Mother has radioactive treatment for her thyroid cancer
Emma Day, 27, is not fighting cancer for the first time. She was diagnosed with leukemia as a child but she survived that battle. However, after getting married and three children later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She has to take high doses of iodine as part of her treatment plan—internal radiotherapy.
In fact, when in hospital, she was isolated during treatment and no staff was allowed to g’et within three meters of Emma for a period of five days. The radioactive iodine 131 is supposed to circulate in her bloodstream. It does not affect other healthy cells in the body, as it is a targeted treatment.
A mother’s bond
No one can keep a mother away from her children too long without breaking her heart completely. Emma is already battling a tough battle against cancer and she can’t even get comfort from hugs and embraces from her angels: a six-year-old daughter and twins who are a year old.
Emma expressed: “It is very hard because the twins are too young to understand. My oldest daughter saw a cancer psychologist who explained to her that my treatment was necessary, and she understands why, because it’ll make me better.”
She added: “I breast-fed my twins for about five months after they were born, and I’m not used to being away from them. It’s very hard. I’m missing them so much. I thought it was hard in hospital, but it is so much harder now because I can see them but I know I cannot touch them or cuddle them or go near them.”
She will not be able to hold or be close to her kids for a period of three weeks until her body becomes non-radioactive.
Introduction to radioactive iodine therapy by a hospital
Dangers radioactive treatment
Emma was so radioactive that whatever she touched while at the hospital had to be discarded. This potent treatment choice is dangerous for the patient, no doubt, but the cancer would pose a greater risk if not eliminated.
Since this treatment is radioactive, patients are confined to a single room until their levels return to normal. Any kind of human interaction with hospital staff and visitors are kept to a minimum.
In fact, even sweat and urine become radioactive since the iodine is circulating in the bloodstream. Patient’s bed sheets are laundered on a daily basis and flushing of toilets must be carried out more than once.
While in hospital, pregnant women and children are prohibited from visiting the patient undergoing the radioactive treatment. In fact, even after 12 weeks of treatment, patients may actually set off radiation alarms at the airport.
Demonstration of radioactivity from the iodine treatment