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Mary Shomon

Are Radioactive Thyroid Patients a Public Health Hazard? Congress Tackles the Risk of "Drive-Thru Radiation"

By October 26, 2010

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Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey calls it "drive-thru radiation." And tabloid headlines refer to patients as "human dirty bombs." They are referring to the common practice in the United States of giving radioactive treatments -- in particular, radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer -- and then releasing patients, who can remain measurably "radioactive" for as long as a week or more. In Europe, most patients receiving radioactive treatments stay at the hospital in protected areas to avoid contaminating others. But in the U.S., since 1997, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not required that patients be quarantined after radioactive treatments. (It's thought that this move may have been primarily for cost reasons, supported by insurers and HMOs who want to avoid the additional costs involved with hospital quarantine for patients having radioactive iodine treatment.)

Voluntary guidelines suggest that after radioactive treatment, patients avoid close proximity to others, sleep alone for a week, and avoid close proximity (i.e., hugs) with infants and children, and avoid pregnant women. And yet, these guidelines are not being followed, and many of these patients, while still "radioactive" so to speak, end up in public, riding public transportation, or, to avoid exposing their own families, frequently stay in hotel rooms which then become contaminated by radiation.

According to some scientists, even the second-hand exposure to someone who has has had a radioactive medical treatment can provide a single dose of radiation that exceeds the typical annual dose from all sources received by a typical American, and may be as much as four times higher than the level considered safe for a pregnant woman.

POLL: What Do You Think About Thyroid Patients Receiving Radioactive Iodine?

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This is not a new issue, and we've been talking about it for years actually. Back in 2006, I blogged, Radioactive Treatments Can Trigger Airport Security...Even Weeks After Treatment, and in 2007, USA Today did a series that I profiled: Radioactive Iodine (RAI) Treatment for Thyroid Disease: Is Secondhand Exposure Safe?.

In 2008, I reported on the "New Guidelines Issued to Protect Babies and Children from Thyroid Patients Receiving Radioactive Iodine." These guidelines were released by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and recommended back then that the procedures to protect infants and young children from radiation exposure be strengthened.

In Rep. Markey's Congressional investigation, a number of problems were identified, including patients who set off radiation detectors at airports and in tunnels, rode public buses, shared a bathroom and/or bedroom with a pregnant woman or child, and their house trash has triggered radiation detectors at landfills. Hotels are a particular concern, because, according to the report, 7 percent of the patients surveyed had radioactive iodine treatment, and then checked in to a hotel "where they contaminate sheets, bedspreads, and other common room surfaces and could also potentially expose pregnant hotel workers or children of guests - who are the most susceptible for developing cancer as a result of radiation exposure. In 2007, a patient was discovered to have contaminated two individuals as well as the sheets and towels used in almost an entire hotel in Illinois."

According to Rep. Markey's statement, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is ignoring the problem. "My investigation has led me to conclude that the levels of unintentional radiation received by members of the public who have been exposed to patients that have received 'drive through' radiation treatments may well exceed international safe levels established for pregnant women and children...This has occurred because of weak NRC regulations, ineffective oversight of those who administer these medical treatments, and the absence of clear guidance to patients and to physicians."

You can read Rep. Markey's letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here in PDF format.

While the specific risk from exposure is not clear, hopefully, this new investigation will propose some better solutions. It's hard enough for patients to deal with the stress of thyroid cancer and its treatment -- but to be considered a public health hazard, or referred to as "human dirty bombs" -- when they have no other options -- seems to be an additional and unfair burden on patients. At the same time, the public needs to be protected.

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Comments
October 26, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(1) Angel says:

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a little over 8 years ago when I was 22 years old. My first treatment was a very large dosage and I had to stay in the hospital one night so they could monitor me (they said because the cancer had spread to my lungs). Everything in the room was covered in paper and plastic. Everyone wore disposable clothing, clothes, and booties when they came into the room. I had a radioactive sign outside my door. My dad drove me home the next day (I sat in the backseat as far away as possible but still it was only a couple feet). My next treatment months later, they gave me a pill (told me to swallow it and not touch it) and sent me home after waiting a little while to make sure I didn’t get sick. And I was told to call a hazmat unit if I had to pull over and throw up, which thankfully didn’t happen.

October 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm
(2) Dr. Eric says:

Yet another reason why RAI should be a last resort in most cases. As I’ve said numerous times in articles and blog posts, any treatment method with the word “radioactive” in it should be questioned. Too many people just take the word of their endocrinologist and receive RAI almost immediately after being diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition. This doesn’t mean that some people don’t need to receive RAI, but most people can avoid this harsh treatment method either through anti-thyroid drugs, or natural treatment methods. At the very least these other treatment methods should be tried first before receiving radioactive iodine.

Dr. Eric

January 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm
(3) Vicki T. says:

Hi,Dr. Eric! I am one of those people who was given RAI almost immedately when I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease in 1996. No other means of controlling my disease were ever explored by my doctors. I was given the “drive-thru” method of RAI and was NEVER warned that I could contaminate others, including my little pets. I normaally drive my own car, but the day I had the treatment I had to take two different buses to get home since my car was in for repairs. I cringe when I think about who I might have been around during that time and have taken a lot of guilt onto myself because of it. Luckily, I suspected this might be hazardous to others and limited my exposure to others, but those bus rides still haunt me. I do remember that they were not crowded, at all, but I’m sure I left my radioactivity behind. If only I had been warned, I would have waited until my car was repaired. Also, thanks Mary for the great article and I will check out your other links.

October 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm
(4) bea says:

my thyroid cancer spread into my lymph nodes, parathyroids,and neck area. even the best surgeon could not possibly remove all of the cancer cells. RAI was necessary, and insurance that hopefully, i will not develop cancer somewhere else. i am a mother,wife,daughter,friend- not a “dirty bomb”. it is insensitive to call cancer patients by such a label. how about the chemotherapy drugs that are given to other cancer patients?would you consider not giving a cancer drug to a patient because it might cause harm to the IV technician who mixed the drug, or the nurse that administered it? precautions should be in place for RAI patients, but this should be accomplished through better education, and not ignorance.

October 27, 2010 at 5:35 am
(5) Ciara says:

Surely the answer is very simple. The patient is kept in hospital for 3 – 7 days until the radioactive risk is negated. That’s what’s done in Europe. Letting patients home or to a hotel would be unthinkable.

October 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm
(6) Sandra Schmidt says:

I had a TT in 2000 for thyroid cancer. I had 2 RAI treatments and stayed in the hospital 3 days each time.
I missed being able to see my new granddaughter for 30 days because I was still radioactive. I would never put anyone in jeopardy and have that on my conscious.

Thyroid cancer is not the “best” cancer to have either!!!

October 29, 2010 at 9:52 am
(7) Donna says:

I think it is irresponsible for a senator or congressman to address RAI patients in this manner.
The RAI has a half like of something like 90 days and you are considered no contamidating within about 3-4 days.
It would be irresponsible of any patient to knowing put anyone in harm and I don’t believe they ever would as I know I was very well informed by the docs and techs administering the RAI what I needed to do..
Would the insurance company really ever foot the bill for a night or several nights stay for this. come on get real..
Markey you need a reality check.
No one to my know is ever administered enough RAI to make them a bomb.. so please stop spreading histeria where there should be none.

October 29, 2010 at 11:03 am
(8) Eva says:

I think it’s irresponsible for any patient to knowingly contaminate others. I was given a mega dose of RAI in 2005 for thyroid cancer and was quarantined in the hospital for 3 days and my HMO covered it. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and found out that there’s a link between RAI and breast cancer although no one warned be about that at the time. According to my endocronologist, there is a small percentage of patients that could develop breast cancer later on but apparently, I had no other option to treat the thyroid cancer.

October 29, 2010 at 11:09 am
(9) Margaret says:

This is just another example of our shameful For-Profit health care system which will ALWAYS put profits before the welfare of the American people! Corporate America is running our country and the health insurers dictate who will live and who will die. Also this is another example of our Blame the Victim culture in this country – yeah, blame the poor smuck who has thyroid cancer, goes for treatment and has to then fend for themselves. I have a 2 bedroom house – where would I sleep that would be safe for the rest of my family? So typical that the media (owned by the conglomerates) blasts the cancer patient as ‘human dirty bombs’ and not the health care insurers as ‘corporate dirty bombs’!

Margaret ct

October 29, 2010 at 11:16 am
(10) pernmanecklace says:

I had a total thyroidectomy for papillary cancer in 2006. Later that year I had the ablation treatment with a tad under 100mci of radioactive iodine, RAI 131. I was sent home immediately, where I had three cats. No other humans.

The nuke med doc and techs had no recommendations for how to treat pets during ablation treatment, but Cornell vet school had info on the web that small animals should be treated as babies and infants are: stay away from them for a week. One of the cats had my bedroom and the two new, companions cats had the guest room. I slept on an inflatable mattress in the kitchen. I still worried about quickly going into the rooms, putting down cat food, and leaving ASAP. I used gloves to handle the food dishes. But, I still worried about any possible exposure….

Since then, with my annual whole body scan (WBS) amount of about 4 or 5mci of RAI 131, the procedure has changed somewhat over the years. I used to be given a slip from the nuke medicine department explaining that I had just taken RAI 131, its purpose and, iirc, its amount. Now, the new thyroidologist/nuke medicine radiology doc, told me I didn’t need any paper; if I were stopped for something and set off a radiation detector, I should have the officials involved call him! Yeah, like he’d be available at all hours, eh?

I realize that I do have experience being dosed at the WBS scan level, but much less has been said in any form of reminders of what to do. That surprised me a bit.

I realize the half-life of RAI 131 is very fast, that most of the possible radiation is gone within just a few days, but it’s no longer being spelled out to patients. Or at least to me. Armslength for X minutes, when talking to other adults; time to talk can be longer the farther the person stands away from the treated patient, etc.

I looked it up on a thryoid cancer board, to remind myself, but not everyone has access to that kind of information.

Worries me a bit.

October 29, 2010 at 11:24 am
(11) permanecklace says:

BTW, does anyone here know what radioactive material is used as the seeds to kill off prostate cells? And for how long the man has these in his body? Is the radiation exposure different or the same as for RAI 131 used to kill off thryroid cells?

Surely having the actual material placed inside one’s body means the radioactivity lasts longer than just swallowing a pill which is then excreted? Or…not?

October 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm
(12) Sandy says:

For the RAI treatment I had recently, I was given written information on the entire procedure, side effects, and precautions. The nuclear radiologist told me who I was to avoid contact with and the number of days it would be until the radioactivity was at levels for the normal human body. I had 100mci and was very careful about exposure to others. Rather than the week they suggested, I stayed inside and away from others for 2 weeks. I also checked online to read more on RAI and its effects. It’s hard enough to be diagnosed with cancer and go through treatments…don’t also put a stigma on these patients. They didn’t ask for Cancer and many are grateful there is a treatment for this. BTW, I was not a Human Dirty Bomb but I am a Cancer Survivor.

October 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm
(13) Surfergurl says:

I’m so very glad i opted for surgery instead of radiation for the toxic multinodular goiter i was dealing with.

I expressed my concerns about radiation exposure to the endocrinologist and she sneered at me. I was enrolled in an environmental studies class called Energy and the Environment and there was a chart in our textbook indicating how many radans a person can withstand in a five year period. The treatment would have put me over the top. I chose surgery and the doctor was not pleased.

The ENT who performed the surgery said my thyroid was so large the treatment would have done no good, and I would have ended up on his operating table sooner or later.

October 29, 2010 at 3:55 pm
(14) Jill says:

I-131 used in RAI has a half-life of 8 days (decays by half every 8 days). Exposure to any radiation isn’t good, but according to wiki, following RAI, small amounts of I-131 may be eliminated via sweat and bodily fluids. Are these small amounts of I-131 capable of destroying a normal undiseased thryoid if contact is made with sheets or sweat? Wiki says that patients are warned not have intimate relations for 30 days, and radiation detectors may go off up to 95 days after their treatment. Quarantine for 95 days or even 30 days isn’t reasonable for anyone suffering from thyroid cancer, but how else can the general public be protected from this silent danger? I’ve had hypothyroid disease for at least 15 years, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. If I came in contact with sweat from sheets at a hotel, or other sweaty handshake type interaction, and unknowingly took in enough I-131 to kill part of my thryoid, I wouldn’t be happy. At least a short-term quarantine of 8 days to cover the first half-life seems like the only reasonable option to protect both family, friends and the general public.

October 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm
(15) MGR Rajan & Rajashekharraoa says:

Patients requiring radioiodine I-131, post thyroidectomy or for recurring metastasis of differentiated thyroid cancer are usually administered anywhere from 30 mCi to 200 mCi (~1GBq to 6 GBq). At our centre in India, the patients are kept in special wards, where there, urine, feces, bath water etc., are collected in special tanks, allowed to decay to low levels before release into the drains. Their clothing is packed and kept away till the radioactivity decays sufficiently. The patients themselves are allowed to go home only after their residual I-131 activity in their body is less than 15 mCi (0.4 GBq). They are also advised to minimize exposure to others. We do this to prevent inadvertent exposure to family members and others. We are often told by patients, that in the USA, patients are not isolated or hospitalized after I-131 therapy, and that our practice is outdated. We have remained with our practice and we feel justified after seeing the news from the USA. Unfortunately, this news will lead to bad publicity for nuclear medicine practice, where radioactivity is used for diagnosis and therapy, beneficially for millions of patients.

November 1, 2010 at 9:46 am
(16) colleen says:

When I begin my thyroid cancer journey – I needed a whole body scan (WBS) and was given a pill or RAI 131 in the amount of 6 mci. I was sent along my merry way – went back to work and then home. During the night I woke up with severe headache and vomitting so bad I went to the ER. They chastized me for not calling my DR and gave something for the symptoms and sent me home. I threw up along the way home on the side of the road (my husband driving and pulled over).
After my total thyroidectomy for papillary cancer in later that year I had the ablation treatment with a tad under 120mci of radioactive iodine, RAI 131. My doctor hospitalized me because I was very fearful of being so sick again which I was. They put me in a sterile room – plastic around everything – visiting could only stand at the door and the nurses barely came in. I threw up alot and all my utensils or plates were throwaway. I stayed for two days and was sent home. I had the next whole body scan 1 year later with the 6 mci dose of RAI. My doctor prescribed meds in case I got sick – which I did – but I did it at home. Everyone involved was confused because it’s not supposed to make you sick – BUT it did for me. What can i say about that? My point being – with the smaller dose there is no protection to the public at all – And with the larger dose after I left the hospital I stayed in my room but I’m praying my family wasn’t exposed.

November 2, 2010 at 2:35 am
(17) Vanessa says:

They dont just give this for Cancer. They use it to kill off the thyroid for people like myself who have Graves disease. I have had to fight with two Endocrinologists because I wont let them administer it when they could just take it out with surgery. Its pure laziness and a messed up insurance system that we have.

March 10, 2011 at 11:31 pm
(18) Michael says:

I think many of us missed Congressman Markey’s point, which he makes eloquently in the letter to the NRC – http://markey.house.gov/docs/12-09-10ejmtonrccats.pdf .

Because in the US the standard of care is now “send them home” most medical insurance will not cover the cost of hospital stays (which is the standard of care in europe.)

In my case I *want* to stay in the hospital – it may not be covered by my insurance.

Rather then trying to cause us pain, Markey is fighting for what is right!

June 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm
(19) Lisa says:

I believe my father passed away from a disease caused by my grandmothers iodine radiation treatment. She was sent home and told to be careful around others! Not long after he became ill with Mylydyplasia.
Radiation patients should be kept hospitalized.

July 3, 2012 at 12:33 am
(20) Cheri says:

I was diagnosised with Thyroid Cancer last October I had a total thyroidectomy followed by RAI treatment of just over 125mci. I was kept in the hospital in a lead-lined room, no nurses came into my room. My food was left at the door. I was released once my radiation level was to an “acceptable” level. I went home where I was secluded for another 4 days. My teenage daughters stayed with friends for those 4 days. My husband slept in another room, stayed away from me for those 4 days. When my “quarantine” time was up — I washed all of my bedding, towels and clothing THREE times separately from anyone elses things. I kept my garbage at a minimum and tied it tightly in three bags and after 6 months dumped it in the garbage.

To go to a hotel and expose a cleaning person or the persons who sleep in that bed next is irresponsible. And then that bedding and towels just gets washed ONCE with ALL of the other towels exposing even more people. Dirty bomb isn’t a nice word but it is basically a true phrase.

VANESSA — RAI treatments are done for thyroid cancer. It is one way of killing off any thyroid tissue left behind after surgery so the cancer doesn’t have anywhere to grow back.

SANDRA S. and level one thyroid cancer IS the best cancer to have. I am so grateful I don’t have to go through chemo and/or radiation treatments. I’m not vomitng or losing my hair. One large does of RAI and that’s the extent of my treatment. How blessed can you get?

July 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm
(21) Michelle says:

to call thyroid cancer patients receiving i131 treatment “human dirty bombs” is ignorant, and insensitive. people taking these treatments who follow all the necessary precautions are no more dangerous than all the aids patients who mostly chose their fate by their actions and lifestyles. laws were put into place to defend aids patients from discrimination, and most of them, if they were responsible with their lifestyles, could have avoided ever having it, but its discrimination to say these things. thyroid cancer patients could never had avoided having their disease, but no one protects them from the discrimination they are receiving because of their i131 treatment. I am receiving a dose of radioiodine next month, and if someone i meet told me i am a danger to others health because of this, i’d probably slap them accross the face, and tell them not do not dare make their discriminatory assumption about me for something i couldn’t possibly have avoided, and then tell them to think about what they do to endager others that they aren’t even aware of.

August 8, 2012 at 9:11 am
(22) Nancy says:

Get off the “dirty bomb” thing..she wasn’t calling us (yes i had thyroid canser and RAI) dirty bombs..I was traveling 2 months after treatment and I had to have a paper stating I had treatment. The alarms go off ..thinking you HAVE A DIRTY BOMB. and think about it..I was told I could go right back home..I researched it and decided MYSELF I would not expose my family. If I would have…well..I guess I would have been like a “dirty bomb” to them! That is what she meant and unfortunetly ..that is what we are…a big health risk to others. Any medical doctor tells you to be around others is foolish and putting many others in risk of thyroid cancer…hmmm..maybe that is why 1 out of 3 people now have it?

August 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm
(23) jade says:

Hi I’m a 23 year old female and I have graves I was on thyroid medication for 4 months it didn’t work so a few days ago I had radiation iodine I was given this at the hospital and once I took it they sent me straight out the door to go home, I’m not alloud to be near ny children for 10 days I’m at home I’m also not alloud to sleep in the same bed as my partner prepare meals or come in contact with anyone from the out side world :-( this is so very hard for me I wish I never had it and made my doc let me have surgery as then at least I would be able to have my children at home with me and I could of had out sidecompany:’( what I’m trying to say is I wish I never had the radiation at all

September 5, 2012 at 4:17 am
(24) gabriela says:

I know exactly how you fee lJade I am going through the same thing and even though my kids are at home (I am praying being isolated in my bedroom is enough) and I hear them all day playing I miss them so much because I cannot hug them or read them a book or simply play with them. I pray to God I have not been exposing them. I thought my doctor would leave me at the hospital but the HMO doesnt cover the hospital stay.

September 8, 2012 at 9:48 am
(25) maria says:

hello! this mesage is from Greece. i will be undergoing radioactive iodine treatment in 5 weeks. i am a school teacher and considered in the back of my head that i would be absent from school for 2 weeks. some of my friends told me today to stay away for 2 to 3 months! waou i thought this is a very long period of time and i explained that there was no need for this because radioactive iodini I131 has a half life of 8 days and that 14 days should be sufficient but i also said i would consider being absent from school for 3 weeks if there was a health hazard involved for the children.

of course i will do as the doctor prescribes and generally in Greece as a public primary school teacher i wont have a broblem with leave of absense. it is encouraged in situations like this my only concern is the health of people around me and the timeframe b4 working again.

however I MUST say the time frame in the back of my head is muuuuuuuuuuuch longer than the 7 to 10 days i have been reading in this forum. it has given me a whole new perspective. people receiving radioactive iodine in Greece stay in quaranteen for 3-4 days. stayng longer is not possible because there is a very long list of people who need to receive it and the number of quarantine rooms available very few.

i must agree that in Europe people are much more educated in regards to public hazard . not just the doctors but the citizens themselves.

best of luck to everyone

i don’t feel like a dirty radio active bomb but i can understand why people whould feel like that about me maybe not in that frazing though.

October 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm
(26) sherrie says:

I was diagonised 7/12 and had I131 10/2/12, I was told to tay away from my family for 7 days then I can be within arms length from them and to double bag my garbage. It was hard enough to be away from my family for thatt amount of time and feel like a caged animal. I am a real person with feelings, every doctor I dealt with gave me different instructions for the procedure there is just too much different information for the the same things

November 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm
(27) Scott says:

I am currently dealing with my second bout of Graves Disease. I went into remission after 18 months of thyroid meds. But here we are again. I’m scheduled to get radioactive iodine treatment next Friday. I’ve been told that my levels are so high, that I may require a second dose in a few months. At this point, I’m suffering with the symptoms so bad that I’m ready for anything. I’m a little worried about the home quarantine. My wife wants to drive me to and from the hospital and I don’t know if that’s a great idea. I have a 7 year old son at home and in don’t know how to keep him safe. The thought of exposing my family to radiation terrifies me. Also, my endocrinologist says I am safe to go back to work 3 days after the treatment. Will I be exposing my business partner to radiation if he shares a ride with me?
I’m a little nervous, folks. Any advice would be appreciated.

January 2, 2013 at 9:10 am
(28) ANNIE says:

My son’s PCA is getting the radioactive pill on Thursday and she asked me if I want to her work next Monday and Tuesday. She told her Doctor she works with people with disibilities and he said stay away a week. I told her I don’t want her to work for me those days, but her other job said they want her to work. She has to feed the other girl, bath her, brush her teeth. She does the laundry for the whole house. There are four people living in the house. She has close contact with all of them. She always has to take her client to store shopping and out to eat. I also know she doesn’t want to miss that much work. It makes me sick to think she might actually work the day she takes the pill and the next three after and all the people, places and things she can contaminate. There needs to be something done about this!!

April 11, 2013 at 8:07 am
(29) Andrea says:

I just had 20mCi of iodine 131 at the University Of North Carolina. I begged them to keep me in the Hospital for at least 2 days. Due to putting my family at risk. there answer was NO only Cancer Patients that are not doing well get admitted and because I have HyperThyroid I can be sent home. They did send me home with no mask are gloves and I stated what about the parking attendent and they said it will be fine! I took gloves and a mask to protect myself from exposing anyone I have come incontact with. i live in Military housing and when we drive through the gate to show the MPS our military ID I didnt roll down the window I showed them the Letter and my ID and he yelled Thank you for Thinking of us!! They did send me with instructions on what to do and when I can be around people again which was three days and a note to carry for 4 months. It is scary not knowing if you have allready exposed your family. I do have Heavy duty trash bags and travel size soap and shampoo so I can toss but I dont have plastic over anyting. They told me to was all bedding seperate three times and to clean everything with bleach and antibacterial wipes. My neck and Throat are so sore and kinda of hard to swallow called the Dr and she said go to ER..Dont want to expose anyone are set off alarms because its a military base OMG that wouldnt be good. I just have to pray that all goes well and my family was protected..
well Wishes to everyone…

June 5, 2013 at 1:13 am
(30) Latrina says:

I am scheduled to take this RAI pill in July, not really sure how much since is a ways off. After reading all of the comments posted, I will be having a conversation with my doctor about this, and the reasons why he think surgery is not a good idea. I get really upset when I go to the doctor because most of the times my levels are high then they become low, and this has been going on for several months. However, I am going to ask my doctor if surgery is not an option, if I can just continue the medication. I dont really know if there are any risk for having uncontrolled levels. If it continues to be uncontrolled could I down the road end up with thyroid cancer?

August 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm
(31) Barbara says:

I had Radioactive Iodine Therapy today. They told me to sleep in a separate bedroom for a week, use a separate bathroom and do not go into the kitchen. I sat in the back seat on the way home from the hospital. My husband has stayed over 6 ft away from me all day, so that is good. My son comes by everyday because we work together. I have worked on my computer today, but will not let him near me or touch anything on the desk. From what they told me, the excess radiation is secreted through bodily fluids, tears, sweat, nasal drippings, urine, feces. I am going to use all plastic eating utensils and stay away from everyone for a week, like they said. When I can have contact again with adults, they say after a week. Do I scrub down everything I touched? After 2 weeks I can see my grandchildren and they even said I could hug them then, but I will be afraid to. I don’t return to the endocrinologist for 2 months, so I guess I am on my own. Any advice? I don’t know what else to do, I feel like a leper!

October 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm
(32) Sonya says:

I had RAI done yesterday, I was told to also sleep alone and use my own bathroom. I can’t prepare anybody’s else food but I am allowed in the kitchen, I have to stay away at least 3-6 ft away from my family. I do have a young child, so just to be on the safe side I had her go to Grandma’s for 5 days. I am always concerned about when she comes home, is it safe to be around her?

November 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm
(33) kimberly says:

Hello,
I have graves deisease and hyper thiroyde problem. I have been on Tapazol now for several months and have not felt any better and the speicalist tells me to stay on it and then go off it and my body keeps switching from hyper to hypo, I feel sick alot of the time have no energy and have again about 30 pounds since starting the medication. When I did some research about Tapazol I found out that this medication is very bad for your heart, bone marrow and a few other things and long term use is NOT a good idea. I went to 2 different specialsts and they both recomended Radioactive Iodine treatment because clearly the medication is not putting thr thiroyde into remision like he though. And to be honest I am tired of feeling sick not sleeping the uncomfertable weight gain, I have lost alot of my hair since the medication, I have no energy at all and I gneraly feel sick pretty much most of the time. The doctor say no to surgery but now after reading all of this I am not sure if I want this radio active treatment what should I do??

November 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm
(34) vania sanchez says:

Im in the hospital now and they are trying to send me home. I had a high dosage mon and told me I can stay until fri. Now doctor is saying its small enough to go home but stay away from everyone still. I have a 7 month baby girl at home. How do you stay away when there no where else to go? Im freaking out and trying to figure out what to do. Waiting on my doctor to call. The team that said I can go home was the rado active team. He say I can hold my baby but no longer then a hour and people up to four. Cant travel or nothing until another 3 days. If im a risk for outside why not my family. And yes im in public aid.

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