Before I come off as doctor bashing, it is important to note that both of my parents are MD's.
Okay if you don't know my "story", here's the quick version. (Bear with me, it's hard for me to not be long winded, but i'll try). Thyroid cancer, two tumors (both over 4cm), one Papillary, one Follicular variant. Had a TT, and large dose of RAI (154mci). Accidental pregnancy and sweet baby girl delayed my second scan. So, instead of doing the scan 6 months after my first one, it was instead 13 months later (time to have baby and breastfeed for about 2 1/2 months). This is where I am now. I had my RAI tracer dose (less than 5mci) on Wednesday. Today is Saturday and I am STILL in isolation.
Which leads me to my frustration about precautions.
Now, could some people who had the same dose as I did go home sooner and be fine? Absolutely! As you know (or will find out), our bodies get rid of the radiaiton in a variety of ways. It comes out in your pores, your sweat, your pee, tears, and yes, even your poo. It sloughs off on your skin as well as being disappated into the air. The half-life of radioactive Iodine is 8 days. So, if you didn't get rid of it at all in the aforementioned ways, and you had a dose of 100mci, you would be down to 50mci in 8 days, 25mci in 16 days, and so on. Luckily though, we DO get rid of it in other ways though! lol! You can help this process along by drinking lots of water and getting that through your system and showering frequently, etc.
- At about 4' i was at background (0.02)
- one foot closer it doubled (.04)
- then at about 6" or so, I was 10x background (.2)
- and right up next to me was even more (.3ish)
What really chaps my hide is that the doctor's office said I would be FINE to return home 24 hours after my dose, "because it is so small". Really? How am I fine to return home when I can't get my scan until 48 hours later and in order for this scan to "work" your body has to be emitting enough radiation for the machine to pick it up. In my book, if my body is emitting enough radiation from that, then I sure as heck don't want to be holding my babies!! When I told my doctor's office that I have very young children, they said "oh, 48 hours would be better then.". Ok, thanks. However, if I told them that I am on day 4 of not being with them they would think I've lost my marbles and am being excessive. Call me what you will, but to me I am being safe. When it comes to my family and my children, I prefer for them to not be exposed to any unncessary radiation. It's just not something I care to do. The wonderful lady in the Nuclear Medicine department was very helpful and agreed with the precations I've taken this time (and last). I tend to go with her recommendations over my doctor's anyways since this is HER job, day in and day out.
Originally, I had planned on going home this evening (Saturday, after 72 hours), but after having my levels tested yesterday and watching the needle jump up and knowing my numbers, it just isn't safe yet. I could go home late this evening probably, but still would need to maintain the 2' rule and sleep alone. Well, I'm not good at keeping my kids at bay and let's face it, they miss their mommy and all three of them are snugglers. So are my dogs. Keeping 3 babies and 2 dogs off of me just wouldn't happen. I'm sure I could easily keep the husband away though, lol. He has been a rock star and has been caring for the kids solely since his mom left after taking care of them for the first day and a half. He's pooped and is ready for me to come home. I think he struggles with this b/c he doesn't fully understand it. I actually think most people don't truly "get it" unless they experience it first hand- as in being the patient.
I wish our bodies emitted a green light or something when the levels were too high and that when it went away, it meant we were safe again. It's very hard not being able to see this radiation.
It terrifies me to think about how many people are out there and haven't taken proper precautions either because they were given bad advice, or ignored good advice. Is it inconvenient to make the arrangements? Yes! Is it a hardship on yourself? Yep! Is it hard on others in your family? You betcha! Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not!
YOU are the one in control of what you chose to do. Again, call me crazy if you want to for being so passionate about this, but I just feel compelled to educate others as best I can- by relating my personal experience.
I'm sure I've forgotten something, but this definitely goes over the main points I wanted to express. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or comments. You can call me crazy and it won't ruffle my feathers. I've been called much worse!