DOUBT CREPT IN TODAY

Today, I let doubt come into my mind.  With it’s slinky, sneaky manner, I didn’t even see it coming. Gradually, I felt heavy, anxious, burdened and restless.  Oh so restless.  By the time I recognized it, I had allowed nearly a full day to go by with a string of negative thoughts playing over and over again in my head.  With it’s subtle style of imposition, I let doubt exploit my insecurities and tell me, “This road is much too long for you to travel.  The obstacles are just too great for you to overcome.  Only fools continue to believe in hope.”  Doubt had done it’s job perfectly and I was left feeling quite discouraged.

Couldn’t I just reason with doubt?  Surely, my mind must be more powerful than to except these lies as fact.  After all, progress has been made.  Even my Instagram pics can prove that!  Doubt has a way of ignoring the evidence though and persuades me to mistrust my success.  “What if this is as good as it will get for you?” It asks.  Tearfully, I retreated to my room, alone.

I began to fix my thoughts on the truth, the good, the lovely, and the milestones along my journey thus far:

I was once declining in health, and now have a proper diagnosis.

I became bedridden, but now I can walk short distances.

I was isolated for many months but have since enjoyed a few, special moments of quality time with friends and family.

These are but a few of the wondrous and glorious victories I have celebrated during my long battle with Lyme Disease. These are the triumphs upon which I must continue to dwell. Peace is found here.

© Zach Dischner

© Zach Dischner

Goodnight and goodbye doubt.  I am grateful that tomorrow will once again bring about an opportunity for new joy and hope in my life.  I am choosing to live with this mindset.

 

 

 

THYROID TREATMENT UPDATE

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my unsuccessful attempt at taking the T4 only medication, Levothyroxine, and my previous difficulties with Armour thyroid.  To read that post, click here.

I received numerous responses to that article via Facebook, blog comments, Instagram and Twitter, all offering some exceptional advice.  I had a follow-up appointment with my local LLMD and I presented him with some of the ideas you, the readers, had given me.  After reviewing my labs, he agreed that I would indeed benefit from thyroid replacement and that Nature-Throid would be an excellent option for me to try.

I had to special order Nature-Throid from the pharmacy.  Because it was over a weekend, it took 4 days for the medication to arrive.  I began by taking half of a 1/4 grain tablet.  This amounts to an initial starting dose of approximately 8.125mg.  I am on day 4 of the medication and although I do feel a slight surge in energy and perhaps jitteriness, it has been tolerable thus far.  I stumbled upon a wonderful website called ThyroPhoenix that discusses the benefits of taking enough time to allow your body to absorb the thyroid before increasing to the next dose.  My plan is to stay at 8.125mg for the next 4-6 weeks and reevaluate at that time how I feel.  I feel very content with going at my own pace on this medication.  Slow and steady usually ends up being the best approach for me.

Many thanks for all the wonderful suggestions that were given to me regarding this part of my treatment!!

Nature-Throid

Nature-Throid

HERX AND OTHER CRAP

I have to start by telling you I was not the best doggie owner, caregiver, mama yesterday. It was around 8:30pm when I could see my two, senior beagles begin to stir. My instincts told me I should take them outside, but my throbbing leg told me to stay put. I chose to obey the leg. I was just too drained to preempt whatever situation might occur.

I was herxing.

“What’s that?” you ask.

Even my computer doesn’t recognize it as a word and tries to autocorrect it to say “herding.”

It’s where there is an exacerbation of weird symptoms from the Lyme bacteria as they die-off and the body tries to detox. Those pesky little guys…or gals (pretty sure bacteria have no gender but don’t quote me on that) certainly do not give up without a fight. My leg was suffering the repercussions of this knock down, drag out battle.

I quickly learned that my beagles, Seven and Caylie, do not alter their schedule to accommodate herxing. I could hear the clickety clacks of their nails against the hardwood floor as they impatiently pranced around the dining room. It was nearly their time to eat, but I wanted to hold out just a bit longer. I assumed part of their anxious antics were due to hubby working in another room in the apartment. The beagles do not like to be separated from us.

Seven

Seven

Caylie

Caylie

“What’s going on out there you two?” I called to the pooches in the dining room, as if they might understand what I was asking.

At this point my brain should have registered “get up,” but unfortunately, it did not. I saw my 14 and a 1/2 year old beagle, Seven, quietly walking towards me. Out of my peripheral vision, I noticed she stopped in her tracks.

Was she…SQUATTING?

Squatting can only mean one thing! Actually, it could mean two things and in this case, it meant the second. “Nooo!” I tried to shout but my lips were dry and stuck together a bit. I jumped up aware of the leg pain but distracted by the two strawberry-sized dollops of doggie poo now in my hallway.

Sigh.

I suddenly realized the aforementioned “clickety clacks” had actually been a potty dance alerting me that the beagles needed to go outside. I had missed that cue.

Armed with a plastic bag, paper towels and some cleaner, I recalled the greatest pearl of wisdom I had ever been given as an Occupational Therapist by an ICU nurse. I kid you not, she advised me that if I even anticipated a “code brown” situation, I was to begin breathing immediately through my mouth and avoid even the slightest chance of inhalation through my nostrils. I followed those recommendations to the letter and quickly rectified my old girl’s little accident.

Well, it was my accident really. It had just been an all around crappy-kind of day. Next time, and I am sure there will be a next time, I will just have to pay closer attention to the signs my senior pups are giving me. Hopefully, it won’t coincide with a herd. Dumb autocorrect. A herx.

Did I do that?

Did I do that?

 

 

TREATMENT UPDATE: MY THYROID FIASCO

In March, I had my thyroid and iodine levels checked.  The blood tests had indicated sub-clinical hypothyroidism.  What this means is that I have a TSH level that is slightly out of the normal range, but my T4 and T3 levels remain in the normal range. I also showed a slight deficiency in iodine levels.  For whatever reason, I have difficulty tolerating any type of supplement or medication that can potentially be stimulating.  I had been on thyroid medication before, but with great difficulty.  Not wanting to derail any progress I had made, my nurse decided she would gently treat me for a few months with iodine to see if I could get my TSH levels back into a healthier range.  Despite taking the iodine and continuing on my Lyme treatment plan, I have continued to experience some mild symptoms of hypothyroidism (weight gain, muscle pains, dry skin, etc).

© Com Salud

© Com Salud

Two days ago,  I had my routine, monthly follow up with my Lyme Nurse Practitioner.  After some careful discussion, she confirmed that I was still exhibiting symptoms of hypothyroidism and that the iodine had not done enough to restore optimal thyroid function.  In the past, I had used Armour, a natural thyroid preparation made from porcine glands (such a lovely thought).  My longest stretch of Armour usage was about one year, during which I continually experienced nervousness, jitteriness and a few other strange symptoms for the duration of time I was taking it.

My nurse practitioner felt that since Armour is made with both T4 and T3, perhaps I did not need the extra T3 and had begun to experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism instead.  Since no one had ever bothered to re-check my blood levels, we can only guess this is what had happened.

We decided my best course of action this time around would be to try a T4 only preparation in the form of Levothyroxine, beginning at the lowest dose of 25mcg and working up if need be.  Excited about this new treatment plan, hubby and I swiftly went to the pharmacy and I gulped down my first pill before I was even out of the store!

One hour went by.  I felt nothing.  Feeling nothing is usually a good sign with me as it means I am not reacting negatively.  I thought, “This is it.  This will finally be the right medication.” As the next few hours progressed, I had forgotten I had even taken the pill.

Approximately three hours after I had taken the medication, I began to feel burning pain up my spinal cord and a severe sense of achiness right down to my very bones.  I shivered with chills and had to cover up with a blanket.  I tried to go to sleep, but despite taking my normal sleep medication, I was unable to catch even a wink of sleep.  At 4:00am, I was up dry skin brushing and taking an epsom salts foot bath trying desperately to calm the burning sensation that was occurring throughout my body.  I rubbed some calming essential oils on my wrists,  took some additional sleep medication and finally fell asleep for a few hours.  This was not the intended reaction to the medication.

As is often the case with Lyme Disease, nothing is ever very simple.  This can get very confusing and actually quite frustrating.

Yesterday, I opted not to take the medication.  I am not sure I feel brave enough to go through that again.  It just may end up as yet another addition to the ever-growing dizzying spiral of medications and supplements.  It takes a lot out of me when I have to endure those excruciating flare ups of burning in my brain and spinal cord mixed with sleepless nights.  I am meeting with my local LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) next week and will run this scenario past him for a second opinion.  I don’t know why I have this sort of reaction to thyroid medication and I am feeling a little bit dismayed at the moment.  Since all of my doctors and nurses visits are paid out-of-pocket, I hate having an unproductive visit and that is currently how I am feeling about this last one.

Hopefully, I can get this piece of the puzzle in place soon.  Progress has been made but it is very slow going.  I will be investigating an interesting new treatment approach during the month of June that may help to direct the next steps of my treatment that I will be writing about.  In addition, next month I will also be writing a full 8 month treatment update so I can compare my current progress from that of 4 month ago.  Until then, I will be brushing up on the anatomy and physiology of my thyroid gland.

Don’t be jealous.

I would love to hear from you about your experiences taking thyroid medications.  Has it been helpful?  Did you have trouble tolerating the medications?  Please feel free to leave me a comment.

To read the update to this post, please click here.