September 9, 2012

AFTER the Radiation

I'd like to start off by saying THANK YOU.  We've been loved on so much throughout this entire process and couldn't be more grateful for all of the kind, encouraging words, love and prayers.  We feel beyond blessed to have such a fabulous support system throughout this journey.  So again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

If you read the last post, you know that Scott had radiation nearly 3 weeks ago.  Please forgive my tardiness in updating the blog.  For those of you that don't know, you can follow @scottyb_updates for the latest.  No news is typically good news and means that nothing has really changed.

On Tuesday, August 21st, Scott and I walked through the doors of the Nuclear Medicine area at UT Southwestern.  After waiting a bit, he was escorted to the back, at which point I had to leave.  Leaving him was very difficult...thinking of what he was about to go through--especially since it would be at least a week before I could see him.  You see, since I'm pregnant, and Scott was about to be radioactive, I had to keep my distance to keep the babies safe.  I'm still keeping my distance, if you can believe that.  It's rough but we're hanging in there. 

I walked out of the hospital in the rain and went out to my car to regroup, pray and yes, cry a bit before driving home.  Within 20 minutes, there was a knock on the front of my was Scott, standing outside my car in the pouring rain, smiling and waving.  What the heck?  I was beyond relieved to see him in such a happy, positive state.  I rolled down the window and shouted, "You're done?  Already?"  He nodded and I followed him in my car to the front of the hospital where he wouldn't be standing in the rain any longer.  We chatted for a few minutes about 30 feet away from each other. 

Apparently, after being escorted back, Scott went into a room where they brought in a futuristic, lead lined capsule and was given explicit instructions about taking the pill inside.  He was given the maximum dose of radioactive iodine (160 mCi, to be exact) since his cancer had already spread outside the thyroid into most of the lymph nodes in the neck and upper chest.  The hope is that this strong dose will do the trick in efforts to avoid further treatment.  Moments later, he could leave and let the radioactive iodine take its course.

Scott's dad met us at the hospital to take him home to begin his isolation.  Not to our home, but to Scott's parents' home.  They graciously took him in for the first 48 hours (when he happened to be the most radioactive).  After the worst of it, Scott headed back to our home in McKinney, where he was "quarantined" in the guest room and guest bathroom downstairs.  He had all of the necessities at his fingertips including clothes, sheets and other items that could be disposed of after use. 

I went to my parents' home, where I stayed for the next 9 days.  My mom and I worked on a ton of baby stuff in attempt to keep me nice and distracted.  It worked during the daytime, but at night...I'd get super sad.  Scott and I talked on the phone at least 3 times a day and while that helped, it was still hard to be away, knowing I couldn't take care of him.  

Scott was so severely hypothyroid leading up to radiation that he didn't notice the effects of radiation too quickly.  After a day or two, he was dealing with nausea and intense pain in his salivary glands and sinus cavity (the radiation has a tendency to pool in those areas).  His fatigue only intensified and though exhausted, he struggled to sleep.  Days later, Scott noticed that there wasn't much left of his taste buds--at all (a common side effect that should be temporary...fingers crossed).  8 days after radiation, he returned to work.  Though struggling physically, he was excited about getting back to some sense of normalcy.  

One week after radiation, Scott went in for his first full body scan.  Up until this point, we only had information on the chest up.  The results showed no sign of distant metastasis (which means that the cancer is contained in the areas we already knew about, nothing in the lungs or other organs).  Praise God!

Scott's now taking Synthroid (thyroid hormone replacement medication) that should build up in his system over the next several months and make a big difference in the overall way he feels.  His activity level is improving and though he requires more breaks and rest time, he's happy to be getting projects done around the house--especially with the little ones on the way.   

What's next?  In October, Scott will be evaluated on how well Synthroid is doing it's job.  Apparently, finding the right replacement meds and proper dosage is a lifelong roller coaster for thyroid cancer patients.  He will also have another full body scan that will let us know how much (if any) cancer is left in the body. At that point, his medical team will decide if another round of radiation therapy is needed.

We ask that you join us in praying that the cancer is gone...all of it...for good.  Science might argue that the likelihood of this is low (this cancer has a tendency to return at some point...chances are about 50/50) but that doesn't change our prayers.  Thank you.


  1. So greatful for an update! Continued prayers going up for you, Scott and the babes.

  2. God can do things science never could!!! Praying lots!

  3. Thanks for the update! Helps us pray. We love you both and will uphold you all to the Father. May this too prove to be a demonstration of the Spirit's power! (2 Cor 2.4b-5) - Brad and Deb

  4. Praying for you and Scott Caroline!! Praying for complete healing and strength for all of you as you wait and get ready for those precious babies!