More about my radiotherapy

April 29, 2013 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Food, Health, Medical, Uncategorized by Emma Day

…You thought I’d told you all the bad news about my radiotherapy didn’t you?

Aside from the radiotherapy itself, which will cause dry mouth, a sore throat and neck (around my surgery scars), nausea and a few other side effects (which are NOTHING compared to me not being able to cuddle my own children)…

Two weeks before I go in to hospital for my treatment, I have to stop taking my thyroid hormones (these are what your body makes for you if you have a thyroid, but I take by pill, as they removed my thyroid). This will cause my brain to send a signal to any remaining thyroid tissues, telling them to work harder (known as TSH levels). By working harder, those tissues and any remaining Cancer cells, will work harder to absorb the radiation.

Stopping my thyroxine, will induce a state known as hypothyroidism. Whilst “hypo”, I am expected to lose my appetite, feel depressed, feel cold, feel tired and run down.

I shouldn’t know what this feels like, but I do…

Last week my oncologist rang me to tell me I’ve slipped into a hypo by accident, because my thyroxine levels haven’t levelled out yet, since my surgery. At the time I was pulled over at the M4 Reading services, on my way home from a meeting in Windsor, as I was feeling too tired to drive. It was the only day in a week I hadn’t cried. I didn’t feel like eating much and I felt very low.

After my surgery, I was overdosed (hypERthyroid) and feeling wretched for a long time, so they kept lowering my dose. That caused me to swing the other way (hypOthyroid). Being hypothyroid or hyperthyroid in extremes can be dangerous and both make you feel unwell.

So hopefully I’m coming out of it now. I’m not exactly full of beans, but I’m going back to deep hypo in a weeks time anyway, so I’ll barely have time to rebuild my strength.

Am I done with the crap news?

No.

During my two week hypo, I also have to go onto a low iodine diet. This is to starve my body of iodine, because natural iodine, blocks radioactive iodine. We want the radioactive iodine to work and we want the Cancer cells to be hungry for it (so we can kill the bas*#@ds).

Do you know how many foods contain iodine?

Nearly everything! And as iodine is a trace mineral, rather than an ingredient… foods are not labelled with it!

I can’t eat anything containing:

* Dairy (this includes soya and all dairy alternatives)

* Fish / Seafood

* Iodized Salt or Sea Salt (this rules out all salts unless I put them in myself as the type of salt in products is rarely labelled).

* Red dye E127

* Anything containing Molasses

* Instant Coffee or Instant Tea

So I can eat bread which is not fortified. – but I can’t have butter, or nutella, or cream cheese, or cheese! So why would I want bread?!

I can’t eat yoghurt, cream, milk, ice cream, cake or even CHOCOLATE!

What can I eat?

Black Pepper and Coca Cola apparently!

In all seriousness, I am allowed:

* Most fruits and most veg – but not the green leafy kind and no rhubarb.

* Fresh Meat – straight from the butchers, untampered with, not injected with broth or processed in any way (so sausages are out!)

* Some kinds of pasta, depending on how they are made (so best I make my own!)

* Basmati rice – although it is not recommended.

* The insides of potatoes but not the skins.

* SOME Unfortified cereals are okay.

 

My amazing friend Azaria (whom you can find on twitter as @NomasaurusEats), is going to help me make some foods in advance, that I can freeze. Obviously once I’m in a hypo, I wont feel up to cooking much!

So far we have come up with the following that I/we can make:

* Fruit Salad 
* Almond milk – so that I can have cereal for breakfast.
* A tomato pasta sauce – So I can have spag bol type meals.
* Curry.
* Stock – If it’s possible to make a low iodine stock – then I wont have to rule out gravy!

I’m also thinking my Tefal Fresh Express and my Actifry will come in super handy. I’m thinking:

* Chicken, baby tomatoes, peppers and parmentiers – thrown in the actifry, will make a nice meal.

Anyone else got any ideas?

More info on Low Iodine Diets can be found on the Thyca website, including this cookbook, which I need to find the brainpower to study! After all – I’m going to have to do this diet again in 6 months time!