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Radioactive Iodine Treatment

This treatment actually sounds a lot worse than what it was.

For two weeks before the treatment I had to stop taking my thyroxine, this was to remove all traces of the drug from my body.  The only problem with this is by the end of the second week I was completely exhausted as I had nothing keeping my metabolism going.

I was then checked into a private room off an oncology ward.  This would be my home for the next two nights.  It had it's own bathroom as I was to be 'sectioned' away from my family and friends as well as the public.  I took a tablet of iodine that had been made radioactive.  The thyroid cells absorb iodine and by it being radioactive it would kill of anything that absorbed 

it.  This would hopefully kill the leftover microscopic cancerous thyroid cells to prevent them from regrowing.

I experienced no real side affects but boredom and nausea.  I think the vomiting was due to a cold pizza I got my partner to shove under the door.  (I was fed up of hospital food and thought I could feed myself, turns out I was just as bad as the hospital). I did spend the next day feeling a little nauseous but I was able to put up with it instead of having an anti sickness injection (which I had experienced after my operation and didn't like because it made my leg muscles go stiff and ache).  I watched a few films and phoned some friends on the free telephone to pass the time away.

The way I was going to get out of that room was by drinking lots or water and getting rid of it as quickly as possible.  This would wash out the radiation from my body.  So I drank, not just a little, but gallons of the stuff.  I was going to the toilet every half hour.  I noticed that my urine and sweat had a very strange smell to it, so apart from a shower every day I was fine.

I was told to keep away from the general public, pregnant woman and children once I was out of hosptial to reduce the chances of spreading the radiation.  I was not allowed to have my partner in my room and could not stay with people for long periods.  This may have had to continue for two to three weeks.

On the Monday morning I was taken down to the scanner room and placed under a large moving camera which slowly traveled up the length of my body.  It was accessing the levels of radiation in my body.  This was fascinating.  I could see the outline of my bladder and stomach perfectly.

I was informed I could go home and be back at work by the Wednesday because the levels of radiation were so low that I was not a danger to the general public.

I still had to stay away from my Tom for a week, but that was my only restriction.

I carried a card in my wallet to warn health workers should I need medical attention.

I required a follow up treatment in late September.  This was very similar but did not require for me to stay in hospital.  I had to stop taking my thyroxine two weeks before and then take a tablet on Friday which was a much smaller dose.   On the Monday I had another scan to check the levels of radiation left in my thyroid area.  Which were gone.  I again had to sleep alone and keep away from certain people, but apart from that I was okay.

Two weeks later Tom and I were sitting in front the consultant who had diagnosed me.  I was given the all clear and was told I was able to go traveling to Australia.  We had only postponed our flights by two months, which in itself shows how determined I was to get better and get out there.

The highlight for the year was sitting in Sydney Harbour on the eve of the millennium watching the fireworks go off.

What a year.

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