Friday, October 29, 2010

Things look different in pictures.

Ho boy.  This last week has been mighty interesting.

On Monday:
I couldn't believe myself.  Sitting there during the film screening, all I could think about was how silly I am.  I am so crazy in love with this country boy.  He is not at all who I thought I'd want to end up with, but he's everything I need.  I felt my cheeks go hot as I wrote down everything I felt about him in my Shakespeare notebook instead of jotting down the (totally glib) symbolism I saw on the screen.  I felt deeply grateful.  I felt scared.  When I was fourteen, I thought I would be with Keith forever.  That thought is so absurd to me now that I have to laugh a little bit.  That hipster kid, with his cigarettes and gaudy tattoos-- That's who I thought I wanted?  I'm always a little afraid I'll feel that way about Matt eventually, but I'm convinced that it's different this time, because I'm different this time.

On Tuesday:
Second blood test today.
Oh yeah, I joined a sports team.  Don't laugh.  It's Ultimate Frisbee.  Don't laugh, but that shit's quite a workout. It's basically soccer with a disc.  We started out with a run uphill in wet grass.  I didn't have cleats, so I was pretty far behind.  We stretched.  We laughed because Mike, the coach, confused isotonic with isometric.  These girls.  They're so nice and like me instantly, even though I'm shy and I've never tossed a disc in my life.  It rains while we take bids and lay out in the mud.  Holding plank position until one of the girls scores a point.  I walked into Commons, muddy, gross, wet, but feeling so light and happy. Glee!  I finish my phonology problem set without staying up all night.

On Wednesday:
I saw a shrink.  She seems nice.  I was sore as all hell from practice and could barely walk to my classes.  Around 2pm I told my friends I was going to take a nap, but I knew better.  Taking a nap never works for me.  When I feel like I need one, it usually means I'm crashing.  I slept until about 8:30pm.  I woke up feeling horrible, like I never even started medication.  

On Thursday:
I wake up.  I go back to bed.  I wake up again.  No, I can't get up.  I go to sleep.  I wake up.  No.  No, I'm too weak.  I wake up, and sit up in bed.  My abs hurt, so it takes me two tries.  I can't really move.  I'm too tired.  I put on a jacket and walk to the cafe to get some orange juice because I can't breathe through my nose.  The walk is too much for me.  I go back to sleep, and miss practice.  I send a teary e-mail to my coach, who tells me not to worry about it.  My doctor e-mails me and says that some changes need to be made to my medication.  I walk to the library in the rain at night and do a little homework.  I go back to my room.  I go to sleep.

I feel much better.  Still a little unfocused, but I've done my homework and will be going to every class.  I only have one more today.  I can make it.  I got paid, so now I can take care of my medical bills, plus buy some cleats and some other stuff for ultimate.  I only have to work 5 hours over the weekend to make next month's car insurance payment.
Being a chick sucks.  It seems like literally anything can throw us off kilter.  This crap makes me so impatient. Why am I constantly spotting?  Who knows.  It could be the hypo, could be getting off depo (Jesus, it's been seven months), could be the IUD settling in.  It could be all three of those things for all I know.  I think I'm ovulating, which is weird because I've suddenly stopped bleeding.  My boobs hurt so much, even when I'm just sitting around doing nothing.  Like right now.  I'm in pain.  I have to sleep in my bra.  My multi-vitamin makes me throw up, so I'm having a pregnancy insanity.  I haven't had sex since August, and the health center made me take a pregnancy test way back when I took a piss test a month ago.  What the heck.

Aside from that rant, I'm okay.  I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday to find out what kind of changes in my meds will be required.  I'm planning on having a good Friday night before buckling down this weekend to catch up on the stuff I missed while I was sick.  

I'm homesick a little.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Transitional period.

So, I got my lab results yesterday.  Something about looking at the actual numbers felt good to me.

My TSH levels (the thyroid hormone levels) are 5.75, which is high, since the normal range is somewhere between .80 and 4.5.  I also found out that, once this number moves above the normal range, it keeps increasing exponentially until treated, which means that someone with a TSH level of 15.5 might not feel much worse than someone with a TSH level of 5.0.

I also had a test to see if my thyroid perxoidase antibodies were normal.  Apparently, the normal range is between 0-34 (I don't know how 0 can be normal, but I'm not a doctor).  I have 122.  One hundred and twenty-two.  This means that my body is attacking itself, which requires a lot of energy.  Hypothyroidism already makes you tired, but when your body is always fighting, it's a wonder how you can even move at all.  I wonder how I can even move at all.

Less importantly, I'm vitamin D deficient (most people, especially in Portland where it's always raining, have this problem), and my iron is in the "low normal range," which my doctor doesn't seem to like, and wants me to fix.

Here's the cumbersome part:  My thyroid medicine needs to be taken first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, with 8 ounces of water... I can't eat an hour after I've taken it, and I can't take vitamins or any other medicine for four hours after I take it.  This means that if I wake up with a headache, I can't do anything about it for 4 hours (which happened to me this morning and has been happening every morning lately).  It also means that I have to treat my various vitamin deficiencies at a different time of day from my treating my thyroid deficiencies.  I find this kind of funny since I never went on the birth control pill because I knew I'd never remember to take it every day.

Today was my first dose.  I woke up at 7 to take it, and then went back to sleep for an hour and a half.  I think I'll have to keep doing this if I want breakfast during the week, given the restrictions. I'm aware that it's highly unlikely for me to feel any changes on Day 1, but maybe taking that first pill raised my optimism.  Today seems better than yesterday.

I have to go back for another blood test in three weeks.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

She has a family; she's a mother.


I don't know the details of my results, but I know they showed hypothyroidism.  I think I cried when I found out.  These last 2 years have completely changed my body in some pretty horrible ways, and the possibility of relief is unbelievable. It's a long road ahead, but I guess now's as good a time as any to take the first step.

Here are some details about hypothyroidism:

Early symptoms:
  • Being more sensitive to cold
  • Frequent headaches
  • Depression
  • Fatigue or feeling slowed down ("foggy thinking")
  • Heavier or unusual menstrual periods
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Paleness or dry skin
  • Thin, brittle hair or fingernails
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain (unintentional/unexplained)
Late symptoms, if left untreated:
  • Decreased taste and smell
  • Hoarseness
  • Puffy face, hands, and feet
  • Infertility
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Thinning of eyebrows
The purpose of treatment is to replace the thyroid hormone that is lacking. Levothyroxine is the most commonly used medication. Doctors will prescribe the lowest dose that effectively relieves symptoms and brings the TSH level to a normal range. If you have heart disease or you are older, your doctor may start with a very small dose.
Lifelong therapy is required unless you have a condition called transient viral thyroiditis.
You must continue taking your medication even when your symptoms go away. When starting your medication, your doctor may check your hormone levels every 2 - 3 months. After that, your thyroid hormone levels should be monitored at least every year.