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prep for radioactive iodine treatment

evamommyof4's picture
evamommyof4
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

I'm 4 weeks post op TTE Papillary Carcinoma, saw my Endo today and I'm starting the low iodine diet tomorrow, and getting off the Cytomel in prep for Radioactive Iodine treatment in about 3 weeks.  I have 4 children, live in a 4 bedroom house, my parents and sister live with us, so space is tight! Income not so great, so trying to figure out the whole isolation process.  

Also, how soon after RAI treatment can I hit the beach and the lakes with my kids? Summer's here, they'll be off school...this is gonna be a tough situation...

ark's picture
ark
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

My personal opinion is that it will just get tighter...space that is.  You MUST have a bathroom for your own use ONLY...or be determined to disinfect each and every time you use it, that means every place you touch.  The toilet must be flushed at least 3 times each use by you and then cleaned too.  Get a box of Nitrile gloves at Walmart or local pharmacy and use always when in rooms where your other family members might be apt to touch things after you.  The kitchen...set aside cook ware, plate, cup, glass, flatware, just for your personal use...no one else should touch.  Wash them carfully in the sink, then disinfect the sink.  This goes for towels, sheets and anything else that may be normally used or touched by others in the house.  Wash your things, clothing and linens and such seperately, then run the machine empty with bleach only.

If at all possible, get some help from your local church or other charity and get a motel room for those days.  Stock up on food and anything you may need for the number of days the doc says to stay isolated.  This is REALLY the best way.

Did they explain to you why the isolation is so important?  It was not explained to me the first time I went through this an it is extremely important to your family that you be very careful.

Hope all goes well, and ask me anything you'd like.  If I can't help, maybe someone else here can.

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

Disinfect is NOT the correct way to be looking at this.  Radioactive Iodine (RAI) cann't be killed.  The precautions are in place because RAI (or I-131) is a two edged sword.  In very large amounts, it will destroy thyroid cells.  In very small amounts, it could cause thyroid cancer.  It does both these things by being absorbed by a thyroid cell and then decaying which emits radiation.  If only one or two of the iodine atoms in a cell are I-131, the cell could mutate into cancer.  If all the iodine atoms in the cell are I-131 this kills the cell so that it can't mutate into cancer or if it is already cancerous to begin with.

The object isn't to disinfect surfaces, it's to remove any traces of I-131 from any surfaces and flush it down the toilet or wash it down the drain.  Most (98%-99%) of the I-131 you ingest when you take the treatment, will be expelled from your body in your urine within 24 to 48 hours.  It's very important to urinate sitting down if you are a man, and flush three times when you're done for the first three days or so.  Of the rest, some will be absorbed by thyroid cells, {the "percent uptake" the body scan report will talk about,} the rest will be expelled by your body in your sweat or feces.  Because of the sweat, it's also important to do your own laundry.  You may also want to rinse off the laundry basket in the shower and sponge the mouth of the washing machine down good.  Water will work just as well as anything.

I-131 atoms cann't be killed because they aren't alive to begin with.  Wiping the bathroom down with bleach won't do any good.  Sponging it down with water and constantly renewing the sponge would be much more effective.  Sorry to harp on this, but I think it's a very important point to make.

Alan

PS The option of going to a motel after taking I-131 has been discussed here before.  Most of the people here say it's not a good thing to do because the motel staff isn't aware of the risks you're subjecting them to.  Perhaps a better idea would be for your husband and children to go to the motel.

ark's picture
ark
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

You are correct, Alan...thank you for making things clear.  I didn't have to deal with most of these issues because both times I've done the 1-131, 11 years ago and again this past year, I lived alone and it was not a problem.  Family and friends just stayed away for a week...my new grandson and his parents were not around for almost 3 weeks.

Again, Thank you, Alan, this was a great explanation.

Arlene

Baldy's picture
Baldy
Posts: 225
Joined: Mar 2011

Arlene,

You're welcome.  I was in the same boat as you since I was home alone and just stayed away from people for a couple of weeks.

Alan

evamommyof4's picture
evamommyof4
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2013

Thankyou both for this information, it has been very helpful.  I can't deny feeling a little scared about this, but I'm putting all my faith in God, I'm sure He'll get me thru this.  Thanks a lot! God bless :)

 

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