Today I am beginning a procedure that will determine the amount of radioactive iodine I can receive. I'll begin today with a blood draw, followed by a shot of recombinant thyroid-stimulating-hormone (rTSH). I'll continue to take my thyroxin each day of this entire procedure, which is a very good thing from my perspective because the majority of symptoms I've experienced in that past have been due mostly to being severely hypothyroid and off of my thyroxin.
Tomorrow, I'll receive an additional rTSH shot, then a very small dose of radioactive iodine (I-131). At 2 hours and 4 hours after that small dose, I'll have a scan and a blood draw. The blood draws and scans will be repeated each day until Saturday, at which point, all data will be entered into some kind of algorithm and a max dose of radioactive iodine that my body can handle will be known.
I'll then get 2 more shots of rTSH and then I will have that big dose of radioactive iodine next Thursday 7/24.
The reason for this plan is that I have small (1-3mm) diffuse metastatic thyroid cancer in the lower lobes of both lungs. We have known they are there and we have been treating them since 2005 but they have no yet gone away. The reason that we have waited until now is that the daily thyroxin that I take is able to suppress their growth, so that they pose very little threat to me. Now that most, if not all of the tumor has been removed from my neck, this large dose of radioactive iodine is meant to eradicate as much as possible of the disease in my lungs.
In terms of side effects, the dosimetry will not produce any at all because the dose is so incredibly small. The large dose however will require me to stay in the hospital for a day. I'll probably also have a bit of a belly ache and maybe my salivary glands will hurt a little b/c the iodine has the ability to concentrate a bit in the salivary glands. Luckily, my mother in law rush delivered a 94.5-pound bag of lemon drops for me during that 3-5 day period when I may (or may not) have some mild salivary discomfort.