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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wonder Woman!

I have received several questions about the radioactive iodine therapy that I have to undergo so I thought I would share what I know. I do know that this is my one opportunity to be a superhero. Radioactive Man didn't sound like much fun so I choose Wonder Woman!

News from a fellow patient: My daughter was recently diagnosed with Grave's disease. When she went in for her radioactive iodine treatment, the nurse went over do's and don't's. Do sleep alone, do flush the toilet 3 times after using,etc. The last thing she said was, "Get up at 3 a.m." When my daughter asked why -- the nurse replied, "Don't you want to see if you're glowing in the dark?"

I certainly want to see if I'm glowing in the dark!! Seriously, though, here is what I know:

I'll begin the iodine therapy in a couple weeks. I must wait until my TSH level reaches an all-time high. The TSH level is a measure of the hormone that the pituitary gland sends to the thyroid, telling it to work. Now, obviously, I don't have a thyroid anymore so the pituitary gland will be working overtime, yelling at the thyroid. As those messages are sent out, any thyroid cells that are left in my body will 'light up.' So, that's when I take the radioactive iodine. Because your thyroid gland is the only one in the body that absorbs iodine, all the thyroid cancer cells will absorb the radiodine. As with anything that absorbs radiation, the cells will be destroyed. I'll stay in the hospital for at least three days as my radiation levels go down. I won't be able to receive any visitors for longer than about 20 minutes per day and they have to stay at the opposite end of the room from me. When I am released, I will still be excreting the radiodine and will therefore be unable to see Alexander for at least five more days. Children and pregnant women are the most susceptible to the affects of the radiation. I'll be on restriction when I arrive home - I'll eat from disposable plates, sleep in a different room from Peter, and flush 2-3 times after using the toilet. They don't want you to take any chances! I have a first-hand account of what it's like to be in isolation and it doesn't sound like much fun. The treatment makes you feel very nauseated and the medication that they give you to relieve the nausea makes you feel woozy. Of course, I'd much rather sleep my way through the three days than feel nauseated the whole time. In theory, the treatment will work and will destroy all the remaining cancer cells. I have met one person who had to do the treatment twice so my next major hope and prayer is that this one treatment will eradicate all of the cancer.

I'll go in two weeks to have my TSH level tested and hopefully I'll be ready to move forward with my treatment. I'd like to try to get my life back to normal, if there is such a thing. One thing is for sure, I'll be caught up on all the celebrity gossip, new films out on DVD, and will be well read in the chick-lit department. I should probably enjoy all this time to myself but I really do miss Alexander and his need to get up and go!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Verse from the home of tennis!
Two o'clock strikes Big Ben, is
there a sunny sky in sight?
Cloud halts play again. No fight
from Henman, what's new? Drinks flow
in Wimbledon town but slow,
slow the working hours pass
How long will this weather last?
Tortured Anne, by london 'poets',
no Marvell, Shakespeare, Poe, it's
Hamilton Mum, Dad, David,
reading your blog with avid
wonder. Woman you're doing well,
how was your 'day out', do tell...

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