Hypothyroidism…blood test results

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Earlier this month I had a semi routine blood drawn done.  I hadn’t been feeling great and my doctor decided to check to see if my thyroid was balanced.  I think we were both to get the results.  My thyroid was balanced (and I’ve been feeling fine so it must of just been some exhaustion to fight) and for the first time since February 2014 at least my A1C was completely in the NORMAL RANGE!!

I did not have my A1C checked prior to 2014, although while pregnant in 2006 it was fine.  Sometime between 2006 and 2014 my A1C bumped into the insulin resistant/pre-diabetic range.  I have a sweet tooth and I’ve tried to avoid artificial sweeteners because there really isn’t much positive to read about them.  As I’ve tried to curb the sweets reserving treats for celebrations and certain times of the month I’ve seen the weight drop and my cravings drop, but the numbers remained the same.

I can only explain my new found blood ranges as a result of prayer, sticking with eating less sweets and a lot of exercise.  My doctor even seemed surprised.

The results of this latest blood draw has given me a new perspective.

  1. For the first time in a very very long time I have stopped waiting for quality of life to become even more compromised and instead have become even more focused on keeping my A1C in range.  Less and less sugar, increased workouts including heavier weights.
  2. I’ve begun thinking about the future more.  What will life be like in 10 or more years?  I’m no longer assuming needles, insulin and full blown diabetes is a given for me.

If you are also fighting hypothyroidism I CAN.NOT stress enough how vital quality health care is to your sustained health.

Further reading: The two BIG Problems with typical thyroid treatment Part 1 and Part 2

Switching Thyroid Meds…again

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It’s been awhile since I gave an update on my Hypothyroidism journey and to be honest, that was in large part because I wasn’t sure what else to say.

This summer I was more intune with my body and how I was feeling than I had been in years.  When I got strep throat I was able to pinpoint the cause as exhaustion even before I actually got sick.  Both my stress levels and physical activity increased significantly causing a bit of adrenal fatigue and imbalance in cortisol levels.

One of the things I have had to learn over the past few years is that internalizing situations and trying to handle things myself has not worked.  I need to ask for help and be wise about what I say yes to.  The reality in life is that there are unavoidable stresses.  Having children, dealing with the sale of a house in another state, renters who aren’t great about paying rent and instead vacation is their priority….these things happen.  At the same time, not giving myself margin in my daily life giving no room for reaction or adjustment to a change in plan can certainly add unnecessary stress.

Whether it was in response to my stress this summer, the fact that I’ve lost even more weight, or just a natural adjustment, I began to find this summer that napping was again part of my daily routine.  My nails were brittle, my hair was falling out and I my emotions were a bit more extreme.  All this was a hard to attribute specifically to my thyroid at first because I was teaching swim lessons 4-6 hours each day, and chlorine can be a bear on our bodies.

A blood test confirmed that my T3 was yet again out of range and comparison wise it was actually worse than the last time a blood draw was done.  It seems that Armor Thyroid itself is not going to be be enough to keep my thyroid functioning so a new medicine has been added.

Cytomel, a specific T3 synthetic seems to be the aid I need right now.  5 days in I’m thinking clearly again and no longer crave that late afternoon nap.  There are side effects related to this drug when the dose isn’t correct, but for now things seem to be fine.

As I reflect on this additional change I have a few recurring thoughts.

Concerns: First, I have to admit, this is my second football season adjusting to medicine.  Football season itself can be our most stressful time of year and I’m disappointed to still be dealing with medicine adjustments.  Secondly, I’m a bit nervous to be on a synthetic drug.  Levothyroxine is a synthetic and is the cause of my thyroid decline.

Positives: It’s hard to trust a synthetic after having such good results with Armor.  At the same, time, I’m feeling better, and it’s always good to feel good!  I’m still losing and maintaining weight.  2 Augusts ago I was in a 16 by October and 18/20.  Last August a firm 14 for pants still and XL for shirts.  This August I’m in a firm 10 for pants and shirts really vary, mostly a M/L.  Some XL’s on name brand tight fitting cuts.

Where do I go from here?  My doctors have begun to disagree about my weight.  My OB/GYN says I’m fine where I’m at as long as my thyroid stays stable.  My endocrinologist says another 20 lbs will keep me stable longer and help me feel my best.  It’s hard to imagine what another 20lbs would look like, but until my thyroid levels stabilize again I’m not arguing on weight.

I’ve begun to crave sugar again, likely due to my exhaustion.  This is complicated because I have registered as insulin resistant in the past.  Nutrition wise I’ll be working to get my sugar intake back under control (no small feat during football season) and I’ll also be monitoring my gluten intake as well.  One thing that has come up in the past month specifically is consistent symptoms that may be related to a building gluten intolerance.  Of course, bread can also add to insulin resistance symptoms, so it’s possible bread and sugar are simply giving the same reaction.

Hypothyroidism is a life long battle for many, it seems I fall into that category.

Thyroid reality check

This week marks the “end” of summer for our family.  The football staff is back in the office, and for my boys, that means they spend time hanging out in dad’s office or in mine.  Now, granted, his office includes a weight room and mine is a swimming pool right now, but I still feel guilty.

Over the last 10 years of being a mom I’ve spent many a day feeling guilty, it’s part of the baggage most 21st century mothers carry, but for me, it is tied to the fact that for the first 9 years of motherhood every day I had to make a choice between resting and cleaning, resting and playing with the boys, relaxing and cooking, etc.   The early years were easy, I just napped when the kids napped.  When they went to school, and I entered back into working outside the home a few days a week things got a bit trickier.  This isn’t to say that we never had fun, we did…I have the pictures to prove it.  At the same time, every choice felt like a compromise.

Since finding my new endocrinologist and switching to Armour Thyroid, I have found my days of compromise becoming less and less necessary.  As long as I take my medicine, eat a healthy diet and exercise I seem to function just like everyone else.

This summer after a 2-year break I took a job back in aquatics.  Swimming can be draining, and I’ve found this summer to be a challenging one.  It’s a good job, working for good people, and right now it’s also necessary, so we’ve made adjustments at the house including the boys learning how to load the dishwasher, Coach taking care of dinner most nights and many more cleaning chores around the house.  Still, adding on this extra job has been a huge reality check.

After the first session of swimming (2 weeks long), I ended up in bed all weekend with strep throat.  There was a gap week in the calendar, and during that week I spent time creating freezer meals for the month of July and getting as much done around the house as I could.  Thankfully, this allowed for a healthier second session.  I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to wrapping up swim lessons for the summer regardless of how thankful I am for the job.

I’m also thankful for this summer because it has reminded me that I have limits, and boundaries need to be firmly stuck to.  Living with hypothyroidism means I have to make choices and prioritize tasks but it doesn’t mean I have to stop living.