I Think Madame Curie Saved My Life


For my Third Day of testing, I brought Kelly-Across-The-Street for support. Since I have so many doctor appointments,  I only want Scott to take off time for the big ones. The scary ones. The clausterphobic ones where I need him to hold my toes and sing hymns to me while I am in some tiny tube.
I didn’t make Kelly do those things, but she was my photographer.
Like the serious looking metal vial? The radiologist unscrews it and pulls out another little jar. He unscrews that and puts the pill in my hand.
I swallow it. I couldn’t drink any fluids for four hours.  The radioactivity needed to disperse in my body. It’s on a mission to find cancerous thyroid cells and light them up like a Christmas tree for the body scan on Friday.
On the way home, Kelly reminded me that the measurement, millicurie, was named after Madame Curie.
It clicked together in my brain. “So, Madame Curie saved my life!”
“Yea,” agreed Kelly, “pretty much.”

Indebted to Curie for her brilliant research with radioactivity, a term coined by her and her husband Pierre, I read a children’s book about her to Rebekah and researched more on the Internet.  In 1938,  Glenn T. Seaborg and John J. Livingood, nuclear physicists at the University of California-Berkeley, combined uranium with iodine to produce Iodine-131, or I-131. It’s used to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer. Iodine goes straight to the thyroid. The attached uranium kills it.

It’s pretty amazing.

However, Curie didn’t live to see this breakthrough in nuclear medicine. She died in 1934 from too much radiation exposure.
(From my hospital door during I-131 treatment in August 2005. I was given 100 millicuries of radioactive iodine.
(From my hospital door during I-131 treatment in August 2005. 
I was given 100 milllicuries)
Now, I am radioactive and cannot be around people, especially pregnant women and young children.
I have to flush twice, and it’s not because it is a long way to the kitchen. Clothes are washed separately and rinsed twice. Dishes are washes separately and rinsed twice.
I can’t cry about this, because my tears are hazardous waste. I’m thankful I don’t have a cold or the flu. A sneeze could be a call for a haz-mat team.
It’s just weird.
I’m home in my room, staying away from people. It was hard explaining that to Rebekah. We snuggle, hug and kiss all day long.
My girls in August 2005, when I could only get a glimpse of them through the open door during my radioactive iodine. Beka didn’t like it then, either.
Today, Jon took her for a bike ride. Bethany took her out to buy something for dinner. She was allowed to watch a few movies,  something we rarely allow on a weekday.

We have one more full day of separation. I’m missing my kisses and luvies from my kids, but I’m so thankful. This is such a short time of separation.

As I sit alone in my room, my computer, my phone and my Zune keeping me company, I’m thinking about the two people that died for me.

One on a cross, one in a laboratory.

Day Three is Over.

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6 Responses to I Think Madame Curie Saved My Life

  1. Ruby February 25, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Thank the Lord for Madame Curie!I so love your insights into what is happening with you. You are very blessed to have family and friends for support people each day.The wait will be worth it to get back to hugging and snugging the family 🙂 When I had a long hospital stay many hours from home, that was the one thing, besides the comfort from the Lord, which kept me going. ♥

  2. Jaime Kubik February 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    The logging of all this is remarkable. You are a strong, strong woman, Mindy. I am forever in awe of you. I just know that when our Lord looks down on Mindy, he smiles…day in and day out. I am still praying. I have already started thanking him for your recovery! I know he will do this!

  3. ~ Tandis ~ February 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Even though this is hard for Rebekah once again she is blessed by such kind older siblings to help her through it. Their bond through all of this will only strengthen them together and in Christ. The love of a sister(s) is a special gift.Praying for your whole family but especially for that little one today.

  4. Romance February 26, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    Hello my buttercup sister. I love you, and pray daily for the Lord to do a work that will glorify Him through you, Scott, the girls and the boys. One of your many blessings from the Lord is the gift of giving, not just nick nacks, cards, treats, encouraging words, all though those things are wonderful, but most of all living a transparent life so that all of your sisters and brothers may be blessed. Perhaps bring someone to the Lord with this experience. You know sister you may not be able to eat what you want, but the meat the Lord is feeding you and your family is much more satisfying, it stick to your ribs (those are good carbs), you can never have to many. Thank you for continuing to be a selfless giver.Love always your chocolate sister in Christ

  5. Debbie February 26, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    Thank the Lord for Madame Curie and the Lord Jesus Christ. Madame Curie was genuinely loving her neighbor as herself. Christ set the true example and what it means to give up your life for others when he freely laid down His life for us!

  6. Kayce February 27, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    I am shedding the tears for you! Stay strong. You are such a strong woman and an encouragement to those of us working toward a career in healthcare – you inspire me!

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