Finding Normal

I stayed up later than I meant to last night, knowing I had to be up and out of here early for my doctor’s appointment to find out about the results from my lab work.  In defense, I was up trading message with Silly Sissy about gluten-free bread recipes and with Bunchkin about gluten-free in general.  Bunchkin was diagnosed with Celiac’s last year after over a decade of tests and biopsies that yielded nothing.  I stayed up reading myLiving Well With Hypothyroidism book after prying myself away from the gluten-free talk.  Yes, all this thyroid health and nutrition stuff has me completely fascinated and I can’t seem to get enough information while feeling like I’m burning out from information overload at the same time.

I rolled out of bed when my alarm went off and made my juice and a bagel.  I didn’t have enough time to fix more if I wanted to be on time.  The important thing is I broke my fast rather than just running out the door on an empty stomach.  I knew I was in for a long wait when I got to the office and was told to have a seat while they wait for a room to clear.  Normally, they send me right on back and I don’t have a long wait.  My doctor is one of those that only sees a set amount of patients per day in order to spend more time with them.  Today was going to be a long wait, but I had The Book Thief to keep me busy while I waited.  I was near the end when I sat in the waiting room and the story became more emotional.  I was sitting there reading while choking back tears so I didn’t look crazy to anyone who walked into the building through the front door.  Then I finally got sent back to a room and kept reading while waiting for the nurse to take my vitals.  I’m still choking back tears, but some managed to squeeze through.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Remember my blog post about finding out about low blood pressure being a sign of hypothyroidism and about my low body temp?  Well today both of those were in the “normal” range for the first time together and it wasn’t due to stress or illness.  My blood pressure was 129/84 and my temperature was 98.8.  Seriously.  My blood pressure is never in the normal range unless I’m under extreme stress when it’s taken or I’m having a reaction to a medication or the medication is interacting with something else.  My walking temperature is never 98.6 or above unless I’m sick.  “Normal” temperature for most people is feverish for me.  There I sat though.  No stress.  No illness.  Both of things that had always been low as long as I can remember were normal. I took this as a good sign for my labs.

I wound up finishing my book before my doctor came in.  Yes, more tears.  It’s a great book if you haven’t read it.  My doctor and I even talked about when he came in since he read it.  (I love when I can talk books with my doctors.)

We finally get to talking about the labs and he says, “Your TSH is within normal limits.  4.2.  Your T4 is also within normal limits.  Your Hemoglobin is still low.  11.4.”

“How bad is that?”

“Well, it’s been 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, so it’s pretty consistent.  Your Vitamin D has gotten low again.”

So, I go over what I’ve changed since I last saw him and being such a good patient, I even brought the Thyroid Support bottle with me knowing he’d ask about it.  It was funny.  He read the list of ingredients out loud and then says, “I don’t know what all that is.”

I laughed, “Most of it has iodine in it.”

“Whatever.  What you’re doing is working and that’s fine by me.  Keep doing it.”

WOO HOO!

Okay, to explain some of this stuff for those of you who just read the above and are thinking, huh? TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.  It’s what the pituitary releases to tell the thyroid to release the T3 and T4 hormones into the bloodstream.  With an underactive thyroid like mine, the pituitary will keep releasing TSH to signal the thyroid, but the thyroid isn’t releasing as much as it should.  That leaves a lot of TSH in the bloodstream.  Now, not all labs go by the same standards as far as “normal” limits for TSH.  The standard has been 5.o on the high end.  However, many labs have changed to 3.0 being the high end because of studies that show over 3.0 is still hypothyroid.  My lab uses 4.5 as the upper limit.  My goal is to get it to 3.o if possible.

The hemoglobin has to do with my anemia.  Right now, it’s 0.1 under the low limit of normal.  So the numbers he rattled off meant it is slowly creeping back to normal.  YAY!

My Vitamin D level is 24.4, 7.6 under the lower limit for being within normal limits.   Don’t gasp.  When he discovered the deficiency nearly a year go, it was dangerously close to 0.  The last time he checked the level I was fine, but he also had me on a weekly pill that was time released.  We discussed what he asked me to take over-the-counter and why I changed it.  The Calcium with D he wanted me to take I felt wasn’t doing enough, so I changed to an Omega-3 with D that helps me more.  So now he told me to up the dose to get 2000 IU per day.  Sounds like a lot and it is, but with having gone through Fall and Winter, I haven’t been out much because it’s too cold for me.

I felt elated after that visit knowing that I had myself on the right track all along.  I felt so good that I went to Rainbow Blossom to check out their gluten-free breads.  That was a waste of a trip.  Left with nada.  I went to look at the blender I want since ours broke on Saturday in the midst of making my smoothie.  *sob*  I had to finish the smoothie in my mini-prep, but it was still chunky and not really smooth.  I couldn’t even justify the expense of the blender right now even with my 10% off I’d get with it.  Why?  It’s high-end and with the daily use, I need something that will handle that much wear and tear.  Our blender lasted a long time, but that was only because it wasn’t used often until the last month.  I knew it would eventually give out.  I could hear it sometimes.  So Saturday, while devastated that it happened while I was trying to make my smoothie, I wasn’t surprised.  Until then, I’ll use my mini-prep and deal with a chunky smoothie.

On the bright side, I did find a gluten-free recipe for bread that had no sweeteners or dairy in it.  I’m going to alter it a little when I try it out.  Can’t wait!

Tsunami and Thyroids

My day yesterday was consumed with the tsunami headed for Hawai`i.  I woke up and had not been on Facebook for 5 minutes when a friend IM’d me telling me about the earthquake in Chile and that a tsunami alert was on for the entire Pacific Rim.  About 80% of my family and most of my friends are in Hawai`i.  By family, I mean my extended family, too.  Most people talk about family in the nuclear sense.  Growing up with the influence of all my aunties, uncles,  cousins, both set of grandparents left me with a global sense of family that encompasses my entire bloodline and friends.

It wasn’t even 10 o’clock and I’m already functioning in zombie mode in order to get done what needed to be done while I prayed for the safety of the islands.  It was a fervent prayer I kept repeating all the way through until the all clear was given.  I’m not quite sure what happened but while my husband and I were at the mall getting him some new tennis shoes.  I somehow used up all my spoons.  We did walk through the two floors of Dick’s and then through the mall.  I was feeling fine before we drove to the mall.  I’m wondering if it was the stress of what was going on in the Pacific.  It was the only thing that was different in my day and stress is known to exacerbate thyroid problems.  By the time we got home, I was barely able to get myself up the stairs.  It was after 2:30pm and the tsunami was expected to hit the Big Island around 4:05pm EST.  I was tired and knew I needed a nap, but I also knew that if I tried, I wouldn’t really rest.

What did I do?  Sat on the couch watching CNN coverage and giving in to the emotional eating I fought just two days before.  Only, I ate healthy.  Stove popped popcorn in unrefined coconut oil and salt.  Later, I had some dark chocolate with almond butter.  It felt rather good to “indulge” without really indulging.  I stayed within the parameters I set for myself and just allowed myself to eat when I felt like wanted to.  In the end, I wound up going to bed before 11pm.

I woke up at 10am this morning.  That was a lot of sleep, but I still felt like I needed more.  On top of that, I was pretty cold and couldn’t get warm enough.  By mid-afternoon, I was in bed under the covers fully clothed and eventually had to put my house slippers on over my two pairs of socks because my feet were freezing. My husband eventually heated up my heatable scarf for me.  Once I started to warm up, I fell asleep…during the gold medal hockey game.  It was the middle of the 2nd quarter when I finally woke up.  I’m feeling a little better.   I’m hoping to feel even better tomorrow when I go in to see my doctor for the results of my lab work.

A doctor posted in the Hypothyroidism group on Facebook yesterday.  He seems to be a far cry from the one doctor that posts on there.  He has a blog that I checked out and it’s pretty much in line with everything I’ve been saying about nutrigenomics and our health.  His name is Brady Hurst and he’s a chiropractor and functional health practitioner in Atlanta.  His blog is: http://doctorbrady.wordpress.com/ and he has a website with lots of good information on Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, and PCOS: http://sites.google.com/site/autoimmunethyroidatlanta/Hashimotos-Hypothyroidism-Thyroid-Atlanta I just watched the video on the birth control pill and found it very interesting given that I went off of it 2 months ago to see how I’d fair without it.  He explained the effects of the pill in a much different way than I have read and it made even more sense.  While my last cycle was the worst since starting the pill, I know that the pill wasn’t really fixing the problem with my periods.  It was just masking it.  I think my naturopath and I are going to have an interesting conversation the next time I see him.

If you haven’t noticed, I get my information from many different sources.  Yes, some of the information conflicts.  I have friends out there coming across the same thing.  Then there are people I see on the Hypothyroidism group that have found one thing and think that’s the end all be all and keep pushing just that one thing on everyone (which irks me to no end).  When I give my story, I try to emphasize with people on the group that what I’m doing is what is working for me. I know that from sharing my experience and what I’m doing, it is working for another woman as well.

So what do I do with all this information I gather, especially when it conflicts?  I sift through the knowledge I am receiving with knowledge I’ve already received, then track what I know is working for me.  There are different ideas on adding iodine as a supplement to help with Hypothyroidism.  1) Thyroids need iodine to function.  2) I don’t used iodized salt, I use sea salt.  3) I wasn’t taking a supplement with iodine before.  4) Months before my diagnosis, I felt like there wasn’t enough salt in my food.  5) My naturopath had originally suggested a kelp supplement for the iodine.  The problem with iodine and  Hypothyroid is when there is too much iodine.  There isn’t much in my supplement and I still don’t used iodized salt or eat a lot of seaweed so I’m not in danger of having too much.   The same with soy and the cruciferous foods that get a bad rap for causing goiter.  I don’t eat soy all the time.  Since changing to the whole foods diet, all the processed foods that had modified forms of soy that are harmful are no longer part of my diet.  When I do have soy it will be in the form of edamame, miso soup, soy sauce, and tofu.  That’s it.  Same thing with the cruciferous foods.  I’m pretty sure my body will be able to handle the iodine, the soy, and the cruciferous foods since I am doing whole foods and those are the foods that speak my body’s language.  Everything in moderation!