Thursday, May 8, 2014

A day at Smilow

The kids were off to school and I was off to my appointment.

I stepped into the truck and started on my hour long drive to get there.  The rain was beginning to come down, the day outside looked dreary, but I felt like a little ray of sunshine as I bopped along to the music on the radio.

I had done all my homework leading up to this visit.  I had used my Google PhD well and I was ready with my notes and questions.

I knew I was going to need radioactive iodine treatment, but I didn't know the plan of before or during.

There are different methods of preparing for the treatment, ways to get your body ready and wanting to suck up that iodine.  One way is to stop taking your hormone replacement for a month prior to treatment. Another way is to get a series of shots.  Going off of the medication can leave your body aching, weight gaining, and depressed.  Been there, done that, prefer not to go back.  I was going in prepared to state my case for the shots.

During treatment you become radioactive.  You cannot be around other people.  You have to use a different bathroom, are supposed to use disposable dishes, be in a room by yourself, etc.  With seven children, the youngest a momma's boy to the extreme, this would be impossible to do at home.  A hotel stay expensive, plus you are exposing the hotel workers and other guests to your radioactive self.  I was set to present my case for hospitalization.

I was driving, dancing, and ready.  I took my exit and followed the signs to Smilow Cancer Hospital, turned into the parking garage built for small cars and felt like a Little People car on a Hot Wheels track.  It is tight in there.  Our 12 passenger van would have no luck, which means I get to use my hubbies big (yet still smaller than the van) truck.  I think the truck has about a 2 inch clearance from some parts of the roof.
Like this, but surround the track in
dark gray foreboding concrete.
isn't she cute?

I went in.
Stood in line to get my beautiful plastic bracelet.
Filled out paperwork. (current symptoms, circle the ones that apply.  Weight in, "not that I am complaining!")
Get called back to the processing vitals room.  (Stand on scale down 11 pounds since last visit. Yip! Yip!)
Wait in waiting room.
Go back to be seen.
Visit with the nurse.
Have same conversation with the attending.

Then the attending starts talking about what comes next and the options that are out there.

Doctor comes in.
She starts answering all of my unasked questions with the answers I wanted.  7 kids at home, hospitalization it is.  Thyrogen shots are a lot nicer than a month of yuck, so shots it is.  I didn't even need to say a word about what I wanted, because it was being handed to me on a silver platter stainless steel medical tray.

I was told that Nurse Brian would be calling me to set up all the dates and let me know when I needed to start my low iodine diet and what to avoid, etc.

Then it was off to the lab.

I showed the beautiful woman with the flawless brown skin my pretty bracelet and checked in.  She asked me if I had a port or needed it drawn from my arm.


The question took me by surprise.  It was asked as though it was commonplace, as if I had just ordered ice cream and they wanted to know if I wanted chocolate or vanilla.  I guess being a cancer hospital that to them it is common, but it isn't to me. It is kind of strange to feel so good and be in a place with so much sickness that the sick has become normal, commonplace.  ( I think there is a deeper world application here.)

Get called back.
Get poked.
Go home, in the rain, driving my little people truck around the hot wheels curves, dancing, ready for what lies ahead and very thankful.


  1. God is so good! He’s taking care of you in everyway! That is just awesome!

  2. Yes, He sure is! I was so happy. I went happy, but I was even happier!

  3. I'm praising The Lord for you, Karmen. Yes, God is good no matter what. And you make Him feel so real. I can sense His presence, His smile, as you write and we read. Thank you, sister, for your willingness to keep on. You definitely minister to so many whom you may only meet in the Kingdom! Love you!

  4. Oh what a fun thought, meeting the people in heaven.


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