Is There Another Treatment?

Updated on October 09, 2008
S.P. asks from Virginia Beach, VA
23 answers

Back in February my doctor found a lump in my thyroid during a routine exam. Went through all the biopsys and on July 29th I had my first surgery to have the right side of my thyroid removed, then the results came back that I had cancer. So on August 19th I had the rest of my thyroid completely removed. No cancer showed in that side, or so they tell me.

Now they want me to do radioactive Iodine treatment (I131) My question is since my husband is always in and out with the military schedule right now, is there any other treatment I can do so I can still take care of my child, because for 2 days after the treatment first begins I can't have any contact with another human. I'm the sole provider for care for my child between working full time and his daddy being gone I don't have any family out here, and I don't have any one around here I can trust enough to give my child too for 2 days.

So my main question is: is there another treatment for thyroid cancer other than I131? Has anyone ever done the I131? Are there any other treatment? Can I refuse it?

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So What Happened?

Well I ended up having surgery twice, once in July and once in August. I still have to do the I131 but I'm not 100% sure that I want to do the radiation treatment. I'm one of those type that if the side effects can happen they will, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do right now. I'm so still not sure what I'm going to do.

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D.O.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.!

My friend Mary Ann is going through this very thing now.

Feel free to contact her at [email protected]____.com

She has done a great deal of research. She too is Military.

Hope it helps.

D.

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L.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Check out www.cancertutor.com- they have a list of alternative therapies. Surprisingly alternative cancer treatments are 97% effective. This includes people on their death beds. You may be interested in the insulin chemo that has mostly insulin to open up the cancer cells so the small amounts of chemo can attack just the cells alone. You may have to travel since it is illegal in some states. Remember, cancer cells have ten times more insulin receptors then regular cells and thrive on this, so try to cut out all sugar and high-glycemic foods if you are not already doing so.
The best of luck to you!

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S., How old is your little boy? Are you nursing? The radioactive iodine treatment is just to clean up any stray cells. It's OK to wait until you can have family or a friend come into town for the 2 days. Then when they come you only have to be roughly "3 feet for 3 days". So your friend can be in the house and help and you don't have to leave if your son is old enough to understand no hugs for a couple days. If not it would be better for you to go out of town or drop off your little one for a vacation with grandparents for a few days while you take care of things. Big picture: 1) consider getting a 2nd opinion. Not everyone needs the treatment. 2) If its necessary, it's better that you and your son be apart for a couple days rather than a lifetime so schedule the treatment and either drop your son off with family out of town or have them come into town for a couple days while you stay at a motel for a couple nights or in the same house if he is old enough to understand no cuddles. Hope this is helpful.

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M.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.

I'm a Navy vet/Navy wife.

Have you researched options with your chain-of-commands? This is a sure-to-be EFMP situation, I'd think they'd be able to work out cutting back deployments (in most, though understandably NOT all). I don't know your rank and/or rate considerations but definitely research all possible options with both of your chain-of-commands. One thing I learned during my brief service was: the chain of command is there to serve/help you, as much as (if not more than) you are there to serve it. If you have to, definitely keep going higher until you get help and resolution that you need.

I understand your hesitancy with sending your son to stay with people you don't know. I pray that God will raise up someone you can trust.

Have you considered the ever-yucky option of sending your son to live with some trustworthy family or lifelong friend? It's an option that always made me physically 'recoil' at the thought of; but right now you need to get healthy so you can live and be able to give him your best sooner, and he needs to still get the time/attention/guidance etc. that his age requires. I'm not saying it can't be done. Just a recommendation if you can't work out other options.

Also, is there no one that you could ask to stay with you during the treatments to care for him?

Just thoughts. My heart goes out to you. I don't know what I'd do if it were me. There'd be no one to come stay with us; no one to send them to. There are so many times when my husband MUST be gone & can't be contacted when he is. I pray that God will send wisdom, help, comfort and -most of all- healing.

Let me know if you would just like a friend to talk to during this. If you would, I'll send you my phone/personal email.

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M.W.

answers from Washington DC on

S., it is my understanding that radioactive iodine is the best treatment for thyroid cancer because it homes to the thyroid. That means that none of your other organs are effected. The down side is the inability to be near other people, you are a source of radiation.

My suggestion is for you to talk to the doctor and explain your problem. Maybe they can postpone the treatment for a short time until you can find some help for those 2 days. Maybe the Navy can help you find a safe care situation for your son for the 2 days that he can't be near you. I would investigate your resources though the Navy to see if there is anything they can do to help you.

Your doctor is the best source of information about what treatment is best for you, if it is necessary, and how long it can be postponed to arrange for child care. I will pray for your recovery and for an answer to your problem.

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J.J.

answers from Washington DC on

Do you belong to a church community? I bet that there would be some willingness there to help you with your challenge here.
I second the suggestion to contact the navy about your situation to see if your husband could be home. Both you and your child need him home now more than ever. This is not something you want to go through alone. Also reach out to family members and Moms group members and fellow navy moms. Don't limit yourself, but do make sure that you trust and are comfortable with anyone around your child. You might have to hire a sitter or live in nanny for a week or two. It is expensive, but it would be worth it to have this treatment, and you will need help. Plan ahead for meals and bills while you will be isolated and try to aquaint your child with the sitter beforehand.

Good luck, praying for you.

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A.K.

answers from Norfolk on

Hello,
I am a navy wife as well. My step-sister had to go through the same process and they said it was her only treatment option to make sure they got everything.

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M.W.

answers from Washington DC on

S.,

My experience with thyroid cancer was very similar to yours. I even had two surgeries, just like you. I think you should speak to your Endocrinologist about your options. Depending on they type of cancer you had and how aggressive it is, you may be able to delay getting the I131 done, but I doubt it. It is a VERY important procedure to have done. If you have even one thyroid cell remaining after surgery, there is a chance that cell could develop the cancer again, and you really don't want to go through that! The I131 should completely nuke any remaining thyroid cells.

You don't have to give your child away for two days, just have VERY limited contact with him. Is there anyone in your community or part of your command/work group who would be willing to come spend a few evenings with you at your home? They could take care of doing things for your son (baths, feedings, etc) and simply keep the child on the other side of the room. A quick hug or kiss on the cheek shouldn't cause any harm, but any kind of longer exposure is risky.

When I had the procedure done, I was told to stay about 3 feet away from everyone as much as possible, but that shorter time contact wouldn't cause any harm. Again, you really need to discuss the situation with your doctor and get the most up to date information you can.

Perhaps you could pay the expenses for someone in your family to come out to your place for a few days to take care of thins for you while you have the procdeure done? (Grandmas alwasy seem to find a way to make it out to care for their little angels.) There is always a way to get things done, although you might have to be creative. The good news is, you should only have to do this once. (Although you will probably have full body scans for cancer once a year or so for a long time, if not the rest of your life. The won't require you to be hands-off with people.)

I wish you the best of luck in this. I know from experience how stressful this can be. Just remember, you aren't alone!

M. W

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Please ask the military for help. There must be something similar to the FMLA for sholdiers, right? I would hope you can find an suitable alternative, BUT if you don't find something as good, you need to do this for your son!!! GOod luck, and I am sorry you and your family have to deal with this.

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M.L.

answers from Washington DC on

sorry don't really know if there is another treatment... but I would like to give u a heads up, cauz it happened to someone in my family and u may want to check it out. This person who had thyroid cancer and had it removed, went on to find that it was a genetic mutation type of cancer (IT ITS EXTREMELY RARE, but it happens). With that he was able to screen both his kids, 1 of them has the same mutation. THat means that eventually the child will develop the same cancer. So meanwhile, they screen him routinely to see if the cancer has appeared and in the future, preventively, they will remove his thyroid once he reaches 10 or 11 years of age. Sorry, not trying to scare u, but in the end I thought it was good for them to know and be able to do something about it before it was too late.

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D.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.,

I have no expertise on any of your question, however, I have a close friend who does, so I asked her to answer your questions, so here it is...

Having been in the situation of having my whole thyroid removed due to many tumors that turned out to be cancer and following up with the iodine treatment...my only advice would be to have a complete conversation with your doctor and pose several questions.

1. Can the treatment be done at a later date?
2. What is the consequence of not having the treatment at all?
3. What are the specific concerns during treatment, with regard to exposure of others in the household?

I did this treatment when my daughter was 5 months old. I had to be alone in my bedroom, upstairs for a week. I could only have very limited contact with my husband after the 3rd day...and I mean only a few minutes! My mother-in-law came up from the coast and stayed for a week to care for my little girl. The radiation can be transferred to so many daily items that I ate on paper and had a small fridge in my room for drinks...the bathroom I used was off limits to anyone else while I was taking the treatment. All of my clothes and the linens had to be put separate from everything else and them when I was able to wash them...I washed them well, twice. My bathroom and bedroom had to be REALLY scrubbed well after I was done with the treatment. The radiation is expelled from your body through urine and sweat...so you can see how that can be an exposure issue. My doctor was very clear that some exposure to an adult would be like an x-ray, but no way should I risk exposure to the baby. The worst part of the treatment is not the treatment, but the disruption and being removed from the day to day job of taking care of the family. That was the hardest week I have ever had. It has been 4 years since I had the cancer and nothing has come up with my thyroid since...I can't imagine not having had the treatment and maybe wondering if the cancer would come back in some way.

So, again I would just offer that you talk to your doctor and family and see if you can manage to get this behind you as soon as possible. If you can get a small window of time to put the treatment off...look into a local moms group and see if you can network with some assistance from the group. You may be able to find a solution that you never thought of. I don't know if you attend a church, but if family is not an option, please explore your social network. You may be able to find a few people to give you a hand...you can write out a detailed schedule and your child can be in the house...just not in your room. It would be like getting a baby-sitter and staying home.

Please feel free to contact me if I can offer any further advice. Good luck,

Vicki
[email protected]____.com

God bless you,
D. M

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D.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S., where are you located? I don't know about any other treatments, but maybe I can help you deal with this one. I understand your situation very well. My husband was underway when I had to have a round of back surgeries and it was very difficult to manage that and my young son along with dealing with my own LIMDU chits and so on. We were both in the Navy at that time. I'm now a stay at home, home schooling mom to my two boys and if we live close enough, I would be willing to help you, if you'll have my help. I want to help because I've been there, and it's NOT an easy thing to deal with. I know you said you don't know anyone you'd trust enough, but I'd be willing to answer any and all questions and you could do anything you need to do to ascertain that I am a person you could trust.

Let me know if you're interested. I'm even willing to pick up and drop off so you wouldn't need to worry about it. I'd do just about anything to help someone that was in the same situation I was in. The Navy does NOT make contingencies for this kind of thing so we all have to pull together to see our shipmates through these times.

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S.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Has your husband checked at work to see if he can get leave? It seems like it would be more of an emergency type situation rather than regular leave.

Is there someone who does occasionally watch your son? Maybe you could build up some extended stay times so that everyone would be comfortable with the two-day care.

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A.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear S.,
My mother-in-law was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer a number of years back. I am in a health care profession, and I definitely recommend that you do the treatment. Hopefully, you have some friends that can help support you by helping you with your son. As a mom, it would be most important for me to be around to see my child grow-up. I would do whatever I needed to do to make that happen. Cancer can be sneaky, and it is best to pursue the treatments that can get to the runaway cells that may escape from the area.
Best of luck,
A.

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A.P.

answers from Washington DC on

I am not sure about the treatment but surely your husband can request some kind of leave to tend to his family. It is not like he is asking to go on a family vacation, you need cancer treatment. With that he should qualify for emergeny leave, even if he is deployed. You should get the treatment to be sure the cancer is gone, after all you have a little boy who depends on his mommy. Better to be gone for two days then the rest of his life. If you want to though, you can refuse any treatment that is offered to you. Best of luck to you and your family.

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J.C.

answers from Washington DC on

I have a co-worker friend who was diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer. He has done two rounds of the I131 treatment and his cancer is responding really well and he has a great prognosis. From what I understand, I131 is the best treatment for thyroid cancer. He went into the hospital for his treatment and after the initial couple of days returned home. I think it was for 10 days while he was at home that he could only be around other people for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time, but the details are a little fuzzy. Is there someone who will be able to watch your kids while you go through the treatment? Perhaps anyone from out of town?

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P.K.

answers from Norfolk on

I believe so myself!
Having a body whose Ph is too acidic due to diet throws EVERYTHING off, and opens you up to virus, bacteria and cancer. You can get ph paper from Pruitans Pride and check your own Ph, and then you can take baking soda to change your ph Also you can get more O2 into your body. Cancer can NOT survive in a well oxygenated body and a body with good ph levels.
Let me give you a few websites and a book:
Websites help you know of what a good source of getting more O2 into you body by using Cellfood or Food grade Hydrogen Peroxide. Excerise helps with that I've heard 15 solid of excerise oxygenates the body well.
http://www.luminahealth.com/products/cellfood.htm

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38.l1313&amp...

http://educate-yourself.org/cancer/benefitsofhydrogenpero...

http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&rlz=1T4GGLL_en&a...

BOOK Natural Stratigies For cancer patients, is a fantastic book!!!
Dr.Blaylock

We also have the Healing Rooms of Tidewater at our church and God has blessed us with many healing there also!
http://www.healingrooms.info/
God Bless you!
Keep in touch if you'd like!
~P.~

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Being a member of our military forces , can't the Navy do something to help in the family care department? I would think they would be obligated to do so, considering they split family up for obvious reasons. There has got to be some sort of family support they can offer just for two days, even if to house you both in the same facility so you can still see your child and vice versa. My sister had this kind of cancer- her doc's told here if you going to get cancer this is the one to get- it is VERY localized and the easiest to eradicate. Once you are done, you will have follow up to do but the future is clear! Many blessings.

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C.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi, S.. I am sorry to hear about the cancer. I hope all works out for you. I've had radioactive iodine treatment (due to hyperthyroidism). They basically nuked my thyroid and nothing is left. Based on my doctor's advice then, human contact is OK but NOT close contact. Example - I could be around my daughter (then 3 yrs old) in the same room but couldn't hug her or allow her to lay down on my lap. I slept in another bedroom in the evenings. I still went to work and was around people. One more thing - you can't sure drinks, food, utensils, etc. Clarify with your doc what she meant about not having "contact with another human." You may still need help with taking care of your child but I don't think it will be 'full time' help. Good luck. Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

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A.B.

answers from Norfolk on

First, you need to get your husband to go to his command about this. Under these circumstances, he can take leave to care for your child. It's not like you're going on vacation or something frivolous.

If he's getting resistance from his chain of command, go to the ombudsman or the chaplain. They can grease the wheels and make things happen.

I don't know anything about thyroid cancer. If you're looking at having the other half of it removed, I'd seek a second opinion before more surgery or further treatment, especially since there are no signs of cancer in the remaining half.

Also, can any family from either side of the family come out to help you? You might not have anyone local, but perhaps someone might be able to come from out of town. I know not everyone is religious, but if you have a church, that is a good place to go for help too. Have you met anyone in your FRG? You might be surprised that you have more friends than you think.

I'm sorry you have to go through this feeling so alone. I hope you are able to find the help and the answers you need.

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K.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Ultimately, you control your fate and can refuse any medical treatment that is offered or recommended to you.
To my knowledge, the radioactive iodine is the best type of treatment for thyroid cancers.
I wish you the best of luck. I cannot imagine all you are going through.

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E.S.

answers from Richmond on

S.,
I dont know if there is another treatment that would be an option for you but if you are interested I would love to meet you and your children and if you were comfortable enough I would be happy to help you by caring for your children so you can have this treatment. I am not sure where you are located, I am right in Chester. I have children of my own and I provide care for another little sweetie. If this is something you would be interested in please email me back and we can go from there. I just recently lost my mom at battling breast cancer for 10 years so I am very famliar with the stress of treating cancer. My email is [email protected]____.com. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide and I will keep you in my prayers.

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J.G.

answers from Norfolk on

Is your husbands command aware of your medical condition? They should be able to make accomodations for him to ensure you are receiving the medical treatment you need. Contact your command ombudsman and make her aware of your situation. You might be suprised at how much your husbands command is able to do, and if you make the ombudsman aware she may know of other programs or benefits you are eligible for.

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