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Radioactive Iodine Therapy (I-131)

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2004

I am having Radioactive Iodine therapy on the 29th of this month. My endocrinologist informed me that following my therapy, I would need to stay in the hospital or a similar facility for 3 days, to avoid radiation exposure to family/friends because we only have 1 bathroom at home. However, the secretary at the nuclear medicine department of my local hospital said it wasn't necessary for me to stay in a hospital room, but to discuss it with the doctor when I come in for my scan. Did anyone else have to do this, and if so, what was the experience like?

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

I had radiation 2 weeks ago, had to stay 3 days,
was told this is law, they cant have you walking
around because you could contaminate other people.

Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2003

Hi I have been a thyroid cancer for 16yrs and and I have had 3 RAI treatments(2 in the hospital and last yr I was sent home) I had to isolate myself in a room for 5 days.I also have only 1 bathroom.But I was sent home with special instructions.I myself prefer to stay in the hospital because the treatment last yr was very strong and I felt really sick.If you have more questions you can write back to me here or at
Take care and God bless

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2004

I just had radioactive iodine two weeks ago and also was in the hospital for three days total. I think it depends on the dose of radiation you get that determines wether you have to stay in the hospital or not. Also different states may have different laws regarding the acceptable exposure. Regarding the hospital stay, it is very boring and tedious. You can't bring anything in the room with you that you don't want to get thrown away, this includes glasses, clothes, anything. Bring lots of magazines and cross word puzzles and hard candy because the dry mouth is awful. Take two to three showers a day and change your bed linens at least twice a day. This will limit the amount of time you have to stay in the hospital because the radiation comes out in your sweat. I had to stay away from home for two weeks because my wife is pregnant. You also have to limit the time you spend around children because they are very suseptable to getting sick because of the radiation. The nuclear medicine tech and radiologist should go over all of this with you before the procedure. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions. You can email me at michael.daniel.curtis@us.army.mil

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

Hi there, I had 2 large doses of radioactive iodine last year. Both times I was allowed to go home, but I could not be in contact with anyone or anything for 72 hours. At the time I lived alone. The laws may be different from state to state. I also wish that I would have been required to stay in the hospital because I felt very sick and alone. Best of luck. If you want you can email me w/ any questions - Krista o1championr1@comcast.net

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2004

I had I-131 in August 2001. From speaking with other survivors I found out that going home right after treatment would be hazardess to my children (than 2 years old and 8 months old). When I went to set up for in hospital treatment I was told it was not nessecary. I knew better so I fought them. Finally, I agreed to go home,if, and only if, they would put IN WRITING that my children would not be endangered by my presence. Needless to say, they had a room ready for me in no time! I was in total insolation for 4 days and then stayed with my elderly mother for an additional 3 days. It wasn't easy but it was worth it.

By the way, one of the nurses told me that the reason the hospital wasn't originally going to admit me was because 1. I would need a private room and the couldn't charge me a higher rate for it because it was a nessecity and 2. they would have to re-schedule the nursing staff - I could only be seen by nurses who were out of their child bearing years.

It's sad but somtimes we have to fight for our right.

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Hi Krista - I was reading your posting, and then I saw the date 11/1/2004!! Hope you get this...I had half my thyroid taken out 14 years ago. Last year (after going for yearly check-ups) I was told that they felt something ont he right side. My Surgeon years ago should have removed the whole gland in my opinion, so I had to go for surgery once again. I had papillary cancer which the surgeon feels she removed entirely. I asked her if I could wait until after the Holiday's to have radioactive iodine and she kind of gave me the option as to whether or not to have it done. I have been off synthroid for 3 1/2 weeks and feel pretty lousy. I am really concerned about the isolation thing with RAI!!! You mentioned 72 hours, I could deal with that. I know it depends on the amount of radioactive iodine that you get. It seems so cruel to not only go through surgery and find out you have a cancer, but then to have to isolate yourself seems like further punishment doesn't it? I wouldn't want to stay in the Hosiptal in isolation that would be awful for me. I live with my Husband and Daughter who is 14, and I certainly don't want to cause them to have thyroid troubles (I wouldn't wish this nightmare on anyone). Any advise? Thanks so much...Paula

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi Dimitra (and others), I am new to this whole chat thing as well at the cancer scene. I was diagnosed in early February and had my total thyroidectomy on March 1st. Have you done the I131 treatment yet? What should I expect? I have almost 5 weeks left to worry about it and it is driving me nuts! Why don't they give you more information when they mention it? It is such a big mystery and the information on the internet is so vague. I would like to know the specifics so I can explain it to my family. My kids, 9 &11, think I am going to glow in the dark like some alien...at least they see some humor in it. Since you have probably gone through it by now, any hints on how to deal with it? Thanks! Kandi

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