Yesterday I met with the Endocrinologist to get results from my post-iodine radiation treatment nuclear medicine full body scan.
Other than finding the scan to be quite relaxing and restful - no needle pokes or yucky potions to drink - I did not really know why I was having this scan other than to do as I'm told and follow the treatment instructions as advised. Usually I dig into things more ahead of time, but I was so tired of researching thyroid stuff I just put my trust in the care of my Endocrine System Physician and showed up on time.
I figured we would be measuring any remaining radioactive cells left after one week post-iodine treatment. Yesterday it was explained in full: yes indeed we were checking to see how many glowing bad guys were left, and where they might be.
See, thyroid cells left behind (cancerous or not) after surgery can still travel throughout the body, settling elsewhere and causing another carcinoma. The point of the radioactive iodine as I mentioned prior, was to zap those thyroid cells with radiation-flavoured iodine treats and destroy them.
Good news and mostly good news: good news is that there was no evidence that any thyroid cells had traveled to other parts of my body. Yahoo - that means they didn't float around either post-surgery or post-treatment and settle somewhere else to cause more cancer.
The mostly good news is that the radioactive thyroid cells left behind (these continue to fade/decay as time goes on), did remain all around my ex-thyroid area. Throat, neck, clavicle.
The amount I have left in there sit on a scale at "intermediate" level risk of recurrence of papillary thyroid cancer. We are relatively comfortable with that. With the high rate of lymph node infection we already knew I wasn't yet out of the woods on the "easy cancer," but intermediate we can handle.
<--- Nice neck, no stupid scar, just sayin!
Follow up will be with ultrasounds on the thyroid area every six months at Sunnybrook. I can technically call myself thyroid cancer free after one year without recurrence.
I still take the thyroid hormone replacement for life, dosage to be monitored by my family doctor, with whom I will be visiting tomorrow.
I can also back off the calcium and prescription-vitamin D (Calcitrol/Rocaltrol) that I have been taking since thyroidectomy. Should I have any symptoms of low calcium ie. numbness or tingling in the lips or face, or tingling or cramping in my fingers, then I need to hop back on that calcium and see my family doc immediately.
Otherwise, that's it for the thyroid stuff and the nuclear medicine scan.
Yesterday after my CT scan when the nurses reminded me to drink lots of fluids for a couple of days, I laughed out loud, thinking "ha ha honey - that teensy bit of contrast dye is NOTHING compared to the walking talking radiaoactive hazard I was almost a month ago!" LOL anyway... I am now home, resting, drinking tea and waiting for my next CT scan results.