Hypercalcemia and Hyperparathyroidism: Have You Ever Heard of Them? Part 2 of 2

Last updated: June 2023

I am writing part 2 of this article exactly two weeks out of surgery. You can read part one here.

It has been a journey for sure. My scar is healing well, but my body is slow to recover but not because of the surgery. It's because of a couple of hiccups along the way.

Getting ready for thyroid surgery

My husband and I got to enjoy ten beautiful days in a condo on Panama City Beach, Florida, before heading to Tampa for my surgery. We had a great time there, enjoying the sunset right off our balcony. We were very close to the beach. I was thankful that it wasn’t a long walk at all, even though my lungs loved that vitamin sea air!

I am so happy that we take the time and scrimp and save all year so that we are able to make these beautiful memories each year.

Surgery morning came on January 16th. I still can’t believe I wasn’t nervous at all because I normally am for any procedure or surgery. I think it is because of the way everything fell into place, it just seemed like it was meant to be and everything was going to be fine and it was.

Everything went great. Every person that worked there from the time that we entered the front door until the time we left took such great care of my husband and me.

One thing that they do differently at this facility is to do a minimally invasive radio-guided parathyroidectomy and check each parathyroid to see if it is active. Most other surgery centers do not do this and thus can lead to further surgeries if they don't get all of the nonactive parathyroids.

Removal of thyroid nodules

Before starting my surgery, my surgeon knew that I had an almost 4-centimeter right thyroid nodule that he said he may need to remove but would sure a biopsy if not to be sure it was still benign. This was a nodule that I had had for ten years.

While opening my neck for surgery, my surgeon saw that the nodule was in the way of removing a right upper adenoma tumor that was about the same size as my thyroid nodule. Normal size is what they consider to be the size of a grain of rice, so it had to be removed first because this was larger. He said the adenoma had been there for years and was surprised that it took this long to be diagnosed.

So, that was the surgery part, and as I said, everything went well, and I was in great hands. I was discharged that night, and If I had no problems, I would be cleared to leave for home the next day and follow up with my endocrinologist in about six weeks.

Parathyroid surgery recovery

We headed home Tuesday morning with no problems and minimal pain, controlled by ibuprofen. We had a long, 18-hour drive ahead of us and were looking forward to getting home. It was a nice time away, but we were ready for our beds and couldn't wait to see our kids and grandkids.

We stopped sometime Tuesday, and we were both ready for bed. Although my neck was fine I started having body aches but assumed it was my body adjusting.

That was something the surgeon said my body would take a while to adjust to and would go through some changes. We also started having problems with my home oxygen concentrator, and thank goodness I had my portable and extra tanks to make it through the next night.

We finally arrived home late Wednesday evening after an all-day drive in the car. My body aches were getting worse, and I told my husband that if I didn't know better, then I think I had the flu.

We were careful the whole time we were gone and wore masks anywhere we went, including the surgery center. We never ate indoors or went anywhere indoors. I was also having shortness of breath and was keeping an eye on it.

Getting results of surgery testing

On Thursday morning, when my surgeon called to see how I was doing and give me my biopsy results, I told him what was happening. He said to me that some of the nurses came down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday, and I could have gotten the flu from them or them from me.

Well, that explained a lot. I continued to deteriorate, and my breathing got worse.

I was fine if I was sitting, but my oxygen would drop if I got up to do anything. I knew I should go into the emergency room, but I had a lung appointment coming up, so I would try to hold off until then.

I hated the thought of even stepping into a germy emergency department. Sure enough, when I did see him and got x-rays and sputum culture. I have pneumonia in my right lung, which he is treating with antibiotics and with prednisone.

So, those were my hiccups, and I’m starting to heal a little more each day. I just wanted to share this in case anyone has gone with these symptoms or high calcium levels without your doctors looking into it.

Please share any of your experiences or thoughts below in the comments.  

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What stage was your COPD diagnosed as?