World Getting Smaller... Again

I noticed this to some extent when I had the surgery in June, but this time somehow the experience is harder to go through.

As we approach the time when I'll do the ablation process, I can feel my world slowly getting smaller and smaller with each day that passes. It starts in small ways -- the expected limitations from withdrawing the thyroid hormone changing the way my brain works and the way my body feels. Then losing my clearance to drive, making me dependent on others for flexible transportation. But I figured I could always take the bus outside my front door to Bayshore or something if I wanted to get out on my own.

Last Friday I was at the old office and decided that instead of waiting for someone to drive me home, I'd just walk. It's only 3KM (2.8, according to the GPS track I made of the walk) so no big deal -- I once walked in Toronto from the Queensway to the foot of the CN tower, a walk of about 3 hours, just because I had the time to kill (and OK because I didn't understand the way the buses in Toronto worked) -- so no big deal. Well that turned out to be a mistake as I was exhausted all weekend from that.

Now, walking up the hill twice a day with the boys for school is getting to be too much and I need naps in the afternoon.

I can't consider the bus ride without an escort, just in case, and I can't walk down to the store at the end of the street by myself without an escort, just in case. (Of course the diet means there's no point in walking down to the end of the street these days since I can't eat or drink anything once I get there.)

It is frustrating, especially considering that I still have a week of this diet and no hormone -- and the hardest part, the ablation, is still to come. For 48 hours following the radiation does, I have to stick to my room with meals dropped off at the door. No visitors.

For the surgery, it was the same kind of thing, but much faster: last drive the night before surgery, last meal the night before surgery, last drink, then no wallet, no glasses, no watch, no ring, and finally as I was wheeled into the operating theater -- no nothing, just me as a hunk of meat on a table. And then over the following three weeks those things slowly came back to me and my world's boundaries were pushed out again.

At least I know those boundaries will be pushed back out again, that I'm not at a high risk of being permanently restricted.


Radiation I

Hi folks

Week 1 of the low-iodine diet is complete. With two weeks off the artificial thyroid hormone and a week of changed diet, I'm starting to slow down somewhat, so I'm more or less off of work from this point in.

Tuesday we went into the General for the first round of radiation testing: the imaging scan and the uptake test. On Tuesday there was a bit of a mystery happening, as they told us they were only going to take two images with the radioactive tracer in me -- then they immediately took three! They then decided that they wanted an all-around series of higher-resolution images, and a CT scan, so we had to wait for a time spot on the machine to get those done. Through all this they told us there wasn't anything to worry about.

When we went back on Wednesday for the uptake test, they showed us the results of the imaging sequence. I have some kind of proto-thyroidal duct down the back of where the thyroid used to be, probably a remnant of my pre-birth development. Since I don't have a thyroid any more, this tissue is trying to act like a thyroid and so lights up the same way that a thyroid would. The doctors have decided that this tissue is at low-risk for turning cancerous and will very probably be killed by the ablation process anyways. So nothing to worry about.

So the next step is the ablation on Wednesday afternoon, followed by the full-body scan the following Monday.


Preparations continue

Time for another infrequent update.

I have begun the preparations for the Ablation treatment. I stopped taking the artificial thyroid hormone last Tuesday, and so far I've been OK. There have been a couple of rough days, but for the most part I am not making mistakes and feel physically OK so I am still working. Not driving though, that's a pain.

Tomorrow we start the next phase: starting the low-iodine diet. I want to thank everyone who's had ideas about how to get through this two a half week stage. My mom went down to the states and found a container of non-iodized salt, and we've found lots of recipies and substitutes for the things I do eat, so I think we should do OK through it.

The first radiation dose is not until the 20th, and will be a small dose for the uptake test.

So we are making good progress through this.

Thanks everyone for sending your wishes and ideas.


Fact Checking 9/11

More people died in motor vehicle accidents on 9/11 than died in the terrorist attack that day.
My response:

I [...] hate to fact-check you[,] but Wikipedia claims total motor vehicle deaths for the entire US was 42,196 for 2001, which works out to 811 per week, or 115.6 per day. Even if we round up, we'd have to assume that day to statistically have been exceptionally bad to account for almost an average month's worth of motor vehicle deaths through the entire country. (I couldn't find per-week statistics for motor vehicle deaths for the time period surrounding 9/11, as I'd expect them to be higher since nobody could fly for two days and many more people ended up on the road -- plus even more people were irrationally scared off of flying and ended up driving for weeks, or months, afterwards).

(Also I see that the total motor vehicle death toll for 2001 was lower than both 2000 AND 2002.)

What would be more interesting would be to see if you could correlate the increase in highway deaths to the costly and intrusive security theatre that the US has indulged in since then with a proportionate drop in flying, since if someone drives rather than flies, they are statistically more likely to be hurt (air travel is still has the lowest fatalities-per-passenger-mile-traveled) and compare THAT increased number to the 9/11 death toll (and then compare that number to the costs spent on security theatre, essentially calculating how much the US is spending per death to kill more of its citizens).

I'm not trying to disagree with you, I think it is high time the western world got over this stupid obsession. However in the long run, facts will beat hyperbole.

Worldwide, not US, but point taken.
My response:

Wikipedia again: It is often reported that air travel is the safest in terms of deaths per passenger mile. The National Transportation Safety Board (2006) reports 1.3 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles for travel by car, and 1.7 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles for travel by air. These are not passenger miles. If an airplane has 100 passengers, then the passenger miles are 100 times higher. The number of deaths per passenger mile on commercial airlines in the United States between 1995 and 2000 is about 3 deaths per 10 billion passenger miles.

Yahoo! Answers, quoting WebMD: There are about 56 million deaths each year worldwide. About 1.7 million are the result of traffic accidents. That would mean the percent of deaths around the world annually as a result of traffic accidents is about 3%.

Assuming these figures are correct, then that gives an average daily death toll of motor vehicles as 4657 (call it 4700). So world wide, your argument probably holds.

SkyscraperCity: The Geneva-based organization said 1,292 people died in plane crashes in 2006 -- a drop of 11 percent on the previous year.

It occurs to me that neither value can seriously be compared unless we see the passenger-mile-traveled for both types of transport.

But I think I'm beating a dead horse here, so I'm off.