Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

In my last post on this topic, I talked about the procedure the day I received the radiation pill up until I made it home.  This post looks more at my time in the slammer, the hole, radiation jail, or the Plastic Palace - whatever you like to call it.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

The weekend before I started living in the bedroom, we took most everything out.  The bed, bed frame, bookcase, decor, all my hair products, perfumes, and hair tools all had to be placed in other rooms.  The dressers that were too heavy to move stayed in place.  Since all of Sean's things are stored in the bedroom, we made sure Sean had all the clothes, underwear, and socks he would need for two weeks before wrapping things up. Both dressers were wrapped in plastic and we laid a giant plastic sheet on the carpet as well.  I wanted to be as thorough as possible in covering everything to reduce any contamination.

I will also add that NO precautions were given to me until right before I received the radioactive pill.  I have bitched about it before and I will again.  Maybe someone in the medical field will take notice.  No one went over anything other than a few guidelines the endocrinologist gave a few months prior,  when we first talked about me planning radiation.  Those guidelines consisted of how long I had to be away from my husband and pregnant women after I took the pill.  Everything I learned about precautions and covering things I learned because I have the internet. I wanted to be super prepared and overly cautious about contamination, so I started researching guidelines and such myself.  Only because of my foresight to look these things up or question what needed to be done was I able to take the proper precautions and be completely prepared for my time of living in the plastic room.  I was very frustrated by the nonchalant attitude and lack of more information until the last minute.

It took us quite a few hours to get everything wrapped up the night before.  If you ever find yourself in this situation, I recommend you spend the whole weekend before radiation wrapping things.  You will just be too emotionally exhausted and stressed out the night before.  All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with Sean and the fur boys to spend time with them, but we were wrapping more things in plastic until about 2 AM.

Here is the room I lived in for nine days.  (I couldn't leave the room for seven days.)

My Plastic Palace

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

The above view is from the bedroom door.  You can see my air mattress bed at the far wall, my little "food corner" on the black dresser, my lovely plastic-wrapped "living room" area, and the corner of the desk I used as a work station.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

The air mattress is an old one we have had for a while, so we don't really mind parting with it if need be.  I used an older pillow and comforter that could be thrown away as well.  We did have to spend about $60 or so on quite a few sets of super cheap queen sheets.  I had to change the sheets every day for at least the first four days.  (The first four days are the days when I was most toxic.)  I ended up doing laundry on the 7th day and washed them all, so we didn't throw them away.  I placed a giant plastic comforter bag in the corner here and used it as a dirty clothes hamper.  On the mattress you can see my paper towels I used as napkins and to dry my hands in the bathroom.  I also had various travel sized versions of toiletries divided into plastic bags, as well as a fresh set of everything I could switch to after the first four days.  That means, I had to throw away the toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners, body wash, body scrub, face wash, hand soap, mouthwash, etc. and replace them with new ones.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

This is my little "food corner".  We brought in my super old microwave from my bachelorette days for use during the day.  It will be tossed when the time comes.  (All my trash and things to be thrown away have to sit in a stored location - the corner of my backyard and my garage - for a couple months before they are put out for collection.)  I stored extra paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils, napkins, snack bags, and food items here, along with a box of ziploc baggies filled with my vitamin supplements and medications.  Also, you can see all my water that I worked through in the first handful of days.  I had to drink a lot of water to flush the radiation out of my system.  I bought a Groupon for a gluten-free monthly subscription box, so I saved some of the bags of chips, oatmeal, and soups and had those during the day.  Sean would leave my breakfast (banana and almond butter) at the door before he left for work.  He always comes home for lunch and would make my lunch and leave it at the door. (I wasn't allowed to be in close proximity to him or the fur boys for at least seven days.  After that I could stay six feet away for a few more days.)  In the evenings, he would make dinner and provide that for me as well.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

This is the covered dresser with the television and stereo.  Thankfully, I could watch TV, DVRed shows, and Netflix to my heart's content.  My friend dropped a DVD of her favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally, off with me too, so I watched that as well.  I also stored my extra latex gloves (I wore gloves every time I showered for the first few days and every time I used the bathroom for the duration of my stay), trash bags, and Kleenexes here.  I didn't really get too close to this area, so the uncovered things should be okay.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

Looking to the opposite side of the room, we covered the closet wall with plastic because I was over in that corner a majority of my time.  We used an old table partially covered in plastic and an old chair we completely covered as my office area.   The CPU was in the closet behind the plastic, but we used an old monitor, keyboard, and speakers up on the table.  I kept all my sour hard candy at my desk so I would remember to constantly use it.  I had to suck on hard sour candy constantly to keep my saliva moving through my salivary glands.  You don't want the radioactive saliva just sitting in there.

In the back corner were my boxes of cheap towels and old clothes and underwear and socks.  I took all my old and ill fitting house clothes to wear while in the slammer.  Even though I washed everything at the end, the towels are total crap and will be thrown away.  As you can see, we took no prisoners in wrapping the loveseat, wheeled table, and remotes.  The plastic loveseat was no fun. It was so noisy and hard to get comfortable on it.  The cushions would constantly slip right from underneath me and the plastic made me really warm.  I did end up laying an old blanket on top of it and that helped.

I was able to open the bedroom window to get some fresh air from time to time.  One of those times a giant bumblebee as big as my thumb flew in and scared the crap out of me!  Thankfully, he left quickly, but that gave me a scare.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

The bathroom was a whole other beast.  A majority of the radiation had to leave my body through urine and saliva, so I had to be extra cautious in the bathroom to make sure there was no contamination.  We started by taking everything out of the bathroom.  The faucet and shower door bars were wrapped in plastic and plastic shower curtains were placed as a barrier on the inside.  I had to shower twice a day for the first three to four days, changing my clothing each time.  After I showered, I had to rinse the entire shower area with water.  With this type of radiation, it can be rinsed away with lots of extra water; So that was good in making me feel like I could keep the room clean at least.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

The floor and counter were covered in plastic and the garbage can was triple bagged.  Each time I used the bathroom, I had to close the lid and flush three times.  Afterward, I would lift the lid and wipe all the surfaces of the toilet down with a wet wipe or wet paper towel.  I washed my hands extra thoroughly and used paper towels to dry them.  (the above photo shows the bathroom before I cleaned everything out the morning before radiation.)  My bags of toiletries were all on the counter here.

When brushing my teeth, I had to spit into the toilet the first three days (at least) then flush several times.  If I did spit in the sink, I had to clean it profusely with water and wash my hands again.  I wiped down the counter space, floor, and toilet rather often to keep contamination down.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail
Clockwise from top left: Sean made some super tasty stove-top popcorn for me; my friend Sami dropped off a gift basket with a magazine, DVD, candle, lemonade, wine, gluten-free cookies, nail polish, and pedicure goodies, lipgloss, pore strips, and hand cream;  Sean brought me flowers on Friday like he always does.  They made my plastic room a little cheerier; Remotes wrapped in plastic along with my hard candies.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail
Skyping with the Boys
DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail

After seven days, I was able to leave the room and do laundry.  In doing the radioactive laundry, each load had to be washed two or three times.  Once I was finished with all radioactive laundry, I had to run the washing machine four times to clean it.  I don't even know what the water bill looks like right now. lol   My skin and hair was super dry from all the showering and hand washing, so I started doing some extra moisturizing and deep conditioning after the seven days.  I still wasn't able to hang out with Sean, although by Night 8 I did sit in the living room at dinner time and watch an hour long show.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Thryoid Cancer Update: My Plastic Palace/Radiation Jail
My desk arrangement and all the dirty clothes on laundry day.

Luckily, my only side effects from the radiation were sore salivary glands the first couple of days.  The soreness lessened and diminished in that time as I sucked on extra hard candies.  I feel really grateful to not have had any other issues.  Aside from being isolated from my husband, furkids, and friends, dreading what side effects might come was really hard for me.  The not knowing, not being sure of exactly what would happen, was terrifying.  The whole week I was just a mess of anxiety and sadness, worrying about every aspect of what was going to happen.  When I first started this series of documenting my journey, I intended it to be a comprehensive look at the feelings as well as the procedure of it all.  Somehow, I feel like conveying my feelings took a backseat in order to educate others that may be going through this.  It is all very tough.  It isn't easy; and brave faces can still have tears on them.  Overall, my time in radiation jail, while isolating and annoying and monotonous and also kind of exhausting, was pretty easy and went by fairly quick.

During my time in the slammer, I mostly worked online, watched TV shows, chatted with friends online, and played online games.  The first weekend I was in was another Elder Scrolls Online Beta weekend, so that gave me something to do.  I also started watching Veronica Mars via Amazon Instant Video.  I had never seen the series before and quickly became obsessed!  When Sean would get home in the evenings, we would start Skyping.  With Skype, we could hang out while he cooked dinner, eat dinner together, and watch some shows before bedtime.  It was nice to be able to talk to him and see him and the boys during my isolation.

The ninth day was my follow-up scan and my first time out in that time period.  I was thrilled and the weather was amazing!  Next time, we'll chat about my follow-up results!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Q & A Monday: Favorite Things

Hey y'all!!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Last week, I decided to be super productive around the house.  I cleaned and reorganized, worked on some craft projects, and did some decorating.  I was able to get a ton of stuff done at home, but the blog suffered from all the time I devoted away from it.  I am still working to find a good balance for me in maintaining the blog (which I LOVE to do) and keeping up with housework and taking care of myself as well.

I started a new cleaning schedule this week, which I feel will help me in not being so overwhelmed but still provide me with time to do all the things I love to do as hobbies.

I hope you all had a splendid weekend!  Mine started out fantastic.  I attended a joint birthday party for myself and my aunt - belated for her and a month early for me.  It was a really lovely time with supportive and loving women I haven't seen in a while.  That evening, we got together with friends at a local winery to hang out.  Apparently, the meal I ate at the winery did not sit well with me because, right in the middle of a late night rousing game of Pictionary with friends, I started getting very sick.

Sunday I was feeling better, but we took it easy, lounging in the backyard sun and getting a few house chores done.  Now on to some Monday fun!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Favorite Things

1. Favorite color? (be specific… what shade of blue/green/red etc)
A deep but bright shade of fuchsia with glitter in it. Kind of like the walls of my dressing room:

DivineMrsDiva.com - Q & A Monday: Favorite Things

2. Favorite piece of clothing you own?

I own a LOT of clothes and I love many items and many outfits.  It is hard to pick just one.  Maybe overall, I might pick my knee-high boots.  Whether I wear them with jeans, leggings, skirts, or dresses, I always feel super sassy.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Q & A Monday: Favorite Things

3. Favorite smartphone app?
I probably use Facebook and Instagram the most.

4. Favorite city?
I loved living in Boston. I loved staying in Lahaina, Maui when we went for our honeymoon. Victoria, BC is also super beautiful and the people were really nice.

5. Favorite strength training exercise?
I don't know what kinds there are to choose from....

6. Favorite vegetable?
Potato lol, Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini, etc.

7. Favorite hair product? (shampoo, styling, conditioner etc)

I have been using Biolage lately, but I love Nexxus moisturizing shampoo and conditioner as well as the repairing line from Carol's Daughter.  For styling, It's a 10 and the DevaCurl defining gel are must-haves.  I actually recently posted a video and review post of my favorite hair products.

8. Favorite animal?

Dogs, specifically long-haired chihuahuas, but I love all dogs.  I also love piglets, sloths, and other adorable creatures.

9. Favorite superhero?

I don't know if I necessarily ever had a favorite superhero, though I enjoy superhero stuff.  I always had the hots for Superman over the others and loved watching Wonder Woman as a kid.  I was way more into Star Wars than superheros.

10. Favorite recipe? (share the details with us)

A recipe I LOVE is my Smoked Salmon Chowder.  It is amazing!!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Q & A Monday: Favorite Things

I hope you all have a fantastic week full of fun!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What I Wore: Bright Leggings

DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic

A couple of weekends ago, we popped on over to our friends' house for a tasty dinner.  It was the first time hanging out with friends since I had been out of the Plastic Palace.  My friend Sami made flank steak with this yummy honey horseradish cream sauce.  So good!!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic and Pink Lace Leggings, Avenue Talia Stretch Back boots

I wanted a comfortable, laid back outfit to wear for the occasion.  We just sat around drinking wine, visiting, and playing Pictionary.  I've been trying to push myself out of my clothing comfort zone a bit lately to shake things up.  During my radiation week of doctor appointments, I just wore yoga pants and knit tops.  Then while I was in the Plastic Palace I wore old clothes that I could throw away.  To boost my mood and add some excitement, I've been trying new combinations of clothing.

DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic and Pink Lace Leggings, Avenue Talia Stretch Back boots
DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic and Pink Lace Leggings, Avenue Talia Stretch Back boots

A positive about losing some weight recently is that this cute chambray top finally fits me.  I ordered it from a Lane Bryant clearance sale a few years ago, but it was too tight in the hips and I couldn't wear it.  I tried it on again on a whim and was thrilled to discover that it fits me now and I can get some use out of it.  It is so easy and comfortable to wear.  The top also has pockets on the sides, which is a great feature.

To add some color, I added these pink lace-patterned leggings from Lane Bryant.  The top was long enough that I didn't feel too exposed, but I am also not accustomed to wearing a super bright color on my bottom half (or having my legs/leggings this exposed. lol).  And I love it!!  I thought it turned out super cute.  I admit the first time I tried this outfit on, I thought I looked terrible in it.  But a couple weeks later I tried it on again and loved it.  Also, don't be afraid to turn items marketed as sleepwear into day wear.  These leggings have a lace cuff at the bottom and were in the sleepwear section.  I just couldn't let them hide in my pajama drawer!

DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic and Pink Lace Leggings, Avenue Talia Stretch Back boots
Chambray Tunic Top - Lane Bryant (a few years ago) (Similar)
Pink "Lace" Leggings - Lane Bryant
Talia Stretch Back Riding Boots - Avenue
Necklace - Forever 21

DivineMrsDiva.com - Lane Bryant Chambray Tunic and Pink Lace Leggings, Avenue Talia Stretch Back boots

Can you tell I was ecstatic to be out of the house?!?!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Q & A Monday: Random Questions

Hey y'all.

If you follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, you already know what happened last week.  My sweet, 17-year-old fur child passed away on Wednesday.  I knew Rusty his whole life and his passing is very, very hard for me.  I'm still working on picking up the pieces of my broken heart and will do a post about him when I am able.  I am just not there yet. 

This week, I am trying to focus on staying busy and keeping my mind as occupied as I can.  So I will be working on some posts this week to make up for my lack of posts last week.

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Random Questions

1. Have you ever had a reoccurring dream? What was it?
It is more a recurring nightmare.  I don't have them as often as I used to, but through my preteen years and into my twenties I would have nightmares in which I was traveling in a plane and it crashed.  Typically it was flying over water, like an ocean, and I was usually the only survivor.  You can imagine how much of a mess I was when, at 28, I was actually flying to Hawaii for my honeymoon.  I should have just taken valium.

2. What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

As a kid, I was tricked into eating deer meat and frog legs.  I knew better than to try the rattlesnake or squirrel (yes, I grew up in the South).  I have eaten salmon eggs (yuck to all of these, by the way).  One thing I love to eat that people think is weird - I like putting peanuts in a Coke and drinking/eating it.  I hardly ever have it because I don't drink what Yankees call "soda/pop" anymore, but people always think it is so crazy when I post a picture of it on Facebook or something.  To me, it was always a fun road trip food growing up.

3. Can you comfortably eat in a restaurant by yourself? Go to movie?
I can definitely go to the movies by myself and I can certainly eat at a restaurant by myself, but out of those two things I would rather someone be with me at the restaurant.  I enjoy the company.

4. What would you leave in your will for the person you care about the most?
I don't think there is anything I could leave that would be worth money really.  It would just all have sentimental value.  I would just leave everything to my husband.

5. Would you rather…Go without television or fast food for the rest of your life?
Fast food.  I don't eat it anyway and haven't for quite some time, so this one is a no-brainer.

6. What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?
Nothing.  Last week was a shit show.  Just thinking about it makes me cry.  I guess I can say that my friends have been very supportive and thoughtful.  I finally left the house on Saturday to get a haircut.  We ran some errands and had dinner with the mom-in-law and then went to Bunco that night.  I drank too much wine and tried to get my mind off things. And Sunday Sean and I played Elder Scrolls Online and worked on house stuff.  So the best thing about this past week were the moments when I wasn't crying.

7. List the food items you take at a salad bar.
Preferably spring mix lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced peppers, garbanzo beans/quinoa, chicken, onions, celery, avocado, sometimes cheese, and usually balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

8. If you were in the “Miss America” talent competition, what would your talent be? (Note: both guys & gals have to answer this question)
I would probably do the goodbye monologue from Our Town.

9. What do you keep in the trunk of your car?

I don't own a car, so I can easily say nothing.  But there are various fabric grocery bags and the like in the back of our car.

10. How many rings before you answer the phone?

If I recognize the number, I usually let it ring three times before I answer it.  If I don't recognize the number, I don't answer it.

I hope you all have a good week.  Happy Monday.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Q & A Monday: Hobbies and Games

Hey, y'all!

It is Monday again.  I had a really fun weekend hanging out with my husband, having dinner and playing Pictionary with friends, and playing Elder Scrolls Online.  I was sad to see the weekend come to an end.

But here we are.  I am feeling very productive and happy and look forward to a week of catching up on chores as well as fitting in more fun stuff.

Now time for the questions and answers!

It is time again for Friend Makin' Monday.  If you have a blog, I would like to invite you to answer the questions as well.  Leave me a comment here, so I know you are playing.  Then you can also leave a comment over at Losing Weight and Having Fun, so other folks can check out your answers as well.  It is a fun way to connect to other bloggers.

Hobbies and Games

1. Do you have a favorite board game?
As I kid, I loved playing Monopoly and Life.  As an adult, I don't get a lot of board games in, though I think they are a lot of fun.  Just this weekend, my friends and I played Pictionary and had a blast.

2. Do you have a favorite card game?
Cards Against Humanity is, hands down, my favorite card game.  There is never a dull moment!

3. Do you play games on your phone?
I don't play games on my phone, but I do play games on my iPad.  Right now, I play Candy Crush, the farm themed version of Candy Crush, and the occasional Scrabble-like game.

4. Do you prefer the Xbox, Playstation or Wii?
I like all three of them because they all offer something slightly different.  We own various versions of all three consoles and enjoy gaming on each one.

5. Do you have a favorite outdoor hobby?
Maybe sitting in the shade on the beach, or walking around at the Farmer's Market.....I'm not really an outdoorsy kind of girl.

6. Have you ever been geocaching?
Nope, but it actually sounds kind of fun.  I would try it at least once.

7. What’s your favorite hobby?

Does shopping count?  lol  I love decorating, organizing, crafting (more like arts and crafts), getting into sewing, gaming, reading, writing, not arithmetic, trying new beauty products, putting outfits together...yada yada yada.

8. Is there a hobby you would love to try but are too scared too
Playing the drums, dancing, traveling...

9. Do you enjoy doing puzzles?

I guess it would depend on my mood, but I think getting a good puzzle done is fun and relaxing.

10. Have you taken any classes in anything?
Painting, ballroom dancing, cooking...that is about it so far, but there are definitely more classes I would like to take.  The husband and I were talking about signing up for a dancing course and maybe a writing course.

Have an awesome Monday and an equally great week!

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