S: ThyRoid Less Traveled
BC: "It's not a cancer thing, it's a love thing." | A special thank you to everyone for all your love and support. I know it's coined "the best cancer to get," but it's still cancer and I couldn't have done it without all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support. Hugs, Figg July 2012
FC: ThyRoid Less Traveled "It isn't a cancer thing, it's a love thing."
1: “Don’t let schooling get in the way of your education.” - Mark Twain
2: Made by Christie Anderson, this photo flooded Facebook while I was in quarantine. I woke up to this after a 5 hour nap. This was an amazing gesture to wake up to.
3: Email sent to friends and family June 22nd, 2012 Dear Friends and family, I hope this note reaches you in good health and great spirits. Please forgive me if I haven’t spoken to you yet, it has been a little hectic on my end. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January of this year. January 2012: Took MRI of neck and back in order to close the case on my motorcycle accident. Back and neck were perfect. Found 3 cysts. (Southern California Orthopedic Institute – Thank you). February 2012: Biopsy of cysts. 2 of the 3 were cancer. March 2012: Consultation. Schedule an appointment to remove the entire thyroid. April 3, 2012: Surgery to remove my thyroid. Traces of your thyroid can linger for up to 3 weeks after your thyroid is out. Your parathyroid (regulates calcium) shows a spike in calcium change immediately. Parathyroid is what they measure to make sure everything is back to working properly. They measure your calcium in order to send you home less than 24 hrs after your surgery. My mom had her parathyroids removed so I’m not sure what they measured on her. May 2012: After reading surgeon's notes, my endocrinologist becomes nervous that it was an aggressive tumor. They found 10 cysts – 7 of which were cancer. Now I wait... June 2012: Consultation: Doctor appointment to schedule radioactive iodine.As I explore what all this means, I decided to write it down in a journal. This is a compilation of all my journal entries not edited, spruced up or masked. I need to laugh with all of you.So, since I'm a human experiment lately, why not? XO,Figg
4: We'll see what no thyroid does to a person. Me, specifically. I have done published, edited and researched. This is my journal. This is raw and there are blunders. | "I already feel like a science experiment, why not add a social experiment to it too?" | This was a care package from the Goode family in North Carolina. On the right, is my St Christopher and my lego buddy. Samuel, 4 yrs old, gave me this. When he placed it in the envelope he said, "I'm gonna miss you little buddy." When Casie, his mom, told him he might not get it back, he replied, "that's ok, Figg needs it more than I do."
5: Especially in tragedy, comedy makes the heart sweet... I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January 2012. "Thyroid cancer is the best cancer to get." Bull shit. Cancer is still cancer, and that word sucks. Cancer. -Yuk- On days I was feeling even remotely a little scared, I’d hear, “Don’t worry, it’s the best cancer to get.” So many questions began to arise. Thyroid cancer is quite common and still very obscure in meaning. In the last 10 years the rate of thyroid cancer has increased by 173% (The Parade). --- We'll see what no thyroid does to a person. Me, specifically. It is now June 22nd and I have been off my thyroid meds for one full week in preparation for radioactive iodine treatment (RAI). RAI is given in pill form at the hospital and then most individuals, including me, are quarantined in their home for no less than 5 days; mine begins July 3, 2012. This blog will be my portal to the rest of the world starting July 3, 2012. How this works: Starve my pituitary gland/body/brain of iodine. The next dose of iodine I get will be absorbed quickly and be radioactive, killing all thyroid cells, cancerous or not. The reason doctor thought it was an aggressive tumor: Prior to cancer, my thyroglobulin count was 14. With cancer, it should have been like 60 or 80 or something high. This would ensure that the doctor would be able to follow my changes better and be certain nothing is spreading. With only a number of 14 and 0 being the desired number (because when removing my entire thyroid I should have a number of zero), that doesn't leave a big enough difference for a doctor to feel I'm safe. It is now June 21st and I have been off my thyroid meds since 6/15. A full week and I feel pretty good. Had a couple dizzy spells. Low energy Saturday 6/20, but been great other than that. My personal reflection: I definitely don't feel like chatting with people, which is rare for me. I enjoy writing and working on the computer and have a much easier time focusing while doing so. When trying to talk to strangers and carry on conversations, I tend to fall all over my words. I lose my train of thought and then give up instead of trying to communicate with others. I do much better with one on one, face-to-face, good old-fashioned talking with close friends. I can last through some hilarious laughs. Now we wait.
7: Lose a thyroid, gain a blog. My first blog. Join me on this journey...? About the blog: The way I think of it is, not that I'm tweeting- I think of it as my journal. It's just the first time I've shared it. My rule is to "Never join a social media outlet that you don't have time or energy to first write down on paper." That rule of thumb has worked for me. While quarantined: I don’t look at this as tweeting or blogging - I think of it as my journal. It's just the first time I've shared it. My rule is to "Never join a social media outlet that you don't have time or energy to first write down on paper." It has worked for me, thus far. Now I can share everything that I go through while hanging out in my house by myself for 5 days. The computer will be my only communication with the outside world. If I order a pizza, he'll have to leave the pizza at the door. Maybe this is where ding-dong door ditch came about. I’m very curious to experience the day when everything is balanced. Whatever that means. The interesting part is that I feel great and much better without the thyroid meds - that are suppose to keep me alive. What if I don't need a thyroid? How do they know we need one? Maybe, in me, it's like an appendix. Jajaja. XO, Figg jajaja: joining Twitter was a little scarier than hearing I had cancer. I definitely did more reading up on Twitter than I ever did on thyroid cancer. For those who do not want any part of twitter or read my blog, I totally understand. But honestly, this is a one time thing. I’m hoping there are no sequels, we all know how those end. I will send out a last email describing everything from today till being balanced OR not needing a thyroid - jajaja.
8: June 23, 2012: I read and re-read my letter and timeline over and over. I made the hubby and some close friends read it over and over, too. I finally saved, sent, published, etc. Wow, I really felt vulnerable putting myself out there. After publishing it and walking away from the computer it has already generated some incredible responses (via email). Thank you. Really, thank you. Thursday (6/21), I was amped and felt great. In a conversation with my masseuse (yes, a conversation while getting a massage), I thought to myself: Why not get some blood drawn and document my “levels” (whatever “levels” mean)? Would it be easier to match if we have a base? After speaking to my doctor, he assured me that he can get me back to feeling awesome, but it wouldn’t hurt. Let me explain: So I am off my thyroid meds in order to starve my brain/body of iodine and then the next dose of iodine I get, will be radioactive. This will kill all remaining thyroid cells, cancerous or not. Then we need to start a medication called Synthroid, a thyroid replacement hormone different than the one I was on previously. In order to regulate my body as if I do have a thyroid, we’ll have to play with the dosage a little until I feel like me – the real me. I was on Cytomel before and had numerous “Charlie Days”. “Charlie Day” refers to the youtube video, “Ow Charlie, you bit me.” And for me, it’s a way I can express how I feel without having to actually say the words. Picture on page 18. Cytomel was not me. Cytomel is related to T3 hormone and Synthroid is related to T4. After that, I have no idea what that means except those are the levels that we’ll be regulating after July 10th. Friday (6/22): I was feeling good, but not nearly as amazing as I did the entire week prior. Nevertheless, I went in and got a thyroid blood panel done. Now we have some random number documented that equals me feeling good. Wow, when I put it that way, my doctor must think I’m nuts. Jajaja. Saturday (6/23): I think I was on some dopamine high for a week; it was awesome. However, everything must come to an end. Friday night ended very quickly. My days are definitely shorter and I am unable to nap. I feel like a little kid in the summertime, exhausted after playing dodge ball, swimming and building forts; except I haven’t played any ball, seen water or built anything other than a web page. No “Charlie Days” for a full 8 days. Woo hoo! I’m exhausted, but in good spirits. Love, Figg
9: June 24, 2012 First week (6/15) off meds: "Maybe I don't need a thyroid, maybe it's like an appendix in me." Today: "Definitely need a thyroid." Nap time. June 25, 2012 I’m going to be a lighthouse when I grow up. Eight days till radioactive iodine (RAI) and plenty of things to get together before July 3rd. My energy level is dwindling day by day and I need to make RAI clean-up as simple as possible. All in all, my spirits are on the upside. It’s 9:24pm on Monday and I actually feel pretty good. Side note: 10 days without a “Charlie Day” Today, a close friend texted me this morning regarding a “Charlie bit me” remix on NPR. Maybe they meant to say, “this goes out to all those having a Charlie Day today.” I’m taking naps now. Well, actually I’m taking a 4-5 hour napI believe the term nap is arguable. The countdown begins: I will not be quarantined at the hospital, unlike my mom in 1990. I am not certain, but unless you have a baby or pregnant woman at home, I think those are the only stipulations for not being able to be quarantined. I’m neither and have neither. Jajaja Recap: Right now we are starving my body/brain/pituitary gland of iodine. The next dose of iodine my body will receive is going to be radioactive. Because the thyroid gland absorbs iodine, RAI will kill any remaining thyroid cells, cancerous or not. All remaining RAI will be excreted via skin cells when I shower, urine and sweat. I am advised to flush 2-3 times after every use, and shower 2-3 times a day. Born and raised in a drought state makes me really have to remember this one. CA natives probably recall summer camp lessons including turning off the water while shampooing, and while brushing one’s teeth.
10: Quarantine: Let’s talk quarantine. Let’s talk about what this really means, or at least what I have been taught thus far from my nuclear medicine doctor. Hereafter referred to as Miss Nuke. July 3rd, 2012 at 11am I will go into the nuclear medicine department at my hospital. I will go in and receive a pill in a lead case. Once I take the pill she said, “you get the heck out of the hospital. And don’t touch anything.” Mike will drive me home and I am to sit in the back seat diagonal from him – the furthest distance from him. If I drove myself, I would prepay the valet at the hospital and have him bring the car around. Then ask him politely to, “please step away from the vehicle.” No hugging the valet guy. Also, we live 3 minutes from the hospital so Mike’s exposure is minimal. Miss Nuke explained that I am a lighthouse. “This little light of mine”? Really, coincidence? I think not. Wherever I go, so does a 6’ radius of light, radioactive light. If I leave the room, so does the RAI. In theory, I can sit and watch TV on one side of the room and Mike can sit on the couch more than 6’ away from me. I’d rather be safe than sorry. If any thieves come, I’ll just give them a hug; I’m sure they need one. I’m going to sleep on an air mattress with sheets I can throw away. Miss Nuke said I can wash them and clean everything around me, but I’m not going to be on any thyroid medication and may still be low on energy. Easy to me means toss it. I’m confining myself to one bathroom, the kitchen and the front room. I was donated a mouse with a click so I can still use my computer. I’m setting up a workstation where I can type and use the mouse only. I’m going to cover my computer with saran-wrap. Miss Nuke will have disposable gloves for me, “Make sure to take them off Audrey Hepburn style, one finger at a time and keep the radioactive sweat inside the glove.” Copy that, Miss Nuke.
11: I’m not quite sure what to expect in regards to the potency of radioactivity, but if I glow, you will all know about it. So the trash, you ask. I have to dispose of everything on the 5th day (July 8th) and leave it out for 5 days before it can be disposed in the city trash. I’ll need to clarify this one. I am slightly concerned about any animals getting into it. What if I end up with radioactive squirrels? With a lot of water and showers, almost all of the RAI will be out of my body in the first 48 hours. The total 5 days is precautionary to make sure I am safe for others around me. Side effects: Dry-mouth is very common and a huge nuisance when taking RAI. I’ve been advised to have an ample supply of sour candies around to keep my salivary glands tolerable. Blah! I am now opening up the platform to all of you: If you can think of anything either to help with the clean-up OR just something for me to test, I’ll take all suggestions into consideration. However, I’ll need time to get my ducks in a row, so Friday is probably the cut-off for ideas. Also, if you have any questions, I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. And if I don’t know, I have a direct line to Miss Nuke. She really shouldn’t have given me her direct line. Feeling good and ready for bed. Good night everyone and thank you again so much for letting me share this with all of you. I wish I had the Doogie Howser theme song playing in the background right now. Love, Figg
12: Thank you Ms Kelly Hurt LockHer Farrell!
13: I did want to get a plant. I really want to see what I can do. Would my spit kill a plant? This is how that unfolded: Friend 1: “You should get a plant and call it Wilson.” Friend 2: “Maybe try swirling water around in your mouth and then water the plant that way.” Me: “Great idea. All of it.” Voice of reason: “Why make this any more difficult than it already is?” Me: “Good point. I’ll put the plant in a garbage bag first and then spit on it.” | June 29, 2012 Summerland tour included Gin Blossoms, LIT, Marcy's Playground, Sugar Ray, and Everclear AND Miss Gori Spelling. We had a blast and I awkwardly knew every song the Gin Blossoms sang. Throwback the horns!
14: Briana, Lauren, Stephanie, Mary, LD, and Wendy helped so much, made my clean-up so easy and my low iodine diet tasty enough to stick to. | I wanted my house to be a safe place where we can do and say anything without it being published onto Facebook.
15: June 30, 2012: Living on cherNOBLE I am literally operating on half a brain. I was going to edit this one and enter it like the others with a date and how I felt or what I did on that date. If there is anything I have learned while going through all this is the ability to adapt. I can have perspective, but I can’t control much more than that. So, I am going to embrace the fact that I have picked up and put down my computer at least 3 times in the past hour. I’m tired, my eyes feel like they are melting off my face. Bullitt doesn’t seem to mind; he lost sight in one eye already so he expects me not to complain. Three days till quarantine: Today 6 close friends came over to help turn my house on NOBLE into cherNOBLE. Between the 6 of them, I do believe they thought of everything. I mean everything. SO what did we do to get my house ready for quarantine? Aw-bviously my task was to fasten the two life-size cardboard cut outs to a lazy susan so that I can make them dance in my front window. This is an important task and I am now well equipped with a James Dean and Loryl & Hardy party! – Great idea McCauley Culkin and Katie! Preparing for quarantine = making my radioactive clean up as easy as possible on the 5th day. There is a high possibility I will be very tired – kind of like today – and won’t want to clean. My friends came over and saran-wrapped every doorknob, light switch, button, and handle in my entire house. I am limiting myself to the kitchen, bathroom and front room. I have my bed in the front room and will always wear slippers or something on my feet that I can throw away later. The RAI (radioactive iodine) treatment is mainly excreted via sweat, urine, and showering off skin cells. The first 48 hrs will be the strongest amount of RAI. Everyday, the RA will lessen and lessen. - I have to be at least 6’ from everyone for the first 5 days. After that, I can have hugs, but only from people over the age of 12. - I have to be at least 6’ if not more from children and pregnant women for TWO WEEKS. That was a new piece of info. - I can clean everything with bleach, but at least with the saran-wrap we placed on everything, I can retrace my steps a little better.
17: They wrapped the remotes, the water cooler nozzle, they wrapped everything that when I go to use it, I won’t feel alone. I’ll remember the 4 hours of organized chaos that helped me prepare. I’ll recall the 5 hours of cooking that smelled amazing; all low iodine food. It already makes me giggle inside. - I am so glad I didn’t do this on my own. I have to flush the toilet 3 times after every use. This is a very funny thing to say to a native of California. I have been raised to stop the water when you brush your teeth, when you lather up, etc. Besides the LA river or lack thereof, California natives get a lesson on the drought via their parents, summer camp, girl scouts and babysitters. So for my 3 flushes, can I ask that for all of you, “if it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” So back to preparing for quarantine: I couldn’t believe the way these girls thought. They were incredible. They wrapped a table in saran-wrap so I can have a little computer workstation. But they also made a collage under the saran-wrap so I have some nice pictures to look at. Wink. Because the RAI treatment will decrease exponentially over three days, the ladies divided my stuff up and then boxed each day into Trippin Tuesday, Waka Waka Wednesday, and “I get to eat sushi Thursday”: Trippin Tuesday: at 11am I will be taking the RAI. Mike will drive me home and I have to sit in the back and across from him to maximize the distance. In each box they put what I can do for the day, some utensils, cups, whatever. Then once I am finished with that day, I can move onto Waka Waka Wednesday without getting the strong RA on me from Tuesday. Follow me? Latex gloves (the easy out): I am not totally sure what kind of gloves they are going to give me, but I believe they’re just latex. I can always use the latex gloves to bypass spreading RA. To play with my play-dough. Someone asked, why now wear latex gloves all week? Valid question, but don’t want to do that. Those things make your fingers sweat too much. Remember to take them off Audrey Hepburn style - don’t turn the gloves inside out or the RA side will be exposed. Trash: I have two large bins that I can throw whatever I want in and then seal off. It has to sit for 7 days while the RAI dissipates, then I can throw the entire tub away in the trash. Having people over and then sudden quiet, makes quiet a lot quieter. I’m kinda curious how it will be when I don’t even have Bullitt. If you’re cursleep.
18: Above: Mike got me this shirt to wear on my "coming out" day. | Chokey got this little balloon pug puppy for me so I wouldn't get too lonely without Bullitt. The funny part is that Bullitt smelled the balloon's butt.
19: July 1, 2012: hmm...only 2 days to go till quarantine and all I can think about is what I want to wear (Mike got me a t-shirt: “Cancer, you picked the wrong bitch.”), where I want to eat (No kids allowed - Dr. says I can’t be around kids or prego mamas for 2 weeks), and what I want to eat (iodine, lots of iodineiodine = sushi, salt and dairy. Not together, ewe). | July 2, 2012: (Jack White’s Love Interruption playing loud on repeat) 24 hours till quarantine: Please excuse the repeats, but this is truly how my thought is being affected by no thyroid or thyroid hormones for 2 weeks and two days: My head is spinning. It's working overtime to just try and remember the slightest change in conversation. I am exhausted, but so much good stuff this weekend that I can't put down the pen. So many people, so much love, so much support, so much many tears, so much time alone, so muchI want it all. Embrace it. Adapt to it. Bring it!
20: Above is a screen shot of the youtube video where the little boy says, "Ow, Charlie bit my finger."
21: JULY 2, 2012 cont'd: #1: Things are special to each one of you cause it is happening to you. No one person's plight is better or worse than someone else's. The only thing we have is perspective. I was confronted twice this weekend with the question: If bad things happen to me now, good things are bound to happen, right? Trick question. Things will just happen - how you receive them is whether they are good or bad. I thought of this because I really had a hard time with being ok that I could cry because of this entire situation. The "best cancer" is still cancer. Whatever it is, it is special because you have to go through it. This is my BIG RED RESET BUTTONand that’s how I’m receiving it. While on my first thyroid replacement hormone, I felt robbed of my perspective. On "Charlie Days", logic went out the window and I didn't physically have the ability to keep my perspective. (Some say it's quite optimistic. I think theyfunny joke here.) I was told I was to feel crummy these two weeks while off meds and no thyroid. I do feel like my eyes are melting off my face, but besides that, I have felt amazing. The first week of NO replacement hormones I was amped and felt great. The second week I was sluggish and gaining weight no matter how much spinach and chicken I ate. Besides the physical attributes of a hypothyroid and low metabolism, I have had some great energy around. Thank you so much everyone! I have a quite a few notes I wanted to share about this weekend, but they are going to have to wait till tomorrow. I won't be editing them much because the stream of consciousness is truly how I am operating. Hope I don't lose you in my whirlwind. I think I am secretly excited about what and/or who may ding dong door ditch me.
23: July 3, 2012 1:37 pm: I just received 161.2 mCi of I-131. Normal is 100. She said this is a high dosage of radioactivity because of my pathology reports. Kids, these are reasons you should pay attention in science class. I hated Chemistry in school and Mrs Nuke didn't have special, colorful pictures to explain I-131 and mCi - it's just a number to me. I totally forgot to grab my saran-wrapped camera from Mike to take a picture of the case. It was a small lead case like the size of Vienna sausages. Mr Nuke administered the procedure, but my doctor is a Mrs. The Geiger Counter measures radioactivity and reminded me of a small Ghost Busters ghost trap, minus the awesome yellow and black stripes. This was silver all over and the wand part was going crazy once he turned it on and moved toward the lead case. Honestly, if they had told me, “the RAI is in the room, try and find it”, I would have lost that bet. It was so inconspicuous back there behind the other stuff. I would have had a better chance at finding those last two eggs we lost during Easter last year. In one hand Mr Nuke had the Geiger Counter, with the other hand he opened the lead case. He’s wearing gloves, but no protective gearkinda weird. He took the test tube out and placed it on the counter. Mr and Mrs Nuke (no relation except at work) backed off until the Geiger Counter was minimal. I opened it and tossed it back like a test tube shot those girls force-feed you in New Orleans. I believe this one is slightly more expensive. Jajaja There is a fly swarming around meOh crap, a spider. Be right back. --- I just found the number one purpose for getting Dixie cups. The number 2 reason is to separate my pills so I don’t contaminate the entire bottle. I did put a piece of plastic on top of the Dixie cup; I’m not stupid, my first feature film was Spiderman II. I know what that radiation can do. I took the pill and then they escorted me (remaining 6’ from me at ALL times) through the hospital and outside where Mike left the Jeep. I’m wearing pajama bottoms, shirt and gloves. I drove home and Mike walked. The Jeep doesn’t provide enough space for me to be 6’ from him. I parked the Jeep out front and came in the back. HOME BASE. You can’t touch me!
24: Outside, Katie donated two green chairs and a walkie talkie. Then I had the other walkie inside and always on. There were a few times it scared the living crap out of me when my friends would yell into them.
25: July 3, 2012 I immediately took off the latex gloves (yes, Audrey Hepburn style) and thought, “I can do this. Everything I’ll need is saran-wrapped.” Good grief, I already screwed up reaching for silverware to eat some food. I put another set of gloves on and decided for the first few hours at least, it’s a good idea to keep them on. If not, I easily foresee a lot of time spent standing in front of something thinking about whether I can touch it. So right now I am typing with gloves on AND saran-wrap on my computer. jaja 2:28pm: I have flushed 9 times already. Of course I didn’t remember to flush 3 times each time I went; I am completely relying on the post it notes everywhere. Thank you again ladies, those notes are saving my arse. Eyes are heavy. So far, the biggest disappointment is that I probably won't glow. Why am I doing this if glowing wasn't a sure thing? Oh yeah, aggressive tumor. Whatever. jaja _They said I was to feel crummy for two weeks too, but I haven’t. There’s a high possibility I glow when others don’t. I mean really, I’ve seen "The Last Dragon"; it took till the final fight sequence before Bruce Leroy could get the glow! Overall, it was a little weird having people purposely stand far away from you. It reminded me of grade school when I always remained 6' from this one kid who flicked his boogers. It was so gross. Side Notes: Whoever told me I should probably wear gloves for a while when I first get home was absolutely CORRECT! Good call. It's really hard to remember what is really going on when you don't actually see the particles. If you didn't get the memo: whenever you have to go through anything heavy and with a lot of information from a doctor, take someone with you. Find someone in your life that can accompany you and ask all the questions. It’s a lot to handle and remember everything, even if you do take extensive notes. I couldn't be more grateful for Mike's company while I went through all this. Plus he's really smart when it comes to what the doctors say. All I hear is, "Blah, blah, blah, surgery April 3rd. Blah, blah, blah, RAI July 3rd." A special thank you Wendy for all my delicious food. My doctor was happy to hear the extent we went to have low iodine foods. 4:01pm: Nap time.
26: July 4, 2012 Written on my phone around 10:30am: Throat is swollen, but lemon water is helping tremendously. Salivary glands are sore to the touch (right below and behind my earlobes). I am exhausted. My body feels like it went through one of those car washes you can see; grabbed my head like the claw game and used my body like a piñata. I went through 5 big lemons yesterday (7.3.12) and can tell it helps. It will be much easier to bring my mind down to body speed, rather than body up to mind's speed. Does that even make sense? However, I did wake up to a delicious ding-dong door ditch. Thank you Dianna, it smells amazing and is still hot!!! Xoxo Tomorrow will be a better day.
27: July 5, 2012: Bring on the sushi! Today I get to eat iodine AND my first dose of thyroid replacement hormones! The day is already looking better. July 4th, was by far the worst day I’ve had. However, it was still only a bad hangover. When you think about it, we do that (hangovers) to our bodies by choice. So a hangover without any puking means the ability to sleep it off. I slept the entire day, thank GOD. Whew. I was only up for ding-dong door ditchers, which I must mention here. As I said before I was woken up to a steaming hot quiche - amazing! Then I think I may have heard the second DDDD, but I’m not sure. My dreams and reality were one yesterday. The walkie notifies me when the battery is low, but I thought I was talking to two old college roommates, Mike and Nimble outside; I woke myself up talking in my sleep. Jeejee.
28: Jessie, Levi, Maizy and Mike all came up to visit me and bring me sushi on Thursday! So delicious. | Miss Marina del Rage brought me a basket full of toys.
29: JULY 5, 2012 cont'd I did, however, receive a great little gift bag at my front door that included an Elmo goes potty coloring book with a post-it that says, “Flush 3 times.” Thank you Suzy. Also, around 10pm I received 3 streakers, 2 sparklers and a cart-wheeler in my front yard. It was quite hilarious. Thank you everyone for making me laugh. I was feeling better towards the end of the night and that helped a lot. Oh, and we decided this RAI treatment is where blowing kisses came from. Enough about yesterday, I was fortunately only awake for the really good stuff anyways. Today, 7/5/12: Sushi and Synthroid. Yup, my first dose of iodine and thyroid replacement hormones, respectively. It would be delicious if the thyroid replacement hormones were in sushi. Which reminds me, I give it up to all those who don’t eat sushi while pregnant; I only went 3 weeks and that was way too long. Synthroid: Mine is a lilac colored pill. Yes, it is described as lilac, which already says to me, “hey, the worst is already over. Let’s move on using pretty colors.” Back in school, this is how I learned about the function of your thyroid: One can imagine the thyroid gland (butterfly looking in the front of the neck) as a furnace and the pituitary gland (size of a peanut at the base of your brain) as the thermostat. Thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) are like heat. When the heat gets back to the thermostat, it turns the thermostat off. As the room cools (the thyroid hormone levels drop), the thermostat turns back on (TSH increases) and the furnace produces more heat (thyroid hormones). So where does the iodine come in? Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. I remember learning about the thyroid in this manner, but until I saw it again, I didn’t want to post my interpretation. Like I said, science was my worst subject.
30: July 6, 2012: 10am: Mornings are hard. At what point am I suppose to push through and just get up? Just clean up a little? Just do a little painting? Just power through the physical “blahness” and lack of energy? It's more physically challenging than it is mentally challenging. I really want to do stuff, but sleeping feels so much better. I have to take sips of water between every bite, but I am able to get a couple eggs down. Then I have to lie down. But at least it’s not a “Charlie Day”. Mr. Philosophy Professor (conversation in 2007 at a coffee shop with two philosophy professors, one whom is a friend and one who was interviewing me to get in his class). I write this one to you. Do you remember when we spoke about God and Santa Claus? You asked me, “Do you believe it is right to tell kids there’s a Santa?” And I replied, "My mom said when you stop believing in Santa, he stops coming." And you said in a slightly patronizing tone, "How's that working out for ya?" I replied, "I'm 28, and Santa still comes." Smile. He didn't find that amusing. Well, Mr. Philosophy Man, it is not just Santa...it's a feeling. It's that anticipation that says if you go to sleep, when you wake up, Santa will have come. That the next day is going to be even better than right now. When I go to sleep, I am one day closer to having a hug. Sunday WILL come and when it does, I’m hugging everyone I can get my hands on (except children and pregnant ladies). Mr. Philosophy Dude, that's what believing does for us. For us humans. We need our own beliefs, our own perspective and our own feelings. It gives us motivation to do better. To make it. To see it through. Whatever it is. That’s all.
31: 7pm: Afternoons are much better. I am able to eat in the afternoon, so I take the chance and eat slowly. Today’s meal was delicious along with the Slurpees – better described as amazing. I believe it’s the Synthroid working and it will still take a little time to kick in and be regular with my body, but I can handle that. I am excited that I’m one day closer and everyday I feel better. Biggest disappointment is that I didn't glow.Biggest fulfillment is the support I’ve received. I can’t thank you all enough for your encouraging words and caring gifts; your thoughts and prayers have all been felt through every hour of every day.I love when people tell me I have awesome friends. My reply is, “I know. They are incredible people.” WE made it through this together. One more day. See ya'll on the other side.Cancer, you chose the wrong bitch. Have you seen her friends and family? You may not want to F*CK with them either! I’m still trying to get the RAI out, so I’m not sure if the cancer is out all the way. I won’t be doing any RAI again. Only time will tell when I feel all the cancer is out.
32: July 7, 2012: 6:52am: Woke up and took my Synthroid. No going back to bed today. It’s 10:49am: I’m alive and feeling pretty good. Throat isn’t sore. Salivary glands are fine. No need for lemon water unless I just want flavor. White stripes are playing loudly. My first painting sucks, but I’m ok with that. Smile. I’m really ok with that. No bellyache. Energy is a little better and blood flow feels good. And I’m getting hungry. Time to clean up some stuff. Today I can lose pretty much everything I have contaminated and move on. And less than 24 hours before I get a HUG! WOO HOO! I did get most huggable in school. I mean really, I have a superlative to live up to and this quarantine crap is getting in my way. Love, Figg | Bullitt wanted to come in and play, but we were just not sure if I had to treat him like a child and couldn't be within 6' until July 17th or was it ok to hug him. SOOO FLUFFFFFY!
33: July 8, 2012: 6:55am: It's CHRISTMAS! It is July 8th, 2012 and it is, indeed, Christmas! I feel it. Santa came and he brought me the ability to go outside. He stopped in and left a note saying, Dear lil Figg, You have been a good girl for this half of the year. Despite your occasional moping or crying (chuckle chuckle), you have behaved yourself. Today you can have all the hugs in all the land EXCEPT children and pregnant women. So, go on out there you little lighthouse and enjoy! Love, Santa (PS I generally do not do house calls in the middle of the year, for I am managing many elves. Please plan accordingly if you decide to do this again. Wink. Oh, and what’s the deal with no cookies? Isn’t that your team?) Don’t worry, Santa, I have no intentions of doing this again. On July 10th, I’ll have the body scan to prove it! Thanks again! I apologize for not having cookies, but I didn’t want them to be radioactive when I cooked them. Gotta run, I have hugs to get! Recap: January = Cysts found in MRI. February = Cancer. March = Consultation. April = Thyroidectomy (removal of my entire thyroid). May = Doctors found it to be an aggressive tumor. June = Consultation. July = RAI treatment and in-house quarantine for 5 | My first hug. It felt so good.
34: Hugs sent to me via Facebook!
35: July 8, 2012 = Hug Day! Still! Mike stayed Saturday night with Bullitt and we made sure Bullitt remained a full 10’ from me. Remember, I am a lighthouse, so wherever I go, so does the remaining radioactivity. After the first 48 hours, most of it is either taken up by thyroid cells or excreted. After fours days, the amount is minimal for anyone over their teen years. I waited until the 5th day just to be safe. Bullitt's tail was waggin’ like crazy, but he was so confused as to why he couldn’t come hangout with mamma. They slept in our bedroom where I had not been the entire time I was quarantined. I remained in the front room on an air mattress. 8am: Mike and I were so excited to hug that we were determined to drop off Bullitt back at Lauren’s, pick up Lauren and go enjoy breakfast and numerous hugs. Mike and Bullitt left in Lauren's Tahoe and I was going to closely follow in the Jeep. Unfortunately, he had my Jeep key. I was on my 5th day and ready to receive hugs, but stranded without a key to my ride. Hilarious! All you could do is laugh. That’s what happens when you get really excited on a pseudo-Christmas morning. (Times are approximations for obvious reasons.) 10:30am: Breakfast with Lauren at a place where they have a separate bar area and no kids were there. The longer we stayed, the more friends showed up. I had almost everyone there that helped me prepare for the quarantine, plus two other remarkable friends. Hugs all around. 3pm: Mike and I headed to Katie’s for some pool time and more hugs. My energy is much like that of a puppy, whereas I play for a bit, then get really, really tired. Rest. Then play for a bit. The Synthroid is working well thus far, but it hasn’t totally found its place in my body yet. The hugging might be getting a little mushy, but I can’t stress enough how hard it is to not be able to hug someone. How hard it is to know you could be really hurting someone if you hugged them. I knew today, I wasn’t harmful anymore. It felt incredible to just hold my husband in my arms.
36: Tough Cookies dressed up for hugs. Trouble sent me a squishy Frog! Wards sent me a LegoMan Friend!
37: 6pm: Mike and I headed home. 8pm: The Cookies came over dressed up in numerous outfits, including, but not limited to: a uni-tard/singlet, sarong with a sword, sequence skirts, snake skin boots and of course a Cinderella dress. Thank you everyone so much for joining me on this journey. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you. I felt every thought, ‘like’, blog-read, prayer, hugging picture that flooded FB today, utterance. I felt it all. I know that I have a body scan on the 10th to determine if we got everything. I am telling you now, ”no news is good news." I also have to wait until July 17th before I can be around Bullitt, children or pregnant women. We will now begin regulating my thyroid replacement hormone, Synthroid. ...as for the blog I didn’t think about how to end this: when it would end, an ending – whatever. Today I experienced an ending. I am very much a “choose your own adventure” type, and although it isn't up to me, I do believe this part is over and it is time to move on. It is time to regulate my Synthroid and continue on with life. Today, I experienced an incredible day with magnificent people. Along with pictures to prove it, I have two things that really influenced me on how I want to end this blog: Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. (Everything is special to each of us because it happens to us. Don’t make your situation any more or less important; it’s yours.) Lastly, and with the most love in one’s eyes, he said to me, “It’s not a cancer thing, it’s a love thing.”
39: "You'll be more disappointed in the things you don't do, than the things you do." - Mark Twain