Friday, December 2, 2011

Thyroidversary

I was going to save this post for tomorrow, which is the actual anniversary of my thyroid begin nuked by radiation, however, tomorrow is also Saturday.  I hardly ever get anything posted on Saturday, so I am going to post it today.  Why did I feel the need to preface this post with an introduction?

I have no idea.

Anyway, four years ago I was sick.  Really sick.  Weeks of unexplained fatigue, terrible nausea, muscle aches, headaches, not sleeping, not eating, fidgety, sweaty....I was quite a mess.  After several doctor's appointments, blood tests and scans I was diagnosed with moderate to severe Graves disease.  It is better known as Hyperthyroidism.  It is when your thyroid goes absolutely crazy and produces way too much of what your thyroid produces.  Your neck also looks like you swallowed a golf ball which is just an added bonus.

Anyway, when your thyroid puts out too much of whatever it is that it makes, it causes lots of awful things to happen.  When I was initially diagnosed they had to put me on Beta Blockers to slow my heart rate down.  Apparently it was going at 160 beats a minute or something which was like your heart running a marathon even though you were just laying on the couch moaning and trying not to barf.  They put me on Beta Blockers which were very helpful in making me feel like a human again, but did nothing to stop my thyroid from overproducing thyroid stuff.

I hope my medical description and terminology isn't too technical for you.

The treatment plan recommended for me was to radiate and kill my thyroid so it would stop producing whatever it was producing that was making me so sick.  Then I would have to take a prescription drug for the rest of my life to provide the correct dose of the stuff.

The treatment plan was a weird process.  You have to go on a low iodine diet for a week and then you have to swallow an iodine pill laced with radiation.  Your thyroid is starved for iodine so it absorbs it all, including the radiation and it dies.  When you arrive at the lab to take your medication it will be like no other medication you have ever taken.  The pill looks normal, but it quickly becomes obvious that there is nothing normal about it.  You see, it is handed to you by an employee in partial radiation gear, wearing heavy gloves and using a long metal tong, to hand you a little paper cup with your single iodine pill in it.

Really?  You are wearing ultra protective gear, won't even touch the paper cup with your glove covered hand and you want me just to pick up this pill and swallow it.  In my mouth.  Down my throat.  Seriously?   Man, it goes against every logical thing you can imagine.

But I did it.

Then you have to leave immediately.

And you can't be around people for three days.

No people.

Not your family, not strangers, not doctors, no one.

Apparently, the radiation dosage I swallowed could be harmful to others. Isn't that scary? It was obviously nothing to fool around with so I was sequestered in my office at home.  For three full days.  My wonderful friends showered my family with love and food and kindness.  Never have I felt so blessed.  Poor little Chip talked to me constantly through the office door.  He missed his momma.  Harry did too, but he understood he couldn't see me for a few days.  Chip just wanted to open that office door and see what the heck was going on.

I will sometime have to share pictures with you of the set up in my office.  It was something.

Anyway, the radiation worked.  My thyroid died.  They I went immediately into Hypothyroidism and man it isn't much better than Hyperthyroidism.  You go from having way to much thyroid stuff to having absolutely none.  Your body gets completely screwed up.

Since then, I have to go to the Endocrinologist every six months to see how my thyroid levels are in response to my synthetic thyroid medicine.  Four years later and my levels still aren't regulated.  Up, down, new problems...glucose intolerant....triglycerides high...retaining fluids.  I swear I wasn't taking one prescription medication four years ago and now I have five.  Your thyroid really impacts lots of body functions.  It is no joke.

I just went to my Endocrinologist yesterday and my thyroid is really, really low which she said is most likely the cause of my recent gloomy mood, not sleeping well, etc.  So new higher dosage started immediately.  I do feel better already.  Not sure if it is a response already to the new dosage, or just the relief in knowing that my problems are fixable that makes such a difference.

I am so thankful that there is medication and doctor's and blood tests and all the wonderful technology that allows them to help me be as healthy as I possibly can be.  I can't imagine having to live with Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism.  It would not be fun!

So Happy Thyroidversary to me!

I hope that you are feeling great today and that you take a few minutes to appreciate your thyroid!  It is an important part of your body and until four years ago I couldn't have even told you where in the world in your body it was located!  In the front of your neck, if you want to give yours a nice pat of appreciation!

Come on back later this afternoon for a lighter post!  I will be posting pictures and blogging about Buddy the Elf's antics last night!

Have an awesome day!

3 comments:

  1. congrats! i like your new word. can you get it publised in webster's?

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  2. I had no idea. The next time I whine about my back or my leg or whatever, why don't you tell me to SHUT UP. So glad you are better. You did inspire me to spend a few moments being thankful for the body parts that seem to be functioning properly.

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  3. They thought my thyroid was messed up one time and I had to take a radioactive pill then they did some scans on me. It is VERY scary when they come in decked out in protective gear carrying a metal tube and ask you to swallow that pill! Thankfully mine was okay.

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