Email I sent to the family

Hey everyone!

I wanted to give you a heads up that I’m having a radiation pill next
week to kill off my thyroid. As you already know, I was diagnosed
with Graves Disease in early February. There is no question that it
is Graves as I have also been seeing a radiologist at the Cancer
Institute (no, I do not have cancer, but the treatment for thyroid
disease is the same). I had a iodine uptake scan and within 4 hours
my thyroid had absorbed almost 80% of the iodine radiation tracer.
Normally it would be around 15-20%. The scan also showed that it was
a fully saturated absorption – no dark or light spots to be concerned
about – just classic Graves.

I started medication for it sometime in January. I’ve tried 2
different medications and had blood work done to see how they’re
working. They’re not. In fact, I’ve started feeling worse. I’m very
hot all the time. And since my thyroids swollen, I have this constant
choking sensation (like theres a hand or tight necklace on my throat).
But the biggest worry is my heart rate is too high. My resting heart
rate is about 20-30 beats faster than it should be. With our family
history of heart disease, letting that go uncheck would be a bad idea.
(In the short term, I also do not want to burn up when summer gets

Both my doctor who diagnosed it, and the radiologist came to the same
conclusion, that iodine radiation treatment is the best solution at
this point. The good news is, I don’t have to have surgery! All I
have to do is take another radiation pill like I did for the tests.
This pill will just be a lot stronger. It will be Iodine 131 (if
anyone wants to look it up). They were originally going to give me a
dose that would leave me quarantined in the hospital for a few days.
I had come to terms with this and decided to treat it like a camping
trip vacation – just with air conditioning, wifi and cable TV. So I
was kinda disappointed when they decided to go with a smaller dose.
Not that it’s a small does, but I’ll be getting the max they can give
me without quarantining me.

No worries, I wont fee sick or anything. At max they said I might
feel nauseous and get a dry mouth and feel tingling in my cheeks.
Though the radiation doctor does not believe I will have any side
effects at all. I’m just going to go into the hospital, take a pill
and go right back home. The iodine will then be absorbed by the
thyroid and the radiation will kill it. I will still have some
thyroid tissue left which might need to be taken care of in the
future, but it’s a unanimous agreement that this is the best solution.

Now, even though I’m not being quarantined in the hospital, I still
have strict guidelines to follow. I’ll be receiving the pill on
Friday April 3rd (that’s a week from today). Here are the guidelines
I need to follow to prevent exposing others to harmful amounts of
radiation (which could possibly cause them thyroid cancer in the
future which I would feel REALLY bad about):

**I need to avoid being around people as much as possible for 3-4
days. (I’ve taken off work Monday and Tuesday to accomplish this – so
it’ll be like a vacation of forced seclusion! I plan to be lazy all
weekend and watch lots of movies at home.)

**For a week I need to avoid close contact with adults (there’s a 2
meter distance recommendation) and any long exposure even at that.

**For a month I am to limit any prolonged or close exposure to
pregnant women and children. This means no coming home where I might
expose Cade and Cole. So I will not be home during the month of April
which sadly excludes Easter  I apologize that I will not be there.

Keep in mind that I wont feel in any different, I just need to follow
these guidelines for the sake of everyone else. Also heads up, Graves
runs in families. Dad had his thyroid cut out, I’m having mine
radiated out. Might want to note this on your medical histories.

Good news is, for most of May I wont have any classes! So I’ll come
home to visit in early May – perhaps the first weekend in May when my
ban on being near children is lifted.

As far as a school update – I’ve made an 82 on both tests we’ve had!
I’m taking a Unix class and I’m pretty proud of my 82s!

Love you all,


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