Tag Archives: Weight Gain

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.

Advertisements

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.

Weighting

21 Dec

I’ve been on the reduced dose of 112 mcg Synthroid for almost a month now. I hate it. I am tired and freezing cold all the time. I have chronic headaches and a strange ringing in my ears. And worst of all, I never know if my clothes will fit from one day to the next.

As tempted as I am to take brown seaweed and black licorice supplements (Dr. Oz said they work!), I am holding to the promise of playing by the rules until my January 25 appointment. Hopefully by then, my labwork will match my symptoms. I have grand dreams of saying “I TOLD YOU SO!!” and demanding an upped dose of Synthroid coupled with T3 for energy. But if my labs are consistent, I will be stuck with what I’ve got.

I so wish I could keep everything in perspective, especially when it comes to the number on the scale. But I just can’t. I’ve gained 12 pounds now since my surgery. I am heavier now than when I came home from the hospital with a newborn. I really would like to hide this in shame, but in the hopes of recovery, I am putting it all out there for other thyroid cancer survivors to see. THIS SUCKS, and I miss my thyroid. I am not doing anything differently, and the weight just keeps magically appearing. Thyroid cancer = fat cancer, and I fear that no amount of medication will give me my metabolism back. This is like my worst nightmare coming true.

Or is it?

Last week, as we were rushing out the door for Ellie’s Christmas Concert, Mary smacked her mouth into our open TV stand door and severed her gums. There was blood everywhere. I didn’t know if I was going to pull back the washcloth and see missing teeth. And it was terrifying. In the end, she ended up with a bruised and puffy lip and an amoxicillin prescription. What would I do if something was really wrong with one of my girls? Or what if I was actually dying from my cancer instead of just growing out of my favorite pants? It’s time to put myself in check (again). I may be exhausted and fat, but at least I’m here

I can only control what I can control. It’s time to face the inevitable. It’s time to clean up my diet. Even if it doesn’t reverse the number on the scale, it might improve my energy level and my overall health. I eat a low-calorie diet, but it’s made up mostly of the four Cs…

  • Coffee
  • Coke Zero
  • Carbs
  • Cheese

I am meeting with a nutritionist in Thursday. My New Year’s resolution is to focus on my health instead of my weight. That is, at least until January 25.

Four months post-thyroidectomy

Pig Thyroid and The New Normal

5 Nov
 

I am coming up on my 3 month surgery anniversary. Every time I start to complain, I force myself to count my blessings. I have a fabulous family. I have an awesome new job. I had cancer surgery this year, and I am functioning at 90%.

Am I awful for reaching for that last 10%? I fully acknowledge that I am blessed and I don’t have it as bad as I could…but I just can’t forget about my life before my thyroid cancer. “New normal” isn’t acceptable to me! What do I have to do to get to “old normal?”

For those of you who didn’t catch my update on Facebook, I had a follow-up with Dr. E, my U of M endocrinologist, had some bloodwork done, and got some news.

    1. My Tg level (cancer tumor marker) is UNDETECTABLE. Not even there.
    2. I will still need a whole-body scan (WBS), but I can put it off until Thyrogen injections are available. The Thyrogen will allow me to “fake” hormone depletion instead of actually going off of medication for 6 weeks. That would be a nightmare! Unfortunately, there’s a medication shortage, so I am on a waiting list. The undetectable Tg gives us all peace of mind that I have plenty of time to wait.
    3. My labs show crazy hyperthyroidism. Normal TSH is 0.3-3. When you have thyroid cancer, they want you to be a little on the hyper side…like 0.1-0.3. My TSH was less than 0.01.
    4. You would think that with numbers like that, I’d be losing weight like crazy, having heart palpitations and sweating to death. Nope. Just the opposite. I’ve put on another 5 pounds (grand total = 7) and I feel like I am walking through water all day. I self-medicated with my old supplements for a pick-me-up. I know, I know…it’s so bad. But I start every day on the scale, and I freak out when that number starts to creep. The supplements probably skewed my TSH results, and they didn’t help my symptoms much, so I put them away for good.
 
  1. Dr. E suggested I switch from 125 mcg Synthroid to 90 mg Armour Thyroid to see if I feel any better. Armour is dessicated pig thyroid. Yuck! But everything I have read suggests that many patients do better on Armour because it contains T1, T2, T3, T4 and calcitonin. Synthroid is only synthetic T4. T4 is the active thyroid hormone, and it supposedly converts to T3 in your body. But it seems logical to me that without a thyroid, I need to replace the whole spectrum of hormones. Armour Thyroid is very controversial, especially for thyroid cancer patients, because it is “natural” and less “stable” than Synthroid. I was surprised that an endocrinologist from a teaching institution would recommend it, but based on my personal research, I think it’s the best option. Who knows? Maybe a pig’s thyroid is just what my body was missing…?

 
 
I am on Day 6 on Armour, and so far, no difference. Every morning I wake up hoping for old normal. Andy reminds me that I have never in my life greeted my alarm clock with a smile, but it’d be nice not to feel like I drank two bottles of wine the night before. I’ll keep you posted.