>Last Friday–exactly one week after my radioiodine treatment, my neck started to ache. First, it felt like a sore throat coming on. Later it felt like I’d slept wrong or somehow strained my neck (I couldn’t turn it to the right at all). By Sunday morning, I still felt like I do when I have a cold coming on–a general scratchy throat feeling, but I also felt something else: a dull ache in the front of my neck.
I’d wondered if this would happen. Besides getting sick from the initial dose of iodine (which I didn’t), I had heard that there might be some mild neck discomfort. For some reason, I thought this would happen right away. Instead, it’s come a week later. It makes sense. The iodine is absorbed into the body and slowly makes its way to the thyroid. Meanwhile, any that doesn’t make it is eliminated from the body within the first few days. So now there’s a concentration of the stuff hanging out around my radioactive neck. And now, I can tell something’s happening. The body hurts when something isn’t right. And it hurts now.
Maybe I’m nuts, but I still feel a strange sense of remorse over killing a part of myself. I wish I could keep at least part of it, just because. Then I’d feel less guilty; then I’d feel more whole. But the body doesn’t work that way. Apparently, if just a bit of the thyroid hangs around, because of the Graves’s Disease, my immune system will still be telling the thyroid to work overtime. And soon, I’d be right back where I started. This is why doctors try to prescribe enough radioactive iodine to kill off the entire thyroid, and why if they don’t, then a second dose of the treatment is needed.
So for now I will mourn the loss and promise my body I’ll try harder to take care of it in the future. And I’ll hope that I’ll never have to put it through anything like this–or worse–again.
>Where’s my web-slinging action? I asked my husband on our way home from getting my radioactive iodine treatment last Friday.
“Maybe it comes with time?” he answered.
I admit, we both secretly hoped that I’d suddenly find myself with some new superpower–even if it was small or only temporary. Or at the very least, I expected that I’d feel something.
But the fact was, if it weren’t for the fact that I remember taking the capsule that came in the scary lead package at the hospital and the fact that my doctor sent me home with explicit instructions to avoid public spaces and close contact with others, and follow specific rules of hygiene for the next 72 hours, I might not have known that anything had happened at all.
That’s right: for those who are wondering, like I did: will I feel any different? In my case, the answer was a resounding “no”. I didn’t get sick, I didn’t get any neck or jaw pain, and I didn’t feel all glowy. Nothing. It’s been life as normal–except I had to be alone a lot for the first three days.
But my husband and I made the best of it: he made me special food for some meals and brought in fun take-out that we never have for others. We picniced in areas of the house we never dine–me in one of the rooms we’d set aside for my semi-isolation and he in the hall outside of it. We took walks each day…I just stood a little further away from he and the dog than I usually do. He camped out on the couch and I got to remember what it was like to sleep in a bed alone again (I didn’t kick anyone!), and it actually felt a bit like years ago when we were dating (and it made us miss each other all that much more, which is always a good thing for any relationship).
So I didn’t get superpowers. But when you compare it to the alternatives (getting sick from radiation or having to recover from surgery), I really think I got off okay.