Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day Zero

The day started off with good-byes.  The boy was sad and near tears.  I've never been apart from the kids-or the husband- for this long of a period.  Maybe two days tops?  But six nights is definitely the longest amount of time.  Of course, the girl didn't know what was going on, but she knew something was up.  As my mother and I got ready to walk out the door she toddled over, threw her arms up in the air and yelled, 'Mamaaaa!'  I gave her one more hug, but I still felt terrible as I walked out the door.

We got to the hospital and headed to radiology for my scan.  It was a little different than the breast scan, but not too much.  This time, the side of the machine (it still looked like a 'cabinet door') that I saw was black with several thin white lines on it.  The woman informed me that they would scan my head, neck, and chest first.  It would take about ten minutes.  The room was dim and it was just after 8 AM.  The machine was close to my face, but not really uncomfortable.  I closed my eyes. I had stayed up too late with the husband the night before.  I wasn't fully awake.

Next came the body scan.  First, they send the machine along the length of your body fairly quickly.  This trains the machine so it knows how close it can get to you.  Then, they start the scan.  It goes much slower.  The woman said that it goes so slowly, sometimes people don't even realize that the scan is happening and they get impatient and ask for the scan to start.  yeesh.  I know these people are sick and might not feel well, but between that and freaking out about cup sizes, maybe some of these people just need to chill.

The scan took maybe another ten minutes.  Then we were sent down the hall to wait for the doctor.  He would come in and discuss the results of the scan.  We waited a long time.   Like half an hour.  My mother was convinced that they had forgotten about us.  I didn't really care- where else did I have to go?  We were scheduled to be in Oakland all day until 1:00 PM.  It just didn't matter.

The doctor and a resident finally came in.  Turns out the results were pretty good.  They only detected remaining thyroid cells in the thyroid cavity- where my thyroid used to be until this past May.  They weren't anywhere else, so it didn't look like anything had spread.  So, awesome.  The only other thing that they saw was a very faint, small dot in my chest area.  He was pretty convinced that it was saliva in my esophagus.  Apparently that happens, like 10-15% of the time.  It might even still be there next week when I get my follow up.  He wasn't concerned, but said that they would keep an eye on it.

He went over a lot of stuff that I already knew about the radioactive iodine (RAI) dose.  One thing he mentioned that was new was when to go off the diet.  Everyone, (including the safety expert I would meet with later), said that I could go off my diet 24 hours after I received the RAI.  He said that was fine, if I really couldn't wait.  However, he always felt that it was better to wait just a little bit longer, and he would recommend that I not go off the low-iodine diet until Friday morning.  gah.  What a drag.  His view was, since the thyroid cells stop absorbing the RAI as soon as you start eating food with iodine in it (cold iodine, he called it), it's better to give the thyroid cells as much time as possible to absorb the RAI.  Fine.  I can wait one more day for cheese.  I guess.

To wrap up, I was told that a RAI dose of 150 mci had been decided upon.  Both he and my endocrinologist felt that was best.  Also, my dose time was moved from 1:00 PM to noon.  Someone had a meeting and they were trying to get everything done earlier.  The family would have to leave town a little sooner than expected.

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