Had my meetings today - both went well. My surgeon, Dr. G., seems pleasant, if a little intense. He warned me that I'd have a scar (about 2" most likely), which I was aware of (and not too worried about.) He had to tell me about the risks, which are always tough to hear about, especially the "we might nick your vocal cord nerves" part, but he did say the chance of that happening is "under 1%." Good! I'll get a call from his office in a week or so, and will then schedule my appointment - probably for around a month from now.
My second meeting was even more informative. Most of my stress over the past week has revolved around whether or not I'll feel like the old me after surgery and hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Budayr is such a wonderful guy: So laid back and cool with discussing any concerns. He pointed out that the methods he uses are designed to minimize any discomfort, and told me to stop reading all the stuff that's stressing me out, since it probably doesn't even apply to me. I knew this on some level already, but having a professional tell me that was helpful.
After they take out the thyroid they will immediately put me on a replacement pill, rather than just let the remaining hormone drain out of me, as I'd heard. This may or may not be the perfect dosage for me, and there may be a little tinkering, but essentially that will tide me over for about a month, while I heal from the surgery. They will then take me off the pill for a period of about two weeks (while I am also on a strict low/no-iodine diet) and then I get my first radiation scan! Can't wait! (It's pretty non-traumatic, actually, from what I hear. I'll swallow a radioactive iodine tracer, they'll do the scan, the end. Tho I will be radioactive for a while afterwards. Stand back!)
I'd been worried about going for an extended priod of time without thyroid hormone, and thus suffering the effects of being severly hypothyrodic. Read about it if you want: it's no picnic. But it sounds like I should be able to avoid feeling much other than the fatigue & sluggishness during the two weeks before the scan. Afterwards they will start me on a thyroid hormone pill that will be tailored to my needs (i.e. my body's rate of absorption, the way it interacts with my other hormones and chemicals. Everyone's different.) Dr. Budayr tells me I will not only feel like the old me after this is all settled, I may even feel better, since they tend to overcompensate a bit on the hormone replacement, which would result in marginally better energy & mental acuity.
All this news is a far cry from the doom & gloom I've been reading about. Obviously I still realize this is cancer, surgery, and the replacement of a vital hormone we're talking about here. But I've been so angst-ridden this past week, it's affected how I've felt all over. I feel much more at ease for now: I think I've got a better handle on what I can reasonably expect, and have a better concept of how to plan my future battles.