Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"If you don't have your health, you don't have anything."

*taps mike*  Anyone still reading this thing?

I had a bit of a health crisis.  And now it has been so long, that it feels overwhelming to dust off this little space and put it to use again.  We will see how it goes.

Last summer started out so well, and I felt that I had finally reached my stride!  My kids were at great ages, I was feeling awesome, we could do so many fun things together, I was getting sleep and exercise on a more regular basis.  Life was good!  But then, at the end of July, I started crashing hard in the middle of the day.  I would get 8 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night but still fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon during quiet time.  Then, I just started to feel exhausted all of the time.  I also started feeling beat up after moderate amounts of exercise.  Thirty minutes of yoga made me feel like I had just run a marathon.  It escalated until I had the following symptoms:

difficulty regulating temperature
extreme fatigue--spending an entire day or afternoon laying down
muscle soreness/fatigue, especially after exercise
joint pain in shoulders and hips
shortness of breath
chest tightness
depression and anxiety
brain fog
memory loss
hair loss


I finally made the huge effort to find a doctor (or CRNP in this case) to see.  I have little faith in the health care professionals in the area.  In the rare instance that I do find someone competent, they leave shortly after the fact so that I have to start the whole process again.  I ended up seeing a nurse I initially thought was o.k., but ended up not having the expertise to treat me.  (And the fact that she didn't understand the essential ingredients in the medication she prescribed me left me with zero confidence.)  That whole process of treatment and treatment failure took about four months.  Four months of being completely exhausted and spending more time lying down that I have ever done in my entire life.  I finally admitted defeat with my local options and found a doctor further afield (by two hours) and out of network ($$).  The great news is that the new doctor seems fully capable of handling my diagnoses, so the money and time seems well justified at this point.  A month has passed, and I am starting to feel like a normal human being again.  My hope is a tentative one though.  I still fear that this relative health won't last.  These past five months have been a roller coster of feeling fine followed by severe crashes lasting weeks and months.   

The official diagnosis based on blood work and an ultrasound is Hashimoto's--an autoimmune hypothyroidism.  I was not surprised given my symptoms, my family history (my sister had hypothyroidism), and the strong Celiac/Hashimoto's link.  I have a few more tests later this month to rule out other autoimmune disorders which might also be contributing.

This whole experience has left me a bit uncertain.  I have taken my health and my energy so much for granted.  I spent a lot of the past few months thinking,  "This might be it.  I might be this exhausted and incapacitated for the indefinite future."  The thought left me very depressed.  But this is the reality for a lot of people.  I have a new level of understanding and compassion for those dealing with this level of fatigue.  I really hope and pray though that this new found energy of mine is here to stay.     


MBC said...

Oh no! Hope your current treatment continues to work for you.

Amy said...

I have missed your posts, and I'm so sorry that this is the reason why. I'm so glad you found a good doctor, and I hope things continue to improve!

Feisty Harriet said...

Daaah! I'm so sorry! A friend just got diagnosed with Hashimoto's as well, it's been a process to try and find something that will help her.


RFamily said...

I am so happy you are blogging again!


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