Archive for the ‘test results’ Category

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His and hers low thyroid

February 27, 2010

With all that’s going on with my thyroid, I thought I’d relate this quick story about my wonderful husband. Back in December he complained to his doc of being tired, at my behest. I think he would hate for me to list out his symptoms but he has most every symptom of low thyroid except for weight gain. And his mom is hypothyroid and has been on Synthroid forever. The doctor (we have the same doctor, you may remember – she doesn’t know what a Free T3 is…) put him in for all the regular tests, including a TSH for his thyroid. January was just absolutely tragic for us and involved traveling back home for a death in our family. Between that and his job, and his migraines, he didn’t actually get the blood drawn until late January. He had a follow up with the doc recently and got the results. My husband’s TSH is 3.6.3.6! And surprise, surprise, the doctor says he’s just fine.

Are you SERIOUS? Even if you want to worship TSH, and I know first hand that his doctor does! what about the reference range? You know, the one we’re all supposed to be using that was recommended by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists way back in 2003? According to that reference range, 3.3 is the cut off! Well, reference range is after all, just a suggestion, and all labs use their own. Turns out our labs cut off at 4.2 – over that you’re hypo. So we are both out of luck for a diagnosis. How lucky we are. And by the way, what a coincidence that my husband and I are both just whiney, lazy, sad tired people with cold hands!

I know I complain a lot about my healthcare arrangement. I honestly don’t think there is anything especially bad about my specific healthcare facility/coverage or the specific doctors’ attitudes towards and care of myself…I never have, and this proves it because my husband is now facing the same thing. I’m mostly concerned about the state of conventional medicine overall.  And the state of our finances! We are already paying out of pocket for my holistic MD, a hormone specialist who is treating all of my hormone imbalances (update coming early next week) and it looks as if we now have to send my husband in to see the holistic as well. That’s two of us paying full price to see him, but at least we will both feel better in the end.

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Vitamin D

January 9, 2010

Back in mid-October I started supplementing with Vitamin D. The transition from something I was toying around with to a daily, regular supplement was a quick one. I ran across this old article from 2003 that stated that “93 percent of all subjects with non-specific musculoskeletal pain were vitamin D deficient.”  That’s a pretty staggering number. The same week that I found that article, I had a discussion with a friend who had recently found out about her own deficiency, and she encouraged me to continue supplementing, and to determine my own dosage based on symptoms. I asked my doctor for a Vitamin D test  when I saw her at the end of the month. She looked at the results of an older metabolic panel and said that my calcium levels were fine so there was no need to test for D.

I continued to take the D, and the more I read about optimal levels, the more I took. I also didn’t notice immediate relief from the pain, bony aches that came and went and migrated through my limbs, back and pelvic area, so I kept increasing my dose, up to  around 7,000 iu daily. Right around Thanksgiving I felt the bone aches coming on one day, and they lasted about 2 or 3 days. But the good news was that in getting them back I realized that I had been without them for weeks! I realized I had skipped a few days of the Vitamin D, so I upped the dose again, to where I was taking between 7,000 – 10,000 iu daily. This is equivalent to about 50,000 iu weekly, which is the dose most often prescribed to someone who is found to be deficient. I am currently pain-free and at this point I am fairly convinced its from taking the Vitamin D on a regular basis.

I ended up getting that Vitamin D test after all as well; since it was in with the battery of tests my holistic MD requested. My level is 39.5 ng/mL. Definitely not in the toxic range! There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the optimal level of serum Vitamin D; my lab’s reference range goes from 32 – 100 ng/mL. Dr. Mercola says that anything under 50 ng/mL is deficient! So clearly my nearly three months of mega-dosing have not been harmful to me. If anything, I still need more Vitamin D so I’m going to continue to take my large daily doses.

Other benefits I’ve noticed: back in July I noticed that I couldn’t feel my big toes. I realized today that I can feel them. Also, in the midst of really feeling incredibly unwell and experiencing every single textbook symptom of hypothyroidism except for my hair falling, I have long, girlie fingernails for the first time in my entire life. I have been a nail-biter all my life. The few times that I have tried to grow them out, the process is painfully slow and I end up breaking them almost right away. I got acrylic tips on Halloween because my husband and I dressed as Zuul and Vince Clortho and I wanted long, red Sigourney Weaver nails. Two weeks later the tips came off and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my left thumbnail was, while still short, beginning to resemble a real adult woman’s thumbnail. I promised myself not to bite it, and well now its very long!  I’ve been letting the rest of them grow too; protecting a few at a time, and I am beyond halfway to a lovely set of nails!

My only concern is that since August I’ve noticed that my face is often flushed in a mylar or butterfly rash pattern. I don’t attribute this to the D, but its been getting more noticeable lately and I need to figure out if something I’ve been taking or eating is doing this to me. Otherwise, I would call this a victory for Vitamin D and one small part of the chronic multi-illness mystery solved, at least for me.

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Pre-diabetes

January 8, 2010

Pretty much everything I knew about diet and nutrition before the SIBO came from vegan propaganda that I read and conversations with other people who worked at the health food store.* Once I got sick, I was on my own to figure out macronutrition and digestive science 101. Although it has all happened while I have kept this blog, the learning has been for the most part behind the scenes, mostly because I just want to help other people with SIBO; I don’t really want to play “teacher” or tell anyone what to eat, and there is a whole basic canon of human chemistry stuff that I just don’t know. I am just a normal person who got sick and had to figure out what to not put in my mouth so as to minimize my symptoms, because doctors and nutritionists were giving me crazy advice that wasn’t working, like don’t drink through a straw, and no more avocados. That is why, even with a meticulous tagging system, your average Year Without Cake reader doesn’t get rewarded with wikipedia-style information on fructose, and sugar and fat, even though from time to time, I have been known to know a few things about those things. I should work on that…

Right after I got sick it became plain that getting doctors to take me seriously and treat me with respect was hard enough as a woman with a digestive disorder, but that being a size 12 probably wasn’t helping either. That whole “You’re not bloated, you’re just fat” thing got old real fast. So I decided to lose weight, and I dug into the research on that topic too. And I’m still working  on figuring out how the metabolic stuff goes along with the digestive stuff. In fact, I’m only just now finishing up Good Calories, Bad Calories…I know I should have done so years ago….I don’t think the two are always related, but for me, what tends to cause digestive problems seems to also cause metabolism problems.

On Wednesday I got all my test results back from the health center, who promised to test my thyroid, my glucose, and many vitamins and minerals. Of course, everything was overwhelmingly normal….except one test. In addition to my frustration over the anything but comprehensive thyroid panel, I was shocked and dismayed to receive the news that with a fasting glucose score of 105, I am, by my lab’s reference ranges, just ever so slightly pre-diabetic.**

I know it is not a big deal, and having suspected that I’m PCOS for years and years I probably shouldn’t be surprised. But all the same, I feel a bit slapped in the face. Considering the lifestyle changes that I have made in these last two years or so with dropping the carbs and the sugar and eating so much more healthily and working out…Even if I find out the low cholesterol is really due to something else…my HDL just keeps going up and up and up. Even with the sudden weight gain, it went up another 10 points.

Maybe I should be glad that I made the changes that I did. Perhaps my state now, after suddenly gaining back 25 of the 35 pounds that I lost (due most likely to underactive thyroid and exhausted adrenals) and becoming sedentary again due to immense fatigue, is only reflecting a mere glance of what things might be like had I kept up my high-carb, size-12 vegan ways and not quit smoking and not started exercising to boot. Because that’s where I might be if I had never woken up with SIBO.

I got a referral to an endocrinologist and a gynecologist, based on this, my totally normal thyroid, and the transvaginal ultrasound, which showed some slight abnormalities, nothing I’m too worried about.

*This might be why I was never able to get down below a size 12 in my 20’s and I probably ruined my thyroid with metric tons of soy.

**My 2 hour glucose test results were normal.