Sunday, January 07, 2007

What's this Hypo/LID all about??

I thought I'd attempt a little explanation about what this hypo/LID stuff is all about, since I realize I never really said anything about it. You might remember that the pathology report from my surgery showed that the tumor had not spread to any surrounding tissues or lymph nodes and I was diagnosed with Stage 1 disease, which, especially because I'm young, is the best case scenario. I expect to have a full recovery this year, and thyroid cancer will be nothing more than just a blip on my radar screen, and a minor nuisance for the rest of my life!! I am very lucky!! It's not an aggressive cancer and we caught it early.

I'm in the next phase of treatment right now - radioactive iodine (RAI). The thyroid is the only tissue that absorbs the RAI, which makes it a convenient way to kill off any remaining cancer cells that might be floating around inside me. In preparation for the RAI, I'm off my thyroid replacement hormone right now, which means any thyroid cells I have left are frantically active, trying (in vain, I might add) to produce enough thyroid hormone for my body to use.

Since the thyroid regulates the body's metabolism and use of energy, without a thyroid everything slows waaaay down. Basically my body just can't use the food energy I take in to function and all my organs are struggling mightily to carry on! Including the brain - I've turned into a total space cadet!! :) I don't feel as bad as I expected to though. Some people can't peel themselves off the couch. I've managed to stay active, and even though I'm fatigued constantly, the activity actually helps.

But it's necessary to do this because we need the thyroid cells to be active so they will show up on my whole body scan (WBS). Another thing that helps the process is a special low iodine diet that I have to follow (mainly I can't eat dairy, seafood or sea based products, any processed foods, or iodized salt - yes, that means LOTS of fruit and veggies!). But it's important because the thyroid cells will be depleted of any iodine (where the body stores it) and when I ingest the radioactive stuff, they'll suck it up like a dry sponge. Then they'll eventually die off because... well, they binged on radioactive iodine (and good riddance!).

So next week on Wednesday I will go in for my WBS, which takes all day pretty much, and depending on where they see remaining cancer cells, they will decide how large a dose to give me of the RAI. The expectation is that they will not see much and I'll get a small outpatient dose on Wednesday and be sent home to be in semi-isolation for a few days since I'll be radioactive and don't want to expose others. If they see more than expected, I will get a larger dose and need to be admitted to the hospital for total isolation. I'm really praying and keeping my fingers crossed that it's the former, although even if it is the latter, it doesn't change my prognosis, just the treatment.

As soon as that's over, I can start taking my thyroid hormone, stop the special diet, and start feeling "normal" again!! I can't wait. Plus I will know that I am cancer free. Please think good thoughts for me next week!

1 comment:

Rhea said...

I am forty years old and had low thyroid when I was 17. I tried dieting and exercise but it didn't seem to help much. but ever since i added porcine in my diet, losing weight seem to be a breeze.