Tag Archives: Health

Take Charge of Your Health

Our health is something that we often take for granted, especially when it is good.  Of course, when we feel out of sorts, most of us will go to the doctor to see why we feel the way we do but sometimes we are given a diagnosis and possibly a treatment plan without any real indication as to what caused our malady in the beginning.  I pray this post will help someone else but it is written more for my own catharsis….

In 2009, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  You can see how easily I accepted the diagnosis in this post.  I pretty much blinded believed the doctor and moved on with life, a life content with taking a small synthetic hormone pill thinking, trusting, believing that all I was feeling was all of sudden going to right itself and I would be *normal* again.  It is a bit hard to be normal when every time you look in the mirror, your elongated neck has a lump in it but I had come to accept what was staring back at me.

The little pill made me feel somewhat better but I continued battling digestive issues.  When I say digestive issues, I mean i-s-s-u-e-s.  I could eat some foods and within minutes they were racing out of my body at the other end.  I often suffered in silence because of the belief that moms are superheros who are immune to getting sick with anything more severe than the common cold.  I would be careful of what I ordered if we went out and I started making mental checklists of where bathrooms were located.  It all came to a head one Sunday when we went to a local restaurant and I partook in some fried goodies that were divine!! After the meal was consumed, I started getting that rumbling, bubbling feeling in my stomach and I knew that I needed to head home to the confines of my own lavatory.   Since hubby was paying the bill, I had my dad break speed limits to get me home where I barely made it, if you know what I mean.  I convinced everyone, including myself, that I just couldn’t eat fried foods.

String together many more incidents like that and I was at my wit’s end.  I went to my primary doctor and she tested me for celiac disease and it came back negative.  So, she told me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  She also indicated that there wasn’t a cure so I needed to watch what I ate for the rest of my life.  During this same period of time, I was always feeling sluggish/fatigued, irritated by everything/everyone, low libido, and various joint pains.  I just felt blah at most times but the show must go on so I put on my Stepford wife smile and kept moving.  So, you are probably wondering where this is all going?

I like food, I mean I really like it!  So this latest diagnosis did not sit well with me.  So, at the urging of my mother, I went to a naturopathic doctor/master herbalist.  She was fabulous!!!  She gave me some herbs to get rid of parasites (she felt were the cause of my tummy issues), thyroid support herbs, and a few other things.  Well, I felt better than I had felt in years.  Oooh, I was dancing down happy street convinced I had finally found an answer.  In this state of euphoria, I had forgotten all about my thyroid because my goiter had actually shrunk.  I was on the path to healing and skipped right down the path with glee.

Well, let’s just say I hit some speed bumps.  I started feeling sick again and the tummy issues returned so did the other issues.  At the same time, another homeschool mom and I were discussing thyroid issues because she was hyper and I was hypo.  Amazing what we live with when we don’t have to….I had never delved in-depth into my thyroid condition but our conversation caused me to spend a bit of time on the internet – also known as the place for self-diagnosis or confirmation – depends on what you are looking for.  😉

Site after site, blog after blog, people were healing their thyroids via what they ate and more than a few found that a gluten-free diet was essential to improved thyroid health.  Of course, I then had to wonder why my primary and internist (they work in the same practice) never made a connection between my thyroid and my digestive issues), but that is neither here nor there – why? – because they aren’t the ones sick.  I am and I need to take charge of my health so that I can feel better.

So, as of today, I am on day #4 of being gluten-free.  Let’s just say, it has been somewhat difficult because I wasn’t ready for this transition.  I had to make a birthday cake for my son on Tuesday and it was torture to not partake in it or the pizza ordered for dinner but I did it.  I know that there are tons of gluten-free options out there but I am considering this change for my daughter as well and she has a bean/legume/nut allergy – so not all gluten-free items will pass the bar.  Thankfully, I love to cook so we will be doing some experimenting as we find what works for us.  Amazingly, there is so much information out there that it can cause your head to spin.  Who knew there are so many ways to make gluten-free all purpose flour?  Don’t believe me, google it.  🙂

Here are a few sites that I found helpful regarding the connection between Hashimoto’s and gluten:

Repair Your Thyroid

Changing Your Diet – Addressing Hashimoto’s

Reversing Hashimoto’s Naturally

Here are some sites that may be helpful if you find yourself trying to navigate the gluten-free waters:

Gluten Free Girl

Gluten Free Easily

Art of Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free Goddess

We must all delve deeper to get to the why of what we are experiencing.  So, if you are suffering from anything, I encourage you to take charge of your health.  Not only for you but for those that love you and you love!

I am not a medical doctor and if you find yourself battling thyroid or other other medical conditions, you should seek professional advice from trained medical personnel.

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Biopsy went well!

As I type this, I am sitting in the recovery room as our daughter watches tv. Our day started out super early as we stirred from our beds, it was still dark. I must say it gave me a greater appreciation for the hour in which my husband rises daily to head off to work. We headed off to Delaware and left a few minutes earlier since everyone was ready. The traffic was lighter than we had anticipated so those prayers offered for traveling mercies were greatly appreciated. 🙂

Being early, I didn’t think they would call us as soon as they did but we were thankful. As Alex and I headed back for her ultrasound, my parents and my son headed to the cafeteria since none of us ate prior to leaving in order to support Alex as she couldn’t eat. The ultrasound tech (Ann) was very nice and Alex enjoyed looking at her insides via the screen and thought the whole process was cool. Her doctor marked the point of entry and it is freaky to see a mark on the outside that you know is going to be used as the point that a needle is going to enter your child, travel between 2 rib bones and enter her liver to extract a really small section of it for evaluation.

As the sedation doctor explained to us that he was going to use nitrous oxide and shared with Alex how the mask would be over her mouth and nose, my main concern was whether or not that was enough sedation. He assured us that she wouldn’t remember anything and the local anesthesia would allow her not to feel anything. As an added bonus, she would be coherent and back to normal within a few mintutes. I am glad to say that he was right because once it was over, she said that she didn’t remember anything and that she felt like she was in la-la land. Mom was thinking she needed some of that stuff. 😉

The biopsy needle was looooooong!! Of course, she requested that I stay in the room so I put on my brave mommy face and stayed. The whole procedure was pretty quick and now we will have to wait a few days for the results and it is our prayer that the biopsy results will line up with her blood draws and that her liver is still enjoying a peaceful coexistence with the other organs in her body. However, now we are at the hard part because she has to lay on her side for 4 hours. Thankfully being a great children’s hospital, they have bedside tv’s that are touch screen operated with tv, games, and movies. We have watched Alphas & Omegas and are now watching the Karate Kid with Jaden Smith. This entertainment has proved to occupy both kids as her brother is now in the recovering room with us watching the movie.

Now it is just a waiting game. Waiting for time to pass until we can get our last blood draw to check her blood count and then we will be given the green light to head home. Based on our day, I think some will be napping on the way home.

As always, coming here is a humbling experience because there are kids that are here and not able to travel home today and we can continue to pray for those kids and their families.

The Liver Biopsy

Princess school

My daughter’s transplant nurse has been prepping me for almost a year of the prospect of a liver biopsy being in our future.  But like any good mom, I just nodded my head as I got dizzy with thoughts of a time and place that I didn’t want to revisit.  You see, we found out when she was 3 1/2 months of age that she had a liver disease – biliary atresia and needed a transplant.  She received a transplant at 7 1/2 months of age and the details of that time and after can still be found here.  She is now 9 and we have had no issues with her liver and are very thankful and grateful.  (the pic is from when she was 7, don’t tell her as she may get me.) 🙂

Nonetheless, her dear sweet transplant doctor wants to check her actual liver to make sure that her every 2 month lab draws are providing an accurate picture of what is going on inside of her liver.  We believe that her body and her liver have formed a happy partnership because she is on a very low dose of her anti-rejection meds and she still has perfect labs.  I am all for being sure but of course I wish there was some other way to give me that surety.

Alas, there isn’t, so in the month of October, she will have a biopsy.  It is scheduled as in/out and my prayer is that we are indeed in/out.  I don’t want to stay overnight.  Yes, I said I because I probably have more anxiety about this than my lovely daughter.  Trust me, she doesn’t want to go but she understands that she has to go.  She has no memory of the 5 weeks spent in the hospital.  No memory of receiving a blood transfusion to boost her numbers that caused a blockage in her hepatic artery that caused them to relist her as a status 1 patient which translates to get a liver soon or die.  She has no memory of her mom being in the room after the 2nd transfusion that made her heart rate fall to in the 40’s and the staff flooded the room with a defibrillator as she was crashing.  I have those memories and they are vivid.

So, the nervous Nelly in me kicks into overdrive to make sure the staff has washed blood on hand in her blood type just in case she is not clotting as she needs to after the biopsy.  The Nelly in me is like a serious boss lady trying to think of each and every possible scenario and then making sure there is a solution to it.  Trust me, nobody messes with Nelly, she is like an amped up momma grizzly protecting her babes from a male on the prowl.

However, in all of my Nelliness, I am reminded of how faithful God has been to our Princess and how I must give this biopsy over to Him because Nelly can’t think of everything no matter how hard she tries.  I have to rely on Him to deal with my anxious heart and mind so that I don’t transfer my anxieties to my daughter.  I have to trust Him that His will W-I-L-L be done before and after this biopsy.  It’s not easy but He has gotten us through worst, so I continue to trust.  In my trusting, I do ask for the prayers of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.  Prayers for the biopsy, the doctor, the nurses, the equipment, my daughter, my anxieties, the results  will show no signs of rejection, that afterwards her blood will clot and she won’t need a transfusion, and that we will not have to stay overnight.  Thank you!