My RAI Experience : Part 2 – Taking Radioactive Iodine

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Three days. Three days in isolation after taking radioactive iodine. And three days away from my Sugarbean! I haven’t ever spent that much time away from him. The longest was the one night I stayed in the hospital for my thyroid surgery and that was when he was 5 months old. I thought three days was going to kill me!

Turns out it didn’t.

And he did really well, too. It was kind of a bumpy ride getting to this point. In January (2018), I had planned on going off my thyroid meds like I was supposed to, doing the low-iodine diet and doing RAI after a few weeks. Well, one thing and another kept getting in the way and it kept getting postponed. In the process of plans changing, I didn’t want to go back on my levothyroxine just to have to wait the allotted time when I had to go right back off. So from January to June, I not only did not have a thyroid in my body but I also had ZERO thyroid medicine. Can you say, ZOMBIE??? My doctors asked me how I was functioning. Um, coffee. And lot’s of it.

Finally, the day came and I was ready. The diet was tough (I’ll write another post about that later) but I pushed through it. Went to the hospital Monday morning – no food or drink by the way – and checked in and waited. Then to another waiting room and waited. Talked with the technician – did I drink? did I smoke? last period? all that jazz. Talked with the head of nuclear medicine and asked him all of my questions. Turns out I needed to take a pregnancy test (even though I told them there’s no way I would be, they needed it documented anyway), so I went to the lab and got my blood drawn and then back to the nuclear medicine waiting room and… you guessed it… waited. And then I waited, and waited, and waited. Friendly reminder that I have not eaten or had anything to drink since I got up about 7:00 and it was now closing in on 1:00.

Just kidding! It wasn’t this intense.

Hallelujah!

They finally call my name. I put on a gown and gloves and the nurse does the same.  She takes out this metal cylinder and places it into a bigger cylinder made of cement (I think) with padding all in it. Then she takes out this small bottle, the radioactive iodine, and inserts a syringe full of water. She hands it to me and I shoot it back. Once more full of water I shoot back another swig. It tasted like metallic water, nothing horrible.

And I’m done. That was it.

Easy-peasy. I had to wait to eat but I could drink water and chew gum so that helped out tremendously. The rules said I could be around people up to 5 feet for 5 minutes, but not the baby. But I wasn’t going to take any chances with him so I didn’t want to stay at the house. I didn’t have anywhere else to stay so I stayed in a hotel. By the time I checked in to my room and got settled, I could finally eat. Yay!

Look for PART THREE where I’ll tell you about my three days in isolation and the supplies I brought with me for my sanity.

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