A colleague at work who has Hashimoto's thyroiditis told me earlier this week that regarding me, someone asked, "Do you think it can really take that long to recover from a thyroidectomy?" She of course, replied, "YES! It takes a while for your body to adjust to a total thyroidectomy."
I have mixed feelings about that conversation. The first thing that comes to mind is that it was difficult for me to believe that the recommended 4 weeks before returning to work wasn't just too much. Secondly, I'm a little taken back that perhaps someone thinks it's taking me a 'while' to recover and that they are in disbelief about it. Thirdly, the surgery itself was actually nothing. The last major surgery I had was my knee: ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. The meniscus repair meant that instead of just shaving off the pieces of torn meniscus, they tried to repair what was their...it was sutured together to try and save it. This meant 6 full weeks of total non weight bearing on that leg, and I was in an immobilizer from hip to ankle for that same period of time. So...when I say that the thyroid surgery was nothing....believe me, it was. Which, I think is partly to blame for my mentality of thinking that I should just bounce back quickly from this. It's not about the surgery itself. The problem, I am finding out, is metabolism. The problem is my body trying to adjust to this new source of thyroxine. And, as I am also learning...timing is everything! My stamina is better if I take my medication at least an hour before eating...45 minutes will work, but an hour seems better. And, the other thing I've learned is that you have to eat to fuel your body...not feed your emotional needs.
My endocrinologist confirmed my surgeon's time-off recommendation by saying that it is usually about 5 weeks before levels are steady enough for your body to feel good. I just finished week 4 and although I'm tired...I'm not nearly as tired as I was this time last week. I believe that every day my energy and stamina are getting better. So...to answer simply: "Yes...it does take 'that long'." However long 'that' may be.