Thursday, March 13, 2008

'No Evidence of Metastasis'

So, by now, mostly everyone has heard my good news.

I underwent the radioactive iodine treatment in the middle of February. Let me tell you that being hypothyroid is possibly the most unpleasant thing I have ever been through.

I stopped taking my synthetic thyroid medication in the second week of January. I had expected to feel tired almost immediately but I didn't. Had a bad case of man flu! Silly, I know, but I think I let myself 'suffer'.

The low iodine diet was hard work. No dairy (they use iodine to clean the milking equipment), no processed food or eating out (possible iodised salt), no soy(a) (no idea why), no seafood or fish (high iodine content from the sea), some beans were a no no too, no red food colour (one of them is iodine based). Hmmm. Take away my fish, soy and cheese and this demi veggie has very little left to eat! I was existing on unsalted nuts, avocado and home made flapjack!

By the middle of the second week, I began to feel rough. Especially after my endo told me that my numbers weren't high enough and he expected me to be a week, maybe two, longer in the process. I lost the will to do anything other than get the kids to school, wash their clothes and make sure they got fed. By the end of that week I felt like I was thinking through fog.

During the third week my creativity left the house completely. I normally write a fair few emails and posts and even this blog but I couldn't do any of it. I couldn't even play with the kids. I felt like a blob. I eventually (after my treatment) read about the fact that the original 'cretin' was found most in regions where there was little natural iodine in the food and water. not only was cretinism signified by the goitre but it was also typified by people who weren't stupid in the village idiot kind of way but more that they were dullards. Completely devoid of liveliness and creativity. Yes, I became a cretin. No goitre as no thyroid, but I was a blob just the same.

Luckily my mum arrived at the end of the third week and the fourth week passed in a blur of shopping! My sister, bless her, did put the purple highlights in my hair that I've been going on about for ages! Now I just want more of them!

Had a full body scan on Wednesday 13th Feb, having had a small dose of radioactive iodine on the Monday and went home in the meantime. Then I got the full dose on the Thursday. I was then released from hospital, still radioactive, on the Friday. I was not allowed to be more than 3ft from anyone for more than an hour for adults and half an hour for children, for the next 2-3 days. Yes, the US doctors discharged me on that proviso, knowing I was going home to a house with a 9 yo, 4 yo and 1 yo. Angry about this? Moi? So I went to a hotel for 3 days, without telling the hotel. I figured this was safer than going home. For Pete's sake, I can still technically set the radiation alarms off at the airport for another 2 months! Anyway, I stayed at the hotel and saw everyone briefly on Saturday and for a little longer on Sunday, before mum and Jess flew home. My throat came up huge on Saturday, so the goitre I never had looked like it had finally arrived, but it was just my salivary glands getting a kicking. Lots of water and sour sweeties later and the swelling began to go down. I didn't appreciate the Jabba the Hut look!

I managed to put on 15lbs without changing my eating habits in the final 2 weeks. It has only just started to come off again...

My piece of paper arrived on Saturday with the magic words 'No Evidence of Metastasis' written on them. I'd been feeling much better during the last week as my thyroid meds had finally started to kick in again but the relief I experienced from reading that was unseemly! You don't realise the weight is there until it's gone.

So, hopefully, I shall stay that way through the next 5 years, which is how long they keep tabs on you after this op. If you're still clear after then, they pretty much assume you're properly cured. Of course, I shall have to take the Synthroid for the rest of my life, but that's just one of them things.