Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The next steps! Thyroid cancer radioactive iodine treatment!

Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog! I have exciting news and a treatment plan, which really REALLY puts my mind at rest. First things first, I received a letter from my surgeon in York, who I was due to be seeing next week for the results of my completion (total) thyroidectomy. The letter stated that the results of my surgery were back and in his words ‘posed no further cause for concern’, so basically no evidence of the cancers spread to my left lobe and basically a HUGE win for my health and my sanity! So yay yesterday was a good day!

After a fantastic weekend with my friends and boyfriend, I made sure I had a busy weekend planned otherwise the wait until my next treatment appointment would have just DRAGGED. So yes a lovely Friday evening at the Rugby Aid charity match for Rugby for Heroes (www.rugbyforheroes.org.uk), Saturday in Watford with an evening at the Harry Potter studios and a sleepover at the Hilton and finally Sunday my friends birthday celebration and sushi with some of my oldest friends. Keeping busy over these last few months has been difficult but I’m determined to attempt to be as normal as possible over my course of treatment!

Monday rolled around and I popped over to Chelsea for my first of many visits to the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital. This was an outpatient appointment to discuss my course of treatment and radioactive iodine etc over the next couple weeks. I also had a few more blood tests (no surprises there) and a chest x-ray to check everything was all in order.


My meeting with my cancer specialist really put my mind at rest and she explained fully the ins and outs of everything to do with my Thyroid cancer. She gave me a sort of quick fire biology lesson in regards to my thyroid. It was great to have a better understanding of what exactly was going on in my body. The doctors spoke through types of thyroid cancer, explaining the papillary thyroid cancer occurs in around 80% of thyroid cancer diagnosis in the UK. Essentially yes, my cancer is extremely treatable, however due to the size of the tumour removed (over 4.2cm) it was necessary that I received a dose of radioactive iodine to essentially mop up and kill any remaining thyroid cells. In some cases of thyroid cancer, she explained that depending on your personal diagnosis depends on how much/if any radioactive treatment you receive. It was a sort of good-bad situation, good because my form of thyroid cancer is treatable with this radioactive ablation therapy- woo! However it is still cancer, treatment does come with risks and there is always the small chance of needing two doses of the radioactivity over the next 12 months. We spoke further about my general health and the monitoring I will have over the next month and following year, all very informative.

Following my appointment with the Thyroid cancer specialist, I met with her assistant who discussed with me in depth radioiodine ablation treatment. Iodine is a normal part of everyone’s diet and is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Radioiodine is concentrated in the thyroid cells and the radiation destroys them! This treatment is used post surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer returning or spreading. He informed me that in preparation for this treatment I will stop taking my thyroid hormones and need to receive two injections of the medication instead. I would also need to eat a low iodine diet for the next 3 weeks. The UK NHS system suggests I cut down on dairy products (I do any way as I’m lactose intolerant) and cut down seafood, salty foods and bizarrely avoid foods that are artificially coloured pink or red, so canned cherries for example or salami! He also suggested I suck lemon drops to promote the production of saliva from my glands as they can be interfered with during the treatment. Again it was all explained so well and I felt at ease and like I really understood everything.

COOL so, from here I went for my blood test and x-rays and made numerous appointments for September! Including, an ultra sound, a general check up, the injections (in my bum) and then finally my radioactive iodine on the 29th of September! I will post more information about that, but from my understanding so far, I take a pill and am radioactive for 4 days or so and kept in a special hospital in a lead lined room! From then I will be slight radioactive for about a week and then yea general check ups from then onwards! WOO HOO.
A positive thing to take away from Monday was that my doctor said two really powerful things. 1) This will NOT affect my life span- my age, the type of thyroid cancer and they way its being treated all are GREAT things that help my health. And secondly, 2) Do not change your life plans- Okay so yes initially I will have to, I haven’t been able to move to Florida for my job YET but she is so confident that by next year I can return to work and start my adventures with the Disney Cruise Line company!

Dad making a humorous comment about when my boyfriend will visit me post radiation treatment

Thank you to everyone for your support, without it I would be a sad lump of sadness. I just cant wait to make everyone proud and PEW PEW this cancer away. Thank you for reading.

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