Saturday, February 28, 2009


We just ordered pizza and I am SO EXCITED. Like over the top excited. Low iodine diet? GOOD FREAKING BYE! Pizza, cheese, milk, butter, egg yolks, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, store bought bread, bagels, and english muffins? HELLO!

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 4:49 PM

Radioactive Woman

Day One:

Huz and I arrived at the hospital promptly at 10:00a.m. for my appointment with the Deadly Pill served in a sealed iron vessel only to wait an hour and forty five minutes for anything to finally happen. I guess that's to be expected in a hospital. I just hope that if I coded they would be more prompt.

We sat in a room that had tons of warning signs on the door - danger! peligro! radioactive woman inside! - and that was freezing for almost 2 hours. We talked about Claire, about Huz's dissertation, about my nervousness involved with intentionally swallowing radioactive material, and then played some thumb war. Finally, two nurses - Sarah and Jeanette - came in wheeling a cart with the sealed lead capsule on it. I had to hug Huz goodbye at this point and he left. Sarah went over the precautions that a resident had already thoroughly gone over with me (stay 3 feet away from everyone for the first 3 days and children or pregnant women for a week, drink a lot of water and flush twice when you go, etc.), handed me some bottled water, and proceeded to open the capsule. They didn't have moonsuits on - just a pair of latex gloves. Sarah handed me a small plastic vial that had 2 blue and white pills in it and told me to swallow them. I did and instantly felt strange. I don't know how to describe it other than feeling slightly tingly all over and my vision went weird for a minute. Sarah and Jeanette stayed chatting with me for 10 minutes (at a 3 foot distance from me) and then Jeanette came over with a yard stick and put it on my belly and with her other hand operated the geiger counter to get my radiation levels. I guess it was doing it's thing because she said they were good numbers. Then they said goodbye and I left. Walking through the hospital waiting room and riding the elevator to the parking garage was strange because I was trying to stay 3 feet away from everyone I ran into - especially children. I felt like a leper or something.

I came to my temporary home, ate some fruit that my host left in my bedroom (was the first food I had all day) and watched a funny movie in bed. I never watch comedies because they are usually just really dumb, which this one was, but I found it hilarious and perfect for being newly radioactive, kind of freaked out, and away from my family. It was Step Brothers with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. My favorite line was Reilly's who when interviewing for a job said, "I really, really need a job. I will take any position as long as it doesn't involve having sex with old ladies for money. Or bear traps. Those are my two buggaboos."

Oh my. So funny.

I retired to my bedroom early and took a shower to wash off any radioactive sweat (I'm staying in an older couple's home and their house is on the hot side) and then settled in to ready my Julie and Julie book before watching BSG at 9:00. I fell asleep at 8:30 and woke up at 9:40. Dang it. I hope Huz keeps BSG on Tivo for me. So I guess you could say going nuclear makes you tired.

Day Two:

I woke up at 6:00 with a really dry mouth (one of the side effects is damage to the salivary glands), drank some water, and went back to bed resolved to sleep in while I have the chance. I've had an alarm clock named Claire Bear who rarely lets us sleep past 7:00 for the last 16 months, so I'm looking forward to sleeping in a bit while on isolation. I couldn't sleep for a while, but finally got another hour and a half. I woke up the second time with pain in my jaw right under my ears. My salivary glands are swollen and sore. I've been gargling baking soda water, sucking on hard candies, and drinking lots of water to help. It's a normal side effect and I hope they ease up and go away soon.

Oh yeah. I'm still on the lame low iodine diet (probably until tomorrow since they said 24-48 hours after the RAI). So I still haven't ordered a pizza for myself yet but am very much looking forward to it.

Signing off for now,

Radioactive Woman

Photo 19

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:03 AM

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Butt Prayers

That has been the subject line of emails from my mom both yesterday and today with regards to my thyrogen shots. Pretty funny.

So, the shots were no big deal - yesterday's didn't even hurt. Today's did because it burned when the meds went in, but it wasn't bad. The only thing that sucked was that I immediately felt tired and kind of out of it, as if I was on cold medicine. I probably shouldn't have had 2 martinis on an empty stomach during my last date with Huz last night, but I did. I got crazy drunk crazy fast and still felt dizzy and nauseated this morning, but nothing dire.

I go nuclear tomorrow at 10:00. Wish me luck!

I'll be blogging and letting you know how isolation goes.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:09 PM

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cancer Crap

Hello kids.

I have cancer-related treatments this week and am anxious, yet hopeful. This is the schedule:

Wednesday - 10:00a.m. get a shot of thyrogen (in my butt)

Thursday - 10:00a.m. get a shot of thyrogen (in my butt - other cheek, hopefully!)

(Some patients get tired, headaches, aches and pains, and nauseated from these shots. I hope I don't follow suit!)

Friday - 10:00a.m. get radioactive iodine pill. Wait in hospital for an hour to see if I vomit radioactive substances up (good times). Drive to a colleague's house where I will be on isolation from my family and friends for at least 7 days (I'll find out exactly what the half life of the radiation will be on the day I take it when they wave a Geiger counter wand over me like I'm some alien from another planet).

I hope to borrow a Mac laptop from a colleague during this time so that Huz can use it and I can use mine to Skype teleconference all week. That way I can still see Huz and Claire and talk to them "in person" rather than just on the phone which Claire doesn't get yet. I will miss them so much, but know it's for the best. I'd never want to come home early and ablate their thyroids accidentally. I'll be blogging through this period and will let you all know how I'm doing. I hope I won't get sick like some patients do and I hope, hope, hope that the radiation kills the cancer but the rest of me stays healthy and safe! Since I'll have so much quiet time on my hands during isolation I think I might look into creating a second website that chronicles the cancer. We'll see. Other than that, I'll be reading books and watching lots of DVDs. Any other ideas? I won't be able to go out and eat all the things I can't have on this diet (CHEESE! ICE CREAM! TACOS!) since I'll be radioactive and harmful to others, but you can bet I'll be ordering in! Oh yeah! Domino's? What's your biggest pizza? I'll take that. All to myself. Thankyouverymuch.

Friday, March 6th 10:00a.m. I have a whole body scan which will show what took up the radiation and what, therefore, is remaining thyroid tissue and quite possibly cancer. Please pray with me that the scan will be clean and that there will be no metastasized cancer. Please pray with me that this will be the end of cancer for Victoria Winters and the Winters family. Thank you.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:06 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Claire just now: picks up the calculator, pushes some buttons, puts it to her ear and says, "hello?"


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 4:51 PM

The Cutest New Shoes Ever + a Bunch of Random Photos

I just bought these this morning. Yes, an impulse buy, but I've wanted toddler Converse forever. ADORABLE.




It's scary how old she looks in this picture, as if she's texting her girlfriends about her cool new shoes, but she's really smiling because she's looking at my screen saver which is a picture of her and her Dad.


Photo 17

Photo 8

Here's the $80 chair I bought and returned 3 days later (because of cost and because Claire was going to break her neck by standing up and teetering dangerously on the edge. That and she became an instant couch potato.).




Here we are on our zoo trip a few weeks ago. First we walked to the car. Everything is an adventure these days.






Claire and her Daddy.





Watching the monkeys.


More walking around.




Mesmerized by the meerkats.



The end.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 2:53 PM

Thursday, February 19, 2009

VW Turns 33

So today is my birthday. Huz made me banana pancakes with some salt-free margarine he found at Kroger. It was good - sure beats cold cereal with watery almond "milk", but I gotta admit that I really wanted some bacon to go with it. Come on March 2nd!

How am I celebrating my birthday? I'm at home with Claire who is sick. It started on Monday with vomiting, then that resolved and she's been lethargic with a low-grade fever ever since. Huz took her to the Dr. yesterday and she was diagnosed with an ear infection. This is the first time she's been on antibiotics; I'm glad that she went 15 months before needing them. It sucks having a child who seems to be sick every month, but I know it's par for the course when you introduce a child to daycare. The good news is that this will really build up her immune system and by next year or the year after she'll probably not get sick very often again.

I'm waiting until Huz gets home from TAing and then I'll go to work at around noon. My dear friend is coming over to babysit tonight after Huz and I put Claire to bed and eat a LID compliant dinner at home. We're going to a photography show that a woman in my new book club is a part of and then to the movies. Now, if only I could decide which one to see: Coraline, The Reader, The Wrestler? Of course I'm trying to find one that's not too late (10:00!?) since I have to work tomorrow.

There. Now you see that I am, indeed, old. I'm worried about staying up to midnight on a weeknight.

Photo 6

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:44 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Low Iodine Diet

Things that are making this diet bearable:

Chocolate Sorbet

Low Iodine Mexican Chocolate Cake from thyca

Egg white scramble with potatoes, onions and peppers

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 11:01 AM

Monday, February 16, 2009

This and That

I was so very excited that Claire gave us a Valentine's Day/early birthday present on Saturday morning when she slept (and so did we) until 9:00a.m. I was thrilled. Thrilled! I tell you. I haven't slept in for FIFTEEN MONTHS. Alas, it seems it was because she is, yet again, sick. She has vomited 3-4 times today from what I can tell from Huz's sporadic emails. Sigh.

I am on day 6 of the low iodine diet and am absolutely sick of it. It is so annoying having to carefully plan out each meal and not being able to eat out at all. I am craving FAT so badly: cream in my coffee, ice cream, a big ol' pad of butter on a waffle, sausage links, pepperoni pizza, and, most of all, a cheeseburger with mayo and pickles. Drool. This is going to be a VERY long 2 and 1/2 weeks.

I have vowed not to get into watching American Idol this year and, so far, I haven't watched more than 5 minutes of the try-outs whilst flipping channels. Yay me! I'm so highbrow it hurts.

My cats are constantly fighting. What gives? I thought we got all the bitch slappage out. Apparently I was wrong.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 3:26 PM

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace In Small Things, Numero Dos

I think I might have gone longer than a week between these posts. Oh well. Something's better than nothing, right?

(crickets chirp)


1. I am feeling so much more like myself every day and that makes me very, very happy. I am laughing again, have energy again, and am even interested in Huz again. Heh.

2. I enjoy a lot of the faculty that I work with and, of course, the students. I don't hate driving into work every day (some days maybe, but mostly not.).

3. Even though Claire is in the back-arching temper tantrum stage, she's also really cute, gives lots of hugs and kisses, and has a blossoming sense of humor that is a joy to watch.

4. I am excited to go to the new marionette show with Claire tomorrow at the downtown library.

5. Even though I'm on a dumb diet in preparation for my radiation treatment at the end of the month, I have an awesome husband who cooks diet-compliant meals for me because he loves me. Case in point, last night's dinner: pork chops and sugar snap peas with mint julep glaze and skinless home fries. Huz, you know I adore you, right?

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 10:52 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LID: Day One

Yesterday was the first day of my low iodine diet (LID). It wasn't bad thanks to Huz who made me some diet-compliant bread (orange cinnamon bread = yummy) even though I couldn't put any butter (dairy) or margarine (salt) on it. Honey or jam work just fine though. I can't have any milk (because it's dairy) or soy milk (because it's soy) or rice milk (because it has sea salt in it) so I made my own almond milk yesterday. Note to self: STRAIN the almond milk. Chewing after taking a sip of coffee isn't very pleasant.

I went to my new book club last night (we read Ellen Foster and next month's is Julie and Julia - yippee!) and it was rough watching all the ladies eat Girl Scout cookies, cake, and spinach dip but at least I could drink the wine I brought and drown my sorrows. I exaggerate; it wasn't that bad. Next Tuesday will be difficult, though, because a few friends and I are going to the Vagina Monologues after work and have to have dinner first. Do you think I could find a steak place that would serve me 5 oz. of meat with NO seasoning whatsover? I hope so, otherwise I'll have to pack my own homemade bread and and apple for dinner. Ho hum.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 9:29 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Going Nuclear

I am preparing for the radiation treatment which will, hopefully, wipe out any remaining cancer cells which might be hanging out in my body. I take the radiation iodine pill on the 27th and then go into isolation, basically, for a week while I'm radioactive. I have to have my own bathroom and maintain 3 feet distance between myself and all adults for 5 days and I have to do the same for pregnant woman and children (ie, Claire) for 8 days. Since I have a small house with only one bathroom and you can't explain to a toddler why you won't pick her up, hug her, or even come near her for 8 days, I am staying at someone else's house that whole week. This makes me so sad because I've only been away from Claire for one night (the night after my surgery). I will miss her (and Huz, but at least I can talk to him on the phone!) terribly.

Before all of this, however, I have to be on a low iodine diet for 2 weeks in order to starve my body of iodine so that it takes up the radioactive version more readily, making it more effective in ablating the thyroid tissue that remains. Now most of you, like I did, probably just assume this means avoiding salt since we all know salt contains iodide ("an essential nutrient" blah, blah, blah). No. I wish it were so. Check out the list of things that are forbidden to me as of tomorrow:

iodized salt (duh)
sea salt
fish or anything that comes out of the sea
ALL dairy products
ALL soy products (uh, hello? what am I supposed to put on my cereal?)
egg yolks (white omelet anyone?)
canned fruits or vegetables
basically anything already made since it all has salt in it (tomato sauce, ketchup, most cereals, etc.)
restuarant food since there is no way to know if they use products mentioned above
any pre-baked items (bread, bagels, etc.) because they have iodine dough conditioners

Foods that are limited are:
meat - I can only eat up to 5 oz. of fresh (not ground) meat a day
grains - I can only have up to 4 servings of grains a day

Oh my God, right? So, what can I eat? Basically fresh vegetables and fruit and homemade bread that has no milk or egg yolks in it. This is going to be freaking awesome. Not.

In preparation for this diet I just ate a huge southern meal from a local soul food restuarant where the line was out the door. I had meat loaf swimming in tomato sauce, mashed potatoes with dressing, and green beans. Peach cobbler is waiting for me just as soon as my stomach settles from the tide of greasy, dee-licious food I dumped into it moments ago.

Wish me luck on the diet. Because, as you can probably tell, I like food and think diets suck.


Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:10 PM

15 Months

Claire Bear,

I was so very proud of you yesterday. Not only were you a brave little patient* at the doctor's office (you got 2 shots and cried only briefly), but you passed the progress checklist with flying colors. You toddled around the office showing off your cool walking skills, you read a book on my lap and pointed to things that I asked you to find and talked and gibbered the whole time, nicely showing off your language skills. Dr. Miller laughed when he read the script that said, "can your child say 3-6 words?" Then he said, of course she can since I just heard her say about 15. Yay Claire! You're so smart and I love you so much, especially when you say "kiss" and lean in to kiss me on the lips, then do sign language for thank you afterward. You're lovely and I want to hug and squeeze you all day.

Your Daddy and I were counting all the words you know how to say as we drove you in to daycare this morning. We came up with about 30, but here are the ones I can think of at the moment:

night night
mama/dada (though you use mama for both of us)
bow wow wow

*a.k.a. Corduroy for those in the know.

As requested, here is a picture of Claire, at least it's the latest I've uploaded from my camera. I bought her this over-priced, but really cute armchair at Target a few weeks ago but then brought it back because she stood up on it too much and I was worried she'd break her neck. But it was really cute.

Photo 2

Also, here's one of her in a silly outfit that her Grandmo bought her before she was born.



Posted by Bird On A Line @ 8:56 AM

Friday, February 6, 2009

Birthday Present to Myself

My 33rd is coming up on the 19th and even though it wasn't in the budget this month (have I told you about all of my medical bills? It's HORRIBLE. I switched insurance after having Claire so that it'd be a cheaper monthly payment, not expecting to get cancer, and I have to pay 20% of everything and have a huge deductible of $3,000 just for me yearly. I definitely have to pay that for the surgery and, unfortunately, it's now a new year and I'll have to pay another 3k for the radiation which the Dr. said is "very expensive." Also? Huz's funding for his PhD ends in May. I'm FREAKING out.), I decided to get my hair cut. It was much needed, especially since I cut my own bangs a few weeks ago and have been walking around looking like a butchered freak.

Anyway. I like my new, lighter look. Ahhh.

Photo 11

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:44 AM

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grace in Small Things

The great Schmutzie invited me to participate in the site she created called Grace in Small Things where people post 5 positive things a day in order to battle negativity and embitterment. As I've been through some pretty shitty times lately (thyroid cancer, surgery, and dealing with wrong medication dosages and depression), this is probably a really good exercise for me to engage in. I hardly have time to post here every day, so I'll attempt to do it once a week.

So, here we go.

1. Wearing the green and blue striped long-sleeved t-shirt my friend gave me makes me very happy.

2. I'm looking forward to a Mexican dinner out with friends tomorrow night. Cheap, tasty Mexican food anyone? Margaritas anyone? Me, me, me!

3. I like the feeling that I'm contributing to the household again by participating in menu-planning and meal-making. Just call me Betty Freaking Crocker, y'all.

4. I met my new dentist this morning (who, yes, filled 2 tiny little pits in my molars) and he was very friendly and told me I have beautiful teeth. Nobody's every told me that before!

5. I loved laughing and giggling with Claire yesterday as we made farting noises with our mouths and I shouted, "Oh! Excuse me!" Hysterical. See for yourself.

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Posted by Bird On A Line @ 1:13 PM

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Signs That My New Medication Dosage Is Working


1. I did 3 loads of laundry.
2. I watched Claire all day by myself and didn't want to die.
3. I menu-planned for the whole week.
4. I went grocery shopping.

Granted, I collapsed at the end of the day and slept 11 hours (!) because I caught Claire's most recent cold, but still. That's a lot to accomplish for me lately.


1. I went to the zoo with my family and had fun watching Claire be completely absorbed by the meerkats, fish, and wild hog.
2. I made dinner for the first time in months (orange-soy-braised pork ribs with mashed potatoes and green beans).
3. I flirted with Huz (no, it didn't go anywhere because, lo and behold, I received a visit from Auntie Flow who hasn't visited me in 2 years this month!). TMI? You're welcome.

I am grateful for a glimpse at my old life - one where I can handle being a mom to a toddler, one where I enjoy getting up in the morning and having the energy to go through the day with the ones I love.

I can handle life like this.

Posted by Bird On A Line @ 7:32 PM

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