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Posts Tagged ‘thyroid’

The Family at KA

It’s been a while since my last update, so if you were waiting, you probably were wondering if we made it back alive.  Have no fear: we all made it to our respective homes, a little lighter in the pockets and with tighter-fitting clothes.  It was great to have the whole family together, and my only complaint about the whole trip was that it was too short!  I feel like I didn’t waste a single minute, which is great, but I never got a chance to relax!  That might also be because I had to work almost every day I was there, but that’s another story….

I spent most of the time at the gym and spa, and I think mom was too.  She worked out twice, and since she asked me to give her some pointers, I tried to help.  I still think the Canyon Ranch Grill is the best place to eat in Vegas: awesome food, they print the nutrition value right on the menu, and it’s not overpriced.  I’ve never been one for massages before, but I sure liked the one I had there!  (In the spa, not the grill, of course.)  I don’t think I’ve ever felt my shoulders without any tension in them before.

I didn’t do very well at blackjack, which stinks.  I usually do a good job.  I think I was too cautious, which might come with age, or maybe with a full understanding of the value of money.  It was easier when I was younger and didn’t have any bills waiting for me at home.

Mom on the Scooter

I think everyone else had a good time, too.  Mom’s energy kept up for all but one day, and we got her a little motorized scooter so she could go shopping with us at the Forum shops.  I have to admit that it was slightly annoying…I was looking for a couple specific things, and it’s really hard to run around and get in and out of places quickly with one of those scooters…but I was really glad she was able to come around with me, and I’d rather have dealt with the scooter than have stolen all her energy for the rest of the trip.  It’s not as easy to do things anymore because there’s a lot more planning involved: will there be a wheelchair and wheelchair access, how much walking is there, what if mom wants to leave early or gets tired, how early can we eat, etc.  I’m not saying that’s bad…just something different that we’ll have to get used to from here on out.  Kind of like learning how to be a parent and how to maneuver a stroller.

When mom got back to NC, she got her MRI and the results that her brain tumors are completely gone.  Her thyroid levels are back to normal (though she’s still a bit low on energy), and they took her off the blood thinning meds.  We’re all hoping for a clear PET scan in September, and then for it all to continue on the upward path for a long time!!

So the next exciting adventure is that Anthony lost his job, so we’re back into the thick of money worries.  I don’t think there’s any worse stress than wondering how you’re going to afford your mortgage (in our case, mortgageS).  I’m trying not to worry too much because I know that everything works out the way it’s supposed to, but I thought we were finally getting on track, and it sucks to be back in this place.

I’ll be seeing mom (and dad) again in a couple of weeks when we’re back in NC for a friend’s wedding shower.  I think I get to see them at least once a month from here on out for the rest of the year…after the shower, they’re coming to WV to visit the Greenbrier in mid-September; then the friend’s wedding in October; then Thanksgiving; then Christmas.  Time sure flies!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, which is mainly because there’s not much new to report.  Mom saw my endocrinologist and has been on the Cytomel for a while, and that along with her new nausea medication are working okay for the time being.  She’s had some issues with severe dry skin, especially around her finger- and toenails, and her oncologist told her to stop the Tarceva for a few days.  She took a 5-day break, and that seemed to help.

We’re leaving for Vegas a week from today, and I hope she has a good time.  I called ahead for a wheelchair for the airports so she won’t have to walk much there, but I do worry about how she’ll do in the expansive hotels.  We planned this trip before we knew about the cancer…and it’s definitely a trip more for me and dad than for her.  Vegas isn’t her kind of place, though I really don’t understand why.  Anything you want to do anywhere in the world, you can do in Vegas.  I plan on staying in the gym/spa/pool areas most of the day, and I figured that would appeal to her too, but I don’t think she’s looking forward to it.  Hopefully dad will at least enjoy it.  🙂

I also worry about her new nausea medication.  From what I’ve read about it, it’s got some serious side-effects.  Her doctors are saying that it’s a result of a high dosage over a long period of time, and I hope they’re right.  I hate that it’s always taking a pill to cure a symptom caused by a pill to cure a symptom caused by a pill, you know?  That’s what stuff like macrobiotics is for, in my mind…addressing the root cause, not the symptoms.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys the remainder of the summer!  School starts back for me on August 26th, so I don’t expect to have any free time after that date!

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It’s been a beautiful weekend up here in WV, and I think it’s been just as nice down in NC.  The humidity’s been keeping itself busy elsewhere, and that’s been a lovely break.  I ran a 10k in Morgantown on Saturday, the Spirit & Breath Challenge, which raises money for lung cancer research and awareness.  It’s only my second 10k, but I shaved 4 minutes off my time from two weeks ago, which makes me feel like I’m doing well…especially because it was an extremely hilly course!  And maybe I ran a little faster because I was thinking about mom.  🙂

Mom did get in to see my endocrinologist, Dr. Weir, and Dr. Weir put her on Cytomel (T3), which is what I thought was going to happen.  Dr. Weir said that mom’s beta blocker would prevent any heart-related side-effects.  I’m sure that will help mom with her energy levels.  Mom said they were also scheduling a thyroid scan to make sure the issue wasn’t related to cancer, but I figure they would have seen that in a PET scan by now if it were there.

Mom’s still tired, but she thinks that might be the result of her new nausea medicine.  She doesn’t feel nauseated anymore, but she’s so tired that she feels like she needs a nap by the early afternoon.

I know that things could be a whole lot worse, but it sure would be nice for mom to feel like her old self again.  She’s a driven, focused, active lady, and I know these road blocks aren’t making things easy for her.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely Independence Day holiday!  I will definitely be enjoying mine!

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TSH

I’m sorry to report that mom’s progress has stalled a bit…not in terms of the cancer (that we know of), but she’s still stuck with nausea and low energy.  She said her doctors had an issue with miscommunication regarding her blood thinner over the weekend, but hopefully that’s working itself out, and she’s starting a new nausea medication tomorrow.

Mom and I both have a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune disease where the body basically eats the thyroid, or at least that’s how I’ve always heard it explained.  Mom’s mom had it, too.  It’s something I’ve lived with since I was three, and I rarely have any symptoms.  Sometimes I feel extremely tired and have trouble getting up and staying awake all day, and then I know it’s time to have my blood work done…it always reads that my TSH is high, which means I need more of the T4 hormone.  “Normal” TSH ranges vary from doctor to doctor.  Most people say 1-3 is good, but from all of the research I’ve done, I’ve learned that Hashimoto’s patients should say on the lower end of the range…supposedly it slows down the deterioration of the thyroid.  At any rate, through life experience, I know that when I feel very tired, my TSH is usually around 2.  Some folks would call that “normal,” but I feel great when my TSH is between .2-1.  (There’s a danger of it harming you if it drops below .01.)

ANYway, the point of all that was to tell you that something finally clicked in mom’s head, and she thought that maybe her low energy was related to her thyroid.  Turns out her TSH is 10.4!!  Her docs think the radiation might have knocked her thyroid off kilter.  I tell you what, if I can hardly get out of bed when my TSH is at 2, I can’t imagine how mom’s feeling!  I give her props for even getting out of bed at all, much less carrying on with something of a normal routine!

So now the problem is that it’s very, very difficult to get appointments with endocrinologists, especially as a new patient.  It usually takes me about three months, minimum.  I was hoping that someone could talk their way into an appointment sooner, but it appears that mom’s liaisons at Duke haven’t yet been able to pull any strings.  I really liked my endo in Raleigh, and she’s located directly behind all of mom’s other docs at the Duke Raleigh location, so it would be great.  But they’re saying the soonest they can see her is in September!  Yikes!

I’m hoping she gets some better news.  She’s already upped her medication, but it takes a while to kick in…Synthroid (levothyroxine), which is T4, takes a while to turn into T3, which is what the body needs.  They do make synthetic T3 (Cytomel), which is like an espresso shot, but I took it for a little while and it permanently messed up my heart so now I can’t imbibe caffeine at all without heart palpitations.  And there’s Armour, which is a T4/T3 mix made from pig thyroid, but I felt bad about that since I don’t eat pig to begin with.  The point is that there are a lot of options that general docs don’t always know about, and I think she’d do well to speak with an endo.

Sending positive thoughts!!

(PS:  Happy Birthday to the greatest dad in the world!!  Love you, daddy!)

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