Saturday, November 13, 2010

Radioactive Reflections

In thinking about my experience, I keep remembering some things I forgot to add in my previous posts. So, here we go! After leaving the hospital, I felt pretty good (even stayed up and sewed an apron, of all things!?). I was smiling and upbeat. I felt really good. This was, as I learned, because it takes 24 hours for the RAI to really get into your system. My Endo had told me that after taking the pill I would be able to be off of the Low Iodine Diet (the angels in my head rejoiced!), and the nuclear med tech said the same thing. I was fully planning on a good "real" meal. However, when Mr. Weird doctor met with me he told me no way! That I would have to wait until Friday, but then we compromised on 24 hours later, which would have been dinner on Thursday.

My parents were ready to pick up Fuzzy's chips and queso and fish tacos for me. But, as we know, that was not to be (not yet, anyway!).

Here we are, day three, and all I've had to eat today is a few pieces of toast. This nausea has been something I didn't anticipate. I wish people would just be honest. I realize that everyone has a different experience, but for some reason, I feel like people I've talked to who have gone through this have minimized what it is like. That, or I'm really just a wuss! I know more than one person has said to me (doctor's included) that this is the "radiation that you get that doesn't make you sick". This is, of course, coming from a doctor who hasn't gone through it himself.

I think part of my exhaustion is due to my body still being very hypothyroid. This is because I was off of my synthetic thyroid replacement medicine for so long. I was able to start taking it again on Thursday morning, but I've only had three pills so far. I'm guessing it will take a week at least for it to really get back into my system. Needless to say, I've spent many MANY hours sleeping, and I look forward to not waking up tired!

So, that first night while I was sleeping I remember waking up and feeling like I had fire coming out through my pores. It was mostly in my lower extremities- most especially my right leg and thigh, for some reason. It was the weirdest sensation. It didn't last long, and I was able to get back to sleep quickly, but it definitely woke me up. I had also taken a Phenergan and remember "waking up" (realized later it was all a dream- I must have been hallucinating a bit) and walking to the door in my room. I opened it because I heard talking in the great room. I saw my mom out there talking with a handsome young man who was a plumber... and he had a really cool big white dog with him. Don't ask?! I have no explanation....
I talked before about the sore salivary glands and puffy face. This IS something they told me to expect. You know when you eat something sour, like a lemon and you get that TWANG in your jaw or by your ears?.. that is where it was super sore!
The salivary glands by my cheeks, in front of my ears were the worst! Swollen and very sore to touch! It made my face look funny in the "oooh that's weird" way, not a "haha" funny way. I looked like a chipmunk with nuts in my cheeks.  
Okay, maybe not *that* puffy! Tee hee!

Well, they tell you to suck on sour hard candy starting on day two to help get those salivary glands working and to draw out the radiation. They suggest lemon drops... let me just tell you when you pop one of those suckas into your mouth with sore and swollen salivary glands, it quickly introduces you to a whole new level of TWANG! I'm talking, brace yourself with your hands and try to focus on not yelping a little- level!

This was really bad the first day after RAI, a little better on the second day, and here I am on day three and the swelling is hardly there and it doesn't hurt when I push on those areas anymore! Yay!

I have never taken as many showers in three days as I have since I came here. They say to shower frequently to help wash out and wash off the radiation (that exits your body through your pores, sweat, tears, urine, and feces). I am squeaky clean, that is for sure!

Oh, and be sure to flush two or three times..... (sorry mom and dad for the water bill!).

For some reason I woke up on the second day and my voice was HOARSE!! Like, really hoarse and raspy. It seemed to get worse as the day went on, too. By the end of the day I hardly had any voice at all. I am sure it was related to the salivary glad swelling- causing swelling in my throat. My throat was minimally sore, but I did sound like a man! I'd be willing to bet if I had called someone who didn't know me they would have called me a "sir". When I woke up this morning I was still hoarse, but it has improved greatly throughout the day. I'm sure my voice will be back to normal by tomorrow.

As today  has worn on, I have started to feel a little better. I haven't taken a Phenergan since this morning and I've been ok. I haven't had much energy though, and have laid around most of the day. I'm hoping for some energy tomorrow so that I can start sewing things. I brought a bunch of stuff to sew and projects to finish.. so I'm eager to get going on them!

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