All things considered, radioactive iodine treatment is “getting off easy.” It lacks the existential fatigue and sunburn from within that sets in with external beam radiation. It lacks the utterly disjunctive transformation and bizarro pain from unexpected places that comes with surgery, and it lacks the body-falling-apart poison experience of chemo (I’ve only heard about the last one; the other two I can speak to more directly). But it was still shitty in its own unique way. People complain about the low iodine diet, but that was mostly a challenge. The lithium and RAI together, though, gave me a little window into why sometimes you hear about people not taking their meds. Once the lithium built up, I felt like I had a head filled with sand, dry mouth and eyes, and once I took the RAI pill, I was tired all the time. I woke up Monday morning worried that the condition would last indefinitely. Happily, it hasn’t. I’m returning to life but it’s a slow process. I would say I’m still around 80% or so in terms of energy. I can think clearly, though, which is a welcome relief.
This morning I had the blood test and scan that follows after radioactive iodine. I wish I could say it was a big relief, since it marks the final stage of the treatment process. But honestly, it felt a little ominous. So now I just have to wait to hear from my doctor.