Radioactive Iodine Therapy (RAI) – The Basics and Day 1&2

After being told I would need a form of radiation, even in a pill form, I was scared to death. Don’t these people know I’m only 28!!! I know Cancer knows no age but how is this even happening? I talked to my mom about it a little because she did a little more research and she gave me a very generic overview before my meeting with my Endo just until we knew the extent of what we were dealing with. But, of course, I decided to look things up on my own (on reliable websites only) to see what the step-by-step process would be and this would be much worse than I originally thought. Am I comparing this to someone that has to go through chemo – absolutely not! Am I comparing this to someone that has to go through outside radiation – again, absolutely not!!! But to a 28 year old mother of 2 who just recently married the man of her dreams and finally got her life on track – this was devastating.

I will be given a tiny pill that will cause me to be isolated from my family and friends for a 48 hour time period one time and a week a couple weeks later. I’ve heard so many people that have told me already to “treat it as a vacation” but that’s the last thing I need or want. This is such a scary time for me and I want nothing more to be surrounded by family and friends. I have to keep a 3 feet distance from everyone at all times. I have to sleep in a separate bedroom from my husband during this time. Only coming around others for up to an hour at a time. I have to use my own bathroom and no one else. No hugs, kisses or close contact during this time. I can’t prepare food for anyone else and no one else can touch my clothes or sheets….or me. How lonely is it to feel this way, even for a short amount of time? I know that I have been more needy than I have ever been in my life and part of me hates it but I know that everyone understands it. I will be poked every day with needles to test my blood to see how quickly this radiation is sinking into my body so they make sure they don’t give me too much to wear it soaks into my bones and kills my bone marrow or permanently damages my liver or another organ. I know this is very temporary thing for permanent fix but just a lot to take in and a VERY emotional time.

So basically doctors recommend RAI over any other type of treatment because it’s the most effective on destroying both cancerous and non-cancerous remaining thyroid tissue left from surgery, with the minimal effects on the rest of your body. This will hopefully lessen the chances of reoccurrence of regrowth later in life. I have to say that my Endocrinologist sent me to the #1 Thyroid Cancer Hospital in the Nation so I am in VERY good hands. But with that being said, my sister-in-law, Meghan, volunteered to drive me to each of my appointments to ensure I didn’t have to go to my appointments alone or have to face DC traffic by myself. I am so thankful for her as it takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to get to the hospital ONE WAY and that is using the HOV lane. I can’t imagine what kind of traffic I would be dealing with without her. Not to mention with my anxiety attacks as bad as they have been, especially on the road. And to my Mother-in-law who has been watching all these crazy kiddos so Meghan and I can get to and from these appointments!! Throw a few snow days on top of it to make it that much more interesting – seriously, thank you and love yall both!

So I was officially off of work starting 2/16 to start all my scans, blood work, daily appointments, etc. In order to start treatment, my doctors had to determine if I needed to withdraw from my Thyroid hormone – which is much, much harder on the body as you often feel the extreme symptoms of hypothyroidism. I know people that have had to go this route and have said they feel absolutely horrible and can’t even get out of bed. The other option is to take two shots, two days in a row called a Thyrogen shot in the butt. This raises your TSH levels to “trick” your body into raising your levels while you are still on your Thyroid hormone. Day one I felt no side effects but Day two it definitely caught up to me as I could barely keep my eyes open and had a severe headache lasting for over a day.

Another update to talk about day 3-5 tomorrow….

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One thought on “Radioactive Iodine Therapy (RAI) – The Basics and Day 1&2

  1. Janet says:

    I love you too Kat and watching the kiddos was the least I could do to help! I appreciate Meghan’s sacrifice and generosity to drive you and be with you!!! I also love that you and Alex have been able to share your concerns about Thyroid issues! We are a village and we will get through this! There are so many caring friends and family sending good thoughts and prayers! There are so many people wanting to help and asking about you! Angie stepped in at took a turn at driving to DC, so many of my friends have been calling to check on you–thank you Christy, Donna and Molly–prayers and best wishes from Nonna and Bammy, not to mention all of your family and friends wishes–we truly are a blessed family Kat. I am so proud of you and how you are handling all of this, and I am proud of Spencer too–even though it is your cancer, he is sharing in the trials and tribulations and being a supportive husband and Dad! There are more hurdles for sure–especially the next week or two, but you will come through with flying colors and life will get back to normal, slowly but surely! Stay strong and don’t forget that you can lean on many of us if ever you need to!

    Liked by 1 person

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