At this point, I am about five days away from the iodine treatment that is supposed to leave my remaining cancer cells in smoldering, radioactive ruin.
Two days ago, on Friday, I went to the hospital for the initial radioiodine treatment. Despite the lead case and warning label that screamed "DANGER! RADIATION! PROLONGED EXPOSURE MAY CAUSE SICKNESS AND THE GROWTH OF EXTRA LIMBS," the radiation contained in this dose was quite low -- only 2 millicules (sorry, I have no idea how to spell that).
That, however, is supposed to be enough to make whatever thyroid tissue not removed by the surgery, cancer cells included, light up under an X-ray when I get a bioscan on Monday morning. Based on the pictures they take at this appointment, the doctors will give me a more radioactive dose this coming week to destroy what is left, including
any metastasized cancer cells.
If I have been growing a new thyroid in my armpit, as some have hoped, the chances are high indeed that it will not survive the ensuing devastation. (As if anything can long survive in or near my armpit during the summer, anyway.)
This treatment will have the downside of turning me radioactive (cue The Simpsons' "Radioactive Man" theme music) for about four days. My wife and children will be visiting relatives over the weekend, while I wander the house in isolation, even less fit for the company of pregnant women and small children than before. (No, my wife is not pregnant.)
We still must work out the logistics of getting me home from the hospital, since my wife and younger daughter will drop me off there, hen take the car to fetch the elder child from school before leaving the state. It's doubtful I can walk home from the hospital, as living without thyroid hormone the last few weeks -- a prerequisite for this sort of chemotherapy -- has left me weary beyond description, and feeling like roadkill. It has led to some meditations on my own mortality, though.
Much thanks for your support during this period, even if it has been just to wonder who would be tasteless enough actually to blog about having cancer, for long enough to scratch your head in confusion and visit a more interesting site.