Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thyroid Foods

I guess, as with any disease, nutritional information changes constantly. Coffee is a perfect example. One day it's bad for you, the next it's good in moderation. Over the past few years I have noticed there's some confusion regarding kelp/seaweed and soy products for a person with hypothyroidism and hashimoto's disease.

Here is what I know. The reason some doctors suggest eating kelp/seaweed is for the iodine. In very small amounts it can be beneficial for the thyroid. BUT, it's not something that any person should eat unless they are tested for iodine deficiency. Too much iodine is bad for the thyroid also. So if you're taking a supplement with iodine in it, please make sure you've been tested FIRST and found to be iodine deficient. In Canada and the United States, iodine is in our food. Table salt, fertilizers on the foods the animals eat, fresh produce. Chances are, we are getting too much to begin with, so it's probably best to avoid it until tests show it's needed. Below is a website you can check out with a little bit of information.

http://standing1.home.mindspring.com/thyroid/badfood.html


Soy products. Wow. Soy is in almost everything that has been manufactured. Even dog food. It is extremely versatile as something I call a "fake food". Fake foods to me, are foods that pretend to be something they are not. Soy is not meat, although through manufacturing it can look like chicken nuggets or ground beef. There has always been the information available that soy blocks thyroid production. Which in turn leads to so many other health problems. I don't have enough space in this blog to discuss them all. Even people without thyroid problems shouldn't be eating soy. So for a hashimoto's patient to eat soy, it would be extremely detrimental. Below is a website that has more information.
http://www.optimumchoices.com/Soy.htm

Now, I know you can always find something on the internet to say exactly what you want it to say. I'm sure if you looked hard enough, you'd find a website proving pigs can fly. So if you have doubts, even if you've read all there is to read on the internet about these foods, perhaps those doubts should hold some weight in your decision to consume soy and iodine. Perhaps you should not throw caution to the wind about them. Perhaps taking the chance it won't hurt you, will actually hurt you. And why would you take that chance?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Today

How do I feel today... I guess I'm ok. I hurt all over, but it's not too bad. I'll take a couple of Advil today. I don't like to take medications, but I'm fine with 2 Advil now and then. Drinking lots of water with it.
On days like today, I wonder what my immune system will decide is 'bad' next. After it wipes out my thyroid completely, will it move on to something else? Is someone researching that? I don't know a single person who donates to thyroid research. Canadians can just go to this website - http://www.thyroid.ca/membership.php
It doesn't even take long. I paid for my 1 year membership. Best $25 I ever spent. I am hoping they take my annual membership and they find a way to cure this disease. That website has lots of information. Check it out.
Although I can't vouch for it's complete accuracy because not all Hashimoto's patients get a goitre, and not all goitres will reduce simply by taking a pill every day. They (goitres) are usually removed surgically.
But anyways, I'd like to go to the gym today. Just for a walk. Even though it's upstairs and is open to the lower floor, so it makes me lose my balance at a couple of places on the track. And sure, I could use my own treadmill, but sometimes I just want different scenery. It's nice to get out of the house too.


React and Overreact

Treating Hashimoto's disease is very difficult because it's like a dog chasing his tail. It's a never-ending chase. TSH goes down, doctor lowers the dose of thyroid medication (aka T4/Synthroid/Levothyroxine), TSH goes up, doctor raises the meds. It seems like the doctors are always reacting to what's already done. I'll put a timeline down based on what I go through.
Day 1 - I go in at 7:30am for them to take a sample of my blood.
Day 7 - I go in to see the doctor and the doctor decides my fate.
Day 49 - The new dose is in full effect.

Here is what doesn't make sense to me. There's 7 days between taking my blood and the day the doctor reads my results. I have Hashimoto's disease, which by definition means my labs will change as often as they like. Sometimes my thyroid works, sometimes it doesn't. It all depends on what it feels like that day. So maybe the day I had blood drawn, my thyroid felt like getting out of bed. Then the very next day it decided it was going back into hibernation. So the day I see the doctor for my result, my thyroid is still in hibernation, has been all week, but the doctor looks at my test results and says "I'm going to lower your T4 dose."
Now, if I'm having a bad day, I don't get my blood tested. I can't. A bad day usually means I can't even find the energy to get dressed or I'm in so much pain that getting dressed is just not an option. I always get my blood tested on the days that I feel better, which means they are the days my thyroid has decided to perk up and do something. Hmm... That kind of bites because my tests will always show I'm doing better than I really am. So the doctor will lower my T4's. It takes the new dose 6 weeks to be in full effect. 6 weeks. No testing during that time. The doctor doesn't even want to hear from me those weeks. Since the new dose is less than the previous dose, it makes my bad days worse and more frequent. And it all started because I felt well enough to get my blood taken for testing.
Is there a solution?
How about I drag my butt in there when I don't feel well? Drive when I can't wake up and take the chance I won't get in a car accident? Take the chance my confusion won't end up causing me to drive into the side of a building or a tree? Because bad days include confusion so bad that I can't even answer my phone, pain so extreme walking makes me cry, exhaustion so overpowering that I fall asleep when I don't want to.
What if the doctors tested more often? Perhaps labs are that busy? Perhaps doctors aren't all that busy and they can read my results the same day the lab completes it? Sure. Because I'm the only patient they have.
So what's the solution then?


Saturday, February 04, 2012

I Guess We're At Today


I saw my new doctor. He seemed so nice. Social. Polite. He even seemed to know what I was talking about with my disease. And the best part was, he gave me back my original dose of T4 replacement. He took the time to sit and read my medical records. I didn't mind waiting at all. It was comforting knowing he actually read what my endocrinologist wrote. It was nice to see he trusted the specialist I spent 4 years working with.

Such a huge load off my shoulders. After more than 6 months of riding the emotional roller coaster of 'will I get my medication', it feels almost like I've been released from a jail. Set free. At least until the next time. The next set of blood tests. Will they have a hyper test result? Is he going to overreact and lower my medication dosage again? Will he just know to leave things the same and test again in a few weeks? What do I do if he takes away my T4's like the other doctor?

Questions like that are part of life now.  

Friday, February 03, 2012

All Done, Right?

     I'm always surprised that people assume that taking medication is the end. I guess it is for many things. If you get a headache, you take an Advil and that's it. There's nothing more to discuss. Just take your meds and everything is perfect again. Magic. I wish that was the case with Hashimoto's disease because I like to plan things. What I'm doing tomorrow, how long I'm going to be on the treadmill, what I'm cooking for supper, if I'm going to play darts, etc. I like planning things. It helps me feel like I'm in control of something. Even though I take my medication, there's no magic release from this disease. I don't get to keep control. Hashimotos disease takes that control away. Simple tasks such as going to the grocery store can suddenly become a panic attack. Now, I don't usually get panic attacks, but I do get severe anxiety. Where I feel that I can't drive. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of, but it's something, and it stops me from leaving the house some days. And it's so easy to just let it. Let it take over. Some days I don't have the fight in me to stop it from taking over. So I stay home. I let it prevent me from going anywhere. I don't go to darts, I don't go to get groceries, I don't go pick up my prescriptions. Some days it hits me so hard that I don't even get on my treadmill. And I love my treadmill. So, everything gets put off a day. Or two. Today is one of those days. I need to pick up my prescription. Actually force myself to phone it in first. But knowing I have to drive there to get it - I can feel the anxiety build. It's not logical though. I've driven there many times. It's an easy drive. It's not even a difficult parking lot. Yet this anxiety is there and I have to push it away. I hope I can push it away enough to get me out of the house.


Continued Search

     After such a fiasco with the clinic doctor, I was so discouraged. I stopped my search for about a week or so. I had to take the lowered dose that I was given. What choice did I have? I did have some of my regular dose saved up, but those wouldn't last very long, and if there was no way for me to get that dose again, I had to find a way to live with the lowered dose. So I took the lowered dose and every day it seemed like I was just watching my life disappear. Slowly, as I adapted to the lowered dose, I was awake less and less, my body started to hurt literally from head to toe. My hair hurt, broke off, fell out. But the pain quickly became excruciating. Just lifting my arm would make me scream out in pain and cry. One day I couldn't bear it any longer. I called my husband and asked him to take me to the hospital ER. I felt hope that the doctor there would do my blood tests and give me back my regular thyroid dose. In the meantime they hooked me up to an IV with pain medication in it. Morphine maybe? I don't remember. My blood tests came back, and in 10 days of lowering my meds, my TSH went up almost 2 whole points. Still, the doctor decided to give me 500mg oxycodone plus an anti-inflammatory, rather than adding 12.5mcg of my thyroid medication. Why is that? I'm trying to find logic in this. Give a highly addictive narcotic with side effects of depression, possibility of suicide, to someone with Hashimoto's disease including a high incidence of depression, INSTEAD of adding a very small dose of thyroid medication they were already on and IN WRITING by a specialist who had treated the patient for 4 years. How can that be? He actually gave me enough medication to kill myself. He's lucky I didn't do it because I admit it crossed my mind. At certain parts of the day that was all I ever thought about. Being in excruciating pain with absolutely no end in sight, option is being stoned AND in pain? No contest.

Turns out I didn't take the oxycodone. I couldn't make myself to do it. I did, however, take the anti-inflammatory. Which worked well enough for me to be able to get out of bed. Still in pain though. But this wasn't a solution. I had to find a doctor.

So I started phoning around again. Only this time I phone hospitals. And I begged. I told whoever answered the phone about my Hashimoto's disease and asked if they knew anyone who would take me - just me. After about an hour on the phone, the sun came out. One nurse said she knew a doctor who was going to be taking new patients in the next month or two, and she gave me his number. I thanked her profusely and then made the call. All of a sudden I was on the waiting list and they would call me with an appointment! Relief! I could finally start taking my little stash of my regular dose! I counted the pills, and found I had enough to get me to my appointment with my new doctor. All that was left was the waiting. Waiting to see if he would do the same as the one in the clinic. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.