My Personal Thyroid Nuclear Medicine Scan (and Uptake) Story



And on to my personal thyroid nuclear medicine scan story. The next morning, I went to the hospital to fill out the necessary papers and then went back to the area where the nuclear testing equipment was. When my name was finally called, I followed the technician to a semi-dark room where a scary-looking machine with a large circular wand hovered over a padded examining table.

The tech uttered out a less than satisfying explanation of what would take place, what to expect, etc. I guess they must be tired of repeating the same old information over and over, but to the patient it's brand new and we need to be told everything in detail. The least they could do was provide some kind of an information sheet. I had to ask questions and the technician answered in a rather bored way.

He did explain that the dose of the radioactive iodine pill I was about to swallow was so small that it wouldn't do any harm. Hallelujah, he actually offered some helpful information! However, he was wearing protective gloves and a silver-colored long tube that held the radioactive pill. So, why is it safe to swallow, yet it needs to be kept in a protective tube? I know there's a logical and scientific reason there somewhere.

Anyway, I swallowed the pill and went home. I spent the next four hours looking up information about this nuclear scan procedure. I found a lot of information mentioned that people who swallow that particular pill needs to stay away from others for however long (I can't remember at the moment).

My guy never mentioned that I had to be careful around anyone. Pardon the crudeness, but taking a leak is part of what you're supposed to be careful doing. Meaning, don't let it splash when you go or let anyone come in contact with it for whatever reason they may because of the radiation factor or something like that.

Okay, so what I don't understand is that if other people shouldn't make contact with the person who swallows this pill, then why doesn't it harm the person who swallowed the darn pill? I really, really don't understand or like this procedure.

When I went back to the hospital that afternoon, I nervously laid on that table under that wand. I was told to extend my neck forward as much as possible and to hold perfectly still while the machine did its job. Talk about uncomfortable; especially for anyone who happens to have a bad neck.

I think there were three or four angles to scan and each took around five minutes. The straight-on scan of the front of my neck felt really weird after a few minutes. If you've ever cupped your hands and rapidly thrust them back and forth at each other for about 10 seconds or so, there's a feeling like trapped air you get; well, that's what it felt like under that wand.

After that, I had to sit and let the guy scan my knee with a little, portable hand-held scanner. I asked him what on earth that was for, and he said something to the effect that the knee and the thyroid gland are about the same size and it's for comparison. Now that's just strange. In fact, in all my research about this scan, I've never come across the knee/thyroid gland comparison thing. It may be so, but I've never read anything to confirm that theory yet.

The next day, I went at the 24-hour mark after I had swallowed the pill. I think this had something to do with how much radioactive iodine was still in my system. This happened over a year ago (in 2012), and I can't remember now all the details. I apologize for that. I cannot for the life of me remember if I had a second scan or not. A lot of websites that tell you about the procedure state that a second scan is done at the 24-hour mark and I honestly don't remember if that happened or not. I do remember him scanning my knee a second time, though. Weird.

And, that pretty much was that for the whole thyroid nuclear medicine scan.

My next personal story will be about the lab results, the nuclear scan results and the flabbergasting thing my endocrinologist told me.
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