I saw the endocrinologist today. He is happy with my progress. My voice is much better than it was, I am coughing only occasionally, and my voice sounds almost completely normal first thing in the morning. My endocrinologist says my incision is beautiful. (Ok…) He also says I need to have radioactive iodine treatment.
The radioactive iodine treatment will kill any remaining thyroid tissue. (Surprisingly, a total thyroidectomy often leaves behind thyroid tissue.) This will do two things. First of all, this will help prevent thyroid cancer from recurring. Second of all, it will also make it easier for my doctors to check for cancer recurrance. Once all of my thyroid tissue is destroyed, the doctors will only have to do a simple blood test to check for any cancer.
I haven’t scheduled the radioactive iodine treatment, but it’s more of a production than one would think. First of all, I need to go on a low iodine diet for two weeks before the procedure. I have to get two injections and a body scan before I can get the radioactive iodine treatment, so that they will know how much to give me.
Once they give me the treatment, I will have to be somewhat sequestered for a few days. I will have to use seperate silverware, keep about six feet between myself and other people, and avoid all contact with children and pregnant women. I will also have to flush the toilet three times after using it.
After a few days, the radioactive iodine will no longer be present in my system, and I can return to my normal activities.
I am not scared or sad, the way I was before I had surgery. I am more annoyed than anything, since I’ll have to go back on short term medical leave, and disrupt my life (again!), but I am not worried. With any luck, this should be the last step before I resume totally normal life.