Friday morning we headed to Lacrosse for my follow up doctor visit. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Something had kind of been said when I last went in October but nothing was completely explained.
For those of you who are new readers or don’t remember, I was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Cancer last year on March 4th. I went through the process of taking Radio Active Iodine and have had good reports ever since.
Well here I am a year later and it’s time for the dreaded check ups. It was easy throughout the year to forget that I had cancer…easy to wash it all away in busyness…but Friday was my reminder day. Yes, this is a part of my life and yes, I need to continue to manage it. So from what I was told initial tests look good. BUT there is a series of things I need to do before we know I’m in the clear…at least for another six months.
If cancer is going to reoccur it is most likely to reoccur sooner rather than later so I have to go through the long testing process. It goes a little like this….
Today I start the low iodine diet. I will be on this through April 7th….the diet is not fun but it’s do-able.
This diet and other things I have to do is to get my body ready to accept and devour the radioactive iodine. To do that I have to be HUNGRY, HUNGRY for iodine…hence the diet. Last time I also went off of my medication. That was the worst part of the whole process. I was a zombie, over emotional and exhausted. This time, I’m not going off my meds. Instead I am driving to Lacrosse for a shot…well actually two shots. I go on Monday the 3rd then again on Tuesday the 4th. Wednesday the 5th I am back to Lacrosse to take the Radio Active Iodine pill and Friday back again for the scan. The scan machine is something like this….
For us, the trip to Lacrosse is two hours away….so over the course of a week, I’ll be in the car for 16 hours traveling between the clinic and home. It’s all do-able but I feel bad as providing childcare is not possible. I begged and pleaded for the shots to be able to happen at a closer to me satellite location but the doctor said that it’s $1400 per shot and they won’t let someone who doesn’t do it regularly administer them as if it wasn’t done according to protocol, insurance won’t cover a second shot. As far as the Radio Active Iodine, satellite clinics don’t have the facility to store them.
I thought I would be able to work Thursday but was told that I’d likely be exhausted and that being I was radioactive, I can’t have babies sit on my lap or in really close proximity.
So there you have it…I have a week off of childcare. It’s not what I thought was going to happen…not what I wanted to happen but here it is happening.
I debated and debated about simply going off of my medicine rather than taking the shots like I did last time but I was so miserable. I was so run down I ended up in the ER and was a crying, blubbering mess. Kalissa and Hubby both had no clue what to with me. The complete exhaustion lasted for two full weeks and after I was still far from feeling good. It took closer to 6 weeks before I was feeling like myself. My doctor said that it wasn’t the Radioactive Iodine that does that…it’s the going off of meds that does.
This time I suspect having a week or so of feeling slow but not the complete exhaustion. That sounds so much better even if it means long car rides and an inconvenience for my childcare families.
This scan will “light” on any thyroid cells that might be remaining and might have traveled in my body. If something does “light” then that means I have cancer again and that I will have to go through the Radio Active Iodine treatment again. My doctor says that all along my numbers have been good and my body has reacted favorably to treatments so although it is always a possibility, she doesn’t expect that anything will “light”.
This is good news.
Better news is that if nothing “lights”, I likely won’t have to go through this process again unless my blood test numbers flair or something else occurs. I will however have to be back and forth to Lacrosse every six months for a few years and if we continue to get good blood readings, that will eventually spread out to yearly.
We have a plan and will have to work the plan. I don’t love it but it is all do-able and in the scheme of things, no big deal.