I-Day

radioactive image
This is a 3D illustration of an electromagnetic field in a nuclear radioactive core. Nothing to do with me, actually, but much prettier than the other pictures to do with radioactivity so I chose this one.

‘Good Camp Morning!’ Caleb  bounds into the kitchen and smiles at Moz, ‘and Good Radioactive Morning’ he says to me. And that’s all you need to know about us today, really.

The boys are off to a Scripture Union camp called Dcypher. It’s a camp for high school-aged computer gamers. They get together, link all the computers, and fight, race, and compete with each other for a few days. They also spend time away from the computers, chatting, playing games outside, and performing engineering challenges, all the good stuff.

It’s a great camp because the campers have time with adults from their world, people who understand gaming, and as well as that they are taught balance and discuss life lessons. They even do cosplay. My son who is over six feet tall is dressing up as a dwarf.

And as for me, well, we’ve come up with some theme songs for my day today. The first is Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, the next is Standing Too Close by Thandi Phoenix  and then there’s Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police. (I just watched the video clip for that one, it’s disturbing.)

Yes, today is the day for the radioactive iodine therapy. Not D-day but I-day. At lunch time today I will head into hospital, and as far as I understand it, I will swallow a capsule, and then go home. But I will be harmfully radioactive for the next five days or so (some gamma and mostly alpha radiation) and I should stand at least a metre away from any people I meet so that I don’t shoot them with harmful radiation.

I have thought about this course of action a lot, and talked to a lot of people, including more than one medical practitioner. I believe this is the right thing for me to do for my health at this time.

And the timing has worked out very well. I need to stay away from people for a while, and the boys will be away for the same amount of time. They get a camp, I get a retreat, everybody’s happy.

If you are a praying person, I covet your prayers for the camp, and also prayers that I get exactly the right dose of iodine to kill off my thyroid enough that it is no longer producing harmful quantities of thyroid hormone, but that it is still producing some hormone, so that I don’t need to take additional medication. That is the absolute best outcome we can hope for, so that’s what I’m praying for.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on the other side.

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Grateful on International Women’s Day

IWD-2018
This is me and my colleagues today. I’m centre back with the dark glasses 🙂

I’m sick. Not that you’d know it to look at me.

I’ll explain.

In May 2016 I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Good name that. Tells you exactly where you’re going.

Graves is an autoimmune disease where your body develops antibodies that attack your thyroid. But they attack it in such a way that it makes your thyroid work harder.

This affects everything. It makes your heart beat faster, your digestive system work faster, your body heat up more, and so on, and so on.

It means you can’t rest. You can be sitting on the couch, or lying in bed and even sleeping, but your heart is beating like you’re running a race. So you become very tired.

And you eat like there’s no tomorrow because your body is using up everything that you put into it.

And your brain! It starts working faster too. You become anxious about everything and you can’t stop working because it all needs to be done and it-all-needs-to-be-done-right-now.

You start to feel like you’re going crazy.

So like I said, I was diagnosed with this in May of 2016, and I was immediately given medicine, and the symptoms went away (though I personally had trouble stopping all the overeating). And you simply wouldn’t know I was sick.

But the antibodies are still there. So every six weeks or so I have a blood test to make sure that my thyroid hormone levels are within the limits they should be, and every three or so months we check on the antibodies to see if they’ve decreased. That’s another blood test.

My antibodies have decreased, but not quite enough, so we’ll be doing some fun stuff to fix the problem ‘definitively’ as my specialist says. Basically kill my thyroid gland. But you’ll hear about that later in the year.

What I wanted to say today was that it hit me how blessed I am to be in a country where the government is paying for all the blood tests I’ve had. Where I can go into a clean and safe place, and I have the choice of pathology centres so I can choose one that is convenient for whatever I happen to be doing that day, and I can have my blood taken quickly and easily (and mostly painlessly). The blood goes to a trustworthy laboratory and the results are available within the week.

All this is just amazing. A blessing beyond compare.

So yes, I’m sick. But I’m so grateful for the blessings in this country that mean that my illness is no more than a slight inconvenience.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could work together to provide this kind of healthcare and safety to others? To the poor and needy?

On this International Women’s Day I am so aware of the women who can’t give birth safely, who can’t feed their families, who work themselves to the bone from age 5 or so to feed their parents and siblings, who have to carry water for kilometres in order to drink and cook with it. In short, all those who are so much worse off than me.

I encourage you today, if you can, to give a little – a few dollars, a coffee’s worth, to help some women somewhere in the world, and we’ll see if we can’t make this world a better place.