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Old 01-09-06, 04:58 PM   #1
Hawkgrove
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Thyroid Surgery

I just turned fifty a few months and through an annual physical found out I have a nodule on my thyroid. I will have to undergo some degree of surgery (the extend of which depends on a biopsy) I have always thought of myself as a very active person who took good care of himself so this has thrown me for a loop.

I guess Iím asking if anyone out there has undergone this type of surgery and then had to take synthroid or other drugs and not lost a beat in their lifestyle?
I need some words of encouragement. I love to bike, run, and work very hard at these. I donít know if I could stand to let up.
Thanks,
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Old 01-09-06, 05:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Hawkgrove
I just turned fifty a few months and through an annual physical found out I have a nodule on my thyroid. I will have to undergo some degree of surgery (the extend of which depends on a biopsy) I have always thought of myself as a very active person who took good care of himself so this has thrown me for a loop.

I guess Iím asking if anyone out there has undergone this type of surgery and then had to take synthroid or other drugs and not lost a beat in their lifestyle?
I need some words of encouragement. I love to bike, run, and work very hard at these. I donít know if I could stand to let up.
Thanks,
Sorry about that.

I got thrown for a rather major loop in 2004 with my heart (I am 66yo). But, I persevered and made it through and am doing just fine.

Just a thought:

Years ago my wife had a thyroid problem. At that time the surgeon's immediate reaction was surgery. Instead she had a consult with an endocrinologist - who stated: "SURGERY! - NO WAY!"

In the meantime, my sister, who lived in Germany at the time, followed the advice of her surgeon and had her thyroid removed and has had some continuing problems since.

My wife still has her thyroid, takes synthroid, and does great.

I know the situations are not similar, but just thought I would suggest a consult before going too much further.

Good luck.
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Old 01-09-06, 05:12 PM   #3
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Haven't had surgery, but am on synthroid, due to hypothyroid issues. Everythings works fine, and you will find that your energy level goes up.
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Old 01-09-06, 05:21 PM   #4
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Hey - I'm under 50 - so am I allowed to post here?

I was very active in HS and the first few years of college - then started packing on the pounds. Had a dizzy spell while teaching - went to see the doc, and he tested my thyroid... it was way outta wack! (so was my blood pressure, my weight, etc.)

I'm hypo. By a huge margin. My doc couldn't believe the chem results. I've been on syntehtics for 5 years now. My dosage steadily keeps going up, and so long as I stay active and watch my diet, I maintain my fitness levels, and have been steadily improvingon the bike over the past 3 years.

My thyroid is intact, just not working well at all.
If I drop off my meds for any length of time I start to feel sluggish and the like.


If you have a lump, you may need it removed. It could be the start of a goiter, or worse. I'd double check with an endocronologist though.


Get a second opinion.
You should be able to stay active - as your metabolism and other things will be kept in balance with meds.

It sort of sucks to take a pill everyday - but I'm active - hike, bike, snowshoe, xc ski, etc.

You'll do fine.
Good luck - and don't let the mental stuff get to you.
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Old 01-09-06, 05:46 PM   #5
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Ditto the above replies. I've been taking levo-thyroxine (generic) for 15 years and am doing great. All aspects of your health are affected by metabolic function, so you should soon experience an improvement in your overall wellness.
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Old 01-09-06, 05:47 PM   #6
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Fortunately, the Internet allows you to research medical issues and to become a very educated patient. Take full advantage of that, then find the best doctors for your condition and get multiple opinions. Doctors only know what they know and they have biases favoring one treatment over another. It's your body and you know it best, so don't let one doctor totally drive the treatments prescribed.

I know when I had health problems in 2002 that restricted my cycling and other things I enjoyed doing, I became depressed. I was obsessed with finding a cure and was willing to take any reasonable risk to get my life back. Fortunately, I did find a cure and I am thankful for that everyday that I wake up and can look forward to an active day of cycling, hiking or whatever.

Please keep us posted on your progress. I will be pulling for you to find a solution that allows you to continue doing the things you love. It will be a challenge, but here's hoping you succeed.
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Old 01-09-06, 06:07 PM   #7
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Your right bmike it's the mental stuff right now. I had a parodid tumor removed when I was 23, I was younger and in a different frame of mind. And the internet is a great resource Bacco but it has caused a little of this anxiety also. But it's good to have knowledge and control. Thanks.
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Old 01-10-06, 07:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Hawkgrove
... but it has caused a little of this anxiety also. But it's good to have knowledge and control. Thanks.
That's a bit of the problem of reading things without a big picture view. I started reading a few thyroid books and it depressed me right to the bottom! It was as if the fate of the known universe could be in the balance based on how I treated my thyroid! I found that 90% of what I read didn't apply to me - but it was written because "some people may feel x, y, and z...". When you read stuff like that it usually covers all the worst case scenarios. Take it with a grain of salt.

I do go through bits of self doubt and anxeity about it - but there's not much I can do about it now - its here to stay - so I either live the way I want to - or I succumb to fear and the unknown.
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Old 01-10-06, 02:03 PM   #9
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I had a bad couple of years with surgery- After getting over the Bypass fairly quickly and just thinking that I had regained my full fitness- Prostate cancer and more surgery. The second time hit me hard and I was thinking about giving up Mountain biking and taking the "Easy" route of becoming a roadie. Instead I set myself a Target. That was that in 9 months I would get myself fit enough to do the hardest ride I had done before. I had to work to get fit. Extra rides- extra distance and sessions at the gym on a regular basis. I may have failed, But it was not going to be through lack of trying. The point was I realised how much a healthy body was going to help me get over any future problems I was going to have. I took the opportunity with that target to get very fit. I could have given up any week in the 9 months training but kept at it. The upshot was that I did the ride, did it in the best time I have ever done it in, and enjoyed it so much that I started traing for the same ride the following year.

I did not want to let the medical problems get the better of me, but it was the mental side that almost stopped me. Set a target- train for it and give yourself a chance. Physically you will recover. Just don't let the Mind force you to give up.
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Old 01-10-06, 10:29 PM   #10
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The English and New Englanders are very wise. When I hear about people working through a bi-pass and prostrate cancer I feel like a whiner. At 6'4" and 215lbs. I should be able to suck it up better.
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Old 01-12-06, 01:06 AM   #11
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My thyroid gave up 8 years ago - my immune system ate it during a very stressful period (my business manager cleaned out the company accounts and disappeared). After 6 months or so to titrate the thyroxine dose, I have never looked back. I take my little pill each day and otherwise completely forget that anything is wrong with me. I'm just glad that I don't have one of the other thousands of really horrible things wrong with me.
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Old 01-15-06, 08:17 PM   #12
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I understand your anxiety. I am now 58 and when I was 53 I had the exact same situation as you. I read everything I could get my hands on and most of it scared the heck out of me. Let me suggest that you get several opinions and if surgery is warranted find the best surgeon who specializes in this type of procedure. Rest assured that in most situations you will be back riding without any problems in no time.
I was operated on and it turned out that I had a cold nodule but half my thyroid was still functioning. I think you will find that people who take synthroid, once they are in balance, are absolutely fine.
If you are like me (and most people) you must have a great level of anxiety at this point but rest assured in the great majority of cases this is a very recoverable situation.
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Old 01-16-06, 04:28 PM   #13
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My wife's OB-GYN palpated a lump on her thyroid during a routine physical exam and referred her to an outstanding ear-nose-throat specialist. The needle biopsy came back "inconclusive," and she was scheduled for the same surgery you are probably facing (one lobe removed if the lump is benign, total thyroidectomy if it is malignant). Hers was cancer, and she has been living without a thyroid gland for 13 years. Unfortunately, her energy level is not what either of thinks it should be, even though she is taking a relatively high dose of synthroid (137ug) for her size.

My $0.02 worth as the supportive spouse of a thyroid cancer survivor:
1) You need a really good surgeon, to avoid collateral damage to the parathyroid glands, facial nerves, or larynx. Fortunately, the surgical aspect of her care went extremely well.
2) Replacement thyroid hormone dosage is crucial. Most doctors measure serum Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) level and titrate your dose accordingly. However, if my wife were to go back to 100ug/day, as one of her doctors recommended, she would be a zombie. She dropped that doctor, ironically a younger female, in favor of an older osteopath who actually listens when she describes her symptoms.
3) Because absorption rate varies with the binders used, do not let them substitute a generic, unless you can be certain of receiving the SAME generic every time. Dosage rate is critical, and my health insurance (PacifiCare) recognizes this and automatically authorizes the use of name-brand Synthroid without any special authorization.
4) If you can remember to do this, you will probably be best off taking half a pill twice per day, to even out the dosage.
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Old 01-23-06, 01:23 AM   #14
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After exhibiting numerous symptoms generally associated with hyperthyroid disease, my treatment plan called for radiation treatment ... the thyroid gland is killed off by x rays, and the thyroid hormone is supplied by a daily pill.

I've survived quite nicely for the last three years with no thyroid gland. After two or three months of trials the dosage of 137 micrograms of Levoxyl turned out to be a winner ... funny how 10 micrograms either way makes a huge difference.

In any event, one pill a day is a regimen even I can't forget.

I can't speak about the oncological side or the surgical side. But I can tell you that the thyroid replacement therapy works like a charm. In any regard, I wish you the same luck I had.

BTW, the guy who does my annual endocrine workup is an avid cyclist, having finished the Bourg d'Oisans Ė L'Alpe d'Huez climb in about 70 minutes. So we generally devote half of the interview to my condition, and the other half to important stuff like compact chainsets and SPD-SL pedals.
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Old 01-25-06, 08:11 PM   #15
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Everybody but JohnE is lumping all the various thyroid diseases together and getting them mixed up! What the original poster noted is what is called a "solitary nodule" and first and formost, a malignancy must be ruled out, requiring a biopsy. If malignant, it depends on what kind it is, and may require relatively minor, or more major surgery with radiation follow up. Fortunately, most thyroid malignancies are pretty benign and only require removal followed by thyroid replacement hormone and follow up. So follow your doctor's advice - sounds like he/she knows what she/he is doing.
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Old 01-25-06, 08:15 PM   #16
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And yes, Hawkgrove - a year or so from now this will probably be just a scary memory for you requiring only the nusiance of taking thyroid replacement and follow up. Although one obviously can't make a diagnosis via internet or without a biopsy, if it is what it sounds like, it shouldn't slow you down or interfere with your life at all.
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Old 01-25-06, 11:57 PM   #17
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I had the needle biopsy and the results came back benign. Iím still having the side with the nodule removed (itís fairly big). If all goes well and the other half of the thyroid remains it could take up the slack of the missing side and I would need no medication at all. From many of your responses it sounds like things will be fine even if I need some replacement meds. I feel better but still donít look forward to having them ďdig aroundĒ in my throat.
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