Monday, August 13, 2012


Being sick is a lame thing.
When my husband is sick, I tend to roll my eyes and complain about the mountains of used tissues everywhere, but when I am sick, it's not so simple. I'm now the one sneezing every 5 minutes and hoping that my bedroom stays below 85 degrees.
Bryan is so good to me. He's still sick with an ear infection, but knowing that I need to get better before my thyroidectomy on Thursday, he took Cayden to work with him and called up Seihwa to watch her for most of the day.
As nice as it is to have an empty house to rest in, I'm bummed that Cayden is away from me today. Tomorrow, I work, so she's with my mom.
Wednesday, we are taking the youth group to Wild Waves, so she's staying with Bryan's mom.
Thursday is my surgery, so Bryan's mom is watching her again.
Just not much time in there for mommy/daughter time!
I don't have many fears going into this surgery.
There's like a 2 percent chance I could completely lose my voice because they are working so close to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (which controls the voicebox). In all likelihood, I won't lose my voice, but it might be a little hoarse due to vocal cord swelling from the breathing tube that will be down my throat during the surgery.
For the sake of record keeping, and for anyone interested, here's the details about my surgery...
This is a thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls your metabolism and hormone distribution.
I have Graves' Disease (diagnosed last November), so my thyroid doesn't work right. Graves' is an autoimmune disorder where my body is basically attacking itself. My immune system creates thyrotropin receptor antibodies that attach to a particular protein (hormone receptors) on the surface of cells in the thyroid . These receptors are supposed to distribute my hormones, but because of the antibodies, they instead go "hyper" and distribute way too much thyroid hormone. Usually, the hypothalamus regulates the pituary gland (both located in your brain)

and the pituary gland regulates the thyroid's hormone production. 
Graves' causes the brain's instructions to be overridden.
No one really knows why Graves' Disease happens, but pregnancy and being a woman under 40 are both risk factors (pretty broad, I know). There are other risk factors too, but none that fit me. 
So....there is no cure for graves, but similar to cancer, if you take out the part of the body it is attacking, it is no longer a problem. So I needed to get rid of my thyroid. There were two long term options. 
Option 1: Radioactive iodine pill. For more info on this, see here.
Option 2: Total thyroidectomy surgery.
There were many appointments with endocrinologists and surgeons and months of thinking about the two options, but the whole time I have been pretty set on surgery. While surgery carries slightly more risk, it also means Bryan and I will be able to continue to grow our family sooner and we won't be worrying about whether or not the radioactive iodine actually worked. 
So I'm having surgery....on Thursday....if my cold subsides. 
My surgeon does 50 thyroidectomies every year, so I'm pretty confident in his abilities. I will be left with a noticeable horizontal scar about 2 inches above my collarbone, but in a year, it shouldn't be SO noticeable.  The surgery includes removing both lobes of my thyroid (the thing below that looks like a brain) while watching out for the recurrent laryngeal nerve that runs around the thyroid (marked by black arrows below). Also, the surgeon has to watch out for the 4 parathyroid glands (shown below marked with white arrows and black arrow tops), which regulate calcium levels.

 The parathyroids (ideally) need to be removed from my thyroid and left in the neck tissue.

So that's the should take about 3 hours tops, but I have to stay overnight at the Salem Hospital (where the surgery will take place) for observation of my calcium levels. Afterwards, recovery is just a couple of days, and I will need to take 1 pill a day for the rest of my life to replace my hormones.

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