12 October 2013

Life After RAI

But wait.
I should first narrate what happened BEFORE 
and during RAI to keep everybody updated . . .

This is my hospital suite when I checked in on Sept. 30:
Zeny, the secretary of Dr. Cruz, 
my doctor in nuclear medicine,
promised to reserve the best room for me
possibly out of pity knowing I will be alone
since I told her I will just commute on my own
and paint the time away . . .

Two walls of my square room has windows that overlook Manila.
It was perfect since I can watch the scene outside,
bask in the morning sun,
and watch the stars at night.
Not really.

It was rainy and cloudy most days & nights
except during mornings when the sun greeted me ;-)
And since I did not bring any gadgets
except my old blah phone
which I kept at a distance and checked twice a day
I had no choice but use it to shoot this night and day scene below:
It wasn't all that bad.
As soon as I checked in I was given two hours to fast:
no food, no water for two hours
so I had my lunch right away ;-)

At past 2 PM, the nuclear technologist arrived covered in a thick vest
and wheeled a metal tray where she later took a heavy box
and opened it to reveal a round heavy metal thing
 that looked like a bomb!
In the middle of the round thing was a small container 
where a covered capsule was slowly dropped into my hands.
I have to open the small container that held the capsule, 
and immediately swallow the capsule that contained RAI.
RAI is radioactive iodine therapy to help remove traces of cancer.
(Note: I should inform you that I practiced swallowing meds by now
so it was not much of a hassle)

Then the lady technologist (she looked young and dainty to me)
took out a machine that measured the radioactive levels around me:
"30" she told me. 
"We have to bring it down to '2' before we can release you"
And then she was gone.
And I'm alone.

So I wrote down in my notepad "Day 1"
because my memory was pretty fuzzy lately
and recorded everything: medications, instructions, etc.

For 3 days I followed all the instructions:
I showered three times a day, drank plenty of fluids,
took my medicines: I had to resume my thyroxine tablets
(this replaced my thyroid functions since my thyroids were removed),
1000 mg of calcium carbonate 3x a day, and steroids/painkillers:
150 mg ranitidine and 10 mg of prednisone.
Skip this if it bores you but since I am part of a forum
that deals with thyroids/RAI it may be helpful to the group.

I also did brisk and slow walking 1000 steps around my room,
did some yoga stretching and breathing,
talked to clients and people at work since my room have telephone,
watched TV for news updates and entertainment,
ate heartily even if the food delivered to me were not to my liking,
ordered fresh fruits and yogurts,
changed my bedsheets, pillow cases, etc. every day,
cleaned the sink and flushed the toilets with laundry soap,
wiped everything I touched with alcohol (phone, remote, etc.)
in short, I was determined to bring the radioactive levels down ;-)
And I did! On the 2nd day it was down to '8'
and on the 3rd day it was '2' and I was told I can go home
after they did a body scan ;-)
When I left the hospital, my level was down to '.5'!!!!

I did not have burning sensations in my throat,
no vomiting sensations, no dehydrations,
no aches or pains in my body,
no boredom, no dramas.
I packed my stuff, paid my bills,
called a cab and went home on my own.

I already informed all of Heaven (my home)
that I can not be near them for two weeks.
I stayed in my bedroom, had separate utensils,
washed my clothes and utensils,
continued my walking and yoga,
continued my thyroxine and calcium carbonate meds,
drink plenty of water, eat fruits, pray and think happy thoughts.

I am surviving
one day at a time . . .
I know all of your prayers helped
all of your positive energies sent my way
are helping me cope.

Some Sidelights:
I was awakened at midnight on the 3rd day in the hospital thinking I heard my dog Sweepy calling for me. I always get awakened by Sweepy at home whenever there are intruders etc. So I got up and looked down on the streets below and saw a scavenger and her dog, rummaging through the trash bins. Suffice it to say, I called/begged the nurse (we communicate by telephone) and ordered food for the dog and companion and the nurses (when I found out that the nurses work on 24 hour shifts!) who kindly went down and bought the food himself! It does not cost much to feed and comfort animals and people for a day. I mean really. . . 

Another Sidelight:
Last Wednesday (Oct. 9), I had a hard time breathing at dawn at home. I thought I was going to die. Good thing I heard my sister Loyd in the hallway and she immediately called the village ambulance and I was whisked back to the hospital's ER at 3 AM! They checked my vital signs and told me I do not need to be admitted. So I waited in the hospital with Loyd until my doctors clinic hours at 10 AM! Apparently, I have to look out for slow metabolism so I need not panic, check foods that cause allergies (I really have to watch out for milk and some dairy foods) that clogs my throat and create mucus congestion. Otherwise, I really have to constantly remind myself that even if I look and feel OK, I am not really OK. My body needs to be healed slowly and I must constantly watch myself.

I am OK most days.
I get forgetful and I laugh at myself silly.
Heaven laughs with me
and tickles me whenever I pass by . . .

I knew Heaven will always be OK
just as I am.

And look:
My hounds will stay close
and keep watch 
of Heaven
and me.

Next week, I can resume normal activity.
Go to work, meet people,
but stay 1 meter away from them
(so no beso-beso: kisses and hugs!)
and try to stay 2 hours at most with them.
Someday, I will look back
and not be forgetful
and not be so tired
and be Heaven's Keeper once again . . . 


Lisa Gordon said...

I am so glad this is over for you, Lui.
You have such a wonderful spirit and attitude about all of it.

Glad too that you are back at home. It is so much easier to recover in your own home, and I am sure that my big handsome fella is absolutely thrilled to have you back.

Sending you big hugs (from 1 meter away!!), and prayers too. xo.

The Artful Diva said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your ills. I wish I could be there to spend a little time with you. No one should be alone when are ailing...

Cheri Wildcatwoods said...

I am so sorry that I did not see these posts before. Know that I am sending lots of healing light to you for a complete recovery. You are so very brave. I will think of you each day and check in to see how you are doing. All the kitties send loving hugs to you!

Are you OK from the earthquake?

cats of wildcat woods

DeniseinVA said...

Ah my dear friend, you are indeed a champion!!! I read this and continue to admire you greatly. Prayers and thought, healing energies continue to be sent your way.

Lui said...

Pat, I have to be isolated for two weeks during RAI therapy because I am radioactive. Within 48 hours I was at the safe level "2" which is why I was sent home faster than the rest. I knew this because I saw the radioactive level sheets posted on the doorway of the patients on my floor!

Cheri, we are OK because the earthquake is in the visayas. I live south of Manila (Luzon) and the two typhoons that passed missed my place ;-)

And thank you Denise, Lisa and friends who emailed, on chat rooms, texted and hugged me even if I warned them to stay in the distance...

Thank God that there are so many angels and good spirits around me and I am not really alone...

Gattina said...

That's a very hard time you are going through. Nice that you had your own room in hospital and that you do everything to get healed quickly. Be patient, soon you will feel normal again !

january said...

lui, you made it! we’re continually praying for your recovery.

Photo Cache said...

You are a tough woman; keep it up. Praying for your speedy recovery. Hugs and kisses to Sweepy and the other one, we forgot the name.

Emma and Buster

Sweepy said...

Woof, you forgot to say you smell like a bomb, Keeper!

And yeah, I did woke you up, silly woman!

Viola said...

Hello and woof woof and miau! =)
I am so happy now, to read that you are gettting better each day!! =)
I read all you've written, so interesting. and thank you for sharing all this with us! :)
I could nearly imagine you, being in that hospital room high up from the street. and so kind of you to call a nurse to give some food for the person down in the street and her dog! You're such a lovely and kind person Lui! and I am so happy that you are coming back to heaven, more and more each day! =)
sure Sweepy and Babur are very happy to have you there, and your sister, and the garden heaven!

Lots of kisses from me (that's allowed, I can both hug and kiss you in a cyber way!)

Keep on and stay strong and happy!

viola and pusa
:) ^^)

Connie Smiley said...

Lui, glad you're through that part. I loved the story of you feeding the woman and her dog. So sweet! Keeping you in my prayers.

Jeanne said...

So glad Lui that this event is now in the past for you, and that you can look forward to much more time of good health! What you had is so treatable and I am thankful for that. Love your sweet spirit!