Fat Thigh-roid Woes: I Lit Up in Nuclear Medicine Today
Hey DT Peeps! What follows is a chronological path to RAI.
2008 – late 2009. I didn’t want to get it done, so I tried every other option possible and nothing worked for me. Allergy to meds, holistic medicine, and I couldn’t do surgery cause no doc would operate on me.
January 1st, 2010. I realize I have to do RAI. Sooo…I end up having to go to the county hospital for the fun since I have no health insurance (2010 was already looking up) and after a few weeks of dealing with back and forth, uptake scan, doctor visit, uptake scan, bullshit I was scheduled to get it done on January 15th. As it turns out, I had a job interview that morning – my first job interview in 1 YEAR. They say the universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle…whatever with that. I also decided to check myself into a hotel (sorry to the poor family that stayed in the room after me) just because I have animals and didn’t want them to be around me while I was glowing. Maybe those measures were a bit drastic, but f that noise, I wasn’t going to take any chances.
So, I race to the hospital after my interview and get ready to meet my boyfriend Anxiety at the door. He’s a stupid S.O.B. and taunts me the entire time from the waiting room. I really need to break up with him. I sat waiting for the doc, and took a picture of the sticker they had on a stamp.
Not really something I want to see before I down Hiroshima. I mean, let’s be real – that’s what will be going on in my body in a few minutes and how insensitive can these people get?? At the same time, it’s funny in a sick and twisted way. Is this sticker there for us or the people who work there? I still don’t get it.
They give me my mandatory pregnancy test, and I ask if anyone has actually been pregs and not known before this fun stuff. The nurse/executioner confides a teenager that was with her mom, turned out to be pregnant – despite the mother saying she didn’t need a pregnancy test. Who knew such drama can exist in the Nuclear Medicine wing??? I wanted to hear more of the story, but just then the executioner starts yelling for me to swallow the pill as she ran to the other side of the room. In a rush, I ran to the gray and sickly looking death and swallowed.
“This is the beginning of the end” I thought to myself.
“Go sit in the waiting room and see how you feel in the next 10 minutes, if you don’t feel nauseous then you can go.” The evil nurse said.
That 10 minutes was the longest of my life. I sat while the admin assistant guy flirted with me. He’d been flirting with me all week, maybe sick girls knock his socks off, I dunno. It was funny that he’s deciding NOW is a good time to have a chat with me, as my brain is imagining all scenarios. Of course, he was standing clear of me and saying “yeah girl, you’re radioactive the MINUTE you swallow that pill. So anyways…” and continuing on with his story. All I’m thinking about is how I want to give him and all my enemies a great, big, and wonderful hug. Such power at my disposal, and all I had planned was driving to my extended stay room and putting on a pair of sweats. STUPID.
After the 10 minutes was up, I walked slowly to my car and past unsuspecting victims. The long drive began, and I was expecting to feel sick I suppose but I didn’t yet.
Nightfall. I burned toast in my room while I was on my phone, and set the fire alarm off. The poor hotel worker had to come into my poisonous den and help me open the windows. That fucking room smelled like burnt toast the rest of the week (yes, I stayed there a week because it was a better rate than 3 days. Yay, vacation for me!)
My neck was…popping. It was also blazing hot. I felt strange. Not really sick, just like something disgusting was inside of my body. Maybe some of that was all in my head, and I was projecting it – but nah, I swallowed a radioactive pill and it was in my cells. Sure, my thyroid took most of the iodine up, but who knows how much has escaped? I sucked on lemon drops because the iodine can have a tendency to block your salivary glands, and some people end up with dry mouth the rest of their life. Dry mouth is one of my worst nightmares, so hell no, I popped lemon candy THE ENTIRE TIME. I drank a ton of water because the excess iodine leaves your body in urine and poop. Frankly, the pooping was strange and felt strange. It just was an all around gross experience. The worst part…with nothing to do all day and night except for watch tv, read, and write – I got addicted to Judge Judy. I was seriously involved with that show, and looked forward to 3pm everyday.
Didn’t leave the room for about four days. I had nowhere to go, and I was still supposed to stay away from people. My mom came to visit me, and she insisted on giving me a kiss (she’s reckless like that), then later to tell me her throat was hurting (in middle eastern culture it’s very common for a mother to find hidden sources of guilt and exploit them).
It’s been 8 months since the RAI, and I noticed that my energy levels were really down afterwards. I don’t care what doctors say about how safe it is, your body takes A HIT and needs many months to feel better. I’ve gained 30lbs, and I’m eating as healthy as possible so I don’t feel like shit. My goiter is gone, and it was so large that 15 millicures of iodine has barely made me hypothyroid. I think I might be slightly hypo, if I’m really hypo at all. The doctor who gave me the iodine made a prophecy: “Your uptake is so high and overactive, that I’m telling you – you will be back for another dose of RAI.”
“Hell no I won’t.”
“I’ve had enough experience with this to see that you will. I just wanted to let you know that. In 6 months your body will reset and you’ll become hyper again.” and she said it so matter-of-fact, without even a single doubt. It wasn’t a “expect a possibility of being here again…” it was a “you WILL come back for another dose.”
Okay. Well, I told my body during the self-imposed exile that I wasn’t having it. One dose was enough, and I needed to get on with my life. This Graves Disease has fucked me every which way possible, from losing my job, my hair, my sanity, my grasp on what is fucking REAL and I’m not going to fuck around anymore with this shit. TAKE THE RAI AND SUCK IT, GOITER.
So far, she’s been wrong. The endo who looked at how quickly my levels dropped 1 month after RAI says she’s wrong. He said since they dropped so low so fast means my goit really took to the iodine…kinda like they had an awkward love story. Iodine was the domineering lover, and my goiter was the gal in the corner who talked big game and gave it up in the end.
I’m going to celebrate on the 1 year anniversary of the iodine, and I will be healthy damnit. There is that thought in the back of my head that maybe one day, the remaining goiter will become overactive again…blah blah blah. I’m just going to live in the now and see what happens.
January 15th, 2011 is also the day a certain negative doctor with no bedside manner will be getting a card in the mail. It’s going to say, “Thank you for challenging my mind and body with your shitty energy. Had you not been such a bitch, I wouldn’t have had the strength to tell your ideas to shove it. That’s all. Please continue with stomping all over the hope patients bring to you, it seems to be what you do best in this world.”
Tags: Fat Thigh-Roid Woes: I lit Up in Nuclear Medicine Today Written by Nicole Wells, goiter, graves disease blog, Graves disease column, graves disease support, graves' disease, hyperthyroid, Nuclear Medicine, patient reactions to radioactive iodine treatment, Radioactive Iodine, Radioactive Iodine Treatment for patients with Graves Disease, RAI treatment for Graves disease