Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 5

So Brandon convinced me I need to update the blog during my withdrawal, radioactive iodine treatment and recovery...we'll see how good I am at keeping it up :)

I stopped taking my Thyroid medication last Thursday and was feeling pretty normal, minus the cold I came down with. On Sunday morning, I was still feeling normal but then Brandon had to leave for meetings and I had to get all the kids ready for church. And the house was kinda a disaster so I was cleaning it up, since the home teachers were coming in a few hours. After a while I started feeling less normal. Since then I have had this shaky feeling...I think the best way to describe it is the way you feel after a really hard work out.
Today, I continue to have that feeling....yet I still made it through a pretty busy morning. I even shopped as Walmart, which can be exhausting at anytime! I'm feeling a little worn out this afternoon.

I have been amazed by all the concern and help that has been offered to me and my family already. I feel undeserving, but am grateful that I get to see the goodness of others as they serve us.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thyroid Update....

So I thought I should finally give an update on what’s going on with me and the whole Thyroid thing…notice I still don’t refer to it as cancer…I’m still working though that. I kinda pushed the whole thing out of my mind for the past year and a half since I had my thyroidectomy.  If I didn’t think about it wasn’t a big deal, right?
Well now I’m back to reality, a few weeks ago, I had an appointment with my Radiology Oncologist, Dr Hazuka. In preparation for my appointment they sent me some paperwork to fill out along with a parking lot pass which read “Memorial Hospital Cancer Patient Parking.” What? They couldn’t be telling me I’m a cancer patient.  Julie had real cancer, I have something else… “Thyroid Issues” as I often refer to it as. Well one thing is for sure, I have issues when it comes to cancer.
      I am struggling to reconcile the fact that I am not in control of my body…no matter if I eat healthy,  exercise, do what’s best for my body there is no guarantee that my body won’t just fail and succumb to something. I know I am sounding extreme, and I don’t mean to sound like I’m on the brink of death. I know people who are in a fight for their life from the ravaging effects of treating cancer and I am not. Minus this whole thyroid cancer thing, I am in great health. But the thought that I can’t control my body is disturbing to me. Maybe it’s just something you gradually begin to except as you grow older but I think I’m still in denial. I know Heavenly Father is all knowing and I trust in the Atonement to give me strength to overcome the feelings I have. But I am struggling with this right now…not every day. In fact I usually go about a week of feeling really good about everything and then I break down and cry for a day. Kinda silly but that is what going on with me. So when I talk to any of you and you ask how I’m doing I will say ‘I’m good’ because that how I feel I should be. I should be good. This isn’t really a life or death situation. But I still struggle and yet life goes on. I have 4 wonderful children that are in constant need of…. well…everything. I do thank God everyday for my sweet children and supportive husband who are a constant reminder that I am richly blessed. That also helps me learn that wonderful blessings come out of challenges. Raising kids isn’t all joy…it’s crying, messes, laundry, heartache, stress, anxiety …the list goes on.   But the joy I feel when I hug my children is indescribable. So I’m totally rambling now but that what’s on my mind these days…
      Now back to the updating. Next Thursday, February 23rd I will stop taking my thyroid medication in preparation for a Radioactive Iodine treatment (RAI). In order for the RAI to be effective, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels must be well above the normal level. This is accomplished by not taking my thyroid medication (it supplies the TSH to my body since I no longer have a thyroid) for 3-6 weeks. I will become very hypothyroid which has the side effect of being very tired and worn out. Other possible effects are weight gain, swelling in hands and face, reduced concentration, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Not too fun! The reason to put my body in this hypothyroid state is high TSH levels stimulate any thyroid tissue (normal or cancerous) in my body so they will want to suck up iodine… but in this case it will be radioactive.
        After 3 weeks of no meds  (march 15th) I will do some labs to see where my TSH levels are. At that point I will go on a low-Iodine diet which I must follow for at least 10 days prior to taking RAI pill and 7 days after.  I bet you are asking yourself, what is a low-iodine diet? Well maybe you’re not but, I’m gonna tell you anyway J I must avoid: Iodized Salt (Duh), sea salt,  anything from the sea (fish, seaweed, carrageean etc), all dairy except egg whites, cured or corned foods, dried fruit, canned veggies, bread (unless homemade with plain salt and no butter or milk), chocolate, molasses, soy products and anything that contains Red Dye #3. And basically all foods that come in a box or bag because there is no way of knowing if they used iodized salt or other things which contain iodine! Oh and no eating out L. The reason for the diet is based on the idea that if there is very low levels of iodine in my body, when the RAI is introduced the thyroid tissues will “suck” it up since they have been deprived.
         Once my TSH levels are at a desired level, I will be ready to take my RAI pill. Dr Hazuka estimated it could be around March 28th. So I simply go to the hospital, and take my pill and go home. The radiation should be ablating the thyroid cells in my body at this time. I must be in complete isolation for 48 hrs, since I will be emitting radiation like a dental x-ray. Some tedious precautions must be made but I won’t go into the details now. For the next 5 days I should still keep my distance from people (aka the little people who want to be held all the time at my house!) We have decided that when I do the RAI, I will go home to my room and Brandon will take the kids to go stay at his Mom’s house for at least 3 days. My Mom is going to stay in the basement at my house to help me out (from a distance of course) as I will  still be in an ever declining state of hypothyroidism.
          The possible side effects from the radiation include: nausea, salivary gland soreness, neck swelling or pain, dry mouth, metallic taste or decreased taste sensation, and excess tearing.  Radiation tends to want to pool in the salivary glands, so to combat that, my Dr recommends continually sucking on or chewing sour candy or gum in the first 48 hours after.
          One week after the RAI treatment, I will go back to the hospital for a full body scan. They will then be able to see if any thyroid tissue remains in my body. 98% of people will have some tissue show up in the neck area because it is almost impossible to get all the microscopic thyroid tissue with surgery. There is a 10-30% chance that the ablation with RAI will be unsuccessful, in this case additional treatments may be necessary. I am hoping not!
           If all is successful, I will start taking my thyroid medication and start the accent into normal body functioning. So there you have it! Sorry I was so long winded, but I think writing this all out has been somewhat therapeutic!


Monday, February 13, 2012

What we found on our porch one winter eve....

 A HUGE Arc of the Covenant!

The kids thought we should keep it as a toy box!

Denver Temple, January 2012

Dancing in the Kitchen


My Golden Birthday

 I've waited 28 years and now I've finally had my Golden birthday....wahoo!I guess it's not the momentous  :) We went out to dinner with my family a few days early, to Pappadeaux's in Denver and then saw Sherlock Holmes 2. It was a wonderful evening. On my actual birthday, Brandon and the kids spoiled me with presents and fun after he got back from a winter campout with the ym and yw!

Sledding on Christmas Day

Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Hunts

 We made some holiday wreath treats that were yummy and easy to make!

At Grandma and Grandpa Hunt's the grandkids acted out the Nativity....Callie was Mary this year...
 Taylor and Addison were both angels...
 Beckett was a "wise guy/Shepard"
 The whole Christmas Eve crew...minus the other two babies, Hadley and Elynn :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Christmas Morning

 Christmas morning at our house....

 Opening presents at Nana and Papa's...

 All the Grandkids...