RA Fundamentals
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Radoactive Iodine treatment

The pill come in a heavy lead container. The nurse has a glass of water ready. She suggests my son lift the lead container. He does. Then I do. We are both surprised just how heavy it is. She opens the container and tips the pill into my hand. I put it in my mouth and swallow it with the water. We go home. I am now radioactive.

I don’t feel any different. I stay in my room for three days. I drink lots of water. I eat sour candies and lemon slices. I try to do all the right things. I also like being in my room so it is not hard for me to be there. My son brings my meals and won’t come within ten feet of me. He doesn’t want to suffer radiation side effects. He also sets his alarm so he can bring me my coffee at 7 am. Thoughtful and important to me.

The radiology tech had made it clear to me that I was not to vomit for four hours following the pill. He said if I did they would not know how much radiation I ingested. What to do? I thought. I had no idea how it would be. I had been given a prescription for phenergan. The radiologist suggested I take it an hour after the pill. I did. No problems.

On day seven I have my body scan. It takes 90 minutes. It is not as bad as I thought. I want to celebrate this completion. I have been sick now for over a year and a half. This is a final step. It may be the final step of the first phase. I don’t care. I’m glad I’m here.

About the time of the scan I started having pain in my mouth, my throat and my neck. It rapidly progressed to constant pain. I had a bad case of inflamed salivary glands. My good doctor L. put me on a prednisone pack. It helped and it did keep my joints extra happy. Don’t suck on lemon slices as it apparently increases radiation to the salivary glands. Wish I had known.

I am recovering from everything. I’m hoping for a cancer holiday. I am swimming laps again to build core muscles and build endurance. Also because I love to and I do dream of the day I can return in another life as a mermaid in a warm lagoon with occasional visits from Nemo.

My scan didn’t show “any convincing distant metastasis”. It did show more cancer in my neck. So essentially stage 3. Better than stage 4. My endocrinologist plans to let the radiation finish working. In six months there will be another ultrasound and the thyroglobulin cancer marker. I am ready for the break.

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Woman, friend, mother, RN, photographer, gardener, writer, researcher, observer, swimmer. Pretty much the same as everyone else with my own little twist to things. RA, and three cancers and counting. Life is good despite the obstacles. It's worth the ride just to see the infinite variations of the human spirit.

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