Archive | January, 2012

21 Days

25 Jan

I had my appointment at U of M today. I don’t know why I gear myself up for these appointments…they usually represent two steps on a 100-mile journey. And no matter how much I coach myself, I always end up emotional and whiny about my symptoms. In summary…

  • I am still on the very long waiting list for Thyrogen, and there is no telling when I will have my full body scan.
  • I need to do a neck ultrasound to make sure nothing obvious is going on with my lymph nodes…scheduled for February 17.
  • On that same day, I will have my blood drawn to test TSH, T3, T4, Thyroglubin (the tumor marker), and my vitamin B-12 and D. Until then, I keep doing what I’m doing with the Synthroid/Cytomel.
  • I already know the Cytomel is making me hyperthyroid because my body temperature was 99 degrees and my resting heart rate was 80. I gained back the three pounds I thought I had lost, so I don’t think it’s doing me any good anyway. My hope now is that after my bloodwork on February 17, Dr. E will let me go back to square one: 125 mcg Synthroid.
  • I did recently get back on birth control, so I hope that helps some of my symptoms…my OBGYN seemed to think it would at least level out the hormonal ups and downs. All these stupid hormones are connected, of course.

So what else can I do? I left U of M feeling hopeless. I checked my Facebook, and a friend posted this quote: “You can spend all day in the gym, but unless you eat clean, you are wasting your time.” It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’ve thought a lot about giving up the love of my life (BREAD), but I haven’t actually ever done it. And I have to do something. I can’t just sit around and get fatter by the day. I LOVE bread. And noodles. And crackers. And all the wonders of white flour in general. But I don’t love them more than I hate being uncomfortable in my clothes. Maybe it’s time to face the fact that portion control doesn’t cut it post-thyroidectomy. I’ve been so devastated that my usual diet and exercise methods are failing me miserably, but let’s face it – there is nothing “usual” about me anymore.

It takes 21 days to break a bad habit. So maybe I don’t say goodbye to white flour forever…just for 21 days. What’s the worst that can happen? At least I will be able to look in the mirror and say “I TRIED EVERYTHING.” Tomorrow begins yet another leg of this journey. I am praying like crazy it’s the part where I finally crack the code.

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Kickstart my Heart

17 Jan

You’ll have to excuse me if this post is all over the place…my heart is racing and I have even more nervous energy than I usually do. Here’s a quick timeline of updates:

December 22 – Appointment with the nutritionist was a colossal waste of time that included going over the food pyramid. The best piece of advice I got: cut my lunch in half and bring it home for dinner to spread out my calories.

December 28 – Wiped out with fatigue and other hypothyroid symptoms, I went ahead and did my U of M bloodwork early. (I know, I know…I never take my own advice.)

January 4 – U of M confirms my worst fears…TSH is perfect at 0.6, T4 is 1.3 and T3 is 2.5. Since my T3 is at the low end of the normal spectrum, Dr. E actually complied with my request for Cytomel! I added a 5 mcg dose to my 112 mcg of Synthroid. It’s my last-ditch effort to get back to normal.

It’s been almost 2 weeks, and no change can be observed from the Cytomel except I did lose 2 pounds. I think. I am almost afraid to say it for fear of jinxing it.

Today – I have a cold, so I took my favorite drug in the world – Allegra-D 24-Hour. YOWZA! Either the Cytomel suddenly kicked in, or thyroid patients aren’t supposed to take pseudoephedrine. I feel like a little like Jessie Spano. “I’m So Excited! I’m So Excited! I’m So…Scared…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bflYjF90t7c

I really hope it’s just the pseudoephedrine that’s causing these jitters. I was really hoping Cytomel was the answer. To be honest, I’d take a lifetime of heart palpitations if it meant I could drop a few lbs. I still have my follow-up at U of M next week. In the meantime, in the words of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White, NO PSEUDO.

Save the Butterflies

6 Jan

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

Dear Thyroid,

Why doesn’t anyone know about you? When the surgeons removed you from my body, they told me you were 5 centimeters long. That’s 2 inches – smaller than my pinky finger – and 1 cm was taken up by papillary thyroid cancer. You were so tiny, and yet you were in charge of my body temperature, my metabolism, and regulating hormones I can’t even pronounce. As you malfunctioned, I felt a level of exhaustion I didn’t even know existed. Running, Zumba, TurboKick, counting every calorie…none of it mattered because you weren’t working. But worst of all, no one believed me.

Four different doctors rolled their eyes at me. I was told I had postpartum depression, sleep apnea, low B-12, low iron, chronic fatigue syndrome. I was even told I needed to get over my “body image issues.” No one believed me that it could be my thyroid. After all, I had no family history. None that I knew of, anyway.

It took me 18 months of fighting to get my papillary thyroid cancer diagnosis. Since I was diagnosed, my mother and aunt were both diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. My sister was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, and also has Hashimoto’s antibodies. Our thyroids are a mess. All four of us were dismissed, ignored, scoffed at and belittled for even ASKING about our thyroids. And even as we fight for optimal treatment, we have to deal with doctors, family and friends that think we’re crazy. They don’t think our thyroids really contribute to our weight gain. They don’t believe that our thyroids are the reason our joints hurt, our eyes are puffy, and we feel like we are walking through water. Even after we are diagnosed, we have to struggle. We have to be the ones who drive our own health care.

If more people were aware of thyroid disease, its symptoms and its treatment, millions of women like me could be saved this fight. We are not crazy. They are in the dark.