OK so maybe I wasn’t technically “1/2 way” through my low-iodine diet / hypothyroid period, but now I’m there (or just over). Kind of how you think women are pregnant for 9 months until you go to your first pre-natal exam and they tell you it’s technically “10 months”. So technically, my “preparatory” period is “2 weeks” but then I am still off my meds and on the diet for the next 4 days after that during the “treatment period”. One thing, I’m ready to be off of it!
Of course, I’ve been through harder times and eaten crazier things (with some of you of course ;)) The difference this time is that instead of being a 20-something on a wild and crazy adventure, I’m a 30-something Mom, still in my own home/surroundings, preparing daily regular meals for my husband and children, and it’s the holidays (so I can’t turn on the TV or pick-up a magazine without being bombarded with forbidden foods!) There’s no “excitement”, it’s pure denial.
I’m terribly craving EVERYTHING…mostly meat and cheese, calories + fat. Something rich and creamy…pasta in a hearty sauce, a burger, a burrito filled with salty rice/beans/cheese/quac./sour cream….OMG I just drooled onto our desk! And you all know (and even tease me) that I’m a very healthy eater…..all fresh, organic, nothing deep fried, or with artificial anything or preservatives. But I do enjoy dark leafy greens (LOVE spinach), shrimp, bacon, cheese/yogurt/ice cream, and eggs; oh how I miss you old friends!
When I think about not getting to eat of my own choosing until next Thurs. afternoon (at the soonest after spending the past 6 weeks recovering from surges and not tasting anything) I’m kind of disheartened. Fortunately, I have all these fun events scheduled to pass the time. Like my second post-op appt. with Dr. Facts yesterday (he did my nasal surgery). The gist of the appt. was that everything is healing as it should and I should expect to feel swelling/pressure/pain for about another month. He didn’t want to pull any undissolved stitches (saying it would be ‘very painful’…um, not going to argue with that!). The “good” news is that I can stop applying my antibiotic ointment 2-3 times a day to the incision sites and can transition back to sleeping on a single pillow (I’ve been propped up as if in a chair since my first surgery on Nov. 1st).
Also, apparently my thyroid scar is unsightly; I’m basing this assessment on the reactions of his assistant and Dr. Facts himself. I hadn’t put much thought/opinion into the scar…part of me thought it would be kind of cool, like a battle scar. But I can see that “coolness” kind of wearing off, esp. since it’s so visible. All I had asked of Dr. McPreppy (my thyroid surgeon) was for a “nice closure” and he used plastic surgery techniques (no stitches). But it’s still a bright, thick, pink line (brighter and thicker than I was expecting, but nothing I was going to complain about).
Almost immediately upon laying eyes on me, Dr. Fact’s assistant was eagerly explaining that he could “help fix that”, which of course, had nothing to do at all with why I was there or anything his Dr. or even hospital had done. But whose going to argue with specialists in beauty? So I left with a stack of “magic lotion packets” which he claims actually cause the scar tissue to die, slough-off, and be replaced with brand new baby skin (which is smooth and perfectly blended to my skin tone). Just have to apply it according to his specific instructions 1-2 times a day and cover with lotion (and avoid sun exposure….which is SO hard in the PNW in Dec).
So what happens next: this Sun. I will be going for a blood draw to check my T4 and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, as you recall) levels to make sure I’m fit for treatment. I then return to the hospital Mon. morning for a quick exam and to receive a “scan dose” of radioactive iodine…just enough to be able to detect how much iodine my body will uptake. I am then sent home to wait until Tues morning when it’s back to the hospital for my 1-hour long Whole Body Scan (WBS) – which should reveal how much tissue picked up the scan dose of iodine I was given on Mon. and where it is (basically, where and how much cancer is leftover from the surgery).
After receiving the scan, I’ll need to hang around for about an hour while my Dr. and the nuclear medicine department discuss how much radiation to give me. Then I’m taken down to the “ward”, ingest the pill, and then wait another 2 hours before I can eat or drink (mind you I’ll be fasting both Mon. and Tues. mornings as well). I’ll then be checked-in to the hospital and continue on the low-iodine diet / off meds for the next 48 hours….which brings us to approximately Thurs. afternoon; which is when I expect to be discharged.
Once discharged I can start taking my medication and I’m cleared from the diet, but will need to be isolated from others and following specific “radiation protocols” for the next two weeks. To help get through all this, we’ve picked Dec. 30th (which will be our “Christmas Day”) as my “all better for now” day. So [only] three more weeks to go!
While I appreciate all the sentiments to “have a speedy recovery” and “get well soon!”, unfortunately, the time-table is set…and the process is slow and long. I can’t make it go any faster (believe me, I would love to). But I would love to “have a clean scan!” or “be Cancer free!” – so if you don’t mind, I’d love it if you all can channel those good vibes in that direction.
For now, it’s time to make my low-iodine lunch….and something tells me it’s something I’ve had recently!