Going Nuclear

So today, we head out bright and early to meet the Nuclear Medicine team to get the lowdown on my radioactive iodine treatment. The consult is in the public hospital and it’s a stark contrast to the plush, private department. I’m suddenly very grateful for my private health insurance and all the luxury that it has afforded me.

The doctor is pretty chilled in a mad science kind of way.  I’ve read a bit about the treatment and know enough to be well informed but not so much that I’ve completely freaked myself out. There aren’t too many surprises and the three day incarceration is pretty straightforward. It’s unlikely to make me sick or ill, maybe a bit nauseous with a sore throat at worst, and the doctor tells me that the room is on the 10th floor with harbour views so I’m pretty stoked about that. I understand that I’m going to be in hospital, not because I’m sick, but to protect everyone else and prevent me and my radiation making them sick!

However, the restrictions when I come out of hospital are pretty comprehensive and sound a bit overwhelming. For 7 days after the treatment I should:

  • Avoid close and prolonged contact with David
  • Avoid close contact with pregnant people and children
  • Sleep in a different bed to David
  • Flush the toilet twice
  • Avoid lengthy contact with others
  • Not use public transport
  • Not go to busy places, for example, cinemas, shopping  malls, sports events etc
  • Avoid “exchange of bodily fluids”
  • Not share toothbrushes, drinks or food
  • Sleep in a separate room
  • Not return to work
  • Not prepare food for others
  • Eat an iodine free diet

So basically, I’ll be a leper for a whole week after. Sammie- no -mates!

Tickety Boo. However, let’s face it the treatment is going to be inconvenient at worst. When I think of how others suffer  with chemo and radiotherapy, in terms of the length, severity and side effects of their treatments, I think I ‘ve  got off pretty lightly with mine.

So we go to reception to book in for my sojourn in the lead lined room. I realise I’m kind of obliged to take the date I’m given, this is one of only two rooms in the hospital and it’s not like I get to pick and choose.  I’m all booked in for the 9th November. Great. Then It hits me like a steam train. If I’m booked in for 9th November there’s no way I’ll be going to Steve and Stace’s wedding  in Perth on the 19th! What I really wanted to do was just lie down on the floor, right there in the middle of the nuclear medicine reception and scream and act like I was doing doggy paddle on the floor. That’s what I used to do when I was little, and I did it a lot. (Sorry, Mom!)  It was a great stress reliever and usually if I did it for long or loud enough I usually got what I wanted. But now I’m older and wiser and I know that no amount of kicking or screaming is going to get me to Perth. This is a shame. Because kicking and screaming is something I am particularly good at.

I take the blow with a quintessential stiff upper lip, complete the paperwork, smile sweetly at the receptionist and go  through the motions . Once I am outside in the sunshine, that’s when I really lose the plot. I wantto run back in, take the elevator to the top of the building, run out onto the roof and just scream! I’m angry, frustrated, disappointed, sad and just totally and utterly pissed off. Momentarily there, I  feel totally defeated.  The wedding is  so important not just because we’ve been looking forward to it for like, forever, and I have a lovely dress, and David is going to be the groomsman, but because there’s only going to be one wedding and now we’re going to miss it. The moment will be gone and we’ll never get to share it. This really hurts.  My lip is stuck out so far, one could lay a buffet out for a 100 people on it. I sulk. Hard.  Sure we can go to Perth another time but the problem is I don’t want to go another time. I want to go for Steve and Stace’s wedding.

Retrospectively, I can see that I am allowing self pity to get the better of me – but for a few hours I am  so miffed with Cancer. I really feel that it is cramping my style and I don’t like it one bit.

Of course I try to talk sense to myself. I know that having this treatment is going to provide me with my best shot of kicking cancer’s ass. I know that has to be my number one priority. But I carry on sulking anyway and dragging my big lip around with me the rest of the day.

Then at lunchtime, I go round to the gym to drop off some Anzac Marmalade Slice to my personal trainer. Kathy’s a pocket rocket. I’m secretly hoping that when I have Thyroxin and I’m super charged, I’m going to have as much energy as her!  Check out her  incredible audition video for the Biggest Loser Asia! She’s a total inspiration and it will give you an inkling of how she puts me through my paces and a sneek peek into my favourite Basic Training Class! Anyways, I really miss training, my trainer and of course the gym. So with my usual weird sense of logic, I figure if I can’t train with Kathy, I’ll give her baked goods instead. I don’t know why but sharing those baked goods just gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing.

Anyway, I digress because as I walk round the corner to the gym (how lucky am I to have a gym literally around the corner? See, that’s ANOTHER reason to be cheerful!) I check my mailbox and inside,  is a card and spa voucher from all my lovely workmates. I retract my big lip and curl it upwards into a smile and instantly feel a wave of love and happiness wash over me. It’s not getting the gift that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy (although that is particularly lovely,) it’s the feeling of being so supported and being blessed to work with such kind and wonderful people.

With all the things I have to be thankful for, I realised it’s churlish to continue my sulking and allow my negativity to get the better of me. I should be thankful that I can get treatment for my cancer. I should be thankful that it’s relatively painless. I should be thankful that it’s so effective. And that’s just the start of a whole heap of other things I should be chuffed to bits about that have nothing whatsoever to do with Cancer!

There’s nothing like a good girlie get together to lift one’s spirits. In the afternoon, it’s a total friend fest! Sue, Jitka, Romey and Emily from work all bob over to say g’day.  It’s so nice to see Romey – I haven’t seen her for ages and with 2 detached retinas,  poor Romey hasn’t been seeing anything for what seems like ages, but she drives over today, so good on her! She brings with her some awesome ice pop moulds in the shape of stars, they’re totally fab  and I love them! I’m going to make Frozen Yoghurt pops in them later! Emily brings some of her special Chicken, Potato and Leek Soup which is totally and utterly delicious. It’s up there with some of the best chicken soup I’ve ever tasted, and believe me I’ve tasted a lot of good chicken soup in my time! Jitka brings a massive bag filled with almost every type of fruit on the planet, like a tropical harvest in a bag. So we drink tea, eat cake and have a very entertaining time.