Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lucky me

Before I hit the jackpot in the pregnancy going to shit lottery, I apparently hit another one with similarly low odds-- I had an incident of what is known as subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis , or painless thyroiditis, or silent thyroiditis. Most people who get this lovely disease, first encounter it in the form of the post-partum thyroiditis. I, on the other hand, first encountered it while in grad school. It occurred immediately following, but was not necessarily caused or precipitated by, a piece of the autoglass that has resided in my arm for close to five years deciding to make its grand exit. No, I didn't know it was still there. Yes, it was weird and a bit gross, and yes, rather rude of it. I mean it was all nice and comfy for five years and all of a sudden what? The tissues weren't soft enough anymore? It was getting motion sickness from all the hand waiving I was doing in grad school? What?

Anyway. It was highly unpleasant. Thyroiditis, I mean-- I got over the glass thing by then. Most unpleasant was the whole waking up in the middle of the night screaming from your arms being completely and painfully asleep part. But eventually it was over, and except for the occasional follow up blood test to make sure thyroid function has returned to and stayed normal, it wasn't a really big deal. Except... Except you know how I said above people get this after having babies? Yeah, well-- they forgot to tell me I was more or less assured of a repeat performance every time I had a kid from then on. Turns out it was more.

With Monkey, it started when she was almost three months old. With A, blood test last Thursday confirmed that the hyperthyroid stage has began. So two and a half months. Just about right. I was a little surprised by my own reaction to the news-- I was relieved and actually glad. Thinking about it for a bit I realized that I was glad that (a) I could read my body cues well enough to know to ask for the test, and (b) I assumed it was coming, so the earlier it starts, the earlier it's over, the earlier I get my body back, the earlier we can try again.

Oh, seems I forgot to tell you what this thing is. Well, it is probably an autoimmune disorder (which is why I do think it was connected to the glass-- expelling it looks like the work of the immune system, and once it was all pumped up and had nothing else to do, it could've easily turned its lonely sights to my thyroid gland, or something). So the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which clips off some of the resident receptor molecules, making them free-floating receptor molecules. While the new floaters are around, the patient is in the hyperthyroid state. Once they get flushed from the system-- hypothyroid, until the gland is able to populate itself with the correct number of resident receptors again. Both of the previous times I had this, the whole exercise took around 3 months, start to finish.

Ok, so if one is to be entirely honest with oneself, and what's the point of writing here otherwise?, one would have to admit that one was also maybe possibly kinda looking forward to that hyper phase. Because it usually comes with some weight loss, and one can harbor a dim hope that coupled with newly increased dosage of the PCOS meds, said weight loss would be just what the body needed to get back to some semblance of a decent weight. One might also be holding on for dear life to the memories of a pick up in one's energy levels during the hyper phase, and so would not be entirely off base to hope for enough of a kick to at least be able to tackle the dishwasher once in a while.

But ha-ha-ha. The lottery. Ha-ha. Jackpot. Ha. Because this time I get no energy boost. I get lightheadedness, increased heart rate , slightly elevated BP, hands going numb, but no energy boost. Still unclear on the weight loss. I didn't even know (or remember? I am sure I looked this stuff up before) that heart palpitations are an actual symptom and can get bad enough to require beta blockers. Shit. And that this thing can drag on for up to 18 months. Double shit.

So what's the point? Oh, I don't know. Bitching and moaning, mostly. JD and Monkey went biking, and I am residing on the couch because it feels like my head will just take off if I attempt to operate anything beyond a remote control and because I would rather sleep, only I can't.

Thyroiditis is a bitch. Or it's making me its bitch. Or something.


Sara said...

I'm sorry Julia. I really hope it doesn't take 18 months for it to resolve.

You already know we're both members of the pregnancy gone to shit club, but would you believe I also had a strange object pop out of my arm years after being lodged in there? On the school bus in 7th grade a kid stabbed me (accidentally) in the finger with graphite pencil. About a year ago half of the lead suddenly emerged. Other half is still in there. Seeing as it had been oh, 15 years, it was pretty surprising. No thyroiditis for me though, fortunately.

Take care.

niobe said...

Is there nothing that can be done to allieviate the symptoms while waiting for it to go away?

Hey, I had the object-popping-out thing too. When I was thirteen, I stepped on a needle, which promptly snapped in two, leaving about half of it embedded in my foot. I managed to ignore it for several months when (yes) it suddenly emerged, much to my horror.

Julia said...

wow-- it's kinda cool to know I am not the only one with the object tale :).

Niobe, the part I am in now, the hyper phase, doesn't really have any treatment, except for beta blockers if it gets too bad. I am hoping it doesn't. And I am feeling better today. Crappy, but no longer completely debilitated-- like my body is getting used to managing.

This is the phase that absolutely has to be over before we even think of trying again. But if I get pregnant while in hypo phase, they can give me medication for the duration-- not ideal, but manageable. Not clear what that would mean for the next iteration, though. I guess I better call my doctor again.

Aurelia said...

Help me out, but with your thyroiditis, did you ever do a RAIU scan, or an ultrasound? I'm just wondering what your numbers were, because at least one of my stupid Docs has said I have this...except all the books say that's impossible, because RAIU in thyroiditis is low, and mine is high.

I'm just hoping yours was low and I'm not crazy, if that makes sense.

And hey, I've tried the beta-blockers, they aren't too bad, if you need the help.

Rose said...

Earlier to taking this porcine tablets, I was tired all the time and just lethargic... It would take me seconds to process my thinking. I can only say that I'm getting a lot of benefits physically and mentally by taking these porcine tablets....

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have been searching the internet for anyone who possibly has the same condition - I have silent thyroiditis. If you are, may I ask how are you doing? My silent thyroiditis is debilititating.

How long were you debilitated? I was diagnosed 08/01/10 and am over 16.5 months into this. I feel like I will never get better. My thyroid numbers have improved, but I am still glued to the couch with exercise intolerance.

Thank you, and I sincerely hope you are well by this time. Please, I beg you to contact me at readyforwhat7 at yahoo dot com if you have any information or personal experience on this issue. THANK YOU!!

Veronica said...

I decided to give bovine thyroid a try and I'm glad I did because I am very happy with the results. It has managed to keep all my levels back to normal.