Monday, September 12, 2011

You Need A Thyroidectomy: Now What?

Thyroidectomy / Neck Resection Scar 
Try and pick a surgeon who specializes or is certified in your tumor type or tumor location. Some general surgeons say they specialize in a particular type of surgery because of the number of patients on whom they have performed the surgery. However, a surgeon certified in a specialty (colon cancer or ovarian cancer or thyroid cancer, for example) will have had specific training in that specialty and therefore has the expertise required. Also, a certified surgeon is usually more knowledgeable about the latest technology and techniques.

It is important to ask your surgeon or the coordinating  nurse if the anesthesiologists they work with are covered on your insurance plan. Many anesthesiologists do not take insurance and can charge you well over a thousand dollars. For many patients, they only learn about this expense on the actual day of the surgery when they meet their anesthesiologist for the first time.

If you have time, prepare fresh, healthy meals ahead of time and freeze them. Better yet, ask a friend to bring foods to your   home. Friends are always looking for ways to help. Let them cook!  If you do not want to have a lot of flowers sent to you in the hospital or home, talk to your friends and relatives ahead of time. You might suggest a donation to a charity, or a helpful favor, such as walking your dog, taking in your mail, or a trip to the market.

Designate one friend or family member to help organize your needs and delegate them to those who want to help. Having one person manage it all will make it easier for everyone.  If you can, treat yourself to new pajamas and/or new sheets for your return home after your surgery. If you  must go through surgery, you might as well give yourself something special to enjoy! If you can’t afford new items, make sure your bed is made up with freshly laundered sheets and your favorite pajamas are ready to wear.

Ask your surgeon if you will need to purchase special clothing. For example, a comfortable sports bras that closes in the front and oversized soft tee-shirts or button-down shirts are essentials because after thyroidectomy it may be difficult for you to raise your arms or move your neck. 

Anesthesia takes a while to clear out of your system.  You will feel tired and dizzy for a few days after your operation.  Keep your doctor’s telephone number and your pharmacy at hand or in your night table. Ask your doctor what signs and symptoms you should  report and call into the office.

Make sure your living area is safe. Keep a night light on in case you need to get up in the middle of the night. Move throw rugs so you don’t trip and remember to talk to your surgeon about the after-effects of your surgery before surgery. It helps to have a family member or friend with you at that time so that they can take notes for you.

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