“How are you feeling?”
Over the last two weeks I’ve been off of my T4 but still taking T3 (the medicine that works in short bursts of 5 to 6 hours). I have felt… absolutely fine. The T3 does it’s job until it doesn’t- all of a sudden I’ll feel like I got hit by a ton of bricks, but then I take my second dose of the day and I’m off to the races again! Tomorrow, however, my beloved speed pills will be pried from my tired fingers. It marks the 16 day countdown until Glow Time and also the start of the LID (Low-Iodine Diet).
Dieting = Starvation (duh!)
Thyroid hormones rely on iodine to work properly (to put it simply). So, by going on a LID prior to RAI (Radioactive Iodine), I will be “starving” the thyroid hormones that are helping my body function. The “hungrier” they are for iodine, the better they’ll take up the RAI. With me so far? Starve the workers, then feed them poison.
I wanted to give my PCOS and insulin resistance a break, in addition to getting my cells into fighting shape, so this past January we adopted a mostly Paleo lifestyle. We started with the Whole 30 (30 days of torture where you only eat meat, produce, and some nuts while thinking you’re going to die for the first 14 days) but we felt SO GOOD after we decided not to add many foods back in. Now, we occasionally eat whole grain oatmeal for breakfast, some cheese, or throw some beans in with our tacos, but that’s about as non-Paleo as we get. Oh, and some rice when we eat out. We loooooove sushi! Don’t me wrong- we aren’t super strict about it, especially with the kids, and I WILL devour a slice of cake at your party (that was me audibly drooling in the corner before you lit the candles). I’ll pay for it later, though, and it will be weeks before I try sugar again. While eating Paleo is crucial for my health, none of us have an allergy or an intolerance (that we know of) and I consider us extremely fortunate to have the luxury of being flexible with our food choices.
What to Expect When You’re Dieting
When Dr. Gru told me about the diet I think I literally waved my hand at him and said “Psh, I’m not worried about that.” He looked pretty surprised, and when his minions came in later he quietly mentioned “She said she’s not worried about the LID…” All three of their heads turned simultaneously to study the strange creature who “isn’t worried” about giving up pre-packaged food. Thinking it wouldn’t be that different from the Whole30, I procrastinated on preparing myself.
You guys, I was wrong.
While it might not be as difficult for a Paleo person to adapt to the LID, it still sucks. Here are my thoughts while I read through the LID rules (or as I like to call it, the “Cook a lot of stuff when you feel the worst” Diet).
(Bummer, no sushi. I guess I know what my first meal after RAI will be!)
-No Soy or soy products
(Whew, I already gave that up. Too much soy is bad for you anyway. )
-No iodized salt
(Not so bad, just get the other kind of salt, right?)
(I don’t really have a lot of dairy anyway, but I’ll miss butter.)
-No egg yolks
(Shit, wait a second, I eat a LOT of eggs and the yolk is the yummy part…)
-Nothing pre-packaged, including breads (anything containing salt is not safe, so… everything).
(It’s cool, I don’t eat bread anyway! Hold up, my mayo has salt in it? NO! I hate making my own! My hummus, my guacamole, my plantain chips, my GF crackers… omg what am I going to EAT?! I guess just a lot of chicken.)
–Limit meats to 6 ounces per day
*sobs quietly, rocking while clutching dark chocolate
Since eating Paleo already limits my food choices, taking away the few things I know I can eat feels extra mean. Here’s the worst part: my birthday is next week, and so is Easter. Bummer. I’ve moved into acceptance though. We have a giant LID cookbook (thanks ThyCa.org!) to work with and a husband who loves to cook dinner (I know, I’m the luckiest!), so I’ll be fine! I’m also going to be a little more flexible with the whole Paleo thing which will help a lot. You better believe I’m going to have some kick-ass meals when this is over though- it will be like a whole week of birthdays!
I might tease about the LID and how “horrible” it is, but it is NOTHING. It’s nothing, not even a blip, on my radar of life. Three weeks? I can eat some bland food for three weeks. I can feel yucky for three weeks. I can be alone for a whole week (what mother doesn’t wish for that sometimes?). All of this pales in comparison to what other cancer fighters go through. Years of surgery, chemo, radiation… I cannot fathom going through all of that day after day for months and years, tearing your body apart, especially if you have other people relying on you. I am in awe of all of those amazing, brave, and truly incredible people.
Last week I took the kids to a museum and as we were leaving I saw a mother walk in pushing a double stroller. She had a two small children, a protruding round pregnant belly, and a scarf on her bald head. While many things can cause missing hair and eyebrows, my heart obviously went to Cancer. The immense flood of emotions I felt almost brought me to my knees. I wanted to go over and talk to her, maybe offer her help. I wanted to tell her that she’s amazing, and brave, and I am in awe of her (and others like her). Mostly I just wanted to quietly hug her for a long time.That would cross even my line of weirdness though, so we left. This is not the first time I have been truly humbled by someone else’s cancer journey- it’s not even the most recent time. In fact, I am touched quite a bit deeper by the word “Cancer” than I ever was before my own journey started.
I have said many times that Thyroid Cancer is just my “thing.” Everyone has one, and this is mine. Every single day I count my blessings and thank higher powers that my “thing” is very treatable and that we have so much help and people who love us. My treatment window is a few short weeks, and I will occasionally have to battle thyroid issues throughout my life but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I am continually inspired by the bravery and courage of the others who have gone before me and those who are fighting now. And, as always, life keeps moving forward.