Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taking It Off Together Tuesday Week #2

This week has been one of ups and downs, both weight wise and emotionally. I fluctuated a LOT. I was anywhere between 214 and 218 during the week. I had a lot of myxedema ('swelling' which I mentioned in Thyroid Story part 1, and it's something I'll get into more later). It looks like we are doing great ladies. Even if we gain, we know how much we can fluctuate in the weight loss journey. A lot of things affect our weigh-ins, too, such as weighing in after eating, later in the day, drinking too much caffeine (which can cause swelling). It's a roller coaster with many twist and turns, but at the end, you get off feeling good, right??

Now I'm off to visit everyone. :)

Chris - 1.0 loss!
Tammy - 5.0 loss!
Ciara-Life With Hashi-Thyroid Blog -1.0 loss!
Grace - (out of town...I will update when she gets back)Update: .8 loss!
Leigh - 3.0 GAIN! ARG!
Clara - 5.0 loss!
Dette- 0.5 gain
Julie - 0 (first week! Welcome aboard!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Thyroid Story Part 1

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a thyroid disorder. This happens when the thyroid does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone for the body. The thyroid is responsible for a lot of things. It helps to regulate our bodies and controls metabolism. It affects millions of people, a majority of them being women, and most don’t know they have it. I was one of those people for about four or five years before finally being diagnosed in 2003.

Hypothyroidism usually goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This can be attributed to a lot of factors. One is different labs can have different ranges. The American Thyroid Association has suggested that labs lower the TSH ranges to .3-3.0 which would mean that far more people would be diagnosed with a thyroid disease. Even with the suggested change, some labs still have the TSH range of .5-5.0. This is where the problem begins.

Some of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid include fatigue, mental fog, depression, increased menstrual flow, dry hair, brittle nails, feeling cold when no one else does, unexplained weight gain, and a few others. Here’s how the problem starts, because a lot of these symptoms are also symptoms of other diseases.

For me, I suffered all these symptoms and more. I was in a myxedema coma, though I was never thought to be in one or to be suffering from any thyroid disorder, because my TSH levels were in the ‘normal’ range. With myxedema coma, you don’t necessarily slip into a coma, but I will get more into that at a later date.

One of my first signs was the inability to swallow. Every time I would eat, I would struggle to swallow. It felt like if I didn’t chew enough or cut the food into small enough pieces, I would choke. The choking sensation didn’t stop there. I would get these feeling at night and would be awakened, coughing, by it. I was also quite fatigued. I was forgetting bits of conversations, where I placed things, etc.

I had separated from my ex-husband in 2002, and I had already been living with all these symptoms about three or four years by this point. I was told that perhaps it was due to depression and was given a prescription for Zoloft. I never filled that prescription, because I KNEW that wasn’t it. I wasn’t feeling like myself.

Of course, you will have those who say you are a hypochondriac, or the weight gain you’ve incurred would be solved if only you didn’t eat so much. This isn’t limited to your friends and family, some doctors say these things.

Luckily for me, the doctor who gave me the prescription for the Zoloft suggested that I go back and have my thyroid checked in a couple of weeks. When I was ready to do that, they no longer took my insurance. I was dealing with a PPO at the time, so it was easy just to book an appointment with an endocrinologist.

At the first appointment, he examined my neck, asked about my symptoms, then had me start on a low dosage of thyroid medication until the extensive thyroid labs he had done, came back. The second appointment was the one that changed things for me. FINALLY! I had a diagnosis: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is named after the doctor who discovered it. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder. The body treats the thyroid like it’s a foreign object. The immune system attacks the thyroid in response, thereby causing the thyroid to produce little to no hormone.

My doctor told me that I would need to be on thyroid medication for the rest of my life. He then increased it, and I started to feel better. But that feeling didn’t last long.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weekly Weigh-In Meme

Welcome to the First Edition of the Weight Loss Meme. This is a group of women (but men are welcome, too) who have decided to get together and help support each other while losing that weight we've been meaning to get off for years. Sometimes you just need a hand to hold or someone to hold you accountable.

Here is the deal, each week when you weigh in you can send in your results to the moderator of the Meme (Leigh) and she will create a post once per week with everyone's results. She will then e-mail the post to everyone who has signed up so they can post it as well. This way we all get support (not to mention added traffic). If you wish to join please leave a comment!

So, without further ado, here is this weeks results!

Chris - 2.0 gain
Tammy- 0 (just started this week! Welcome aboard)
Ciara-Life With Hashi: Thyroid Blog- 2.0 gain
Grace - 0.8 loss
Leigh- 1.0 loss
Clara- 0 (no change from last weigh in)
Dette-0 (new..welcome!)

New Lab Results....

coming soon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Labwork Ordered is Like Pulling Teeth

So far, no matter what I do, I can't get my thyroid levels to stay regulated. I do fine for a few months on a certain dosage, then it has to be increased later. Currently I take Cytomel and Levothyroxine. That combination is definitely better than just thyroxine alone, but now I'm getting tired again, hair is falling out left and right, and I get heel pain so bad that it hurts to walk. For six months I was able to lose a little bit of weight (10 lbs), but now, it's not really going anywhere. My last TSH test I was 0.2 which is too much thyroid hormone, so I was supposed to get retested six weeks from that date.

I went in a few days ago and was told there were no labs ordered for me. The lab even sent my doctor a request. I didn't follow up with my own request (when I was told that I probably should so I could get the labs ordered faster), because I thought her communication was going to be enough. Apparently not. So, I figured I would ask for a whole bunch of tests just to see if there's anything else that could possibly cause all these symptoms other than too much thyroid hormone. Of course, somehow some way, it all comes back to the thyroid. But I digress.

I emailed my PCP (I'm with Kaiser) to ask for these labs to be ordered. I had asked for a combination of specifics and the 'usual'. I got a reply that didn't seem to be on the 'nice' side saying that he and I did not have enough history for him to 'know' what was the 'usual'. Isn't that what medical records are for? Isn't that in the system? Guess not. So I requested the other two things that were the 'usual'.

Why is it so difficult to get something that you requested? My husband's company pays for the insurance, so I don't get it. It's like pulling eye teeth, and then they want to talk to you like your out of your mind, or that they know what's going on with your body than you do. I KNOW when I don't feel good. Ever since my thyroid issues started I could tell the difference. I have not felt 'normal' since, and there are some good days and some bad.

Kaiser is not one of my favorites, but I'm forced to use them since that is our insurance. I have yet to find a doctor for myself I like. I want someone who's going to listen, and not talk to me like an idiot. Is that too much to ask? So far, the answer is yes. I guess I could be grateful that I have a good gyno and pediatrician for my kids. Two out of three isn't bad, right??

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thyroid Info Week #3 Video #3

I will be away from Blogland for a few days so I will have to do part two to Where are your beside manners? when I get back. In the meantime, here's another video. This is the FIRST doctor I've ever heard admit that most doctors only know what they've learned in medical school when it comes to thyroid.

He has a book available that sounds interesting. The video may be a little hard to get through, but there are some great points. So bear with it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weight Loss Update #4

I've been really slacking in the exercise department. I was super busy Saturday with Fitness class, a baseball game, and going to an opening of a new neighborhood park. That was probably the most I have been active in about a month or so. I've just been so tired. I'm back requiring naps again, and I really hate it. I have also gone back up about 2 or 3 pounds due to swelling. I had wanted to go to get my lab done today, but I forgot. It'll have to be tomorrow. I'd better write that down somewhere before I forget. LOL

Part 2 of Where are your beside manners? coming soon.