Road to Recovery

Last Friday, I had a total thyroidectomy and lymph node removal, which confirmed a solid presence of papillary carcinoma–the most common type of thyroid cancer–in my neck. They removed several cancerous lymph nodes and my thyroid in a 4-hour surgery. I am so thankful we got it taken care of now, because there was a cancerous node that had spread to just above my collar bone, and I am glad it does not seem to have spread any further down!

Day 1-My brother took this picture of me, just a little while after I woke up.























The first day was particularly rough, it was nearly impossible to swallow, and I was extremely nauseous from the anesthesia. I have a hard time not being able to take care of myself, and it was frustrating having to depend on people to help me to the bathroom and to get out of the hospital bed. It’s definitely a lesson in progress!

Day 2-My cousin Melissa and I.





















I was released from the hospital the second day, because my calcium levels were more predictable. This is HUGE! I could’ve have been there another full day, but not this chica! 🙂 I have been recouping at my grandparents’ house, with the help of my parents (Who flew in from California for this whole process–BLESSED). It’s humbling having to depend on my parents and grandparents to wash my hair, lay me down and re-bandage. I haven’t been able to sleep laying down yet, because of the amount of junk still stuck in my throat and the weight of my bandage on my neck–when they lay me down, I start choking and have trouble breathing. I’ve been getting very good at sleeping in the recliner though!

I think the craziest thing for me right now is looking at the pill regimen I have now that I have no thyroid. Some of it will go away after a little bit, but it’s so cool to me that someone out there figured out that even though I don’t have a thyroid, if I take one of each of these, twice a day, I’ll be fine. Crazy! I didn’t think I’d be on a daily pill-dosage at 22-years-old, but hey, I’m alive and doing well 🙂


















I was able to see my battle wound for the first time today–I’m taking ideas for stories that I can tell about how this happened! (Leave a comment with a creative story I can tell ;). I get my stitches out Friday, meet with the endocrinologist in three weeks to figure out my medications, have radiation in a month (which I get quarantined for several days), and then a follow up CT scan six months later to see if everything is clear. The process is moving along, and I’m going to be just fine. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Day 3-Battle Wound

11 thoughts on “Road to Recovery

  1. Matthew Hernandez says:

    Your battle scar looks great! Mom has one just like it. You can barely tell its there once its healed up.

    I’m so proud of your bravery and your outlook on the entire thing. =)

    As always my thoughts and love follow you wherever you are. ❤


  2. Margaret Johnston says:

    Thanks for the helpful update on how you are doing. We are so grateful that the surgery is over and that you are going positively forward. Can imagine that swallowing would be a real issue. Praise God for His care and his ultimate working through all of this. Grateful for your life and strength of character but sorry for the inconveniences and challenges you must adjust to.
    Aunt Margaret

  3. Tina Robson says:

    Well done you, I had my total thyroidectomy and lymph node removal in June 2010. Post-op my calcium levels crashed and I needed a bit of extra care.

    Your scar will fade before you know it. Say it’s a failed head transplant or make a joke about the film Highlander, but you might not know this film being so young.

    You might find that some of the short acting thyroid replacement, if not taken regularly, will leave you feeling tired. For example, I was on three a day and took the last one at 8pm and then woke up feeling shattered, like I hadn’t slept at all. So I took the tablet later and popped the first of the morning straight in as I woke.

    However, you’ll get there and your prognosis is still very good despite the spread to the lymph node.

    Best of luck from a fellow papillary thyroid survivor from the UK

  4. David Woods says:

    You’ve been high on my prayer list, Lydia! Your blog and commentary on this “adventure” really brings great glory to God for the amazing spirit His Spirit is reflecting in you! Cindy and I look forward to each chapter of what you will write as you experience God’s grace through this journey. Please give our expression of love and prayer support to your folks! …Dave Woods

  5. eecraven says:

    You look great!! I am so happy to see that you are recovering so well from surgery. I am amazed by how similar our experiences have been! I just got my follow-up rai scan to see where my uptake was, and will be getting my CT/PET scan to make sure by RAI was a success. So fingers crossed! The weeks following surgery before the RAI are not bad at all. It took me a little over a week to get all the anesthesia out of my system and back to my normal routine. So, I’m hoping the same will be the case for you. Keep thinking positive. 🙂

  6. Sharon says:

    Lydia, God bless you and I know you are on the road to a speedy recovery. Your positive attitude is awesome; actually I am the same way. I am a breast cancer survivor of 6 years. Went through 6 months of chemo and then a month of radiation. Just been diagnosed with papillary carcinoma of thyroid and scheduled to have surrgery October 6 2012. I am so glad I came across your blog. By the way, you look amazing! Continue to be strong and I will keep you in my prayers. On that note, pray for me too!

    • Lydia Ness says:

      Sharon! Thank you for commenting, it is nice to make another connection. Congrats on 6 years!! I will be steadfast in prayer for you now through your surgery. I pray that it is a breeze and that your recovery is speedy. Keep in touch!

  7. JANE NESS says:


  8. ydol says:

    i also had my total thyroidectomy last may2 015. but im kinda hesitant to undergo RAI since i read some articles about negative effecr of RAI. is it really necessary?

    • Lydia Joy Ness says:

      I would listen to your endocrinologist. If they suggest it, I would do RAI. it’s got a very high success rate and will help prevent additional surgeries in the future. Unfortunately, RAI didn’t work on me, so I had 4 surgeries, but that’s rare. I would take RAI over additional surgeries.

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