No more cancer!

The other week, I had forgotten about my lab for blood work and ultrasound appointment and missed it. Oops. I spotted it only because I had to check my calendar for something else. I immediately re-made the appointment, but I couldn’t have all this done at the medical center that specializes in these types of ultrasounds. My new appointment was to be done at a different medical center instead.

I had my blood drawn into one tube instead of the typical 2-3 in the past. For the ultrasound, the technician spent a lot of time on the right side of my neck and not so much on the left side. (The left side is where this unknown mass could be growing). That appointment took around 30 minutes. I left telling the technician that I’m expecting the mass to either stayed the same size or gotten a little bigger, but no big deal either way.

A couple days later, I received a notification that some of my test results were available online. I took a screen shot and sent it to my husband after I read it. It said

Findings: Previous thyroidectomy. The previously noted nodule is the left thyroid bed is no longer identified. There are normal-sized fatty centered lymph nodes in both sides of the neck.

Conclusion: No evidence to suggest recurrent malignancy.

Yay! No more cancer!

Now for the results of my blood work

UFree T4 is 1.2 ng/dL (Standard range is 0.7-1.5 ng/dL) and TSH, Sensitive is 0.13 ulU/mL (Standard range is 0.30-4.50 ulU/mL)

To help prevent cancer, I am (trying) to eat less sugar, as medical experts say that cancer loves sugar and is fed by it. Gross. I gave up soda a years ago, so that’s not a problem. But when I see those doughnuts and cakes…yummy.

Another round of I-123 whole body scan

Photo of a syringe
Photo of a syringe

From the last post, I mentioned that my doctor was concerned with some blood draw results, since I have an odd unknown thing on the left side of my neck. She said that the next step was for me to have the I-123 whole body scan to make sure no thyroid cancer cells started growing anywhere.

Starting on a Monday, I began the low-iodine diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables, homemade bread, pasta, gluten-free dark chocolate, no sodium ground turkey, and no sodium chicken. I marked my weight being 123.4 lbs. For the first week, I felt fine. But that Sunday, I felt incredibly hungry. I found that a local grocery store carried gluten-free and other special diet foods so that helped. Unlike last time where I lost a lot of weight, the most that I lost this time was 3.6 lbs.

The food was a bit bland at times, as dairy, stuff with sea salt, lots of meat, certain beans, and etc was prohibited. You’d be surprised at how much food has milk, soy, and is probably made with iodine salt. All were big no-no’s on this diet. The lack of a variety of tasty food made me tired for the nearly two weeks that I was on this diet. Besides work, nothing else really got done.

That following Monday, there were medical appointments each day, at approximately at the same time as the previous one. The first two days consisted of one Thyrogen 0.9 mg IM injection. These shots are to make me hypothyroid – so, tired and slow.

Oh, you get these shots in your ass. Just so you know. Just in case you usually go commando most days. But the nurses probably don’t care

The third day was going to the labs for blood and then taking ten sodium iodide I-123 capsules. I was surprised that it was only ten this time. Wasn’t it twenty last time? Also different was how they were packaged. Instead of metal canisters, these pills were in a single thick plastic canister. Inside this canister was a funnel looking thing that held the pills. I could pick out a few easily, but when I tried to bang the rest out, several fell on the floor. I apologized and the medical attendant picked them off the floor and handed them to me, asking if I needed more water. Since I was given a single 8 oz bottle of water, I said yes. And I asked if taking the pills off the floor was okay. The medical attendant said, “five second rule,” and then left to give me another small bottle of water.

You probably don’t know this about me, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. It drives my husband crazy at times. So, I’m staring at these pills, wondering if I really need to take them. What could a few missing ones hurt? Since the attendant left, I could toss them and he wouldn’t know. But I figured that since I received half the amount than last time, I probably should take these. But it was a struggle. I tried to wipe this pills off the best I could without accidentally opening them. And then I swallowed them, finishing off the first water bottle. Ugh. So gross.

The fourth day was the whole body scan. I had to stay still for about an hour while the machine scanned me. It was nice to have the heated blanket covering me. I should have asked for the plastic splints or whatever they are called to help keep my arms at my side. After awhile of trying to stay completely still, my arms felt weird and week. Oh, and if I have to do this again, I’ll ask to have my phone play music somewhere above my head. It gets a bit boring when you’re the only one in the room and you aren’t allowed to move for an hour.

But once the scan is over, it’s time to eat normally again! It was the highlight of the two weeks. I’m sure that I annoyed many people with my wish list of all the food that I was going to eat once I could eat whatever I wanted again. I think I gained back that 3.6 lbs that same day. So proud. And I’m not even kidding.

That Friday saw me back at the labs for more blood work so that they can check my thyroglobulin levels.

I’ll write about the results of all these fun tests in the next posting.