Maybe in this one instance “they” were right, that I would beat cancer yet again or maybe it’s just my own mindset. Follow up radioactive iodine treatment body scan results are in and I couldn’t be more thrilled that the cancer didn’t spread beyond my neck and the simple fact that I had uptake (some people don’t have uptake at all and their prognosis isn’t so good as chemo/radiation isn’t very effective for thyroid cancer). If you’re not keen on medical jargon, basically that’s what can be said from the scan interpretation. Prior to this scan I had to endure a low iodine diet which is basically organic fruits/vegetables, potatoes with no skin, 6 ounces of fresh meat per day, no seafood, no salt, and no outside food. One has to be creative to avoid such bland foods. I don’t think I’ll eat another baked or sweet potato for months. But throw some mashed potatoes at me and I’ll surely eat it up. I’m proud to say that those two weeks are now behind me. I first became radioactive on Halloween, which I find to be very fitting, and the few days that followed were less than pleasurable to say the least. The first few hours after the big dose (163 mcg on November 2nd) were fine and I only experienced burning in my chest and my neck. My endocrinologist (thyroid doc) told me that if I felt burning in my neck that is the radioactive iodine uptaking. Said radioactive iodine is the first line and most effective treatment for thyroid cancer post thyroidectomy. Eventhough I didn’t see any uptake on the scan in my chest (yes, I had the technician show me my scan and only my neck lit up) I still feared it since I had the intense burning the day after the pills and the next morning. The burning dissipated and holy shirts and pants did the nausea begin. Two days of it actually. I can say that this nausea was by far worse than the nausea I experienced after chemo/radiation for lymphoma. After the two days, no more nausea. It was this day that I was able to leave that low iodine diet behind. I don’t even remember what my first meal was because of the simple fact I couldn’t taste anything! Radioactive iodine excretes through bodily fluids, which includes saliva so I have all these little armies of iodine left in my salivary gland. Today is two weeks post treatment and my taste is slowly and I do mean slowly coming back. This can go on for up to 6 months but I am hopeful that since there are signs of resiliency that I will only deal with this for another week or two.
It doesn’t help that I was too eager with a piping hot cup of coffee and burned my tongue in it’s entirety so what taste buds were regaining their powers, I have now fried them! Go figure.
Additionally, I was directed to piss like a girl for 7 days. I was also sworn to remaining isolated for this time period. Excuse to be a hermit, sign me up right here. With all this good news, I’m still not out of the woods yet. I will have another scan just like this one in 6 months and hopefully we will see that the radioactive army did it’s job and killed the remaining cancer cells. My endocrinologist wasn’t as pleased as I am because she wanted a clean slate to work with and being that my entire neck lit up, that means there is a lot of cancer left and I may require a full neck dissection if in 6 months the cancer isn’t gone. Then I’ll be left with an awesome ear to ear cut. That would make for a good ice breaker story though, yea? I’m almost ready to show you all my scar. I still can’t believe how good it looks. So until that next scan, I will remain optimistic. Here is the full report:
Oh, I was also able to watch a salivary gland burst as the radioactive iodine excreted via said gland. Of course I watched it, when will I ever witness that again? If radioactive iodine produced a sounds as it destroys thyroid cells, what do you think it would sound like? I have concluded that it would sound like this: paoiwefnaflkahoeihfaifhadfadf!
P.S. Today is my first day on my newly increased anti-psychotic dose. This shits good I tell you. Good for the bipolar mind. You know what else is good for my bipolar mind, the support from someone that has crossed my path recently. I’m not use to understanding and patience without overpowering frustration regarding my mental illness, well besides my psychiatrist. This was a much, much welcomed, needed, and even more appreciated. I know that one day I’ll be able to proudly say,
“that is the way that I used to be.” – John Mayer, Split Screen Sadness