The Human Flashlight
Howdie Doodie Y'all!
I thought I'd write y'all a short note about how I'm feeling since my radiation treatment last week. Keep in mind that this is very different from radiation that cancer patients receive ( a milder dose, thank God.)
First day in , I had to take a capsule containing a radioactive isotope known as RAI-I123 Technetium-99m Pertechnetate at 4mCi or 4Millicurie which is suspended in Iodine, and is stronger than I131 which utilizes Cobalt and has a value of 4mCi. This was for my "uptake" test, which would measure where my thyroid was in hormone production and just how hyper or hypo I was after a year a therapy with the10Mg of Methimozole I had been taking every day. So after taking this small capsule, off I went for 6 hours until the first tests could be performed...
Back at the hospital and the first tests were done . Now normal absorption measurement of the Iodine takes about 45minutes in a normal healthy thyroid , mine took 11.5 seconds... because of the Graves Disease, everything is accelerated. Normal levels should remain around 2-8% ... mine where at a whopping 67% ... They dismissed me with a smile ... and told me to come back in 18 hours for the next test. So, once again ...
time to wait.....
The next morning back I went to the hospital and my second series of tests... which were worse then the first ones I took 18 hours before.
"My, but you do have a hot thyroid!" said one of the technicians, winking at me.
(Not for nothing, but I took a real delight in reminding this whipper snapper that remarks such as this should be reserved for other parts of the female anatomy and not my thyroid. !!!
Not soon after, the Radiologist finally made his grand entrance.
"Alrighty then..". I thought to myself..."Now I'll get some answers! "
"Yep, looks like yev' got yerself some Graves Disease, I reckon., lil' lady..."
(Lil' lady??? ...was he kidding me?)
"...no shit, Hopalong! Ya' think???" was my astute retort.
(Us Grave's Disease sufferers are given to mood swings every now and then)
"Yep, we gonna order RAI-I123 Technetium-99m Pertechnetate at 12mCi or 12Millicurie ... it should be here in about 2hours...just relax, lil' Missy, won't be long now. ... "
I was lead into a small cubicle sized room with four walls and no windows except for a small 8 inch square slit in the heavy door. There was a small chair in the room which had a shelf connected to it. The chair's shelf and the slit in the door were next to each other at exactly the same height. True to their word, in about 2hours the slit opened with a gliding swack, The Radiologist and his band of merry men announced that my medicine had arrived and actually presented this magical concoction encased in a 6in by 3in stainless steel cylinder, which they put down in front of me with huge yellow rubber gloves and one of those "thingamajig grippers" those savvy store clerks use to grab the cans off the top shelf at the local Safeway though the slit in the door and then proceeded to explain how to open the cylinder which housed another smaller glass vial with a blue rubber seal which I had to break open myself and swallow the contents of the vial without touching the capsule itself. The opening to the rest of mankind slammed shut with a resounding smack and I was alone with my own version of Sanitarium. (Thank the Lord it was not the original CD version... but then, that's another story!) This was their big guns, the radioactive isotope known as RAI-I123 Technetium-99m Pertechnetate at 12mCi or 12Millicuries ... ok, no problem ... I could do this ... after all, I play adventure games...right? I unscrewed the heavily cylinder and took out the glass vial with trembling hands, broke open the blue rubber stopper and downed the contents in one swallow. Done. They warned me to get home as soon as possible as the side effects could start as early as 30minutes after ingesting this stuff. Well , I had a 45 minute ride home and being hyperthyroid as I am... it took 5 minutes before the side effects started.... dizziness, nausea ... headache....... but with the help of Braveheart I made it.
The results will be known in 3 to 6 months, hopefully it will bring my thyroid function down to normal or kill it entirely ... and then the doctors will go from there.
In the mean time...
I'm being a good girl and trying very hard not to cause any nuclear accidents. I feel really nauseated most of the time, but ginger-ale and saltines have really helped me out there. Along with gallons of lemonade and lemon drops. The side effects aren't as bad as I was originally warned about. ( I still have my hair, although it's starting to break off at the ends) I have noticed that my skin has become very dry and itchy and my nails are brittle... no matter, I must strive to keep my sense of humor about all of this and look at the long term plan of what the doctors are trying to accomplish... and not give into my petty vanities. So that all said, I will tell you that I am finding that:
I am incredibly tired and
I am spending most of my waking hours
in my bathroom . wearing my toilet as a hat.
My throat hurts a lot when I swallow and I've noticed that this keeps happening every time I drink something...
I've also seem to have acquired the ability to see in the dark
and no longer have a use for night lights in my hallway ,
The doctors have assured me that these side effects are temporary and that I will not be a human flashlight for very much longer...so as long as I keep my sense of humor and my wits about me, I have really no complaints.
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