Here I talk about cheese and spitting. Try to contain your excitement.

I saw my NP about a week and a half ago and I have a couple of updates:

I was pleased to learn that my diet and the Morinda Supreme capsules have helped my body start to heal internally, and I am trying my best to keep up with the food changes.  I don’t quite know what to call my diet.  Probably the “Can’t Eat That” diet sums it up best. This is difficult to do some days when I am just exhausted have nothing handy in the refrigerator to throw together and I know it would be so easy to call the pizza guy. 

Some days I stumble. My vices:  Red vines.  Margaritas.  Cheese.

 Oh, I miss cheese.

Especially when I am tired, or amped up with anxiety or knocked out by the summer heat on my drive home in my cranky car with the lukewarm AC.  And I slip knowing that I will very quickly start to feel even worse. 

I like to think it would be so much easier if I didn’t have an office to go to 40 hours a week, which is true, but it really boils down to being intentional with my time and planning ahead for days like that.  It may sound like an excuse, but maybe one of you reading will understand when I say that it’s hard to muster up extra energy to pre-cook freezer meals.  Of course, that’s if I remember in the first place.

I’m working on that.

This week I took a Saliva test to check for Adrenal Fatigue.  I actually have my wonderful husband to thank for advocating for me when he had an opportunity to speak with my NP.  He was able to share what he sees regarding my struggles and she listened to him! 

I love how he loves me.

I was already aware of this, but when I met with her in my appointment she explained that many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue are the same and if there is adrenal fatigue there may also be underlying thyroid issues.  She said that a saliva test is the most accurate way to test hormone levels.  You can read more about why here.

She ordered a saliva test for me to complete and send to the lab.  It was very strange; I had to (literally) spit into 4 vials 4 times during the day: morning, noon, afternoon and midnight and then send it directly to the lab the next morning.  I am hoping these results won’t take as long as my blood tests.

 I have updated my Treatment page as well.  I have decreased my iodine and I am taking Vitamin C and Zinc. 

I take a freakish amount of supplements.

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An update, as promised.

Here I am.

I know it’s been a while. 

I’ll try to make up for it with a ridiculously long post.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting, confusing and busy. I have had a couple of appointments with my Osteopathic NP since my last post.  I would say I am officially on a journey, although I have no idea where I am going.  It’s frustrating but I do feel like I’m in good hands.

My long-awaited and very extensive blood work revealed “relatively good” T4 and T3 levels according to my NP.  I have slightly elevated cholesterol and low vitamin D and B’s.  She explained that she could put me on thyroid hormone, but with my levels being where they are she would be concerned that it would have the opposite effect and send me in to hyper symptoms.  I asked her why my temperatures were as low as they were and why I was experiencing a number of hypo symptoms.  She hasn’t been able to answer that so far. Instead, she had me start taking Lugol’s Iodine Solution and up my Vitamin B’s in addition to the other supplements and probiotics I already take daily. Her reasoning was that because my thyroid levels were “relatively good”, perhaps the iodine would help with the transfer of the T3 to my cells.

I take 6 drops of Lugols Iodine Solution in a glass of water each morning.  It looks something like this:

 I also  take Vitamin B Complex in the morning and again in the afternoon, around 2:00, to keep my energy somewhat level.  I wouldn’t say I’ve seen immediate results, but I have noticed that at the end of the day, I feel like work days are more productive. I have even had enough energy, on occasion, to work on different house and yard projects without paying for it for a few days after.  No day is ever the same but I do feel “brighter” some days, if that makes any sense. Having enough energy to do activities I enjoy is really encouraging, even if that involves pulling weeds in my yard!

I am also maintaining my no dairy, gluten, carbs and sugar “food lifestyle” and I definitely believe this has contributed to feeling physically better.  I haven’t experienced nearly has many energy crashes after meals, headaches and general blech-ness.  I don’t know how long we will stay this course, but I am trying to learn to trust her and what treatment she believes is best for me now.  I continue to experience many of the same symptoms: fatigue, heart flutters, foggy thinking, anxiety, shakiness, acne, no weight loss.

She also increased my progesterone to 90 mg (sorry, not 45) because my cycle started to shorten again (back to 23 days from 25 last month) and I’ve started noticing hot flashes/sweats at night.  Not as bad as before, but noticeable. She thinks the increase in progesterone will start to lengthen my cycle again.  Our goal is 28 days.

At my appointment last week I asked about my weight and how I am surprised that despite consistent diet changes after my first appointment in April I have continued to maintain my weight. This has and never will be about me wanting to lose weight except to be healthy, but seriously, all I eat are almonds, almond butter, vegetables, legumes, some fruit and lean organic meat and my weight hasn’t budged in almost 2 months. At all. She explained that my body is in a major transition and there is a lot of adjusting happening right now.  The best thing I can do is to be consistent and to let my body focus on healing (as I crunch on a cucumber).

I have updated my Treatment page to include all the supplements I take and the iodine.

I’m working on a really lengthy post about an appointment with a Fertility Specialist I had a little while ago.  I’m still trying to put my thoughts together. It’s a difficult one to write about because it requires me to really think about the reality of my situation and what I am willing and unwilling to do.  It is a potentially touchy topic for others facing infertility and I want it to be shared in an open, honest and sensitive way because I think it is vital to my story and this journey.
Robin

Almost There

The receptionist called again this morning. My heart sank when I saw the number on my phone in fear that it would have to be rescheduled again, but it sounds like everything is back from the lab and I can move forward.

T- minus 2 hours.  

I’m excited and nervous.  I feel like I’m sitting in a final holding area waiting for my name to be called so I can walk through the door to another way of living and feeling. 

I just want answers. 

I want someone to tell me there is a reason I can’t hold my babies and watch them grow up. And there is a reason I feel the way I do, everyday.  “These things happen” isn’t acceptable to me anymore.

It’s only been a few months since I lost my twins and emotions are running high today. I’m kind of a mess (I would say I’m a hot mess, but I feel cold at the moment). Up to this point I think that I’ve been coping with my grief by focusing on my health and searching for answers.  I honestly haven’t cried a lot. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t feel sad more often. My explanation is that I’m too tired to feel sad all the time.That may be hard to understand.

Today, all of the grief and struggle is bubbling up to the surface.  I can’t help but reflect over last three years and think of the four little ones I love so much, but don’t know.  It’s hard to put into words what this hope of having an answer feels like after all that has been lost. It’s bittersweet to say the least.

I’m rounding the last corner of a race I didn’t even know I was running but I can see the finish line (or is it the starting line?). My body and mind are tired my heart is bruised and I feel like I could shut down at any moment, but I know I’m almost there so I keep going.

I have no choice.

In just a few hours I could be on the road to healing and hope.

This song keeps running through my head today.  It makes me want to cry, whether from hope or despair, I’m not sure. 

Maybe both.

Her Name is Wisdom

I’m looking for her, but she’s so hard to find

Just like a treasure mine

 I won’t ignore her, she knows just what is right

 She’s leading me to the light

 

She shines like silver, she’s more beautiful than gold

And I love the diamond she holds

Nothing I desire can compare to…

 

Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

Yes, I have got to find her, dunno know where

But her name is Wisdom… and she’s what I need

 Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

 

I want to love her, i want her by my side

Everyday and night

 Just like my mother, she knows just what is right

And I will be safe tonight

 

She shines like silver, she’s more beautiful than gold

 And I love the diamond she holds

Nothing I desire can compare to…

 

Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

 Yes, I have got to find her, dunno know where

But her name is Wisdom… and she’s what I need

Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

 

“Hey where are you going?” she calls to me

“Do you understand?” she calls to me

“You can stop your mourning” she calls to me

“Come and take my hand.”

 

She shines like silver, she’s more beautiful than gold

And I love the diamond she holds

Nothing I desire can compare to…

 

Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

Yes, I have got to find her, dunno know where

But her name is Wisdom… and she’s what I need

Her name is Wisdom and she’s calling me

– Song and Lyrics by Kepano Green

Seriously?

Ugh. My doctor’s office called again. They contacted the lab and my blood results still aren’t finished. My appointment is rescheduled for May 21st. 

Two more weeks of waiting, wondering, trudging.

Just keep moving.

Thyroid 101

Since I miscarried in February, the last few months have been like a health scavenger hunt that eventually led to my the possible diagnosis of hypothyroid as my symptoms seem to indicate so.  It’s a long story, which I will share, but before I do I think it would be a good idea to have a crash course on hypothyroidism, or “Thyroid 101.”

What is the Thyroid For?

The thyroid is the small bowtie or butterfly-shaped gland, located in your neck, wrapped around the windpipe, behind and below the Adam’s Apple area.

Here is a picture:

The main action of the thyroid is to create energy and produce heat. All the cells in the body need energy to do their job. For that they need to receive small amounts of thyroid hormone every day. The thyroid produces several hormones, but two are key to our health: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 help oxygen get into cells, and make the thyroid the master gland of metabolism. A thyroid gland that functions normally produces T4 and T3. 20% of the T3 circulating in the body comes directly from the thyroid gland, and the remaining 80% comes from conversion of T4. When the thyroid produces more hormones and it gets to the cells of the body, it is similar to pressing the accelerator and revving up the engine of a car.

Without enough thyroid hormone metabolism decreases and weight will go up.  Energy will be low and you will get tired easily. Your immune system will not work properly, making your more likely to have infections and even cancer. Your brain will not be as sharp, causing decreased memory and concentration. In short, every function and every process within your body will slow down, from circulation to bowel movements. It’s like taking your foot off the gas pedal; the body’s functioning will slow down.

How do you know something is wrong?

There is a huge list of possible symptoms of hypothyroid and many of them are confused as other issues and so hypothyroid is often misdiagnosed.  You can find a long list of symptoms from Stop The Thyroid Madness or on my “Symptoms” page.

In my case, these symptoms went unrecognized, and quite possibly existed for years.  I am still figuring all of this out, but when I look back over the years several of the symptoms jump off the page at me as I read the list: miscarriages, anxiety, fatigue, hair loss, difficulty losing weight, easily and quickly gain weight, acne (acne in your 30’s is worse than as a teenager), forgetfulness, air hunger (feeling like you can’t get enough air), aching bones/joints, often feeling cold (sleep with socks on in the summer), low body temperature.  Only in the last few years would I agree that I have been dealing with low grade depression and I always equated it to grieving the loss of my pregnancies.

It wasn’t until my third miscarriage in February 2012 that I began to ask questions and feel dissatisfied when my Doctor rattled off the same statistics of women with multiple miscarriages going on to carry full term. I’d heard them twice before and at the time I just accepted that, for whatever reason, my babies died and I needed to work on moving forward.

After my second miscarriage in December 2009, it was my Doctor’s plan to start me on progesterone as soon as I learned I was pregnant, which we did. The hormone progesterone is often called “the pregnancy hormone” because it plays 2 important roles in pregnancy:

  • Progesterone thickens and prepares the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, for implantation of a fertilized egg.
  • After implantation, progesterone is important during the first trimester to maintain pregnancy.

During a normal pregnancy, around 8 weeks after implantation, the placenta takes over the production of progesterone from the ovaries. The placenta produces a significant level of progesterone to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

The thought was that perhaps my body wasn’t creating enough of the progresterone hormone and that by taking progesterone my pregnancy would be supported until the placenta took over.  Sadly and once again, I discovered I had miscarried at 9 weeks, just like I had twice before. We also learned that we were expecting twins. Genetic tests confirmed they were boys and there were no chromosomal abnormalities. I hate that it has taken this long to research for myself, but in the midst of my grief I just believed what the medical professionals were telling me. Miscarriage happens.

A few weeks after losing the last pregnancy, I started to research online the terms “multiple miscarriages” and “unexplained miscarriages”.  I found several websites mentioned thyroid dysfunction had a link to infertility and multiple miscarriages. I started to dig deeper and learned a lot about hypothyroid symptoms, body temperature and blood tests. 

I learned that many doctors only test for the “TSH” which only shows what the level of thyroid hormone is present in the body.  For many people, their body is able to create the hormone, but it does not utilize the hormone as it is supposed to. The best illustration for this that I have read is to think of a room with 4 white walls. On the floor next to you is a bucket of red paint.  You have all the paint you need to finish the room, but you do not have a paintbrush or a roller to apply the paint to the walls. This is what happens when you thyroid creates the hormone but can’t get it to the cells.

There is a test to determine if your body is converting the T4 hormone to T3 which “gets the paint on the wall,” so to speak, but according to my research, doctors are taught in medical school that T4 is the only thyroid medication that patients with hypothyroidism need and so the most common test is the TSH blood test which shows the amount of the hormone present (T4) before it is converted to T3 which gets to the cells.

Are you still with me?  It’s a lot of information I am still getting my head around. Here is a funny picture of a cat and dog.  Take a break. I’ll wait for you.

 

Better? Okay.

Of course I learned all of this the hard way when I asked my OBGYN to check my thyroid my results for TSH were 1.93 which is “within normal limits.” The most important first step is to get a full thyroid panel to determine whether you are lacking sufficient amount of thyroid hormones (T4), or your body is not utilizing the hormone properly (converting T4 to T3).

What Causes Hypothyroid?

Here is a list of the many possible causes of hypothyroidism, also from Stop The Thyroid Madness (STTM).  You can read more detailed definitions for each of them at STTM.

  • Heredity
  • Iodine Insufficiency
  • Hashimoto’s Disease (also called “Hashi’s”)
  • Overtreatment for Graves Hyperthyroid or Hashi’s with Radioactive Iodine
  • Thyroid Removal Surgery
  • Radiation of the face/neck/chest
  • Tumor on the Pituitary Gland
  • Trauma from Accidents or Surgery
  • Pharmaceutical Drug Induced
  • Supplements
  • Over consumption of Goitrogenic Foods
  • Over consumption of Soy Products
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Pregnancy/Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Aging
  • Environmental Exposures
  • Perchlorate and Other Toxic Chemicals Exposure

 That’s probably plenty for today. 

References:
Stop the Thyroid Madness
Thyroid Manager
Alt.Support.Thyroid
Thyroid (About.com)
Endocrine web
 
 

Horse of a different color. Same blog, but different.

Notice a few changes around here?  I’m still in the process of revamping and shifting the focus of this blog based on the turns my life is taking. My plan is to share my health journey with others who may benefit from what I am learning and discovering. I’ll leave it at that for now. Until then, enjoy clicking through the archives or the Tag Cloud which hold a random mix of topics.