Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Update on Wifey's Treatment

WOW! Two posts in one week and it’s the busiest week of the monument year to boot. I am taking a break at McDonalds while the girls are at dance class. Wanted to fill everyone in on Wifey’s thyroid treatment.

To recap, last year (may 13) she had surgery on her right thyroid. They found a golf ball size mass in her neck which was removed. The golf ball mass was non-cancerous, but her right thyroid had two small specks of cancer. Thyroid cancer is very very treatable, does not spread, and is not terminal. It’s just a major pain in the butt like any other cancer or disease. Three weeks ago after a routine ultrasound they found a mass growing on her left thyroid. She does NOT want surgery again as it has been barely a year and her incision is very hard to see and for someone who didn’t know she had surgery would not be able to find it. So we are opting for radioactive iodine treatment. Even if we opted for surgery this time around she would still have to have the iodine treatment.

Your thyroid absorbs iodine. In fact it is the only thing in your body that does. So the idea behind I-131 treatment is to starve your body of iodine for two weeks, then ingesting I-131 in a pill form. Your thyroid sucks up the radioactive iodine (I-131) and dies. Sounds easy right?

Well to starve your body of iodine you need a special diet. It’s real simple, basically you can eat all the raw fruits and veggies you want. That’s about it. No dairy, bread, processed meats, anything with red dye #3. It’s a rough diet let me tell ya. I try to follow the diet with her to help her out, but I have been taking the kids out to eat a lot so she doesn’t have to watch.

The diet lasts two weeks. One week into the diet you begin to take meds to help prepare you for the I-131 treatment. On Saturday she will begin on Pilocarpine and Lithium. Yep, Lithium helps make the I-131 more potent. Since it also is used for manic depression, we are also guessing it will turn her into a walking human zombie. On Monday she will quit taking her Synthroid, which will enhance the zombie effect, since it will lower her thyroid levels as well.

Are you wondering what happens when you ingest a radioactive chemical? Yes, you do become radioactive. No she won’t be glowing (only heard that like 2000 times this week). For 11 days she and I cannot sleep together. To answer your next question…..sexual relations can resume after 48 hours. She can have no close contact with anyone for 48 hours for sure, limited contact for the remaining time. She needs to use a separate bathroom, if this is not possible, she needs to bleach wipe the toilet after each use as well as flushing 2-3 times to make sure no radioactive material remains. Following the treatment a body scan is done to ensure the thyroid has absorbed the I-131. It is possible that a second or third course of treatment will be necessary. The doctor says worst case scenario the chance of still having to have surgery after three treatments is 5%.

So there it is in a nutshell. We thought about waiting till after Memorial Day and the girls dance recital (June 4) but decided that there is never a good time to do this and if we needed a second or third course of treatment, we would ruin our chance of a family vacation later this summer.

So there you go.


Anonymous said...

Wow..that's a lot for her (and you) to go through. Will keep you guys in out thoughts and prayers. Hope things are successful the first go around. Tell your Mrs. hello and keep us posted! Patricia (ccms)

FloydWing said...

We hope everything goes well for both of you. Laurie was just asking if you'd posted anything lately about how things were going with that, so I let her read over my shoulder. We'll be thinking of you guys.