Today I will try to open myself to receive the abundance God holds out to me by experiencing what is and allowing God to decide what will be.
Taken from “Courage to Change”, July 20, page 202.
Sunday October 14: Day Four of isolation while undergoing radioactive iodine treatment. I’m bored. Spending so much time in my room doing things I don’t like to admit to, like playing silly games on my iPhone, reading copious amounts of political news, reading the book, “Gone Girl”, that I keep putting down because I can’t concentrate, and even, God forbid, watching a couple of horrible movies on Lifetime Movie Network. My dirty secret is out.
Wednesday October 11: D-day. The day I had my total body scan and plan to start radioactive iodine treatment. I was dreading it a bit, thinking I’d light up like a Christmas tree. On Tuesday, I took a tracer dose of radioactive iodine that would be sucked up by any remaining thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer. Any uptake would show up on the scan. Since my blood showed thyroglobulin levels that shouldn’t be there after a total thyroidectomy, I was fairly certain something would show up. I had the scan. First a head scan followed by a total body scan. The hardest part was remaining still for 30 minutes but it really wasn’t bad. I made sure I didn’t open my eyes so I wouldn’t see the machine so close to my head.
After the scan I sat in a little room with my husband, waiting. The tech came back in, they wanted to do another scan. The second scan confirmed that there was an area of concern, so they decided to do an ultrasound, which has higher resolution and would show a better picture of what’s going on. A resident informed me I may have to have surgery before the RAI to have the lymph nodes removed before treatment. After the radiologists and endocrinologist conferred for a bit, they decided it was safe to go ahead with the RAI, hence my isolation.
I shipped off my dogs and stationed myself in the bedroom with books to read, computer, iPhone, and TV. Friends dropped off meals so I wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen and contaminate my family. Highly appreciated! The radiologist recommended the rule of 5; 5 feet away from people for 5 days. That was simple, I could handle it. Looking back the treatment was not too bad. I had some flu-like symptoms but due to the anti-nausea medication, Zofran, I had no nausea. I drank tons of water in order to flush the radioactive material out of my system. They also suggested I suck lemonheads to activate the salivary glands. I never want to see another lemonhead.
Tuesday October 16: Post Radiation Body Scan: This time I knew what to expect. Had to repeat the scan because the lymph nodes continued to show up. Basically this means I have some small metastatic carcinomas in a couple of lymph nodes outside the thyroid bed. Doc tells me “hopefully the radioactive iodine will clear them up”. I didn’t appreciate the term “hopefully” but there is never a sure bet in matters like these, plus I’m certain he’d like to avoid future litigation, ha.
This is my opportunity to turn things over to my higher power. I can use my friend’s mantra, “God take my Bod”. More often I recite the serenity prayer.
Thursday October 18: My husband and I head down to New Orléans for a gastronomic weekend planned before we knew I had thyroid cancer or would be having this treatment. Still very tired and achy from treatment but decided to go along with the trip and make the best of it.
All things considered we had a great time. Took it easy in the Big Easy (now that’s corny), loved our hotel with wonderful views of the Mississippi River, ordered room service each morning for breakfast, went to some great restaurants, saw a couple of wedding parades, checked out the beautiful architecture in the garden district, and enjoyed our time with our friends who live Uptown. They gave us a great tour of the city and had us over for drinks and hors d’oeuvres before we went out to dinner at August, a restaurant I’d highly recommend.
New Orléans reinforced the fact that I have no desire to drink alcohol, a real blessing. If you spend any time at all in the French Quarter there is no escaping the constant revelry, as bars are open at 7am, (perhaps they are open 24 hours), and folks are free to carry open containers of alcohol on the street. I found the party atmosphere highly unappealing and am grateful to not be a part of it. Unfortunately, I did not make it to a meeting.
Back home now and ready to get on with things, I want to restart healthy eating, exercise and proper sleep patterns. I’m hoping my thyroid levels balance out soon so I have more energy.
Driving a friend to chemo on Tuesday. Cancer seems to be everywhere. It’s no longer the mysterious disease that “other people” have. It’s a part of life, although hopefully not for you. What I am getting out of this experience is that life continues to happen, good and bad, but the important thing is how I react to those things.
My focus today is to stay in the moment. It’s a beautiful fall day and later I’ll be out with my camera.