Saturday, September 12, 2009


I should have brought my camera. But I'm not a camera-type person, and so, I didn't remember to. It really was a very unique experience, though, that no one can visualize without seeing it.

When you walk into the room, you feel like you are going into a danger zone or something: blue pads taped to the whole floor; saran wrap on the toilet seat, faucets, phone, remote, bed, chair, etc.; lead shields to keep radiation from entering the adjoining rooms; a sign that reads, "no visitors beyond this point"; red bins with orange "radioactive" signs; warning signs on the door and elsewhere.

So much fanfare for a gray horse-pill that they brought to me in this vault-like container. They had to open a compartment to open another compartment to open yet another compartment to get to the pill.

After swallowing it, they had to take measurements of me and the area all around my room to test the levels of radiation. I didn't feel at all different. I was just sitting there, so benign and innocent, yet so dangerous and infectious.

They said I might experience nausea, dry mouth, and pain at the cancer site, but I didn't experience any of it. I really felt very good. The most traumatic part of the whole thing was being isolated. It was so hard to just have to lay there and read a book and have people cook for me and wait on me and fuss over me. Very traumatic.

I think the hospital staff was a little confused. Everyone kept telling me something different.

"Don't use anything you don't want to leave here."

"You can use it, just wear gloves."

"You don't have to wear gloves as long as no one else will be touching it after you."

Some nurses would use a separate stethoscope from their own, while others would use their own. Some nurses would completely suit up, while others would just wear gloves. Some would come in, announcing that they couldn't get close and hurriedly do what they had to do and leave. Others would come in and stand by me for five minutes. One nurse kept checking my input and output. The rest didn't care how many times I went to the bathroom or ate. One nurse didn't even wear gloves and said he only had to if he was handling bodily fluids.

I don't know what to make of all that. Just relating the facts. No one seemed to know what the protocol was.

I was only in the hospital for 24 hours. My numbers were better than the acceptable level the next day. The guy measuring my levels said, "Your surgeon did a really good job removing all the thyroid. It's a very precise surgery and difficult to get everything without hitting nerves, vocal chords, or parathyroids."

"I know. I had a wonderful surgeon," I said.

This is a theme I keep hearing from the different doctors I see: "Your surgeon did a wonderful job."

So, I am home now. I still have to stay 6 feet away from everyone. Children are most susceptible to the radiation. Allika went to stay with her cousin for a few days. She was having a little trouble remembering to keep her distance. She was very upset that she couldn't hug me. That was hard for me because she was crying and saying that it made her feel bad not to be able to hug me. So, she went and got me a rose. It was her own idea, and she picked it out all by herself, announcing to everyone that her mother had cancer and she couldn't be close to her. She is such a sweetie-pie.

The next thing we will have to do is a body scan on Thursday to see if the iodine only went to the neck or if it went anywhere else. If it went anywhere else, that's where the cancer spread.

I get to have a new experience on Wednesday that I've never had before (hence, the newness of it). I get to take a laxative in preparation for my body scan.

I love new experiences.


  1. I hate laxatives. I hope it doesn't give you horrible belly cramps like it did me.
    Being radioactive is about the weirdest thing. You really don't feel any different and everyone is rather confused by it too. I did not stay in the hospital at all for my time of isolation. they just did the 6 feet of separation right off. Also right after I took the pill I was told to not open my mouth for one hour. I also had to have my own bathroom for the first week. I am glad you are home and I hope all goes well.

  2. That's interesting that they had you keep your mouth closed for an hour. I would think that would be kind of difficult to remember after the first few minutes.
    I hope I don't get belly cramps either, but I probably will. =)
    It's good to have someone who's been through the process before me. Thanks for commenting.

  3. In my nursing classes they often comment on how weird surgeons are becacuse they are such perfectionists. Thursday I made a point to defend them as a whole, and reminded everyone that they wouldn't want it any other way... PRAISE GOD for people are precise and care about getting it right! We all have our niche in life.

  4. You are so right, Paula! Thank God for perfectionists!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing with us Tanager!!! I absolutely love reading your blog! I love how you write with such vivid detail! I like it that it makes me feel a bit more in touch with your life since we rarely get to be together in person. ( :
    Love and hugs to you - I can give you lots of hugs because I am more than 6 feet away. ( :

  6. Lol, Venessa. Yes, unfortunately, you are far enough away to give me hugs safely. Hugs back to you. Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I love writing them; it is very therapeutic.

  7. I'm glad you like "new experiences", but I
    really doubt that you will yearn for any
    experience like this again. Keep your chin
    up and give my regards and love to Alikka
    and Van. We are still praying.
    Dad and Mom

  8. Yes, I think one time will be plenty. Love you guys, too.