Doctor Update…

If you’re coming into this conversation late, I have been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.  If you want to read more about what’s happened with me, you can find past posts here.

Well there is a plan of action.  That’s good news.  I’m a gal that likes a plan and then I like to work the plan.

I will be taking the radio active iodine treatment but prep work and protocol needs to happen before I can actually take the pill.

It looks like my next month and a half will layout something like this….
Right now I was moved to a low dose of thyroid replacement medicine.  I take it morning and evening.  It’s one of those goofy pills that has to be taken on an empty stomach then no food for a half hour…then I can’t eat anything three hours before I take the evening dose.  This has been challenging for me as I have to give the kiddos a snack but I can’t eat.  I’ll admit to being a bit of a grazer.  I really don’t eat all day with the kids but I’ve always grazed….the pills are a small inconvenience.  I can do it easily enough.  I just have to think about it.

On Easter Sunday I start the low iodine diet….right after I eat the ham.  I’m not real worried about that.  I’m not one that adds salt to things and we eat pretty basic without much processed food.  I have determined that I will miss milk products the most.  Butter and cheese are my favorites.

From here on is where I am suppose to become hypothyroid.  It has lots of not so fun symptoms….These can include tiredness, weight gain, sleepiness, constipation, muscle aches, reduced concentration, emotional changes resembling depression, and others. Some people experience mild symptoms. Other people experience severe symptoms…I am hoping for the mild side.  I feel like I am a little brain foggy already.  I think that might just be the shock of it all still sinking in.

On March 25th I go back to the Lacrosse to see my surgeon.

Then on April 2oth I go back to Lacrosse.  This time I have three appointments.   I have to see one doctor because the dose of radioactive iodine is larger than most.  Most are 100-mine is 150.  I am getting a higher dose because my nodule that had cancer was larger.  At this appointment we’ll learn about the precautions we need to take.

After that appointment I go for labs and then a Total Body Uptake and Scan Dose with Click to display more information about Nuclear Medicine. New window will open.Nuclear Medicine.  Here I have to take a really small dose of radioactive iodine and then I am scanned and imaged to find how much and where the thyroid cancer is.  The type of cancer I have travels via blood so it’s likely that I have some in other places besides my neck.  This also makes sure we have a proper does of radioactive iodine.

The next day I am back to Lacrosse.  I have another  Total Body Uptake and Scan Dose with Click to display more information about Nuclear Medicine. New window will open.Nuclear Medicine.   Then a visit with my regular doctor to get the final details figured out…then time to take the radioactive iodine.  From there I need to stay in the hospital for a couple hours to make sure I can keep the meds down.  Once we’re sure I can keep it down, then we can go home.

I’m then home for a week-mostly isolated.  We have learned that Hubby can stay at the house with me but there are some strict guidelines we’ll need to follow..then back to Lacrosse for  another  Total Body Uptake and Scan Dose with Click to display more information about Nuclear Medicine. New window will open.Nuclear Medicine. This will tell if the treatment worked…it’s one of those days that I’ll be hoping for immediate results and will have to practice some patience.

There will be some follow up appointments after that but for the most part, that’s the brunt of it.

Having the appointments in place has been really good for all of the family….like I said at the beginning of this post, we like a plan…and then like to focus on following it.  In the meantime I’m doing all I can to just feel normal.  Normal and boring is good.

20 thoughts on “Doctor Update…”

  1. Knowing what the next steps are is always a good thing. You have a schedule and can make plans. Wishing you all the best as you go thru this.

  2. I like you have a plan and will follow what says needs to be done. Thinking good thoughts for you and yours. As time flies by so fast, all will be over and you will be back to normal asap! Thanks for telling what is going on and what you will be doing for all so we can keep up with what is going on. Good luck!

  3. Frances Ontiveros

    Sorry to hear this, Jo. But take heart. I have two dear friends and a cousin who have gone through this type of cancer and after treatment, they are cancer free. It is stressful, but I know you will be cured. Prayers for you and your loved ones as you go through this.

  4. I’m glad to hear you have a “game plan”. I’ve been down this road too. I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in July ’09. Large, invasive. I had the RAI, high dose as well. The low-iodine diet is boring, bland but doable! Remember low-iodine does not necessarily mean low salt. I know there are recipes available online.

    As for hypothyroid symptoms, everyone is different. What I remember most is being tired! I don’t remember much more than that because, well, I was tired! :) This part is kind of easy…I say that because like you, I was still in shock at this point and I just did what I was told, go to appointments, test after test, on and on. You just DO what has to be done. It’s later when everything settles down, you want your life back & you have to get your thyroid med levels right for you where things *could* get hard. It can be perfect from the get go, but there will likely be an adjustment period. <I'm still working on that! I'll keep you in my thoughts! email me if you have any questions, I'll help if I can!

  5. We tend to favor “boring” at our house too. Here’s hoping that the only new things coming along for you all help move you on the path to wellness. Praying for an extra dose of patience for you. if you only knew how much I need that myself sometimes!

  6. Praying for you and your family….that God will bless and restore you, if that’s His will, and that you will all feel peace and have loving patience for each other during this stressful time. Remember, God will carry your burdens.

  7. I am like you and like to have a plan in place. It just seems to keep things in order during a trying time. Take care of yourself and know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Thank you for your frankness and sharing this info. I have no experience with this type of cancer (and I don’t want any) but I sincerely appreciate you putting this honest info out here for anyone else in a similar situation. You will probably never know how many people you may touch with your honesty and candidness. Bless you in your fight and again, thanks for sharing!

  9. I’m so sorry to hear this Jo. I have been following your blog since I first started quilting. I have learned so much from you. Hoping for the best. God Bless:)

  10. I saw the low iodine diet. I was wondering if you could have fruit smoothies with soy milk or cashew milk (not sure those would be approved, but maybe you could check). That might be a nice treat for you. Sending you a “virtual hug” — take care.

  11. Dorothy Matheson

    I too am going through the big scary word Cancer. I had back pain and went to my nurse practioner and she sent me to have an MRI. Found a mass on my kidney. So this became the primary problem. I have had more tests and have seen the surgeon and will have this tumor out on Tuesday. Thanks to back problem it is early and is completely cured by the surgery. Having the plan of attack is so great just as you say about yours. My mom had breast cancer and almost 20 years later she is still fine. My dad had prostate cancer and passed away 7 years later. So I know both sides of this diagnosis. I did not have a biopsy because on the CT scan it shows plain and the
    surgeon is sure of the type of cancer this is. Very early and very slow growing so very curable by removing it now.

  12. Dear Jo,
    Like all your readers, I am with you all the way on this.

    I didnt have TC but I am hypothyroid. A couple of thoughts for after your iodine treatment:
    Thyroid hormone has a long enough half life that it is not necessary to split your dose. Ask why you have to do this, it will be a pain if you have to do this for the rest of your life.
    I think it is only dairy you need to avoid, again check this out. You might not need the wait before eating.
    Finally, I take a combination of T4 and T3, which is not always standard. Since you will be on full replacement therapy plus suppression of your thyroid, you should definitely take both.
    There is a wealth of info on the about thyroid sites. I used to spend a lot of time there. It is good to educate yourself and be an equal partner in your treatment.

    All the very best for the radiotherapy.

  13. You are such a dynamite person. I know what facing trials are, you my dear hands down will come out with flying colors. Attitude is a very large part of the cure. I can’t tell you how much your attitude has done for me. So I am sure it will take you all the way! I am sending you the most positive thoughts wishes and prayers. Head high and smile that beautiful smile of yours. Keep watching that little light at the end of the tunnel and watch it grow bigger and bigger til you are standing in full sun once again. Love to you and the family.

  14. You are doing good, attitude is the best and you have a great one and remember GOD is still in the healing business, put your faith and trust in him and my prayers are with you each and everyday.

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