Seriously, I might glow.
I'm gonna have to wait 'till the evening of September 1st to find out though. That's the new, tentative, date for my RAI treatment. (I say RAI, because Radioactive Iodine Treatment is too hard to say in battle. In the future when you see RAI, you will know what i mean.) In all honesty though, I'm really not looking forward to it because Ive read a few pretty terrible stories about some people's experiences with it. Some people get really sick and puke alot, some people seem to handle it OK. Some folks really like the diet because they lose weight, but some people like me, hate the diet because you can only eat rabbit pellets and cardboard. Non-iodized cardboard only, of course.Then again, some people see their spouse find companionship in the arms of another, and some people ponder if their cancer contributed to the suicide of a loved one. Not so much because of the treatment but the whole cancer thing.... So again, I'm not really sure what to expect, but I'm trying to prepare for the worst.
(note: those last two actually happened. I didn't make that up. Yay internet. -Sigh-)
(nother note: The treatment makes me so radioactive that i have to spend 3-5 days in isolation from all sentient beings. seriously. I cant be around other living creatures lest i contaminate them. thats kinda scary.)
So what is RAI? Ill tell you, but you should read the next part in your best Charlton Heston voice because I'm going to quote now from the thyroid cancer bible, Thyca.org.
From the Book of Radioactive Iodine
Chapter1, Verses 1-3
...And lo, God spake unto the stricken and unclean. "Thyroid cancer patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer often receive a holy dose of radioactive iodine (RAI) about two months after their surgery in an attempt to smite (ablate) any remaining thyroid cells in their bodies." The people heard the news, and it was good. Then God sayeth unto them "In preparation for an RAI scan or RAI treatment, patients are usually asked to go on a wicked and depraved, low-iodine diet (LID). The diet is to prepare for the RAI." The people heard the news, but weren't so impressed anymore. God thus stammered and went on to spake "The stricken follows the diet when preparing for RAI either by temporarily stopping levothyroxine (withdrawal) or by receiving injections of Thyrogen (recombinant TSH) while continuing on levothyroxine." Upon hearing of their loathsome futures, those who understood what these largest of words meant, were tempted to tell Him to go to Hell, but then they remembered they were blessed! They recalled that their cancers weren't likely to slay them. Unlike those unfortunate souls with breast cancer or pancreatic cancer, or any other fast-moving aggressive cancer. He looked into the minds of the diseased and saw the momentary flash of annoyance and then acceptance in their eyes and spake unto them for the last time. "Blessed be thy purpose of a low-iodine diet! Rejoice, as it is to deplete the body of its stores of iodine and thereby, increase the effectiveness of the radioactive iodine scan or treatment. The premise is that when the radioactive iodine is administered, the thyroid cells will 'suck' up the iodine because the body has been so depleted." The words fell upon the ears of the people and they heard it and it was good. Ok, it wasn't really THAT good. It was really kind of a holy pain in the ass, but they would deal with it.
It says that. Really.
Since Ive had a lot of time on my hands recently, I've been reading about iodine and its role in the body. As it turns out, its a pretty important substance. I'm gonna quote now again, but this time its from an anti-cancer website anticancerinfo.co.uk:
"For over 100 years iodine has been known as the element necessary for thyroid production, but its other functions have largely been ignored. Iodine is found in each of the cells and adequate levels are necessary for proper immune system function. Iodine contains potent antibacterial, anti parasitic, antiviral and anticancer properties. It detoxifies the body of heavy metals and toxic halides such as bromine, fluoride and chlorine derivatives. It is suggested that iodine is important in the process of apoptosis, (natural cell death) and in destroying cells that represent a threat to the body, like cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. (Miller 2006)"
Seems like this stuff is pretty important doesn't it? The website goes on to describe how in the past 30 years, people in the U.S. have decreased their iodine intake. I know none of you are going to read the actual site, even though you should, so I'll paint a picture for you....
At some point in the 70's, America threw open the closet doors and saw peasant tops and crappy macramé things, and thrift store plaid and decided it sucked. In a fit of something akin to teenage angst, she freaked out and exchanged her bell bottoms for tighter, shiner disco pants.
She was super excited to put them on...only they didn't fit. Too many pot brownies and the growing prevalence of fast food in the previous decade had made her ass too fat. The Doctor said that one way to help her out was to get her to eat less salt. America wanted to look awesome in her new shiny pants so she obliged and did indeed eat less salt in the coming years.
Success right? Well, sort of. As a people,the U.S. managed to eat less salt and in doing so, we decreased our iodine intake by 50%. While less salt seems to have helped hearts, iodized salt was and still is our main source of iodine in our diets. We all seem to be getting enough of it to keep most thyroids happy, but according to the docs cited on this website, all of the other organs that need iodine probably aren't getting it. I know I'm getting a little off my original point here, but I thought I should drop a little bit of knowledge on the substance that will make my life miserable soon.
Seriously, if you have any interest in learning about iodine (other thyroid cancer patients, I'm looking at you here.) you should really click that link and read up.
All that being said though, it still seems like RAI is a pretty genius way to treat the cancer. Along the way, some friggin smart doctor(s) figured out that they could Trojan Horse the radiation into the iodine and it would kill off the thyroid cancer cells while leaving other tissues relatively unharmed. My surgeon said that they were trying to find other cancers that would be receptive to this kind of treatment. I hope they find some that are. For all my bitching about it, its still much easier on my body than the treatments for other cancers would be. I really do feel lucky that I don't have to go through repeated radiation treatments or have the kinds of chemo that other cancers require.
So, the next step for me is my diet. I'm not looking forward to it, but this did start off as a diet blog, so i guess its good that i finally have a diet to talk about.
As always I want to thank everyone again for their continued support and love. I am truly spoiled to know people such as all of you. You guys are the ones who are making it easy for me to keep my head up. So thank you again. I am realizing that other Thyroid Cancer folks are reading this, so to them i say thank you for the kind words and i hope that my little blog about my experiences about it help you out too.
I think that's about it for me for now. Thanks for your time.
Word to ya Mutha'.