This post was originally going to be available as a first update in isolation, but between extreme exhaustion and anxiety, I have very little brain activity.
My first dance with a quarantine like this was 10 solid days, one year ago. But let’s revisit this particular morning of my 2nd scheduled quarantine and then look at what I did to prepare. I hope this can help some honeys out there. That has always been one thing that lacks in my entirety of a cancer experience. Knowledge, documentary on what to expect, how to prepare, what precautions to take, what procedures are more exhausting than others. All the processes, experiences, and success of it all.
March 23, the Day Of
I reported to Desert Radiology early in the AM to willingly swallow a radio active pill containing 150 millicuries in hopes of remission, finally. It’s administered by Leman. This tiny pill is removed from this massive metal box. Inside the box is a metal cylinder that contains the pill. I remove the lid, take the pill in my hand and down it with a bottle of water. From here they gear you up with plastic gloves, more water, and a letter to inform the police, if I were to get pulled over, that I am radio active. So radioactive in fact, that I have the ability to trip police scanners off – no joke! I take the pill, grab my things, and I’m immediately escorted out the back door for an exit. I can’t even walk through the lobby because I could harm every and anyone. WILD. And away I drove, purple plastic gloves on hands, heading straight into quarantine and seclusion. BYE.
SIDE NOTE: RAI Doses (Radio Active Iodine)
The first time under treatment I swallowed 175 militaries and had to be quarantined at home for 10 days – It didn’t work. The cancer came back. Here we go again, then. Another 150 mCi. Mind you, anything over 600 millicuries in a lifetime can leave you with a high, potential risk of leukemia or breast cancer. I’m half way there! Due to that exact fact, this will be the last time they attempt RAI “therapy” to treat the extended cancer that waltzed its way into my lymph nodes. Only four days. Here’s hoping!
March 22, the day before I was bound to a single living space for four days.
I have a tendency to take things to extreme levels in organization, cleaning, and preparation for certain situations. Getting ready for another round of RAI (radio active iodine), my motto remains: Better safe than sorry. On top of that, since my insurance didn’t deem it necessary for me to safely reside in a hospital for these days of confinement, I created a list of execution in creating a sterile yet comfortable space for my quarantine.
First things first. Julian went to Home Depot, retrieved a roll of painter’s plastic and some cheap painters tape. With that single roll, I was able to cover every inch of my bedroom and bathroom floors, my entire king size bed mattress, and our white leather couch. I used an old pair of super soft sheets that have had their day, plus I didn’t really love the light blue color anymore. They were a bit small for our new bed so I had to tape them down. From Walmart, we swooped up two cheap-o pillows, six towels, plastic cutlery, paper plates, heavy duty trash bags, a new light weight blanket, toilet paper, paper towel, dispoable plastic gloves, three tooth brushes, a travel size tooth paste, four bath poofs, and some travel size shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Absolutely everything that is disposable. All in all, with food, I think we spent just about $200 – Which is clearly much cheaper than any hospital stay and I ate fresh, organic foods. #Win
Once all the plastic was down and ready to go, my room cleared a “Dexter Approved” status given by Frank Murray, my plastic laying advisor. Julian had two coolers right outside my patio door in which he changed the ice every day and stocked with H2o. I ate a lot of chicken and avocados. I drank a ton of water and Glacier Freeze Gatorade. We brought in our kitchen table, it’s much smaller than our office desks. I refuse to have a t.v. in our bedroom and was hoping to get some work in, so my iMac fit perfectly and served as entertainment/taunting stress, knowing how much I have on my current design plate. I had my coffee pot and toaster oven in the bathroom which served as a quaint little kitchen. I had two outfits picked for each day, the first two of which I threw away along with all the towels after the first day.
I really took the time to make my space comfortable. Sanctuary like. Lemonheads in a champagne coop? Yes, please! I brought in candles and incense, plants, and photographs. It was a much better stay than my first round last year. I feel very fortunate that we have such a beautiful home and backyard. Though I opted to not go outside for the first three days, the pool view kept things inspiring and exciting for summer.
These four days of isolation were documented each evening and can be read in previous posts. Nothing exciting, I promise. Saturday afternoon, I cleaned the room, throwing 80% of everything away, including pillows, sheets, towels, all my travel size toiletries, and even my hair brush. All will be stored, double bagged, in our garage for the next 40 days before trashing. Yeah. Solidly radioactive. I washed the two larger blankets and any other parcel of clothing I decided to keep, three times to be extra careful. All were separated from our regular laundry. I had to change my clothes TWICE a day and place them in plastic bags until I could leave my confined space. Any small drop of sweat, urine, spit, snot, etc. could contaminate and harm any warm blooded species that may come in contact with me. I could not work out or do anything strenuous to prevent sweating and I had to wash my hands every hour while I was awake. At this time in my life I am back to freelancing full-time so there is no sick pay or FMLA. I have worked tiredly through both my cancer quarantines. All is well in the world, but damn it’s hard and a lot of work.
Yesterday was Easter. I talked to all my family in Wisconsin, wishing I was with them. Or with the Murray clan in Mexico! Tomorrow I have a blood work appointment at 2PM and Wednesday morning I report for my I-131 scan at Desert Radiology with Keith – Looking forward to clear scan results! I have to carry a piece of paper until May 7th saying that I may still have some radioactivity roaming around inside my bod, which has been known to set off police radars and airline security. Ha! WILD. Other than that, there once again, are not enough hours in a day and I am preparing for a busy, busy work week among other things. I NEED ANOTHER VACATION.
Cheers, Lovers. Take care of You.