Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Iodine

Does anyone else remember this cartoon from the forties and fifties? Little Iodine was an imp of a girl who was always getting in trouble and always getting spanked by her feckless father, Henry Tremblechin.

I guess I know why this little pest has been intruding on my thoughts lately. For the past two weeks, our younger daughter has been on a low-iodine diet, getting ready for her radioactive iodine treatment on Tuesday. One Saturday morning in early February, she and our grandson came for breakfast. "I don't want you to worry," she said, "but I have a growth on my thyroid. The doctor thinks it's probably benign."

Well, it wasn't. That was the bad news. The good news was that she has "papillary" thyroid cancer, which is highly curable. Her thyroid was removed on March 1st. 

The low-iodine diet has been a bit of a challenge.  It allows no dairy, soy, egg yolks, commercial baked goods, seafood, potato skins, certain kinds of beans or anything with iodized salt.  Becky found a low-iodine cookbook* on line with over 100 pages of good recipes. Yesterday, I spent the morning in the kitchen making a pasta salad and a fritatta. I baked a loaf of low-iodine bread  and a coffee cake. I had to make the coffee cake twice, because I accidentally omitted the cinnamon from the streusel topping the first time. So much for trying to follow four recipes at once. 

After her radioactive iodine treatment, our daughter will have to stay in isolation for 5-7 days. She can have no contact whatsoever with her three-year-old son and limited contact with everyone else. She'll  stay at our house, in the "apartment" my mom once occupied. She wants us to get a pizza on Wednesday night, but we'll have to wait and see about that. The information sheet suggests hard candy on the second day to avoid nausea. 

One of her friends from work e-mailed the following today: 

"September 2010 (As stated on Snopes website), Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, thyroid cancer.  It was a very interesting program and he mentioned that the increase could possibly be related to the use of dental x-rays and mammograms.  He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental x-rays there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck.  Many dentists don't bother to use it.  Also, there is something called a "thyroid guard" for use during mammograms.  By coincidence, a friend had her yearly mammogram this past week. She felt a little silly, but she asked about the guard and sure enough, the technician had one in a drawer. She asked why it wasn't routinely used. Answer: "I don't know.  You have to ask for it." Well, she thought, if she hadn't seen the show, how would she have known to ask? ... Please pass this on to your friends and family."

* Here's the link to the wonderful cookbook from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association: