I started the low-iodine diet on the 2nd, stopped my meds on the 11th, and had that blood test on the 19th. I was rushing things a bit - most people going thru this process are off their medication for two weeks before going in for the blood test, but my doctor seemed to think it was fine. After all it is just a test, and my copay is low enough that I was willing to give it a shot. I'm determined to enjoy as much of December as possible, and getting this over with is my top November goal (actually probably my top goal of 2009.)
The test measured my TSH level. TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone, and is basically your body's way (via the pituitary gland) of saying "Hello, I need more thyroid hormone over here!" In people who still have their thyroid it only takes a little TSH to get it going, but if you don't have a thyroid it just keeps on climbing as long as you deny your body the hormone (in the form of a pill.) Pre-surgery my TSH level hovered somewhere around .5 to 1.5. The goal this past week was to get it up to 20+.
The expectation was that the longer I was without thyroid hormone the worse I'd feel. Tired & sluggish, cold all the time, and other gross symptoms. It sounded awful, but was apparantly a necessary part of the process. My body surprised me again, tho, and I've been feeling great! A little tiredness here & there, but nothing unusual, and no other observable symptoms. I'm excited and pleased to have such a hearty constitution.
The blood test resulted in a TSH level of nearly 24, so plans have been made for a Monday morning RAI treatment. I'll walk into the hospital, swallow a pill, and go home. For the following 48 hours I'm supposed to stay at home and limit contact with people to 30 minutes max. Then for the next 5 days I have to basically avoid getting my fluids on things that can't be washed. But that's pretty much the extent of it. So much better than the 2-week isolation the Internet had led me to expect. Thanks a lot, Internet.
The most glorious part: At the end of that first 48 hours I am allowed to stop this low-iodine diet!!! Good thing, too: Last night I was nearly overcome by the feeling of longing brought on by a photo of a grilled cheese sandwich. I'm a model vegetarian, but I am not cut out to be a vegan, unfortunately.
On December 2nd I go in for a scan, to see if there are any bits of thyroid cells or cancer left in me. If so they will glow due to the radioactivity. We're hoping for a clean scan, and I have every reason to expect this will be the case. Once I get those results back I can get on with my life. Very much looking forward to that.
My lab result from Kaiser: