Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my thyroid surgery. I’ve come a long way since that surgery.
When I gained forty pounds in less than a month and started having trouble breathing or swallowing, the trail led to my thyroid. We’d let a (huge) lump on it go unattended for years, thanks to some incompetent doctors and my unwillingness to have yet another painful biopsy. After finally seeing a competent ENT, I had hope that all the health problems that had plagued me my entire life came down to this useless little organ about to be chopped out of my neck. In fact, I took a pre-surgery selfie just so I could see my progress over the next year. I was expecting my hair to stop falling out, the weight to fall off, and the strange aches and pains that traced back to childhood to disappear. See how smug I look, despite it being 4 am? That’s the face of someone who thinks all their problems have just been solved.
After surgery, I knew something was a little off. I was in so much pain and nausea, I seriously thought the world was ending. In fact, the recovery room staff took away the little button I could use to give myself morphine because I had pumped so much of into myself. The doctor had rather optimistically told me I could start many of my old activities again a week after surgery. That didn’t happen. A week after surgery, I was laying in bed with vertigo. I couldn’t stand up without falling over like someone experiencing their first time at sea during a very windy day.
After a while, my ENT got my levothyroxine dose adjusted, and I was still as sick as I had ever been. Armed with a referral to a rheumatologist, I headed out to find out what had really been plaguing me all these years. The first rheumatologist was a bust, but my second rheumatologist was excellent. I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and shipped off to a cardiologist to find out why I was dizzy and had been passing out all the time.
The diagnosis there was dysautonomia- POTS and NCS, to be specific. The cardiologist got me started on treatment, as did my rheumatologist. So, one year after surgery, and I’m feeling… better. I’m not healthy, by any means. Some days I can’t get out of bed thanks to vertigo and syncope. Some months my joints go out more than I do. But progress is progress, and any progress is good.
If I put the pictures side by side, I can see the difference a year makes. Yes, part of it is because I finally learned to do my brows. The rest of it is just my body finally getting the help it needs.
I can’t make a good speech about how eating right for a year and working out can change your life. That’s not what happened for me, and the difference isn’t dramatic enough for that anyway. Plus, I still can’t resist eating a whole tub of Udi’s brownies at one time.
Is it usual to feel this nostalgic about your thyroid surgery? I’m thinking I’m strange for missing that tiny little organ and my pre-Ehlers Danlos- scarred neck.