Looking back on my experience with a large thyroid nodule, I wish I had gotten the surgery earlier. For a long period of time, I avoided surgery because I was so scared. The neck is such a delicate area, and I wanted to hold off until surgery was absolutely necessary. Last January, the nodule reached the size of an avocado. My face and neck were swollen, and I was having trouble breathing and swallowing because the nodules were so large.
When I finally decided that I had to get surgery done, I did a lot of research on my own. I spoke with others who have had this procedure and read other patient experiences online. Dr. Yeh is one of the best surgeons, and although I went in expecting the worst, everything turned out better than I expected. The anesthesiologist was very accommodating when I requested to be put to sleep prior to entering the surgery room. The surgery went smoothly, and after the operation I felt better immediately. It was as if a pressure was suddenly removed from my neck.
My advice for future patients would be to be proactive about your own health and be your own advocate. Listen to your body, because you are the one experiencing these symptoms, and do your own research so you can better understand your condition. Keep in mind that every body and healing process is different, so take the information you learn with a grain of salt. Two people can have the same procedure for the same condition, but ultimately recover differently. I am thankful for the encouragement and support I received from my kids, as well as the healthcare staff at UCLA.