Friday, July 19, 2013

Walking in faith...

Over the last few weeks, I've been feeling a bit run down.  Getting tired really easily, and having some joint and muscle pain in my arms, elbows and wrists.  I've also been really hot.  These things seemed easily explained by the fact that I have four kids, and it's hot season in India.

But the last few days, I've noticed my heart pounding after just walking around the house, getting extremely winded just walking up stairs.  My hands don't cooperate with me like they normally do. I've had more frequent headaches, and my hair has been falling out.  I've also lost over ten pounds in two weeks.

I feel like I just did the 30 Day Shred, twice... all the time.

Clearly, something is not right.

On Tuesday I went to a couple of different doctors. I started with our pediatrician, because he's the only doctor I knew in our city. I have never been sick and needed one before.  He referred me to a general practitioner.  He listened to my symptoms and rightly ordered blood tests.  The blood tests came back Wednesday night.  They revealed signs of a viral infection, as well as elevated thyroid levels.  The GP wanted me to have a thyroid scan.  I called a private hospital in town to speak to an endocrinologist.  He asked me to come see him before I went for the thyroid scan.

I saw the endocrinologist, Dr. Gahlot, yesterday.  He agreed the scan was necessary after hearing me and seeing my blood results.  I went straight from his office to the lab for the scan.

They injected a radioactive chemical into my hand, and waited to see how much of it would absorb into my thyroid.  They needed this to determine why my thyroid is overactive.

When a thyroid is overactive, it produces too much hormone which causes all of the problems I was having, by increasing your metabolism a lot.  It was all starting to make sense!

There are basically two potential reasons this could be happening.  It could be stemming from the viral infection, if the infection had attacked my thyroid.  That could have been making the thyroid hyperactive.  If that is the case it's called thyroiditis, and the thyroid scan will reveal very little absorption of the chemical.

The other reason is Grave's disease.  Grave's disease is an auto-immune disease, and there is no clear reason why people have it or develop it.  It is a lifelong thing, and causes the thyroid to be hyperactive.  Typically it is treated with anti-thyroid medication for a long period of time... at least a year to 18 months.  Sometimes people go into remission after this treatment.  Sometimes they develop side effects.  Sometimes it doesn't help.  Sometimes, when they stop the medication, the symptoms return.  Normally, it all works properly, and if the dose is kept to a reasonably low but effective level, it has the best chance of working.

The thyroid scan leans toward my problem being caused by Grave's disease.  But my blood reports are still showing signs of a viral infection that is affecting my liver.  Some of the potential side effects of the anti-thyroid medication can cause the same things I am already having.. which means if I take them now, those blood results could get worse and cause a bigger problem.

So, we are sending previous blood reports from a year ago when I was totally normal to the doctor.  He will determine from this if these levels are just my normal, or if they are elevated for me.  If they are normal, we'll start the medication. If they're not normal and there really is a viral infection, then I will start on beta blockers to help with my fatigue and racing heart and excessive sweating.  Then in 3-4 weeks, we'll repeat the blood test to see if the infection has cleared up, and then begin the anti-thyroid medication.

For the past week, I've been so exhausted that I don't want to do anything but lay in bed... I haven't been able to even think about cooking or meal planning. I've been at the doctors every day this week and had multiple tests run.

There seems to still be a very very slim change that this could clear up on its own once the infection goes away.  It's our prayer that this can still just all go away and we can go about our life...

But, if it doesn't, and I need treatment, we've thought through the options.  A lot of people have advocated a diet change, specifically the GAPS diet.  I have a few friends on this diet that have experienced miraculous healings through this diet. I've looked at it, and it does seem ideal for a lot of health problems.  But, all of the doctors I've talked to say that hyperthyroidism can be serious and life threatening if not treated and controlled... the rapid heart rate I'm experiencing, if allowed to continue, can lead to serious heart problems.  And since it's a hormonal problem, it is not necessarily going to clear up by a diet change, or gut cleansing.  It can't hurt the problem, but it is not likely to help it.  In addition to that, I am usually overwhelmed already with  my life! I don't think I have room to begin an entirely new way of cooking and eating, whether just for me or for the whole family.  Paul and I have decided the best thing for us to do is to begin the meds as soon as I can if that is what all our doctors say...

I can't tell you how blessed I've been by all the friends and loved ones writing with their thoughts, advice and prayers.  It's amazing to realize how many people really love you! : )  Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers!  We're trusting God to reveal his plan for us.

4 comments:

  1. Dear Megan,

    I pray regularly for several families who are abroad – your family being one. I want you to know that first of all, I do pray you and your family often. I’m so sorry you’re walking such a difficult road right now. I can’t imagine the strain and difficultly this puts on you as you try to mother four little kiddos! I will pray for healing – after all, God says he is our Healer – so I’ll just take Him up on that!!! I want nothing more than to see you well, in full health, and resuming your normal routine. Please know I’ll be praying for you – if you need anything, I’d love to send a care package. Let me know – seriously!!

    Your friend,
    Heather Wiens

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  2. Thanks for the update! Wow! I am praying for you, friend!

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  3. Wow, I know this has to be tough on you and your entire family ! I'm praying for you guys!!

    Koleta

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  4. Ugh. So sorry, friend! Praying for y'all. Glad you are at least running the tests and arming yourself with information. Hugs!

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