All of you have gone on the crazy journey of Papillary Thyroid Cancer with me and to you I say: THANK YOU. Thank you so much for the support; the text messages, phone calls, emails, facebooking, twittering, donations, ALL OF IT.
Well......... If you ask my Uncle, my Aunt's hubby, he'd strongly disagree. This EXACT cancer is exactly what's been kicking his ass for many moons. He's fighting back like a champion, but here it is. This impatient little bastard called cancer is waiting to stake it's un-rightful claim. And yet he fights. We all fight. At the end of the day, who wants to CALL IT a day??
If you're someone who found this blog through Google or some other search result other than already knowing me, don't let the following info trip you out. We are all individuals and how my body reacted to Radioactive Iodine (RAI) might be totally different from you. Do your research, understand what you can.... And REALLY grasp that your journey is yours. Own it, believe it, you got this. No matter the ease or the nightmare... YOU GOT THIS.
I didn't lie.
But what I didn't know is that Radioactive Iodine (RAI from here on out) was going to KICK MY ASS. And holy crap, that's what it did.
I did research. I spoke with several peeps who had RAI and they all said about the same thing: RAI wasn't that big a deal, they were mildly nauseous for a minute, etc. etc.
Let me set up the whole scenario for you.
Unless you have AMAZING health coverage and you get to have what's called a thyrogen shot that'll slam you into a quick and crazy hypothyroid state, you have to stop taking your thyroid replacement pills about four weeks prior to your RAI treatment. It's important that you reach a Hypothyroid state prior to getting the Iodine that marks where there's thyroid cells left in your body. They will also put you on a low iodine diet for a couple weeks prior to all this so the RAI can take proper effect.
Fast forward to the actual RAI.
With RAI, you cannot AT ALL be around another living soul for a few days. Not one. It's not like other radiations for other cancers. Depending on your dose, you are told to hole yourself up in an undisclosed location. (the CLINK from here on out)
So. On a Thursday, I went to the Nuclear Medicine Department (THAT is a crazy term to say out loud!) and took a charcoal colored horse pill. The humans that work there are not allowed to touch the charcoal pill. I literally "bottoms upped" it from a TEST TUBE. Wow.
On that same Friday, as I was in full solitude in the "clink", that little charcoal bastard took hold, full force.
It's hard to describe.
Point is: It was MOMENT TO MOMENT. And it was scary as hell. And in the midst of it, as I was skyping my Mama, I said to her: Wow. What good practice to live in the moment. Cuz that's ALL I CAN DO RIGHT NOW. I really wasn't sure if I would make it to Saturday. And she wasn't either. It was like that---no joke and no exaggeration.
Saturday came, and so I remained. Sunday too. And every day (thankfully) since then. Days have come, they have perished.. Those days in between now and then that now we consider the past. Buh-BYE.
There are three people who need to be hugely recognized during these moments of my crazy hell.
My Mama--let's just call her... Mama!, the Hubby--Christopher Nelson and the Bestie--Landall Goolsby. These peeps brought me food whilst I was in the clink and I wouldn't have survived without their support and constant texting, phone calls and food bringing during my darkest of cancerous radioactive hours.
According to where I am right now--I pretty much have cancer licked. I have done everything by the book and then some. I get a blood test in six months to tell me exactly where I am and a scan in another six months to confirm I am one solid chick. I am choosing to believe that I have KICKED IT'S ASS. My endocrinologist said: given the size of the tumors and the fact they only spread to one lymph node and the size of my body and my age, that I am totally good. But he cannot and will not guarantee that fact until the follow up stuff happens and that'll be in six months to a year. OK then! Let's just say: WE ROCKED IT, GUYS!! :)
I am glad that's what I got and kicked it's ass. I am glad and BEYOND grateful for the support system of all of YOU that I've had during this process.
At the end of the day... IT IS STILL F**KING CANCER.
Laugh all you will, judge all you must. But until you get a call, and I pray you DON'T, at 830AM on a random Tuesday morning, you don't understand the utter holy s**t moment that comes with the cancer discovery moment. You will fall to your knees.
But what defines our journey is not how many times we fall to our knees in fear, pride, envy or uncertainty... but how many times we fall to our knees in gratitude for the journey itself and who's along for the ride.
Thank you, all of you, for teaching me just how many times I can fall to my knees in utter gratitude.
I promise my next Blog Post will not have a damn thing to do with Cancer.