Friday, November 6, 2015

My origin story?

Guys. I can't wait to eat tofu again. Tofu, soy creamer, olives, chips, guacamole... and Liz Lovely cookies.  This low iodine diet has killed my soul.  (It's possible that I'm being dramatic due to lack of iodine)

Preparation for the radioactive iodine therapy began a little over two weeks ago. My endocrinologist gave me a ton of instructions. I asked her if I would get any superpowers. It was very clear that I was her first patient to ask this...

Anyhow, it all starts with the aforementioned low iodine diet.  Remember when I said I'm not a doctor? I'm still not, so don't take my any medical advice from this blog. This link is just to get some sympathy. No, not really. Maybe.

This is what sadness tastes like

So, as a vegan, no soy blows. As someone with low blood pressure who passes out sometimes, no iodized salt blows. As a human being, this just sucks in general. It could be worse, but it also could be better. Anyhow- 2 weeks and 2 days down... 3-4 days to go.

Wednesday, we started the real exciting treatment. A pregnancy test (complete with a nosy phlebotomist "Is this a good thing?"), two days of thyrogen injections, and a non-radioactive iodine pill followed by a scan this morning to test the uptake.

Side note: this is my favorite note from a doctor ever. I knew the results of the pregnancy test since the nurse was able to start my thyrogen and that Dr. Piech was just tying up loose ends, but I do like to imagine her delivering all kinds of her news to patients in this casual way:

BTW, scurvy

This morning after the scan, I began my radioactive adventure. I was able to ask a few more questions (I had to fast for 2 hours before so my main question was when I could have more coffee- 1 hour). I was told that if I threw up after taking the pill, I'd have to call the hospital so they could decontaminate my car or house or where ever it happened (exciting). The doctor arrived, I signed a bunch of paperwork, and I was given my pill.

It arrived in this lead lined container
"Don't touch it with your hands". That's always something you want to hear about the pill you're going to take. Pretty uneventful, really. Took the pill, drank a bunch of water, got my "explanation for setting off the radioactive meter thing" letter that I need to carry around for a while, and then everyone quickly got eff away from me (which is how I was able to get this picture).

I did ask them if it was cool for me to be others as I left the hospital and they said it was totally fine because it would't be for long (again, though... they did run right the hell out of that room). You are never more aware of how close people get to you on an elevator of a hospital or the stairs of a parking garage until you are not supposed to be around people.

I made it home and we've already discovered some things we didn't think through. Nothing we can't fix. A lot of  "don't come in the kitchen yet!!!" yelling. A lot of water, peeing, cleaning the toilet a million times, and eating lemon candy.

They're good now...  I will want to set them on fire next week

Oh, and I bought this because, unicorn.

"We're going to candy mountain!!!"
Stay tuned for more adventures... 

That's Kevin in the distance. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Me and my stupid thyroid

Ok- first let me say something that you probably already know- I am not a doctor and nothing here should be taken as medical advice.

A lot has happened since my last post. I had a total thyroidectomy two months ago and I'm about to start radioactive iodine therapy tomorrow. Let's step back.

A little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which caused hypothyroidism. It was discovered mostly by accident. I had a goiter that I mistook for an allergy. When the allergist wouldn't run tests (because my throat felt closed while I was in the office) I went to my primary care doctor who ran a bunch of blood tests. She called and left a message the next day that said "Call me back so we can come up with a plan". Naturally, it was a few hours before we were able to connect and I spent that morning worrying about what it could be. She told me that my TSH levels (take a look at that link up there) were off. The normal range is 0.30-4.50 and mine was 70.0. (that's higher...) I was put on levothyroxine and referred to an endocrinologist.

She asked if I had been feeling tired, if I had trouble maintaining my weight, if my skin was dryer, my hair was thinner (it also wouldn't curl!), and if I had been cold all of the time.  Yes to everything. Then she said "Why didn't you come in for that?!"  I didn't really have a good reason... a lot of the symptoms mimicked over training so I thought they had been marathon related. I thought maybe the rest were just going to happen as I got older. Also, I had no idea that all of these things were connected.

Fast forward through some ultrasounds, biopsies, and genetic testing that came back all clear for a while. This past June, I had a routine ultrasound that showed a new nodule that had signs of calcification. Another biopsy. A week later, I was told that the cells were suspicious for cancer and the next step was a total thyroidectomy.

I had my surgery with Dr. Gregory Randolph of Mass Eye and Ear on September 8th. I chose Dr. Randolph because he monitors the laryngeal nerve during surgery to minimize/eliminate vocal damage during surgery. Surgery went really well. Anesthesia and I are not super friendly, so the day of was pretty rough, but after that, recovery wasn't too bad. I was back to teaching Zumba 11 days after my surgery! Physically, I felt great! Vocal recovery took a little longer, but I was able to perform on October 19th.

At my post op appointments, it was confirmed that we had been dealing with stage one papillary thyroid carcinoma. My endocrinologist recommended radioactive iodine therapy to help combat recurrence (because it can happen even though the damn thyroid is gone) and now we're pretty much caught up.

I think I'll stop here so this post doesn't get too long. Stay tuned for my exciting adventures in the low iodine diet, nosy people and their inappropriate questions, and what's bound to be an odd few days of isolation while I'm radioactive.