A mother fighting cancer cannot hug her three children because her treatment has made her radioactive.Emma Day, 27, has taken high doses of iodine as part of her treatment for thyroid cancer.This meant she had to be placed in isolation at the hospital, with staff banned from going within three metres of her for five days. However, she says that life has been even more frustrating since she was allowed home. She must avoid her six-year-old daughter and one-year-old twins for three more weeks, as bodily contact could cause them lasting damage.‘It is very hard because the twins are too young to understand,’ said Mrs Day.‘My oldest daughter saw a cancer psychologist who explained to her that my treatment was necessary, and she understands why, because it’ll make me better.
Emma Day cannot get too close to her children because her cancer treatment has made her radioactive
Support: Husband John Day and children at their home in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire
'I breast-fed my twins for about five months after they were born, and I’m not used to being away from them. It’s very hard. I’m missing them so much.‘I thought it was hard in hospital, but it is so much harder now because I can see them but I know I cannot touch them or cuddle them or go near them.‘I can’t cuddle anybody at the moment, and it’s heartbreaking. ‘I have to navigate around the house while keeping a safe distance from my children.‘We are a very close family and three weeks seems like such a long time, but it will be worth it.’ It is Mrs Day’s second battle with cancer. She overcame leukaemia as a child.
Strong: Emma Day has been taking high doses of iodine in her battle against the disease but as a result she must stay at least a metre away from her children for the next three weeks
Happy: Emma Day and her husband Jon with their eldest daughter on their wedding day in 2001
Fighter: This is the second time that Emma pictured with her husband and daughter on her wedding day has battled cancer, after she was diagnosed with leukaemia as a child
Torment: Emma Day is battling thyoid cancer and has been given radioactive iodine as part of her treatment. She will be radioactive for the next three weeks and must maintain a one metre exclusion zone from her six-year-old daughter and one-year-old twins (pictured with husband John) at all times
She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January after seeing a doctor for a lump in her throat. She initially thought she had a swollen gland, but doctors at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital soon realised the growth was cancerous after an operation to remove half of the lump.For her particular type of cancer, patients receive radioactive iodine treatment – a form of internal radiotherapy. The treatment involves a radioactive form of the element called iodine 131, administered as a drink or capsule, which circulates throughout the body in the bloodstream. Thyroid cancer cells pick up the iodine wherever they are in the body, and the radiation kills them. Other cells are left unaffected, because only thyroid cells take up the iodine.
Tough: Emma Day must stay at least a metre away from her three children for the next three weeks
She says that being home with her family in Cheltenham - but unable to go near them - is in some ways worse than when she was on her own in hospital
While she was in an isolation unit in Cheltenham General Hospital, staff were not allowed to go within three metres of her for five days
The treatment rendered Mrs Day so radioactive that anything she touched in hospital has been thrown away.While the powerful treatment is also dangerous to the patient, the risk from the cancer itself is judged to be greater.The mother of three, from Cheltenham, said the thought of holding her children in her arms again has given her the courage to go on.She said that, during her time in hospital isolation, she received support from dozens of people who followed her online blog and kept in touch with her via phone. ‘I have had so much support – it’s amazing,’ she said. ‘Now I just can’t wait to get back to normal and hug and kiss my children again.’
Emma's husband John has now taken a month off work to care for their three children. She said: 'I can't cuddle anybody at the moment, and it's heartbreaking. I have to navigate around the house while keeping a safe distance from my children'
HOW DOES TREATMENT FOR THYROID CANCER CAUSE RADIOACTIVITY?
Radioactive iodine treatment is a type of internal radiotherapy. The treatment uses a radioactive form of iodine called iodine 131 (I-131). The radioactive iodine circulates throughout the body in the bloodstream. Thyroid cancer cells pick up the iodine wherever they are in the body. The radiation in the iodine then kills the cancer cells.Radioactive iodine is a targeted treatment. It doesn't affect other body cells, because only thyroid cells take up the iodine.The treatment is usually administered as a drink or capsule. Patients having radioactive iodine treatment in hospital are looked after in a single room until their radiation levels have fallen again.
Radioactive iodine treatment is a type of internal radiotherapy, administered as a capsule or drink
The treatment causes the patient to be slightly radioactive for a few days, so time spent with staff and visitors is minimal.Sweat and urine also become radioactive, so bedsheets are changed every day and patients have to flush the loo more than once.
Pregnant women and young children will not be allowed to visit.
Even 12 weeks after treatment, patients who have had radiactive idodine therapy may set off
radiation alarms at airports.
- 2013/05/28(火) 11:40:22|