Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Catch

I’m sure that you have heard that expression, “Good Catch” before. If not then you probably live under a rock. Anyways, I was about to get treated for thyroid cancer this week by a doctor out of Martin Memorial. Short version of what happened this week----I talked with someone whose experience with thyroid cancer treatment was not all that great through local hospitals. He suggested getting a second opinion from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando before going through the treatment. So Wednesday came and I canceled all my appointments with Martin Memorial for this week and I told them I would reschedule. I was supposed to go and get thyrogen shots on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and I was supposed to have taken the radioactive iodine I-131 this afternoon, which I did not do---Thankfully!

I left work on Wednesday to take care of all the appointment making and canceling. I ended up at M.D. Anderson this morning. I called them Wednesday and told them I wanted to see someone this week, and they called me back yesterday (Thursday) and told me to come in today at 10:00am. We were on the road by 8:00, and arrived in Orlando at 10:00.

We walked in to the Nuclear Medicine department and had about a 5 minute wait, then a nurse came and got me. She took my vitals then sent me back to the waiting room. The I had about a 10 minute wait and a guy came and got me and took me into a dimmed room with 3 desks in it that had a bunch of computer screens on them. And in there was the Nuclear Medicine doctor. He asked me questions for 10-15 minutes, and then reviewed all of my pathology reports with me from Dr. Richards (my awesome ENT). I could tell that he had reviewed my file before I got there because he had stuff underlined and highlighted everywhere. After he was done with that he showed me how staging is done with thyroid cancer and said that I am considered stage 1 at this point.

So after an hour and a half of talking with this guy, Brad and I both had a much better understanding of what exactly the radioactive iodine will do and what I need to do between now and when I actually take the radioactive iodine. The first thing that I have to do is stop taking my medication (not looking forward to that!!!) so that my TSH level elevate over 30 (right now mine are 3.5), then once I hit 30 or above I will return to M.D. Anderson to take a radioactive pill, a.k.a. I-123, to get ready for a body scan which is done 24 hours after taking the I-123, then the doctor reviews my scan and determines how high of a dose of radioactive iodine is needed to kill my cancer, then I return to M.D. Anderson again for my radioactive iodine dose of I-131. After 10 days I will return to M.D. Anderson for a second scan.

The doctor told us that using thyrogen has been proven to make the absorption of the I-131 less effective and he advised not using it. He also told us that depending on the dose of I-131, I may be able to come home during treatment and he explained why in detail and we both feel better about that now. The doctor told me to continue eating a low iodine diet and he gave me a cookbook to use. I have a really good feeling about getting a second opinion and I am glad that I didn’t go through with the thyrogen injections like I wanted to. The idea of being hypothyroid again just makes me cringe but if that is what I need to do, then I am going to do it. I am just glad that I talked with Brad’s friend this week before I made a mistake with my treatment.

I do have to say that the option to use thyrogen was truly just an option. The doctors around here were not pushing it, in fact, Dr. Richards (my awesome ENT) told me that the drug is controversial, but I told her that I wanted it anyways because I couldn’t function without my thyroid medication (stupid right??!!). So I certainly don’t want to give the impression that doctors were pushing me to get it, because they weren’t. I just wasn’t making a very informed decision, but I am now. It was truly a “good catch.”

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