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Radioactive Treatment Recovery

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2004

I am having my thyroid the final half of my thyroid removed in 10days. (it is cancer) In January, I will receive treatment with radioactive iodine. I have a few questions about this treatment. Is the body scan typically done before or after the treatment? How long after the treatment will I start to feel well again? How long after the treatment will I be able to resume my normal activities? (I teach 5 year olds)

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2004

Hi Janelouise,
I've been through 3 rounds of the RAI and overall its not bad.

The body scan is done after you ingest a scanning dose of RAI (mine was 5 millicurries) -its clear, odorless and tasteless. I ingested mine on a Wednesday, went home and then had the whole body scan on Friday after the RAI had 48 hours to look for errant thryoid cells. If thyroid cells are present, you normally drink a "Biggie" dose (mine was 150 millicurries) of RAI and then stay in the hospital in isolation for 48 hours. Some people drink the dose and go home as long as they don't have contact with people. After your stay in isolation, they scan you again to see how it looks.

Once mine was done, I went back on Synthroid immediately and felt better in a week and back to my old self in a couple weeks. Of course, everyone is different but you it doesn't take too long to feel well. My nuclear med dr. had me avoid holding my then 5-yr old daughter for a week after the RAI. Check with your nuclear med dr or endocrinologist for their recommendations and interacting with children.

The hardest part of the RAI is being off Synthroid before the scan. You will be in an extreme hypothyroid state: very cold, constipated, muscle discomfort, very difficult time concentrating, vivid dreams, super dry skin. etc. Some people feel some nausea after the RAI but I never felt sick - I only lost my "taste" for food for a week or so and then it returned.

A good website for thryoid cancer patients is www.thyca.org - I highly recommend it.

Good luck!


Posts: 27
Joined: Mar 2003

I have had two treatments and they were three years a part. Each time I had to stay away from pregnant women and children for twelve days and my dog thirteen days. There is actually no sick time with this treatment. Maybe tired and nausea ( some what) the next day. Depending on the strengh of treatment that is how it is determined the days needed to stay away from people

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