Friday, April 10, 2015

And then plans change...Radioactive

It's been a crazy week of appointments.  New Primary, who I really like.  Saw the specialist for treatment of my paralyzed vocal cord.  Tried to see the speech therapist but I got there and they decided they didn't take my insurance. (Nice, eh?)  But the amazing social worker from the UFT did a follow up call to check on me yesterday and was able to get me a referral for someone close to work who takes my insurance.  I went to see my new endocrinologist this morning.  I liked her.  She spent a long time with me, meticulously going over my history, the pathology from my thyroid, everything...

There were 4 instances of cancer that were each less than one cm, called "micro cancer", two one each side on my thyroid.  Because of this, the Endo believes that RAI treatment is necessary. RAI also called Radioactive Iodine Ablation treatment is relatively easy, and I use the term loosely.  Here is some info on RAI (if you don't want to know skip over the blue text):

From Thyca.org:
Radioactive Iodine Ablation Treatment for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer
You may receive radioactive iodine (also known as radioiodine, I-131 or RAI) some weeks after surgery to eliminate (ablate) any remaining papillary or follicular thyroid cancer cells or normal thyroid tissue that the surgeon could not remove. Ablation also aims to eliminate any thyroid cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body.
Eliminating the remnant of normal thyroid tissue will make it easier to do the ongoing monitoring for any possible recurrence. RAI ablation has also been shown to improve survival rates if the cancer has spread to the neck or other parts of the body....
If RAI is part of your treatment, you will probably receive it between 3 and 6 weeks after your surgery. You will swallow the RAI in the form of either one or more capsules (pills) or a liquid.
RAI works because the thyroid gland needs iodine and absorbs it from the bloodstream. When you swallow the RAI (the isotope I-131), it goes through your bloodstream to your thyroid tissue. The radiation destroys thyroid cells, both cancerous and normal thyroid cells, with minimal effects on the rest of your body.
The dosage of I-131 used for ablation is measured in millicuries. The dose for remnant ablation may range from 30 millicuries to 100 millicuries. Sometimes the dose is higher (100 to 200 millicuries) for people with more extensive disease. Very rarely, the dose may be larger still.

So here is what the next steps are....
April 21- Injection to help my vocal cord function come back.
June 1- Begin low iodine diet, stop taking synthetic thyroid
June 16- blood work- to check levels.
June 17- Have the RAI Treatment (at the hospital, down with Nuclear Medicine Docs) home that day
June 18-20- In quarantine at home- all things separate- no touching, Rose will go to Joann's for at least a                     week.
June 21-30- Continue to be separate, separate beds, utensils, etc.  Sit at least 6 feet apart...
                    This week also go for full body scan for thyroid cells.
July 1- Meet with Endo...
So there it is.  I can check Radioactive off my bucket list!




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