Health updates and how the new food plan is going

I have to be honest, it’s been a rough month for me!  I think I had a Hashi’s flare last week. It was really terrible, now that I know what I’m looking for.  I’ll get to that in a second.

For the past month, I’ve been taking a 1/4 pig after lunch (waiting 2 hours after eating).  I’m not really sure if it’s helping me.  I’m not sure if it’s that my body isn’t absorbing it as well as it does on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or if it’s just too low of a dose.  I see Dr. Gent on Friday so I plan to ask him then.  I just haven’t noticed a difference.

Anyway, last week I started having some of the earlier September 2013 symptoms: really tired, can’t concentrate, forgetting why I was walking out of my office as soon as I set foot in the hallway, word finding problems, etc.  What really made it worse was I was DRAGGING myself through yoga.  It literally was like my body would not move. 

The best way I can describe a Hashi flare (for me) is this…it’s a combination of two things.  You know when you take cold medicine, maybe Nyquil, and then the next day you are a zombie?  And then you know how when you are really sick, like the flu and you can’t move the limbs on your body because they feel heavy and you just can’t function your muscles?  It’s a combination of those two things for me.  It was really frustrating to experience this because I felt like I had really turned a corner in December and early January, but I guess this is a lifelong thing for me. 

What’s even stranger is that I am not sure what set it off because I feel just fine this week.  But, I did only go to yoga three times last week because I couldn’t bring myself to go in that room and sit down.  Becka said it would be okay to do that if I needed to, but I feel like such a slacker when I do.  This whole thing is very humbling for me.

Onto other news, I’m on Day 23 of my autommune-ish protocol eating experiment.  Recall I’ve removed all inflammatory foods, per Dr. Gent, like dairy, gluten, and all grains.  I also am not drinking any alcohol, even my beloved cider.

It was pretty rough at first because yoga is pretty intense and I didn’t have any starches for the first 17 days.  In the past week, I’ve introduced sweet potatoes every other day at lunch and that has gone really well.  I’m being really, really careful about my starches because some people have inflammation issues with that as well.

So I’ve been plugging away at it and now I’m down 8.8 pounds.  I weigh myself every day, track what I eat, what I drink, my supplements, my exercise.  I’ve got a little binder I carry around with me everywhere.  It pretty much is all consuming, but at least I’m getting somewhere!


Update on my January doctor visit and how I’m surviving Bikram yoga

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to update you all on my January visit with Dr. Gent!  So sorry!

So I am pretty much seeing him once a month now.  Last week was my third visit.  I see him, wait four weeks for blood work and then seen him the following week. That makes a visit every 5 weeks.

We had a great visit.  I told him that I feel like in the last few weeks, I’ve really turned a corner in my recovery.  I’m getting through the entire morning and am now feeling energetic through lunch.  I can get to about 1:30-2:30 before I “hit the wall”, depending on when I take my morning pig.  He said that he could tell I felt better and asked for any other improvements that I’ve noticed.

I told him that I just felt happier.  Not that I was depressed before, maybe it’s that I don’t feel as anxious.  No, not anxious, unsettled.  I always felt unsettled.  I’m feeling very peaceful lately, which is nice.  He seemed very pleased about that.  I also told him that I’m not having the ringing in my ears as much and the headaches.  I’ve also become considerably better with my “brain fog” or word finding.  I’m using less and less Post-It notes around my office for reminders, so that is a definite improvement.  I still have my days where I can’t seem to get the words out, but it’s a LOT better.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be in meetings with leadership and feel like a total idiot because you can’t articulate clearly.  I’m also getting better about not falling asleep at the wheel when I’m driving.

He did an examination and declared that he felt we were getting really close to my ideal dosage.  He checked my tongue, which wasn’t swollen this time.  He also noted that my eyebrows have grown back.  I told him that I’ve had some people tell me that my face doesn’t look as swollen, even though I’m STILL gaining weight.  He assured me that the weight would be the last to go and just to be patient.

We briefly discussed my swelling and he asked if I was still gluten and dairy free, which I assured him I’ve been very compliant.  He doubled my diuretic and said that I must be still pretty inflamed so we would keep an eye on it.  I haven’t been able to get my rings on for 10 days now.  I had a couple of days where I could get them on, then it’s too much and I have to really struggle to get them off in the middle of the morning.

He suggested that we increase my dose by 1/4 grain but to take the additional dose in the afternoon.  I told him I didn’t do well splitting the 3/4 grain, so he said to keep that all in the morning.  I’m on day 5 of the increase and I’m just not sure if I notice a difference yet.  It’s maddening because I have to eat lunch, set my alarm for 2 hours, take the pill, wait another hour before I can eat anything.  I’m not absolutely positive that I’ve had a boost in the afternoon with my energy yet, but I do understand that it can take a month or so for your body to assimilate the rise in medication.

I briefly mentioned my desire to increase the progesterone, which he agreed needed attention but he wanted to wait another month.  I get it, he wants to see how the increase in pig goes.  We also discussed my 100 point cholesterol drop in December, which was very good.  He wants me to continue the Red Rice Yeast extract.

I told him that I recently decided to add a probiotic to help with the poo.  I am still taking the magnesium citrate every night, but as we know, hypo patients don’t poop a lot so I need all the help I can get.  He said that was a good idea and that hopefully once my thyroid is optimized, things will improve there.  As a side note, it’s a little difficult to find probiotics that are dairy and gluten free AND soy free.

On a whim, I also started taking apple cider vinegar in the morning, as I recently discovered that many Hashi and hypo patients also have problems with absorption of medication.  Apparently, many people have had success with apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Every morning on the way to work, I usually have a coffee mug full of hot water and the juice of a lemon. Then, I also drink a 16 ounce bottle of water.  This week, I’ve added two tablespoons of ACV to the bottled water.  It doesn’t taste great but it hasn’t made me feel worse.  Some people swear by taking this dose three times a day.  Of course, there are old wive’s tales about the benefits of ACV, but I’m not really interested in any of that.  I just am doing it for the digestive/absorption help.  I discovered it is important to use the Bragg’s brand, which is organic/raw/unfiltered.  It has the “mother” in it, which is the protein molecule strand that appears like a cloudy sludge in the bottle.  Just shake it up beforehand.   Because it is acidic, it’s good for Ph balance too.  And, I didn’t know this, it is a good source of potassium so that must be why people say it helps with aches and pains.

So that is my doctor update.  Onto the yoga.

Three weeks ago, I decided to go back to the studio.  I had discussed this with Dr. Gent in December when I saw him and we agreed that I was walking a fine line of needing to get active again but also not wanting to overdo it and cause a flare.  He told me at that point he didn’t feel comfortable with me doing more than 5 minutes of cardio at a time, which of course, I practically cried over as I explained that I needed to get my weight under control.  But I got his point, I am a sick person and I can’t over do it.

I asked if I could do yoga, which he agreed was a good idea.  He told me to sit my ass down if it got to be too much.  I agreed.

So I hemmed and hawwed about it, finally deciding that I just needed to suck it up and get my mat to the studio.  I made sure to go in on a day that Becka was teaching, so I could give her the skinny on my recovery.  She was so happy to see me. It felt good to be back.

My first day back was December 23, almost 4 months since my last visit on September 4.  You better believe I was worried.

It went surprisingly well!  I couldn’t believe it.  Granted, I’m moving almost 25 pounds more skin around from July, which is an odd sensation, but I only sat down one time.  And, I discovered that week that I wasn’t doing my “cheat” modification of grounding my foot into the mat on triangle pose.  I was able to tighten my quad and keep it there on the floor.  Another benefit of the pig?  I had mentioned before that I found research showing that untreated thyroid disorders can lead to muscular issues, so I was really irritated when I realized that I could have probably avoided all of the PT if I had been treated appropriately all along.

But then I wouldn’t have met my beloved Cori, so I won’t be too irritated.  I will take my year and a half for gimpy, just for her.

I digress.

So I made a decision to go 5 times a week.  Yes, I know, it seems extreme. But, I feel great.  I’m not having the muscle spasms like I was during the fall semester.  My knee isn’t really bothering me like it was before.  I’m getting stronger and stronger.  It’s really, really weird.

The studio is doing a January challenge! I groaned when Becka announced it after Christmas, because you all know that I would have immediately signed up for a 30 day challenge.  But, I had to practice some restraint and humility.  Then, she said that the challenge was whatever you wanted it to be.  One day a week or every day.  Totally up to you.

I struggled with myself.  I’d just done 5 days during the week of Christmas.  Could I keep it up when school started back up?  I stared at the calendar she gave me for several minutes, weighing my options and having a stern talk with myself.

Finally, I took a leap of faith and wrote down 5 days on it, not knowing if I would be able to do it.

Happily, I have to report that I have done two weeks now and have kept my end of the deal I made with myself!

I’m going to class, completely at peace with where I’m at.  Sure, I can’t do half of the things I could do in July, like Standing Head to Knee.  I can’t even grab my foot.  But, I’m there and I’m making an effort to smile about it.

In fact, Becka and another instructor commented last week that I always look so happy in class.  I told them that I have a choice and I choose to be kind to myself in class.  So I smile at myself in the mirror, I smile when I go into savasana, I smile when I’m on my stomach waiting for the next pose on floor series.  Then, Becka said, you may not be where you were but your form is just impeccable.  That was the best compliment because it told me that I was still on my A game in class and even though I wasn’t getting the depth, I was doing everything right to be sure I was doing the posture correctly.  I laughed and said that was great for a Type A crazy machine like me to hear and she said, no not that.  She said, you have a beautiful practice with excellent form.  It’s a joy to watch.


In short, I’m 100% back on the mat.  I may be fatter, less bendy, and overly concerned with how my yoga shorts fit, but I’m walking in and giving my best.

Two months on the pig: what blood work tells me

Hello again!

I received my New Years Eve lab tests today, so I wanted to share what a little over two months on the pig has done for me.

When I saw my PCP in September, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was 3.75.  While this is in the “normal” range, it’s not in the optimal range.  Most functional practitioners try to go for a 1.0-2.0 range.  In November, after a month on the pig, my TSH dropped to 2.15 at 1/2 grain.  Now, after a few weeks on 3/4 grain, my TSH tested at 1.59!

I’m so pleased to see these two months of test results because it means that the pig really is helping me.  I don’t think I’m at my optimal level yet for me, so I will be pushing for a full grain next week when I see my doctor again.  I can get to about 2:30 in the afternoon and then my energy goes way down again.  I’m getting there though!

During my appointment last month, my doctor was very concerned about my cholesterol, which had gone from 295 in August to 370!  He thinks it was an inflammation response to my body adjusting to going off meds and starting the pig, but just to be sure, he put me on some red rice yeast extract in December.  I have been taking it for a month, testing it out to see if I could control my numbers without going on Lipitor or Crestor.  I am happy to report that my overall cholesterol dropped in one month to 277!  That is almost 100 points!  My triglycerides went from 177 to 135 and my HDL went from 107 to 81.  I’m shocked.

When I go to see Dr. Gent next week, I plan to ask about the low progesterone again.  He mentioned it was on the low end, so I’ve been researching some natural progesterone cream.  I’d rather do that than a synthetic progestin, but I’ll see what he says.  I have heard that the natural ones also help your body to make DHEA, so that is good too.

I’m really feeling like I’ve turned a corner in the last couple of weeks since I started taking the 3/4 grain.  I know I’m on the right track, but I’m not *quite* there yet.  It gives me hope though that better things are waiting for me when I’m optimized.


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!


A glimpse of what normal feels like

I’ve had several folks asking about how I’ve been doing since I’ve been on the meds for one week now. Honestly, not that much different, but I didn’t expect very much.  You can’t start a patient on a high dose of medication safely, so I have to “step up” with my dosages.

I’m back to weighing myself daily again, unfortunately.  Given my situation, I have to watch EVERYTHING I do and make notes to find relationships/causation for symptoms, etc. I’m even tracking how much I poo.  I know, we’re about to get real up in this piece, but if you know anything about hypothyroidism, you’ve got a slow digestive system.

On Saturday, I calculated that I’ve lost 5 pounds, which I’m sure is water weight.  Over the weekend, I went up and down so I’m sure it is just fluid.  I’m taking my old people water pills so that is helping.  My face is definitely less puffy.

The big news is that I had a brief, but albeit, powerful glimpse on Saturday morning of some normalcy.  I woke up and I was AWAKE.  Like really, really awake.  I took my pill and shortly thereafter, I was ON.  I couldn’t believe how great I felt. It was like I had been injected with superpowers, seriously. For a good two hours, I was a cleaning machine!  I got so much work done in the house during that time and didn’t have to sit down on the couch at all.

I couldn’t believe it!  Kevin was a little irritated because I was literally back to my old school self, super hyper, happy morning person.  I did three loads of laundry, cleaned both bathrooms, the dining room, and living room.  It was great.

But, it was also short lived.  I’m finding that I’m getting a good two hours of energy and then I’m back on my butt, dead tired.  The bad news is that I am going to have to work up to all day feeling good, but the good news is that I know the medicine is working for me and this really is a thyroid problem!!!

As I was tearing through the house, I thought to myself, wow.  I could go to they gym.  Or go outside and rake.  This must be what normal feels like!  It’s been so long I had forgotten.

I’m slowly working Mr. Hall towards a gluten free household.  I got some of the brown rice Triscuits over the weekend and they were actually really good!  They are gluten free and have a different texture than the regular Triscuits that are more dense.

Hashi what?

In my post yesterday, I briefly mentioned that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease.  This is one of the causes of hypothyroidism, which I’d like to discuss today.

Hashimoto’s is not the same thing as hypothyroidism, but it’s kind of like a chicken and the egg dilemma.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to create antibodies that attack the proteins in the thyroid.  This gradually leads to a destruction of the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism.  You can have this without having symptoms of any physical problem when you examine your neck.

The autoimmune disease starts when your body has an immune system that has malfunctioned in some way.  I don’t know when my started, since I was 25 when I went to the doctor.  I suspect it may have been from a surgery in my neck area when I was 20, but it could have been when I had mono my senior year in high school.  No one really knows why it happens.

When you have Hashimoto’s, you can have periods of time where it goes dormant in the beginning, so you may bounce between hypothyroid symptoms and then you feel great.  This explains a lot of why I would have two years of great and then a year of miserable, only to be followed by a honeymoon of great again.  The problem is once it goes into the destruction phase of your thyroid, you pretty much are just miserable because your thyroid can no longer produce the the hormones the body needs to function.

That’s where I’m at now.  There is no treatment for this because it is an autoimmune disease.  You have to supplement with thyroid medication and figure out what makes you “flare”.

I’m learning all I can about this now.  I’ve added an additional tab in the blog that says Hashi Hoopla so I can link all posts that are relevant to my thyroid there.

In my search, I found a great letter that someone posted online, called “I am Hashimoto Disease”.  When I read it, things finally clicked for me.  This is DEFINITELY what I have experienced.  I’ve posted it below.

Hi.  My name is Hashimoto’s.  I’m an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid.

I am now velcroed to you for life.  If you have hypothyroidism, you probably have me. I am the number one cause of it in the U.S. and many other places around the world.

I’m so sneaky–I don’t always show up in your blood work.

Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.

I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.

I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?

I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.

I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.

I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.

I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.

I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.

I can make you feel very anxious with panic attacks or very depressed.  I can also cause other mental health problems. You know crazy mood swings? That’s me. Crying for no reason? Angry for no reason? That’s probably me too.

I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.

I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don’t discriminate.

Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.

If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you. You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:

That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. Whatever the cause, I’m here to stay.

I hear you’re going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh.  Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.

You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.

There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless – that high cholesterol, gall bladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That’s probably me.

Can’t get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage?

That’s probably me too.

Shortness of breath or “air hunger?” Yep, probably me.

Liver enzymes elevated? Yep, probably me.

Teeth and gum problems? TMJ?

Hives? Yep, probably me.

I told you the list was endless. 

You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away.

You’ll be told to think positively, you’ll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you’ve seen, just how debilitating I am and how ill and exhausted you really feel.  In all probability you will get a referral from these ‘understanding’  (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.

Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I can be.

Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.

They’ll  also say things like,  “if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” They won’t understand that I take away the ‘gas’ that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.

Some will start talking behind your back, they’ll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a “normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next. You’ll be told things like, “Oh, my grandmother had that, and she’s fine on her medication” when you desperately want to explain that I don’t impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE’S taking, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

They will not understand that having this disease impacts your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and that every cell and every body system and organ requires the proper amount and the right kind of of thyroid hormone medication for YOU.

Not what works for someone else.

The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.

I am Hashimoto’s Disease.

Success! A doctor who listens!

I’ve been very remiss in getting this post up, especially since it’s been four days since I saw my new doctor in Richmond.

As most of you know, I had a GREAT appointment!

The practice is located in a very nice area of Midlothian, which is near Richmond.  I was happy that it wasn’t more than a 3 hour drive to get there and it was much easier to drive earlier in the morning.

When I got there, I checked in and was surprised to find out that the doctor prefers to have his patients wait in the waiting room, rather than being ushered into the examination room.  He was so kind and introduced himself while he took me back.

First of all, this guy is awesome.  He’s old and kind, with soft fingers and a grandfatherly demeanor.

He sat down and looked at me and said, I’ve seen your lab work you sent but I can say right now just LOOKING at you that you have a thyroid problem.

I was floored!

I asked why and he said he could see the puffiness around my eyes, my swollen face and hands, my eyebrow hair falling out on the edges and my wispy hairline.  He said it was classic hypothyroid.

We spent some time talking about my test results and the 2003 EVMS results, which I had brought with me.

So he checks it out and declares that I DO have an autoimmune disease, which is not always caught because if you aren’t in a  “flare” when you get tested, sometimes it doesn’t show up on the lab work.  I was just lucky that it popped on the 2003 labs so I had proof.

Then, he says, how long has this been going on?  I told him since 2003 and he said that the autoimmune issue should have been treated earlier because it could have prevented so much of my thyroid damage.  As a result, I am definitely hypothyroid now and need to be medicated, regardless of the labs coming back normal.

Praise the interweb gods for keeping me informed!

He then did a physical exam and we chatted about how swollen my body has been for the past few months.  He indicated that my body is so inflamed and I needed to get some extra help to get rid of the water retention, so he prescribed me an old people diuretic to take.

Then, he said that he would start me on a low dose of thyroid replacement hormone medication and see how I do for a month.  We will test in 4 weeks and then I will see him again on the first week of December.  We will go through these monthly testing and visit cycles until I am at optimum levels for ME, based on not just the labs but also how I look and feel.

I couldn’t stop boo-hooing through the whole appointment.  I couldn’t believe that he was taking me seriously and was so willing to help.

I’m going to post some more this week on some of the specifics in regards to the autoimmune issue and the specific medication that I’m taking, so be on the lookout for those posts.  Also, he has some very targeted plans for my diet and other medication that I’m taking, since I’m on an autoimmune protocol now.

I’ve been told to take a photo on the first day of my meds (today, since CVS didn’t have the meds in stock) and then again in a month.

Here is my new hero.