Thyroid Cancer Update: Day 3 of RAI
Hello! Just wanted to write a quick update about my treatment. This past Thursday I received my radioiodine pill and am isolated at home until Monday morning when I should be declared safe to go out in public again. Isolation isn’t too bad, since I normally spend time at home working when my husband travels. I have made the most of it by working on my blogs, watching movies, and of course resting when I need to. Right now I am still on my low iodine diet, but plan to return to normal eating next week. (So excited for seafood, whole eggs & quest bars!!)
Preparing for RAI
As you know from this post, it is a bit of a lengthy process to prepare for RAI. The goal of course is to get your TSH levels over 30 (according to thyca.org) to increase the effectiveness of the treatment itself. As of Monday when I had my blood work done, my levels were at 97- so there should be no problem wiping out any extra thyroid or cancerous tissue from my body. 🙂
As I read about preparing for RAI therapy I started to freak out a little. Luckily, staying away from people for a few days isn’t a big deal, but I began to worry about touching things in my apartment and risking my husband and my dog to exposure when they return home. My doctor was very helpful in clarifying the precautions I should take. Below is a summary of precautions that are making me comfortable.
- I brought my dog to a sitter so that she’s not at risk for exposure, and so I do not have to walk outside on the city streets when I am radioactive.
I visited my dentist 3 weeks before treatment and discussed the concerns over the health of my teeth. (The RAI comes out of bodily fluids so your saliva becomes extremely acidic and can damage the tooth enamel). He gave me a special fluoride toothpaste to use to give my teeth an extra boost of protection during this time.
I am drinking about 1 gallon of water daily to protect my teeth, kidneys and bladder to help move the radioiodine through my system.
I am wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks in my house and cover any furniture with a sheet for added protection. (This isn’t so much for me as it is for anyone who comes to my house in the next 3 months). My doctor assured me that it’s contact with bodily fluids that are the biggest threat to others, but I am very paranoid about sweat and since i131 could live on for 80–90 days I figured it’s best to be safe).
On the same note as #4 I am keeping my trash, laundry, dishes I use and anything else I come in close personal contact with separate from everything else until 8 days (the half-life of i131) after my treatment started, then I will wash them separate from everything else.
I am crazy about washing my hands and not touching my face while I am working. On the same note, I will workout at home and keep my computer, iPad and iPhone away from others until 8 days have passed and then disinfect like a crazy person.
My RAI Experience
Overall my experience has been pretty uneventful. Immediately after receiving the pill my eyes burned slightly for about 30 minutes. When I woke up Friday morning, my neck was swollen and felt sore behind my jaw and ears, but that too wore off after a few hours. I am fatigued still from the withdrawal of the hormones, have experience slight nausea and my neck is still tender, but it’s all completely bearable. I rest when I need to and the symptoms eventually pass.
Getting Back to Normal
On Monday I am scheduled to start my T4 & T3 medications again (hallelujah!!) and am very much looking forward to feeling more normal than I have in the past few weeks. I have a follow up scan scheduled for the 26th to see how the treatment worked and should officially be officially declared cancer survivor after that. 🙂 Over the next few months I will be working with my Endocrinologist as she finds the optimal balance of T3 & T4 to fully replace my thyroid and then I should be back to my normal self.
Thanks again for all of the follow ups, phone calls, messages, emails and prayers. They mean so much to me!
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