Thursday, March 25, 2010

Arigato Gozaimasu, Mr Hashimoto.

So I got the blood tests back and I have something called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. It's an auto-immune disease that is not curable. It's where your immune system attacks parts of your thyroid thinking it is not a part of your body but foreign antibodies and must be destroyed. So I go through bouts of Hyper and Hypothyroidism depending on how Mr Hashimoto is feeling and what part of my thyroid he has his pudgy little hands around.

This explains...well everything. The Nurse that gave me the news also has it. She said I could have had this for five to ten years without ever knowing it. Some people go undiagnosed until they can't get out of bed and are so depressed they seek medical attention. Other people that have it get diagnosed improperly with things like Bi-polar Disorder and Depression and Anxiety. (Or in my case ADHD, but he wasn't a real doctor. I digress.) I am glad that really the worst of it, the energy loss and the over sleeping and the depression and the weight gain were within the last two to two and a half years or so. (Poor Brett, we've been married for three.) She also then told me the meds would not make me feel any better. I cried for a whole day.

Well. Day one on the meds was like someone had flipped on a light switch. I cleaned the house. The whole house, and it didn't seem overwhelming. I made dinner then put the left overs away and then did the dishes and then made cookies and then cleaned the kitchen. Like a normal person. And I did the laundry and played with the kids. And raked he leaves. Bella threw a fit and I let her and it didn't bother me. I was like, ain't-no-thing-but-a-chicken-wing about stuff that used to send me over the top. My quality of life was back to normal. Day two was even more interesting. I went to my presidency meeting and I noticed an amazing thing. Where before my calling made me feel super nervous, left me guessing and second guessing every move I made and feeling confused and fearful (all of these things a more self aware person would probably recognize as anxiety), all of these emotions were just...gone. I didn't worry about saying something stupid or talking at the wrong time or sounding dumb. It was all just, peace. I do have one negative side effect, however. I am feeling a little manic. Less stable. Like I am piloting a paper airplane of emotions. I noticed that when something strikes me as sad I well up straight away. If something makes me mad I will rant about it and get more and more excited until I am nearly frenzied. I freaked out on my Mom about holistic medicine last night, sorry Mom, and then Brett and I had a big conversation this morning about politics in Utah where I just escalated into a raving nut ball. (Mmmm, I love raving nut balls but they are like 600 calories.) I hope this part levels off.

Speaking of calories, I can't eat. On the first day I sat down to eat three crunchy tacos and ate two and a half. I tried some tortilla chips. The chips tasted super salty and I had to stop. Oh, and I ate a couple jalapenos and I was amazed at how hot they were. I used to eat them with everything. I felt after dinner like I was going to explode. I was like Thanksgiving Day style full. It didn't stop me from eating oatmeal cookies later though and I got even sicker. I can't eat like I used to. Food just looks uninteresting to me now, which is how I used to be my whole life. It's nice to have that back and not have this insatiable and ever present desire to eat my face off every hour. I have back that little voice in my head that says, "You should probably stop eating, that will be enough." He's been gone for so long , I forgot what he sounded like. Whatever your name is, I missed you. Just find a nice quiet place to read when I go to Smashburger. I won't be needing you then.

I feel my old ambition back, my old fire back, my old can-do attitude back. I have a sense of optimism back, a sense of joy, and a lightness of being. I am so amazed that I went on for so long not knowing that I didn't have to feel the way I did. Not knowing anything was even wrong with the way I was feeling. Never did I associate the tiredness, weight gain, overwhelming dread, joint pain and endless stress with an actual physical issue. I thought these things were psychological or spiritual or just plain old age. I am so thankful that my Doctor figured me out. I'm grateful Brett's employer decided to give us health insurance so I could get the Aetna cards in the mail the day I decided to make the appointment. I'm glad I got this stupid rash, that still hasn't gone away, because it got me in to the doctor. I'm grateful his nurse has Hashimoto's so they thought to check for it. I'm glad he is cool enough of a guy to sit and talk to me about life and then put the pieces of our conversation into a diagnostic frame work. I am grateful for God who I know shifts these things around into place on our behalf. Because he loves us. I could be negative and mad and want the last ten years of my life back, but I don't care. I am so happy I found it out and that my little Bella Rose won't have to worry. I'll get her checked out the first teeny, tiny sign of depression so she can maintain her quality of life. Which will be high.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sticking out my big fat neck.

In pictures of me over the last couple of years I noticed a few different, very upsetting things. One, my arms that have always looked slim and muscular from constant work and workouts, got really flabby. Two, my abdomen that I have been secretly pretty proud of got poochy. Three, my neck seemed to get more manly. I have always been kind of "athletically built" as one person put it. I'm not curvy and busty, I have been pretty long and flat my entire life. Like an adolescent boy. So for me to look at a picture and see I was getting a manly neck to me was just a part of getting older and one more bit of evidence that I was not a girlie girl. This is how I framed it.

This year I quit soda (More like cut back on) and stopped eating sugar and after dinner snacks and started running. I was doing great, running about 2-3 miles to start out with and getting up to 5-6 by mid February. I was on track for the half marathon I committed to run with some friends from High School days. The guys I work with and I were talking about running relays and racing bikes together. I realized how much I missed having that in my life and was looking forward to this summer for these reasons. But I noticed I didn't lose any weight and wasn't putting on any muscle. Instead I was getting muscle twitches. I then (TMI ALERT) had my monthly visit from Aunt Flo. And for many, many months now, I have been having *ahem* unusual circumstances with Aunt Flo. She has gotten aggressive in her old age. (Dudes, I don't blame you if you just...close the browser.) It was less like a typical expected cycle of nature and more like a surprise attack. If regular periods are a kind stranger asking you for a dime at the bus station, what I had going on was a group of drug addicted gang members attempting a home invasion. I had so many issues that once in the middle of a pre-production meeting I had to spend a good amount of time in the bathroom and what was I wearing? White jeans. Someone asked me if I was OK. How do you say, I think I am losing my internal organs? I had to sneak out of the production office while everyone was shaking hands and saying their goodbyes and go and buy new pants to drive home in. You get the idea. So here I was a couple of weeks ago, in this same boat. Getting mugged by Aunt Flo. I forced myself to the gym and ran a mile and a half before I felt like dying. I cried the whole way home. For bout ten days at odd times I felt like all of the blood in my entire body would leave my head and go find something better to do. I almost blacked out while driving, which had happened one other time about six months before. I couldn't even climb the stairs at my house without feeling light headed. I had a rash on my thighs appear. I got a stomach bug. At home, I swept the floor and my hands would not leave the handle. I had to uncurl them slowly and they hurt, from way inside. I would sleep ten hours a night or more if I wasn't working.

So last week I went to see my Doctor in Salt Lake about this rash. I love him, he's been great to my kids and I. I drive up to 3900 S to see him. This love runs that deep. So we talk and catch up. We just talk about running and training and we talk about my rash but it's my other symptoms which he seems to be WAY more interested in. It all comes out in what seems to be casual conversation. He tests me for Strep for the rash and it's negative. He decides to do what he calls "a s___ load of blood tests". He calls me on set the next morning and says that it's my thyroid. I have no idea what this is exactly. I know it's a gland. I go home and look it up on, otherwise known as Web MD, and it all makes so much sense. I mean all the way back through my whole life I can see how I have had these types of hormonal issues and they seem to have been getting out of control over the last two years. Now, I do not mean to make this sound like a lady disease. Along with this comes things like crippling exhaustion, joint pain, irritability, memory loss, cold intolerance, dry skin, hair loss, depression, weight gain, infertility, and the coup de grace, an enlarged neck. I am now totally assured I have Hypothyroidism. Yesterday I went in and had more blood drawn to determine if I have Hyper or Hypothyroidism or something else entirely like Lupus. So we'll see what's what. After hearing last week that a friend who has been fighting with two types of cancers has been back in the hospital with a terrible infection, finding out I have something totally treatable, I'll take it. And I actually feel really proud of myself that I have still been able to accomplish the things I have been able to, and am trying to be kinder to myself about the things I have not been able to. It's kind of a relief, really.

If you or someone you love has a neck that looks like it is smuggling a potato, please see your doctor.