28 September 2006

All Clean

Well, I've made it through the surgery, radiation and body scans. Some time I'll post more details to help others (particularly men, since they're very under-represented in thyroid disorders). For now, a quick summary will have to do.

The recovery period for the surgery was harder than I expected. The radiation therapy itself was really no big deal. The hard part was the preparation: 6 weeks without any thyroid hormone at all. My TSH level was over 60 a week before I got the low-dose radiation for the first body scan (a TSH level of 3 to 5 indicates a hypothyroid condition). I've never been so tired for so long. I resumed the thyroid hormone at 100 micrograms after being released from the hospital (the high-dose radiation is done inpatient). After a month at that level, I finally got a dose adjustment to 250 micrograms. Gee, think maybe that explains the fatigue?!?

I also had two very successful full body scans. The first was done with a 2 millicurie dose of I-131 (radioactive isotope of iodine). The second was done utilizing the residual radiation from the high-dose (150 millicuries) treatment. They both showed that there were no thyroid cells anywhere else in my body. That effective means that I'm cancer free.

I'll have to follow-up in 7 weeks for a thyroid level check. They will be checking to make sure that my TSH levels are low enough (indicates a sufficient hormone therapy dosage) and that I don't have any cells anywhere producing thyroid hormones on their own (which would be an indicator of cancer recurrence). Around the 1 year anniversary of the radiation therapy, I'll have to have a radiation follow-up. At least this one won't require the month-plus weaning period, so I should be physically much less affected.

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