Why it’s important to ALWAYS check your medication

This post is a public-service announcement about medication.  It is always important to check your medication, people. I should know this because my sister is a pharmacist, but even I am bad about checking my meds as I leave the pharmacy.

Thankfully, this wasn’t a life-threatening situation for me, but this really could have affected my treatment plan.

As you know, I was on 1/4 of the pig for a couple of months.  My doctor gave me two months of prescription for this when I saw him in October, so I actually had a little left over when I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he upped my dosage.

I had been taking the pig in the morning, literally as soon as I woke up.  My mornings go like this now:

  • Alarm goes off.  Spoon Mr Hall.  Detach Athena from my mouth and roll on my back.  
  • Ask Mr Hall for my basal thermometer.  Take my temp while Athena attempts to sleep on my neck.  Why does she want to lay on my face?
  • Note temperature and get out of bed, repeating the number over and over as I go to the bathroom.
  • Turn on one of the lights and open pill container.  Take one out, place in mouth, chew, drink water and swallow.   
  • Shuffle out to hallway, scoop litter, record temperature in iPhone app.

This has been my routine for two months.  Until yesterday, when I made a scary discovery.  This week, I am trying a “split dose” plan where I take 1/4 pig before breakfast and 1/4 pig after lunch.  The idea is that it gives you a more consistent dose of T3 during the day, which is a very quickly absorbed hormone.  Some people swear by this, but I wonder if it’s going to be a pain in my butt to eat lunch, set a timer for two hours and then take my medication in the middle of a meeting at work.

But I digress.

So I was filling up a pill container yesterday morning before leaving the house and I went to get the prescription bottle from the bathroom.  I had just picked up my new prescription for two 1/4 pigs a day and had dumped the other bottle into the new one, since it was all 1/4 grain tablets.

As I’m standing in the kitchen, I pour out a few into my hand and realize, huh, there are a few pills that are bigger than the others.  I wonder why.

So I examine them more closely.  I notice that the big ones say N on one side and 050 on the other.  The small pills say N and 025, respectively.

Now, I’m no pharmacist, but I realize at this point that I’ve got a few 1/2 grain tabs in my bottle.  How could this be?  And then I figure it out.  I have been taking 1/2 a pig for the past few weeks.  I had no idea because I was just taking it in the morning and not actually looking at the pills.

Crap!  Now what?  I just supposedly got “increased” to 1/2 a pig last week.  I check the old bottle and it says it’s a 1/4 grain.  Pharmacy error!

I called my doctor and spoke to his nurse this morning to ask what I should do.  Am I supposed to take one full grain now?  3/4 a pig?  Help!

Of course, this turned into a large comedy of errors on the phone as I tried to explain this.  Yes, Dr. Gent put me on 1/4 grain.  Yes, he wanted me to up it to 1/2 grain.  I’ve already been taking 1/2 grain but I’m not sure for how long.  No, the pharmacy did not label the bottle wrong.  They put the wrong pills in there.  No, I didn’t bother to look.  I know.

I finally got a call back and he wants me to up to 3/4 a pig daily. I can either take it all at once or three times a day.  Or two.  A new prescription has been called in to CVS, so I need to pick it up tonight.  Now I have both 1/2 pig and 1/4 pig pills.

You’d better believe I will be checking them very carefully before I walk out of the store.

Lesson learned- always check your medication at the counter!

First followup appointment

I know it’s been forever since I posted, but now I feel like I’m getting some direction in my life.

Last Friday was my first followup appointment with the new doc and a little over a month “on the pig”, as I call it.  What? It’s ground up pig thyroid.  It’s PIG.  Ha!

Anyway, here’s how I feel like my first six weeks on the pig have progressed.  Sorry, this is going to get personal, but Hashimoto’s is so swept under the rug, I feel like anyone who feels comfortable enough to talk about it should.

Things I feel have improved

  1. Headaches seem to be occurring less (used to be daily)
  2. Tingling in hands and feet occurring less
  3. Improved clarity and energy in morning for a few hours.  I take my medication usually around 6:30am and I am very alert until between 10-11am and then I “hit the wall”.

Things that I’m still struggling with/unresolved symptoms/observations

  1. Still gaining weight
  2. Constipation has not improved
  3. Sensation of swollen tongue
  4. Menstrual cycle is out of whack. Two periods in three weeks.   Then, the last two weeks, terrible cramps and no period.  WHAT.
  5. Temps seem to be low on most days, except when I don’t sleep well or my menstrual cycle is soon to start (is that normal?)
  6. Still not sleeping well
  7. Word “finding” and brain fog
  8. Joint pain not improved
  9. Still very swollen.  In the last few days, it has progressed to me not being able to put my rings ON in the morning. It’s that bad.

Doc and I discussed the above and he agreed to bump up my dosage, so I’m now on 1/2 of a grain instead 1/4 grain of Nature Throid.  Double the pig!  I can take both grains in the morning or split one before breakfast and one two hours after lunch.  I’m doing both in the morning this week and then will try the split dose next week to see if I notice a difference.  So far, I’m not hitting the wall at 10:30am, it’s further off at 1:30pm, so that is good!

He also tested my reproductive hormones and found that my progesterone is low, so we will likely be starting to do some sort of supplement for that as well.  He didn’t want to change too much at once, so either next month or when I feel like my thyroid levels are optimized.  He said that this is normal as you age, so I guess that is relief.

My cholesterol is really, really high.  Like 307 old people high.  He wants me to try red yeast rice extract twice a day.  My blood glucose was also slightly elevated, but he wasn’t as concerned about that because it’s also common with thyroid patients and should level off with my thyroid meds AND MY DIET CHANGE.

Yes, my loves, there is about to be a major shift in my world.  He says gluten and dairy are out.  Like REALLY out.  This isn’t because of the thyroid issue, but rather because of the autoimmune issue.  It’s really bad for people like me to eat these things because it makes my body go into attack mode, which then affects my thyroid functioning.  It also can cause a “flare”.

So I’m not too broken up about the gluten, but you all know how I love cheese. I’ve done this once before, so it won’t be hard but I really need to watch now for dairy in products.  There may be a day in several months were I could POSSIBLY do goat cheese.

Then, he drops the big one on me and says, “you know, you really need to just cut all of the grain out of your diet”.

I’ll let you read that again.  Twice.

No grain.

I’m really feeling upset about this but he made it clear that I have a choice.  I can determine what my quality of life will be based on the meds, but most importantly by what I put in my mouth.  So I control this.

I have to choose to put my wellness first.  This is no longer about the “book and a bikini” or physical therapy and weight loss.  This is serious business.  Will I be able to have grains ever again that are gluten free?  Perhaps, but I need to do an elimination diet first and reintroduce things to determine if I do have an issue with them.

This will take months.

I’m feeling okay about it though. I’m feeling a little sorry for myself, sure, but I think the big thing is the social aspect of eating.  I don’t want to be the one of my friends where I have to say, “I can’t eat that”.  I don’t want people to feel like they have to do special things for me or change plans based on my dietary restrictions. It’s going to be an adjustment period for my family too. Poor Mr. Hall.

My next appointment is January 10th.  In this time, I plan to eat up all of the yummy gluten free things in my house and start planning some grain-free meals!