I had my second, unplanned nuclear scan nearly a week and a half ago now. I didn’t want to say too much about my current status, because it feels so very uncertain. The second scan wasn’t as complete as the first; it was about 25 minutes of lying extraordinarily still while the machine took its pictures rather than a full hour it took the first time. When I asked the technician why I was doing this again, he said, “It’s technical. It’s not you.” So perhaps it was just an unreadable scan? I’m not sure. I haven’t heard anything from the hospital since. I got the call to come back for the second scan 9 days after the first one; it’s now been 11 days since the second one.
I wish someone would call me and say, “It’s over! You’re cured! You no longer have cancer!” but I guess no one gets calls like that. Ends with a whimper, not a bang.
As my endocrinologist told me to, I took my first thyroxine pill after the first scan. And the way I interpreted after was in the bathroom of the nuclear imaging department at the hospital directly after they finished. Perspective: I had been severely hypothyroid for weeks at that point. I had a horribly hoarse voice, I was irritable and anxious, I spent most of the time groggy and tired, my body movements were slowed down dramatically (meaning I got in a lot of people’s way on sidewalks because I walked so slowly), my body temperature was dipping under 35 degrees, and I was getting married in three days. I was very pleased to take that first pill.
How long would it take? I have to admit, while getting rid of hypothyroidism does not happen overnight, the following morning my voice was slightly less rough, and I felt very slightly less groggy. (Defining “groggy”: every morning with my parents, my mother got out of bed around 9:30 and made coffee (tea for me) and breakfast. Directly after surgery, I got up about 2 hours before that and read books or checked my email. Toward the end of this experience, I woke up hearing her in the kitchen and wished I could go back to sleep. At my worst, I got up, went into the kitchen to say good morning to my mom, and while I understood the words she was saying back to me, I couldn’t make sense of the sentences. I was so groggy I couldn’t parse what she was saying to me until a good 20 minutes or so after I started drinking my tea.) The next morning, my voice was definitely getting better. I felt very positive.
What I didn’t realize is that the body picks and choses which parts it wants to heal first. I guess that makes sense; when you’re out in the cold for a long time, your body decides to give up on your limbs and focuses on your core functions, so why should it be any different in this case? My voice got better fast, my grogginess receded, my body temperature started going up pretty dramatically, but suddenly I had swollen and achey wrists, ankles, knees, and hips. I had no idea that was part of the deal, even though I’d been staring at a list of symptoms for weeks at that point. I was getting puffy around the eyes. It’s as if parts of me got better and other parts got worse. I started to read about theories about fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome being actually just a manifestation of hypothyroidism (tired, sore joints, muscular pain). I also started to notice horrifically dry skin; I could sand my walls down with my elbows. I wasn’t really in an ideal physical state for my “honeymoon”. While I was pleased to see Jeremy again (finally!), there I was: tired, irritable, achey, slow, and not much fun.
Today, it’s been two weeks since I started taking thyroxine. It’s also the beginning of projected double-digit temperatures in Southern Ontario (they’re projecting 11 C degrees today, 14 C degrees tomorrow), so it’s the first week that’s really felt like spring. Coming out of a hypothyroid daze is very much like coming out of a kind of hybernation, so this all feels very well timed. Today, I feel a bit clearer in the head. I have a bit more energy than I’ve had in a while. I can’t quite remember what “normal” feels like, so it’s hard to compare, but I think I’m getting there.