Disclosure: My next few posts are likely going to be about cancer and food. If you like me (I mean, really like me — not just occasionally think I’m someone worth smiling at), then keep reading — it means you can tolerate my train of thought and won’t mind peeking in my tormented brain right now. If you don’t like me, you have three choices: quit reading, quit reading, and (you got it) quit reading. This shit will make you roll your eyes up in your head at me and possibly give you a migraine. And no one wants that. So carry on.
I’m writing this because I need to vent. And also I hope my venting helps somebody else somewhere out there underneath the bright blue sky.
I’m prepping for radioactive iodine treatment next week. RAI is a form of treatment for thyroid cancer — it’s not chemotherapy and not even exactly radiation. It will involve three days of injections, body scans, a pill, some nausea, and some isolation.
Compared to others who have different types of cancer, this is really a walk in the park. Compared to my idea of a what a perfect week should be like, this is the opposite of an easy thing to do. I am not looking forward to being at the hospital every day next week. I am not looking forward to being radioactive. I am not looking forward to nausea, pain, or any other symptom associated with treatment. I may or may not be looking forward to two days all by myself in a room with nothing by TV and a computer.
As part of the treatment, I’m required to go on a low-iodine diet. The idea is that you deplete your body of iodine so that when I start treatment, my body will soak up all the radioactive isotopes. Or something like that. So, I was thinking “low-iodine” = “no salt” — that’s what you were thinking too, right? Nope. Iodine is found in lots of foods, used in pretty much every single processed food in the world, random fruits, eggs, dairy, chocolate, STRAWBERRIES, bread, and basically every food that you don’t realize you eat all the time until you are specifically told that you can’t eat it.
I need to get this out there: the diet is not difficult. It’s nit-picky, specific, NOT intuitive, seemingly random, a pain in my motherfucking ass, but it isn’t difficult. And I’m not a wimp. Well, I am about a lot of things — but not about this.
Here are the things I have found difficult so far (if this gets any easier, I will write a post about what’s easy about this too so stay tuned):
- Having to plan to prepare a separate meal for myself. From the moment I wake up, I’m thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner for my kids, what time we are going to eat, how we are going to fit it into our schedule. Adding this extra element of preparing food just for me? Yup. Pain in the ass.
- Reading labels. When I grocery shop, I have a short list. Go in. Get out. Reading labels on everything I put in the cart? Who has time for this???
- The diet and “cookbook” — it’s not Asian food friendly. For a person who cooks with lots of soy sauce, fish sauce, fish, seaweed, and rice — this diet is basically scheduled starvation.
- The underlying cause for the diet. I have no problem whatsoever cheating when it comes to losing weight. I have been known to consider Nutella a regular diet food. In fact, I think cheating is a necessary part of life. But I can’t cheat here — because the reason I am on the diet is because I have cancer. I sometimes feel like if I say this out loud enough times then it will seem more real. Cancer that took my thyroid, sucks my energy, gifted me a with a nasty scar, and threatens my daily happiness. And one of the ways I am going to fight that cancer is with RAI. And the only way to ensure RAI will work is if I stay on this diet.
I have very little control these days. This is one of the few things I can do. Even if it means I’m pretty much angry and hungry for the next two weeks.
Pray for me. But steer clear of my bad side.