The Big C: Next Steps

This week, I saw the endocrinologist, who will help me manage thyroid replacement therapy and oversee the next step in my cancer treatment. He said he’s never lost a patient to thyroid cancer, and that I was going to be fine, which makes me feel better.

I will be radioactive for 10 days after my cancer treatment.

I am nervous about the cancer treatment, which is taking a radioactive pill. I wasn’t as nervous about it before talking to the endocrinologist, because Tim took a radioactive pill more than 25 years ago to kill off part of his hyperactive thyroid. He had to stay by himself for 5 or 6 days because the pill makes you radioactive. I will receive a much larger dose and will have to stay by myself for 10 days.

Tim will take the cats and go stay with his mom. I’ll drive myself to the hospital, take the pill, then drive myself home. I have to make sure to cover all the surfaces I’m going to sit on and sleep on with blankets and towels, and wash them multiple times before they return. I am to use paper plates and plastic forks that I can throw away. We plan to stock up on microwave meals and other single-serve food options to make it easy. I have to flush the toilet 2-3 times after I go. I have to clean the sink thoroughly when I brush my teeth or wash my hands. I’m terrified that I’m going to miss something and leave radioactive material behind.

Atomic Seeds reach Gilligan's Island. Fun follows.
At least they haven’t told me I’ll have to eat soap, like the castaways did after they ate those radioactive vegetables.

Right now, I’m waiting to find out if I’m approved to take a pair of shots that prepares me for the treatment. If insurance doesn’t approve it, I will have to go off Synthroid for several weeks prior to the treatment. We’re coming up on the holidays, too, which will affect scheduling. My initial thought was to spend the first two days – when I’m most radioactive – in the hospital, in a special negative pressure room. After discussing it at home, Tim tried to call and tell the doctor’s office that wouldn’t be necessary, since he would be going out of town, but he’s not sure the person he talked to really understood who he was or what he was trying to say. Honestly, if I can get rid of most of the radiation before I come home (and have experts handy in case I have a terrible reaction), I think I would feel more confident. So, we’ll see.

In other news, I had my COVID-19 booster on Friday. I scheduled for noon at Publix with the notation that I wanted to have the Pfizer booster. When I got there, they said they were all out, so that was really frustrating. I mean, they had all my contact information and could have let me know. On the way home, we stopped at Walgreens, and they confirmed that they had the Pfizer booster available, but it was by appointment only. So when I got home, I scheduled it for after work. The job hurt a lot more going in than either Moderna vaccine. I don’t know if that’s the vaccine itself or the pharmacist who was giving the injection. I have been really tired today, and my head is very stopped up, although that may be the weather and not the injection.

I have been approved to continue working from home, which is a huge relief. I’m still trying to get used to taking my medications at specific times. I take the Synthroid at 7am (just like Tim) on an empty stomach and then eat breakfast at eight. Next week, I have to start working at 7am, so I was really worried that I’d forget to take my medicine. At home, Tim will bring it to me, if I forget, and he will bring me breakfast to eat while I work. He really is a wonderful husband.

Godzilla-vs-the-Sea-Monster-atomic-radioactive-breath | parlor of horror
I hope Godzilla washes everything after he coats it with his atomic breath.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
This entry was posted in Cancer, My Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Big C: Next Steps

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    Sounds like a lot of logistical headaches, but I’m sure you’ll get through it. Best wishes.

  2. Barb LaFara says:

    I had no idea of the procedures required for the thyroid cancer treatments. Thank you for sharing your journey, it has been very informative. Stay strong!

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