Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tomorrow--The Big Day

Dealing with cancer has several big steps.

The first is hearing you have a body part not functioning properly and you have a possibility of cancer.
Prior to that point, you live your life, day-by-day, not obsessively reflecting on the past, and thinking of what may be in store 10, 20 or 30 years in the future. Once you hear you have the possibility of cancer, you start researching the probability of that type of cancer.
Human nature

The next step is learning that you have cancer.
That step is life changing. It makes you take the time to reflect on the past and the future, heavily. You start wondering how long a life you have left.

The next step is preparing for more tests, to see if the cancer has spread.
It it has not spread, you can hope for a normal life expectancy. It is has spread, your prognosis changes. It goes from Good to Fair to Poor, depending on where and how much the cancer has invaded other parts of your body.

Tomorrow is when I have a full body scan to see where the cancer has spread. I am in the high risk group. At 48, I am eight years older than the line where you are in a high or low risk category due to age. I also had a tumor much larger than the 4cm size, which bumps me into the high risk category. I also have a cancer that spreads more readily than other types of thyroid cancer. Finally, the cancer has been sitting in my neck for at least 4 years, giving it the chance to spread. Based on common sense, I have a greater chance of the cancer being more invasive.

This is what today is--waiting. Knowing the possibilities. Preparing.

Preparation includes taking the same laxatives you do for a colonoscopy. This is because the radioactive iodine that I was given on Tuesday concentrates in several spots. First, and foremost in any thyroid cancer cells. Second, it is excreted through the colon, bladder, sweat glands and salivary glands. If my colon is not clean, a false or even confusing result can be seen. The doctors could say "is that cancer, or is your colon just not cleaned out.

My own preparation is basically not eating today and tomorrow. The whole low iodine diet purpose is to make any remaining thyroid cells hungry for iodine. Since iodine is in most food, what better way to be sure that you have low iodine by not eating anything. I am already weak because of the low thyroxine and already not eating--I want to go that extra mile to be sure my body has no new iodine at all.

Note: The laxative works.... It works so well, you lose your appetite.

My appointment is at 7:30AM, so I will be up at 5:00 and on the road at 5:30 to avoid Atlanta traffic.