ensure it has not spread. I'm optimistic things will get back to normal again.
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I had my thyroid put out not by a thyroidectomy, but by an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis along with radiation treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

What I didn't realize is that the Hodgkin's lymphoma arose from the thyroid gland itself. This disease is known as Thyroid Hodgkin's lymphoma and is quite rare. It often coexists with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's in which the body destroys it own thyroid gland.

If a patient has had Hodgkin's, it's very likely if a malignant spot appears on the thyroid, it's probably related to the Thyroid Hodgkin's lymphoma and needs further testing.
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Hi all, thought I would take some time to post an update. It has been five and a half months since I created this thread back in February. Unfortunately my Vocal Cord is still paralyzed; in fact, I had an appointment with my ENT today and after scoping me he said that there is still no movement.

The time between this post and my original post has seen me have two more surgeries related to my vocal cord problem. It's kind of ironic that this whole new problem arose out of fixing my original problem, but such is life as they say.

In the immediate time after my first post, my vocal cord problem gradually worsened to the point where it required surgery so that I could have an acceptable quality of life. So I had a procedure done where they harvested some Fat from my body and then injected the fat into my vocal cord. Initially the procedure seemed to be successful, but about 6 weeks after the surgery, my body rejected the fat that was injected or it somehow became dislodged bringing me right back to square one. Two weeks after that I had another surgery where they did the same procedure but this time they injected an artificial substance called "Radiesse", to say the improvement was dramatic would be an understatement, basically when I woke up I had my voice back at nearly 100% probably about 85% - 90%. That was a major relief and it helped to put my life back on track. With that being said, it is not the same as it was and while not as bad as before, there are still issues that I deal with (running out of breath when talking, limited vocal projection, etc.).

While my current condition is much much better that it was, it is still not the same and it prevents me from doing some things which is something that really bothers me. I am holding out hope that my nerve will repair itself but I'm not going to lie. Emotionally I felt like today was a major step backwards I was hoping that my ENT was going to tell me that there was some movement, not that there was none. At this point I don't have much faith that my body is going to heal. After 12 months the diagnosis become permanent and then I will have to go in for another surgical procedure where they insert a silastic implant.
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I had a total thyroidectomy three weeks ago today. I also have much trouble swallowing liquids. It too feels like it leaks down the wrong tube. This causes me to need to cough which I cannot do sufficiently to clear my breathing. My voice is so low that when outside or with a group of people, they do not hear me. I have an 8 yr. old that almost got hit by a car yesterday while walking ahead of me. I tried to scream for her to get out of the way but nothing beyond a soft croak came out. I am so frustrated. I have a strong suspicion that my nerves were damaged as well. I have no volume and no pitch. I get so out of breath when speaking. I hope to report back in a few months that things have improved but I am not optimistic. I go for my radio-active iodine treatment next week.
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i had a total thyroidectomy on the 18th sept this year, they are not sure if my nerve was damaged during the op im in so much pain have trouble with my swallowing get out of breath when i talk i just hope i get my voice back i feel people are laughing and find it hard to talk on the telephone how long will it take to get to normal

i had graves disease what effects does it take when having your thyroid completely removed
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Hi, I know exactly how you are feeling!!!! I had a brain tumor removed in Nov 2007 and had a lot of nerve damage. One of the problems I had was a paralysed vocal chord, at first it was thought to be caused by a feeding tube I had for 12 days. I couldn'tspeak above a whisper, couldn't swallow and all my liquids had to be thickened. However it was not the feedig tube that was the cause it was nerve damage from the surgery. My Neurosurgeon and my ENT told me it could tke up to 2 years for the nerve to repair itself.
Well it didn't, so 22 months later I just had a surgery for a vocal chord implant. It's been a week since the surgery and even though I know it's early days, I wish I hadn;t had it done. Not only am I left with a 3 inch scar on my neck (was told it would be 1 inch), but I'm having a real hard time breathing! and my voice has not improved. I was expecting to have at least a little more volume, now I have to go for extensive speech Therapy. I'm coughing more than I was before and still throwing up from all the coughing. I feel so let down after waiting so long, My quality of life is zero, I can't even do the laundry without having to rest. I go to see him next week, but I honestly think that they really never know what the outcome of any surgey could be, but I had researched it and asked questions, and breathing difficulties were not mentioned anywhere. So I guess I just have to "wait and see"
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I see this was posted back in 2009 and I three weeks ago had my thyroid out. I am having the same problem exactally. Only my doctor warned me about this and was very up fron and honest about it all. If you happen to see this three years later has anything changed or has it stayed the same way. The only up side for me is that i would take this anyday comapred to all the problems i had before i had it out. I was lietally ruining my way of life. I could live without the voice and stay with wispering Id just really like to get my breathing back to normal and stop chocking on liquids ..
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I had parathyroid surg to remove adenoma "attached" to my laryngeal nerve. That was 15 mos. ago. My nerve is still damaged, although I did get "a voice" not as it was originally, back. My good vocal cord is overcompensating for the loss of the paralyzed cord. My voice is much huskier than the nice feminine voice I once had. I get winded if I speak too much or too fast. Sorry about your ordeal.

Jane
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I had a total tyroidectomy two months ago and I feel like I have more new problems that fixed ones.  I too chock on everything I drink and it is not improving. My voice is hoarse every morning and had no volume or pitch. If I try to raise my voice it only goes lower and feels like it is being chocked off.  It is very frustrating. I cant sing. I have been have severe muscle cramping all over especially in my diapragm. I am also experienceing ascites and fluid retention in my legs so bad I feel like my legs wont bend. When I was in the hospital was also told I have type 2 diabetes. They started me on metformin. I havent lost any weight yet and I am miserable. Oh yeah I also have severe shorness of breath. I cant walk to the store from my car without wheezing and gasping. I have to use an inhaler.
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JaneP wrote:

Kyle75 wrote:

I had a total Thyroidectomy yesterday afternoon to remove a 5.4cm benign mass that was on my left Thyroid. I did not want to do this, but I felt like I had no choice due to the fact that the mass was so large and I was at an increased risk of developing Thyroid cancer due to heavy doses of radiation I received in the neck and abdomen to treat Hodgekin's disease (cancer) which I had when I was younger.

After waking up from the surgery and one day later my voice is completely ruined. I can't speak above a whisper, I can't clear my throat, when I try to drink water, some of it leaks down the wrong tube on the left side of my throat it's like the left side of my throat is paralyzed or something. I also keep getting an uncomfortable feeling of a reoccurring air bubble that gets trapped in the middle of my chest (that's the only way I can think to describe it), it kind of comes out of nowhere causes discomfort for a second and then releases. Also, I've always had problems needing to clear my throat and now after the surgery, I can't clear my throat at all. I try to do it and nothing happens, it just sounds like I'm growling and my throat is irritated further. I have difficulty swallowing and if I try to talk more than a few sentences at a time, I run out of breath and have to pause to take a breath before continuing.

My doctor was very vague with me, saying that it "should" improve within a few days, with some people taking a few weeks or even months. But the amount of issues I am having is overwhelming, I didn't expect anything of this magnitude postopeartively.

I'm completely miserable and disheartened, i can't even drink a glass of water without feeling the water go down the wrong pipe, which then gives me the sensation to clear my throat which I can't do, it's like a vicious cycle. My job requires that I speak, I don't know what to do now as I can only whisper, I can't talk to my kids. I feel devastated.

The research that I have done on the Internet so far about this only returns negative results indicating that I have laryngeal nerve damage and the doctor told me that he had to stretch the nerve to remove the mass because it was so large.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where I should go from here, I am extremely concerned.


I had parathyroid surg to remove adenoma "attached" to my laryngeal nerve. That was 15 mos. ago. My nerve is still damaged, although I did get "a voice" not as it was originally, back. My good vocal cord is overcompensating for the loss of the paralyzed cord. My voice is much huskier than the nice feminine voice I once had. I get winded if I speak too much or too fast. Sorry about your ordeal.
Jane


Kyle, I'ts now been 18 mos since my surgery and still no change. At this point I don't think I will ever regain the use of my vocal cord. Cannot speak and walk or do anything strenuous at the same time without getting out of breath. I'm considering a malpractice personal injury law suit. I know the MD had no choice but to "touch" the laryngeal nerve to remove my adenoma, but I should have been informed and prepared for the worst possible outcome. He just told me I'd feel great after surgery. I would love to hear from anyone with any legal information. Most lawyers have told me that no Mal intentions were done and it was just an unfortunate outcome. Doesn't seem fair.
Jane P
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You should get an attorney asap! my mom past away because of this..she had same symptons you had.. we were taking her to the emergency room every nite because she couldn't breathe.. finally the dr. that did the surgery saw her and scheduled surgery for a trayche..this was suppose to be temporay until her "SWELLING AROUND HER NECK" went away! yeah right! when she left the hospital she collapsed. to make the story short, she suffered severe brain damage.. and was like this for 6mos until her death.. our attorney said we had a case of medical malpractice because the dr. damaged her vocal chords..

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