Saturday, February 20, 2010


So besides awesome Olympic watching last week, I got to spend two days at Riverside Hospital on the northwest side for an iodine scan.
As we recall--in October I had a thyroid biospy after a CT scan revealed a nodule on my thyroid. Prior to this, I wasn't even sure where my thyroid gland was. The biopsy was benign, so no thyroid cancer (which is fairly common for women my age, apparently), but I was sent to an endocrinologist at Riverside to investigate other thyroid issues that may be occuring. Part of that was the scheduling of an iodine scan, to see how my thryoid reacted to it. Apparently this will tell if I have an underactive or overactive thyroid, each with its own set of problems.
So, on Wednesday I went to Riverside's Nuclear Medicine Department at 7:30. Riverside is a very nice hospital, very clean and quite pretty. There are lounges scattered about with couches and tables and such, so you can read or work. There's also WiFi, but I didn't bring my laptop to take advantage.
After doing the registration paperwork at the desk (and forking over a $100 fee, wasn't expecting that), I sat down to wait. I didn't have to wait long. The tech, Lisa, came back for me and took me to the exam room. We went over my meds, and then she explained the procedure. I had to swallow two capsules, which contained a tracer so that when we took the pictures later, we'd be able to see certain things more clearly. I took those. 90 minutes later, I could eat, and 4 hours later (around 11:30), I was to come back to the exam room so we could take three sets of pictures and take some measurements.
After I swallowed the pills, I went to one of the lounges to read, write in my journal, things like that. This one had a fireplace, which was super nice.
At 9:30 (I was STARVING), I headed to the cafeteria to get a snack. It was Ash Wednesday, so fasting was involved--no meat, no snacks--but I hadn't eaten yet so I needed some sort of food. I bought a snack pack of cheese and crackers, and a USA Today. I did the crossword puzzle in an half hour and watched some of the Olympics on the television. The cafeteria was a  nice departure from the usual sterile, institutional atmosphere most places have (yes, Children's, your cafeteria counts. Sorry.).
After that, I returned to my lounge to read Signs of Life, the Scott Hahn book I'd be wanting for finish for months, and to write some more in my journal (I was so behind). I also bought a Better Homes and Gardens from the gift shop.
At 11:30 I headed back to the exam room and hopped up on the table. Lisa inserted the table into the scanner. It was sort of like a VQ scan, where the plate comes very close to the part it's scanning, so that the radiation doesn't just fly all over the room. Since it was my neck, and not my chest, I wasn't as claustrophobic as usual. I actually fell asleep during the second and third sets.
Then the tech took some measurements of my leg (no idea why, I guess some sort of baseline thing) and then my thyroid. These took two minutes each. After that, I was free to go, but not free to hang out with people. Gotta love being radioactive.
The next day I headed back around 9:30, did the two-minutes-each measurements again, and was gone. The instructions said to take two days off of work, so I did, but I wish they would've told me WHY for the second day. I guess timing had something to do with it. Oh well.
I should get the results sometime next week. We'll see what craziness my thyroid is up to (if any) then.

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