Saturday, April 30, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday, E!

This guy turned THREE today. We will be celebrating tomorrow, so you can be sure a post will follow with all the details. I can barely wait!

Happy 3rd Birthday, my sweet boy!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The One with the Plan... sort of!

Okay, so about a week ago I posted my frustrations with the conventional medicine approach to treating Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Seriously. Paying top dollar to see a Specialist who refuses to listen to your legitimate and well-researched concerns? No thank you.

I've decided that -- SHOCKER! -- I won't be returning to my Endocrinologist for any further treatment. Their treatment plans may work for some, but certainly not for me. Whew! {sigh of relief}

So what's my plan? What is my plan? No really, y'all -- what is my plan?? I've made a few decisions lately but somehow I still find myself devoid of an actual plan. What decisions am I speaking of? How about these, for starters:
  • Not returning to my Endocrinologist (duh)
  • Making an appointment (end of May) with a new Internal Medicine practice -- just so I have someone who is deemed "suitable" for managing my Hashi's
  • Making an appointment (this Wednesday!) with a Board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist and practitioner of functional medicine
  • Eliminating gluten from my diet (as of March 16, 2016)
  • Eliminating sugar from my diet (as of April 4, 2016)
  • Eliminating dairy from my diet (as of April 4, 2016)
  • Eliminating soy from my diet (as of April 4, 2016)
  • Discontinuing my prescription thyroid medication Synthroid® (as of April 5, 2016) - Note: This decision is sort of against medical advise. A bit risky, sure, but the right decision for me... at least for right now.
So lots of decisions, right?

Right. Basically I'm following a sort of gluten-free, sugar detox lifestyle of sorts. I see part of it as temporary, and part of it as permanent. Kind of an elimination diet where I eliminate several possible (and known) food sensitivities common in autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto's with the intent to eventually add them back (with the exception of gluten) over time  to see how my body responds. With all of the reading and researching I've done on Hashi's, it looks like a gluten-free diet is here to stay. Gluten just doesn't mesh well with thyroid disease. And the sugar detox? It hasn't been as bad as I expected. Side note: Thanks to this handy blog, I discovered I actually completed the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) back in 2014! Haha! Did I mention brain fog is a symptom of Hashi's? 'Cause it is. At least, if I remember correctly... ;)

I'm happy to say that I'm seeing a S-L-O-W decreasing trend in my weight since I eliminated the sugar. No surprise there, amiright? Slow and steady is nice. But weight loss isn't really my focus right now. I already know the thyroid gland controls our metabolism and that even a slight deficiency in thyroid hormones can slow down our metabolism (source). The weight is definitely on my radar, but right now I'm more interested in the underlying issues with the thyroid and -- more importantly -- my autoimmune system.

I picked up a great book last week that contains such an incredible wealth of information about Hashi's, including what can cause it, common symptoms, how to treat it, how to possibly reverse it, and basically how to address the underlying physiological issues that are the source of the disease.

I have been pouring through this book like a crazy person! And WOW has it been such an incredible resource! I feel prepared to speak on the conversion of Free T4 to active Free T3 when I see the functional medicine practitioner this week!

I think I'm ready for my medical degree, thankyouverymuch! haha! Let's just say I've been doing a LOT LOT LOT of research and am basically using myself as a bit of a guinea pig to figure out what will and will not work to adequately manage this autoimmune disease. What works for one person may not be the right fit for the next, so it's definitely going to take time and patience to get to the bottom of all of this. The good news is I'm more committed than ever to make the necessary lifestyle changes required to successfully live with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

Game on!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The One with the ARRGGGHHHHHH!!!

Okay, guys. So I mentioned in a previous post that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis disease. Awesome. And rather than be treated by the Internal Medicine Physician's Assistant I had placed my trust in the previous 15-ish years, I felt like I needed to go to a professional. Someone who KNOWS the thyroid. Specifically, an Endocrinologist.

So last December, I drove one hour round-trip out of my way to see a thyroid professional. I even had the added joy of spending double my usual co-pay in order to see said "Specialist." And never mind the fact that, following the appointment, they sent me "down the hall" to "the lab" to have my thyroid panel blood work completed, only to get a bill for almost $300 for a set of tests I've had done several times a year for almost 20 years that always averaged $20. Ya,  $20. So you could say I was pretty impressed with this "Specialist" on my first visit. WIN.

When I saw the doctor in December, I was taking 50 mcg of the generic form of Synthroid. The results were decent enough that he wanted to keep me at 50 mcg, but he preferred that I take the brand name (guessing there's a lot of love shared between big pharmaceuticals and physicians, huh?). But okay. Sure.

I went back in March to check my levels. They increased slightly. And he decided to increase my dose (which I'm still unclear as to why). Unfortunately, our Synthroid buddies only make a 50 mcg, then 75 mcg pill, and he wanted my increased dose somewhere between those. So he decided to prescribe 125 mcg pills, cut in half each day.

Ugh. I mentioned to him how my previous PCP told me that I cannot cut Synthroid pills in half because it would not provide a consistent, accurate dosage each day. He blew me off and assured me there would be no issues. Okay. I will trust him. After all, he's a Specialist, right?

So I cut the pills in half, but they are only scored on one side, and they were all definitely NOT cut into equal halves. Each morning I try to ensure I take a "good" half pill, rather than one of the tinier shards of pill that resulted from my less-than-accurate pill splitting. But this morning, well, the kids were a bit distracting and I clearly remember taking a tiny shard. I figure, if the Specialist says it'll be okay, it'll be okay. Right?


Today is Saturday. In fact, it's our first Saturday in quite some time without any events or activities scheduled. A day at home. A day, in my opinion, perfect for Spring Cleaning!

And all of the family said yay.

I have a list, y'all. It's a big list. Rooms that need cleared out. Closets that need combed through. Attics that need addressing. Garages that need some love. LOTS of stuff.

So why am I writing this post? Oh, right. Because I haven't completed a single dadgum thing on my entire To Do List yet. Bless hubs. He's tried to make a dent in it. He's kept the kids on-task with their lists. But me? I've. Been. In. My. Stinkin' (not literally). Bed. All. Dadgum. Day. Long. I just barely made it downstairs to the couch to chill with my laptop and write this post. My energy for today was NONEXISTENT. Where did it go? Is it possible one teeny tiny sliver of a pill could wreak such havoc? Say it ain't so!

Let me, in all my laziness, surf on over to Synthroid's official website. What do we have here?

Managing hypothyroidism requires getting a precise dose of medicine day after day. This is because levothyroxine products, including Synthroid, are narrow therapeutic index (NTI) drugs. If your dose is off even a little bit, you could experience symptoms of over‑treatment (too much medicine) or under‑treatment (too little medicine)."
What? So it is kind of important to take a precise dose every day. And you can experience symptoms of under-treatment? Mind. Blown. (not) And what is this NTI stuff? I've never heard of Narrow Therapeutic Index drugs. With all of the energy my lazy fingers could muster, I wandered through the interwebs to research this new term to learn how it may impact me:
"Because splitting of tablets produces high variability of tablet fragment sizes, the practice would be inappropriate with narrow therapeutic index medications."
"Narrow Therapeutic Index medications should not be included in a tablet-splitting program."
Oh. So you're saying I shouldn't be splitting my Synthroid pills? Right. Okay. That makes sense.


Guys. I'm frustrated. Seriously. And let's discuss for a moment how I've made the decision to be gluten-free in an attempt to aid in this drama with the hypothyroid symptoms. Almost 3 weeks now I've been GF. It hasn't been nearly the diet overhaul I expected it to be. It's totally doable. Yay for that! But in my googling frenzy, I researched the connection between Hashimoto's and gluten. Let me get all science-y here for a minute:
"The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have [thyroid disease] and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid."
Well isn't that just lovely? But how about this dandy gem of info: SYNTHROID IS NOT GLUTEN-FREE. So basically we're taking a medication to treat a symptom and that medication is in turn contributing to the cause of the symptom! In other words, you could be taking hormones every day with dietary proteins that stimulate your autoimmunity. Gee, that's swell. More research:
And as far as the connection to gluten, there’s just no question that many people that have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism have gluten-sensitivity. For some patients, it’s life-changing when they go gluten-free... Obviously, there’s more things that need to be done besides being gluten-free if you have Hashimoto’s, but that is really one of the earliest, most impactful steps a person can take if they have a thyroid disorder.
I just can't make this stuff up, y'all. My research was nicely summarized with this finding: "...continuing to eat gluten when you have a confirmed autoimmune condition simply isn’t worth risking the immune destruction it could cause."


Ugh. I promise I'm not one of those people who believe everything they read on the Internet is true. But I've done some real research. Hubs has done some real research. We are not making this stuff up. And it's so incredibly frustrating that in this day and age, we cannot simply place our trust and faith in the medical personnel who swore an oath to help us maintain our health. We have to question everything. Just like I learned through Chase's diagnosis and heart surgeries as a baby that we had to be his advocate, we need to continue to be our own advocates when it comes to ensuring our proper health and well-being.

I'm not sure what my next steps are. I emailed my "Specialist" to ask for his opinion re: gluten-free diets and Synthroid pill-splitting. We shall see what he comes back with. But in the meantime, I'm going to increase my fervency on my GF diet (i.e. paying special attention to potential areas of cross-contamination) and research other medications (prescription or otherwise) that can be used to treat this disease instead of Synthroid.

Wish me luck? But most of all, be patient with me... I swear I'm just not myself right now.