Look to Change

My health is good right now. I have a couple of struggles still; keeping my blood sugars down, and my chronic sleepiness.  But most of all I need and want to lose weight!

I’m so huge right now.

I look in the mirror and feel nothing but disgust and shame.

My weight struggle started at puberty. I didn’t know it for many, many years but my doctor and I suspect I developed PCOS at the time I began my journey into womanhood. I was finally diagnosed in my mid thirties!

I’m pretty sure it was at puberty and the development of PCOS that my insulin resistance set in…it is a symptom of PCOS after all.

I also have hypothyroidism which slows down the metabolism and therefore causes easy weight gain and difficult weight-loss. I’m on meds, but they don’t help the weight issue.

I can go on and on finding health issues and other things to blame my obesity on. They aren’t lies, they really do make it too easy to gain and very difficult to lose. But it is also my own fault. I eat too many carbs and calories, and I don’t get enough exercise.

But things may change soon. You see, I have been unemployed for almost three years now. I have kept busy with projects and chores, etc. but living with no real schedule or responsibilities makes it very easy to be lazy, and to eat whenever and whatever, and however much you want.

I may be getting a job soon. If I do, this will be a full-time job. A career! I will have a set schedule which means I will be eating at set times, and active at set times. This, hopefully, will make it much easier for me to eat healthy and less, and loose some weight!

And my hubby is more than willing to do it with me. It always helps to have a partner.

Wish me luck at my interview! I really need and want this new career for so many reasons!

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The Hound of Diabetes Hell

I really like my general practitioner. I only see her maybe twice a year, but I’m glad to have her. She is easy going in personality, she’ll joke and chit-chat with you. She is very well educated and knows her stuff. And she is thorough…and she takes the time to listen!

I have been getting monthly B12 shots because I am deficient. The nurse does them so I do not have to see my doctor and pay a co-pay. The doctor’s office usually schedules the appointments a month or two in advance, but this month they didn’t. Of course I called to inquire about this. The nurse on the line told me my doctor would like to see me to touch base since it has been six months since I started the shots.

OK, I set up the appointment.

Now, let me let you in on my anxiety and frustration about this office. The following rant does not in any way change how I feel about my general practitioner, it’s not her fault, really.

My general practitioner orders yearly labs for me. All the normal stuff, including A1c. Well, even though my endocrinologist orders A1c tests every three months (and the doctor’s share info on patients), there is still the yearly order from my general practitioner.  Whenever I get the lab done that is ordered by my GP, if it is above 7 her diabetes nurse calls me to discuss it.

She calls, and calls, and calls, and sends e-mails, and sends snail mails. And then when I go in to see my doctor, or get my B12 shot, or for any reason, the diabetes nurse will jump in to talk to me. I have told her that I do not want to or need to talk with anyone except my endocrinologist regarding my diabetes. I do not need or want any other hands in my diabetes pot! I work very closely with my endo on my diabetes care, we know what’s up, we need no help on this.

I’ve been a type 1 since 1987, I think I know all there is to know about my care. I’m not perfect, but I know what I am doing!  When people (anyone) hounds me about my diabetes care it crushes my spirit. I’m not non-compliant! I’m not stupid! I’m not untrustworthy! I know what I’m doing and I don’t need or want your help!

OK, so I got my labs done a few weeks ago and the nurse was hounding me again because my A1c went up significantly. I know why it went up and myself and my endo have been working on it. I have thyroid issues and this was making my BG’s impossible to get and keep down. As soon as I started thyroid meds (just after my labs were done) my BG’s plummeted to where they belong.

So, in the back of my mind I was thinking one of the reasons my GP wanted to see me was because of the A1c…

So I went into this appointment a bit aggravated. I kept going over my responses in my head if the diabetes nurse came in to talk to me.

Don’t blame me if I punch her….

The appointment was a normal visit. Weight first – It came up too high, as usual, but a good 12 lbs lower than I was expecting, so I was mildly happy with that. My blood pressure was 127/65. My temperature was normal.

The doctor came in and she was her normal sunny, pleasant self.

“Oh, I love your hair! The style is the same but you changed the color.When did you do that?”

“I just dyed it like two days ago.” I smiled.

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“I haven’t seen your husband in awhile, how is he doing?”

I was pleasantly surprised that she remembered my husband and that we’re a couple (who I go to most of his appointments with). This is one reason I love my GP so much. I told her he’s doing well.

She listened to my heart, looked in my ears, and felt my neck.

She asked me how I’ve been feeling, do I still have B12 deficiency symptoms? I told her the dizzy spells are gone and I feel great except that I am super sleepy all the time, I sleep an average of 15 hours a day… but I think that may be due to my thyroid issues.

We talked about my thyroid, and all my vitamin (B12, D, Iron) deficiencies… and, yes, we talked about my BG’s. She was very understanding about my A1c going up, she knew it was because of my thyroid issues.

“Well, your endo has thyroid labs ordered, so I’ll just add on some other tests as well. We’ll figure out the cause of your sleepiness and get it fixed.”

I’m so happy she is thorough.

After the visit, I got my B12 shot and then headed home.

It was a good, happy, visit after all.  🙂

 

 

 

We Have Such Complications to Show You

Thyroid issues are pretty common in type 1 diabetics (and type 2). They are both endocrine issues, they are hormone problems. Also, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and some thyroid diseases are autoimmune as well. So there are a number of links between diabetes and thyroid issues.

I for one have apparently (not 100% clear, yet) have a thyroid issue that is a fairly common complication of diabetes. I have developed permanent (also not 100% sure, yet) hypothyroidism due to a bought of general thyroiditis.

Thyroiditis can present in many different ways depending on what is causing it. Mine went like this: Really bad pain from the shoulders to the top of the head (migraine), swollen lymph nodes in the neck, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) -excessive sweating, weight loss, muscle weakness, tiredness, physical hunger, fast heart rate, anxiety, moodiness, goiter, insomnia, high BG -. Then the hyperthyroid turns into hypothyroid (under-active thyroid) – Always cold, weight gain, overwhelming sleepiness, depression, joint pain, dry skin, hair loss, acne, fuzzy thinking, high BG.

Usually after a few months the thyroid will return to normal function, but something like 5% of people end up stuck with permanent hypothyroidism.  Apparently I am one of the few…

What I mean by the type of thyroiditis I had being a complication of diabetes is that when the body’s blood-sugar is too high too often this causes widespread inflammation throughout the body, including the thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland is “abused” in this manner it can become very angry…or sick…or sad…or hurt…(pick whichever flowery word you’d like here) this is called thyroiditis. As I said, this is usually a temporary condition that resolves itself over several months…but it can become chronic, come and go; or you can develop permanent hypothyroidism from it.

So, for those type 1 (and type2) diabetics out there who have been constantly berated and warned of losing your legs, going blind, having heart attacks and such, due to your uncontrolled diabetes, just be aware that there’s even more out there to be afraid of. Diabetes has “such sights to show you…”

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Diabetes is a living horror flick that we are trapped in. But we can survive. I like to imagine myself as the heroine, the one who goes through all the shit, pain, suffering, and tragedy, but comes out of it by defeating the monsters, and stands bloody and sore, but alive and strong!

So try your best, OK? Please? It’s not easy, I know first hand, and diabetes will never be willing to cooperate. But give it your best fight and never stop trying.

One Little Pill

Well, it has been a week since I started on 75 mcg a day of Levothyroxine. I must point out that I started to feel a lessening of symptoms within the first 24 hours. I also should report that I suffered with nausea for the first 4 days and threw up once. But now that it has been a week I woke up this morning feeling really good.

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I just about feel human again.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, I just started treatment for hypothyroidism.

The symptoms I had were:

Thinning hair (mild)

Acne (moderate)

Weight gain and difficulty losing (severe)

Sleepiness (severe)

Depression (moderate – severe)

Muscle and joint pain (mild)

Sensitivity to cold (mild – moderate)

Dry skin (mild)

Memory/concentration issues (moderate)

Stubborn high BG’s (severe)

I won’t bore you with the background story, but I am now on medication and it started working right away. I did have one side effect which was the nausea I mentioned. Apparently it was just a matter of my body getting used to the medication and changing hormone levels.

I’m sure my hair will thicken up again over time. The acne started to clear up immediately, it was shockingly fast! I hope I will lose some weight, but I’m not holding my breath on that one because a couple people I know who are on this medication said it didn’t help there. The sleepiness has lessened a lot, but I still feel overwhelmingly sleepy on a off during the day and I still sleep around 12 hours a night. The depression melted away and is now just about gone. I no longer have any muscle or joint pain. I still feel a bit more cold than I should, but it’s better. My skin is still dry. My brain is no longer foggy, it’s like the sun finally came up! My BG’s are better but still high, but I think it’s just now due to me being bad about my diabetes care this past week.

I’m feeling good. 🙂

I see my endo in a few days and we’ll see what she has to say. I get my thyroid labs at the beginning of April so we’ll see then how well the Levo is working.

Thyroid Update

I haven’t been posting as often lately because…well, because of a few reasons I guess. I think I’m ready to admit I’ve been burnt out. Not just diabetic burnout, but all my health problems burnout. I’m tired of it all. I know there is no end in sight for my health issues, there is no healthy me hiding inside this body. The diseases I have are not curable and I am stuck with this shit forever.

I am standing on the tightrope between giving up and continuing to fight. It’s tough because I am not the type who ever gives up…but I just don’t have any energy left in me.

I am depressed. I’m on a high dose of depression meds and going to therapy. But I am still depressed.

Very depressed.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be an update on my thyroid issues. I haven’t spoken much about it because I’ve been in limbo for the past few months regarding this issue.

And I still don’t have an official diagnosis (Grave’s? Hashimoto’s? Something else?)…

Let me start at what I believe is the beginning for all of you who don’t know the whole story.

November 2014: I suddenly lose a significant amount of weight even though I’ve changed nothing in my diet or activity. I also begin to have hot flashes and sweat a lot. I really don’t think anything of it, probably because I view the weight loss as a good thing.

January 2015: I notice I have gained all the weight back.

April 2015: I am concerned that I am still gaining weight even though I am doing everything right to be losing. I am beginning to notice other strange symptoms as well: My hair is falling out (only noticeable to me), I am tired all the time, I am cold all the time (although I still have hot flashes as well). I do not connect the symptoms at this time because I have never had thyroid issues and don’t know anything about the thyroid.  My thyroid labs (part of normal yearly labs) at this time come back normal.

June 2015: I still have all the symptoms. Other people have suggested thyroid issues so I talk to my endo about it. She runs a full thyroid panel and it comes back normal so she is not concerned…and neither am I.

February 2016: I have continued to have all the symptoms, although they have fluctuated between severities, and now have new insurance and a new endo. I tell her all about my ongoing issues with weight gain and not being able to lose even though I live healthy enough that I should be smaller. I also let her know about my constant fatigue. She reviews my labs and sees that my thyroid results are all normal so suggests my issues are being caused by something else.

April 2016: I am so depressed and unable to function adequately that my endo refers me to a psychologist.

August 2016: The past month I have been feeling good. I have lost some weight and have had energy up the wazoo. I am having overheating problems and sweating like mad, though, but I contribute that to the summer heat and my activity level. I have just had my labs drawn, though, and my endo sends me an e-mail saying my thyroid is hyperactive, how do I feel?, and let’s keep an eye on it. She orders a thyroid scan and uptake test.

September 2016: I am in severe pain from my hair roots down to my shoulders, I have a swollen lymph node on the left side of my neck. I am also weak, tired, sweating profusely, have a racing heartbeat and shortness of breath, continue to lose weight, have trouble swallowing, BG’s are stubbornly high, and am always physically hungry. I have several doctors trying to figure out what’s up and am put on antibiotics and given a CT scan of my neck which shows nothing significant. I finally do the thyroid scan and uptake and the results come back inconclusive because of the CT scan (with contrast) I had earlier in the month.

October 2016: The swelling and pain go away, but all of the other symptoms remain severe. Thyroid labs come back still hyper. I can not function and feel like I am going to die. At the end of the month I start to feel a goiter on my thyroid.

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November 2016: My endo is ready to put me on Methimazole for hyperthyroidism, but then spontaneously my symptoms all just disappear and I feel fine. At the end of the month my thyroid tests come back now hypo (low function). Endo wants to keep an eye on it, she thinks maybe (and hopefully) my issue is simply general thyroiditis and the problem will probably resolve itself.

February 2017: We have been keeping an eye on my thyroid function and it has stayed stubbornly low. I have many symptoms of hypothyroidism still : weight gain and inability to lose, thinning hair (not severe), acne, constant sleepiness, depression, sensitivity to cold, muscle and joint pain, stubborn high BG’s, memory issues. My endo has now decided my hypothyroidism is not going to go away on its own and has put in a prescription for thyroid replacement hormone pills.

I love my endo, she has been my doctor for my type 1 diabetes on and off for almost 27 years and has never let me down or caused me to question her competence. But I can’t shake the feeling that she has dropped the ball on this issue a bit. I know thyroid illnesses can be difficult to diagnose because they all have the same symptoms, etc. I intend to talk to her in a couple of weeks and remind her of all my issues going all the way back to 2014..especially that my thyroid labs kept coming back normal at first. Maybe this will help her to put things in better perspective and give me a definitive diagnosis?

I don’t know, I just need concrete answers.

 

I’m Hungry!

With all my health issues it’s no surprise that I have to follow a strict diet. That’s no problem, really, I’m used to it and I still am able to eat many things I like. But then came my thyroid issues…

I was called by the nuclear medicine department and they set up a two day appointment for me to get an iodine uptake and scan. I was told at this time that I needed to follow a strict low-iodine diet for the next solid week.

OK, no problem…

In actuality, it wasn’t difficult to follow the diet. The can’s and can not’s were laid out quite well.

I wanted to be super strict with the diet so there was no way to mess up the test and have to go through all of this again. My thyroid symptoms have been unrelenting and strong. They’ve made it so I really can’t function.

So all week I pretty much only ate fresh fruits and veggies.

The only problem I had with the diet was the psychological effect it had on me. “I’m not allowed to eat this?! Oh, OK, I’ll just keep craving it and obsessing over it.”

So the day finally came for my day one of the test. I was anxious to be over this diet and finally be able to eat “real food” again. I kept hoping nothing would go wrong. I went to radiology to check in. They had me scheduled but my endo forgot to sign the order for it. The check-in girl asked me to sit and wait and she would keep trying to get the signature.

Time passed and with each minute I felt more anxiety. “If they reschedule me I am going to be so pissed. I don’t want to go through this any longer.”

I was sitting right next to the counter where my check-in girl was. I could see she was trying to get the signature every few minutes. But with no luck.

It came to the time of my appointment. *stress so high now*. I went to the counter and asked her if there had been any luck. When she said no but she was still trying I pointed out kindly that it was now past my appointment time.

“Don’t worry, we’ll get you in today no matter what.” She reassured me.

A few minutes later the nuclear medicine manager came up to me and reassured me they would see me today, they just need that darn signature. He also gave me a form to fill out to help my appointment speed along faster once I get in.

I filled out the form and kept waiting…and waiting.

Finally a new person approached me and wanted to put a hospital band on me. Come to find out she had heard about my trouble and knew that my endo wasn’t in today and so called her cover endo and got the signature.

I (and my mom) was walked to the nuclear medicine waiting room…and waited some more. But not too long. They took me back to a room and gave me two pills to take with water. The pills are radioactive iodine.

They asked me to come in tomorrow a little later than my appointment time since they got me in late today.

Okie dokie.

Day two I showed up as told and had no trouble checking in.  I waited in the nuclear medicine waiting room until five minutes past my adjusted appointment time. The manager happened to walk up at that moment to call in another patient.

“I’ll let them know you’re waiting, Tamra.” He said kindly. I thanked him.

Another half hour passed and I was still waiting. The manager came back by and saw me sitting there.

“They still haven’t come for you?” I nodded and he walked off.

I heard him tell the others to get me in, I’d been waiting a long time.

A few minutes later a technician came for me. He had me sit in a chair and he lined up a laser-looking machine up to my knees. He had me sit still as he took two measurements (of iodine?)  of my knees. Then he lined it up to my thyroid and did the same.

Then I was led into a room and asked to lay on the table there. As I was doing that the tech told the other tech that my result was 1.5, very low.

They put a pillow under my shoulders and asked me to lay back my head as far as I could and not move. They put stickers on my chin, throat (below my thyroid), and clavicle. The stickers were to help calibrate the imaging. Scans were done then they removed the stickers and had me remain still for five more minutes while they took more scans.

Laying with my head tilted so far back made it near impossible to swallow and I felt as if I was going to choke or drown in my own saliva.

As I lay on the table one technician asked me if I’d had any contrast scans done in the last month. I said yes, I’d had a CT scan with contrast earlier in the month.

“Oh, that explains it.” He said.

From that point on I was worried the tests were all screwed up and would have to be done over at a later date. Could iodine from a CT scan stay in my system that long?

I was sent back to the waiting room until the nuclear medicine doctor looked over my scans. While sitting there, I chatted with another lady there for thyroid tests.

Finally the technician came back and told me all was done and I could go.

As soon as I got home I e-mailed my endo the following message:

It came to my attention from listening to the radiology people talk during my uptake test that my CT scan with contrast earlier this month may have messed up this test.

If it did, I am very worried about having to redo this test and having to wait even longer for treatment, because I have been having some serious unrelenting symptoms related to my thyroid troubles.

I have so many symptoms but the worst are the really high BG’s that I can’t bring down, the racing heart and chest pain, the overwhelming weakness and tiredness, and the constant sweating.

I noticed a week ago that I now have a goiter on the right side of my thyroid. It’s not visually noticeable, but it can be felt easily.

I realize I haven’t told you before about the severity of my symptoms, I apologize.

I know this test is important…I guess I don’t know what I’m asking, but I just can’t keep feeling this way, I am so tired and my racing heart all the time keep me from being able to function.

Thanks

Also, once I was headed home I got myself some Rally’s. Oh, I missed food!

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The Waiting

I’m still in a kind of limbo regarding my thyroid. Those of you who read my blog regularly know about the swollen neck and horrible headaches and dizzy spells. I am happy to report that those symptoms are mostly gone now.

But the overactive thyroid remains and is scaring the bejesus out of me.

I have almost all the symptoms related to an overactive thyroid:

Difficulty swallowing (mild)

weight loss (20+lbs in two months)

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20+lbs lost between August and today

Physical hunger almost all the time.

Nausea ( and vomiting on occasion)

Weakness in my upper arms and thighs (Sometimes I feel like I can’t get up from sitting)

Physical tiredness and sleepiness (I sleep 15 – 18 hours a day!)

Moodiness (It’s like I’m perpetually PMSing)

Hot flashes and excessive sweating (all day everyday)

Diarrhea (but less frequent bowel movements)

Blurry vision (moderate)

Blood glucose levels in the 200-400 range All the time. (I’ve raised my basal to 2 units per hour, and I’ve also increased my bolus amount quite a bit! And I still can’t keep my BG below 260!).

And the worst is!: Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shortness of breath, occasional pain down my left arm. (so scared!) This is all day (when I’m active) and even when I first lay down to sleep at night.

My Endo diagnosed me with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) on October 9th. I did followup blood work. Then on October 17th she ordered a thyroid scan and uptake. On October 18th I was called by the nuclear medicine department to schedule the scan.

I’m having horrible life-halting symptoms. Understand, please, that I cannot walk three steps without getting terrible chest pain. When I stand up I feel weak and unstable. I sleep more than half the day away and all night!

I don’t feel good!

You can understand, then, how heartbroken I was to discover I have to wait over a week to do this test. I have to follow a strict low-iodine diet for at least a week, and then they give me a radioactive iodine pill, I have to wait 24 hours, and then do the one hour scan.

That means I have to wait even longer to find out why my thyroid is so angry and get some treatment.

How much longer do I have to suffer like this!

Tom Petty – The Waiting