This process so far has been surprising me left and right. I’m very thankful for all the support I’ve been receiving through different avenues over the last few weeks. Texts, emails, blog comments, phone calls, even hand written letters! It’s given me a feeling like people are rallying around me, supporting me through this. The surprising part is how alone I have begun to feel in all of this considering the massive support I’ve been receiving.
Wednesday, the fear started to set in. I’ve been working on my self talk to get me through it and though I’m not where I want to be, I have faith that when the shart hits the fan, I’ll pull through like I always do. It’s taking some serious, conscious effort to keep talking to myself and keep steering my focus. Yesterday I started on Lugol’s solution – basically straight iodine, like the kind you’d use to disinfect topically – three drops, three times a day. This is the stuff they give after radioactive fallout to protect the thyroid. It’s also used, in my case, to prepare the thyroid for surgery. It decreases the vascularity of the thyroid so that there is less bleeding during surgery. It also blocks the thyroid from making thyroid hormone, so I figured I could expect to feel somewhat hypo, though I’m not sure if I’d feel it in a matter of ten days.
I started on it yesterday and the stomach upset was not too bad, but all of the sudden, while brushing my teeth, I had extreme sensitivity in several teeth. One in particular. A few years ago, my dentist noticed a dark spot on an x-ray at the base of one of my bottom front teeth. She thought it indicated a dead or dying tooth and that I would need a root canal even after tapping and ice confirmed that the tooth was very much alive. Fortunately, as I sat in the oral surgeon’s chair, he confirmed the viability of the tooth and sent me home saying I didn’t need one. It must just be an anomaly and to keep an eye on it. Well…. that’s the one that’s the most sensitive. Being that one of the more worrying side effects is tooth/gum pain, I’m attributing this one to the Lugol’s.
The other side effects I’ve noticed so far are headaches at the base of my skull; metallic taste in my mouth; and mild stomach irritation. I’m not prone to headaches, so when I got one shortly after taking my second dose last night at work, I was none too thrilled, though that wasn’t the worst effect. For some reason I felt hyper symptoms within a short period after my second dose. My hands were visibly shaky, my heart and respiratory rate went up, anxiety reared its ugly head and all I could do was keep working, breathing, pretend none of this was going on while presenting my happy face to the customers. Fortunately it passed, the night ended, and now I have a day off. It was such a surreal moment at one point. I looked around, realizing that everyone was in their usual work pattern, probably feeling like it’s just another stressful night, nothing seems different. To look at me, you’d probably think the same of me, unless you know me well. No one had a clue what was happening behind the smile. I felt so alone, strong, fragile, sad, powerful, scared, and vulnerable, all at the same time.
This is the part where the people who love me want to do everything they can to help, but they just can’t ease or maybe understand certain burdens. This part I have to do alone and be alone in my body as it endures this process. As I write this, 40 minutes after taking my first dose, I can feel the back of my skull starting to ache. I also began the lady pains something fierce yesterday, a uterine migraine, if you will. So my whole lower abdominal region hurt; my lower back ached; my knees have been particularly painful lately, just squatting down – which I do a lot of in my job; the base of my skull felt tight and sharp and achy; my teeth hurt when I brush them; my fear comes in waves; and on top of that, my ability to care for myself seems to have halted. I’ve been better.
Last week, I was having these cleaning urges. I kept feeling like cleaning, organizing, purging useless clutter. It felt like a really good sign of my internal status. I cleaned out two closets, reorganized half of my soap room, cleaned out under the bed (half the stuff my cat put there), kept my bedroom, living room, kitchen quite free of daily clutter… Then, on Wednesday, the fear struck and that all stopped. My clothing from the last couple of days is strewn about the bedroom, my bed is left unmade, my sink is full of dishes. It’s not disgusting yet, but if I don’t do something today, I’m going to feel pretty awful. My pre-op appointment is at 7 a.m. tomorrow and I’d like to wake up to a clean home before that.
So, as part of my conscious effort to stay positive and focused. As I end this post, I shall proceed immediately to the kitchen, where I will do my dishes, and from there, the clothing in the bedroom shall be put in its proper place and I shall clear my dining table of the debris its collected over the last few days. You see? I still have fear, I still feel alone, I still feel frozen and overwhelmed, but only until I say “enough already” and do something about it. I’m still scared but I have to do only what I can do and then “let go all holds” and trust.