Hey y’all! How have you been? I hope all is well in all of your little sphere in this great big universe. Mine has been chock full of ups and downs, mostly downs as I can’t seem to keep my blog working. One minute it will upgrade and work for about 30 seconds, and then it crashes and is down for a few days. Jetpack seems to have been to blame and I’ve had to uninstall it. This means, unfortunately, that I don’t think the email subscription is working. I am trying to get this problem fixed, though I am concerned I am going to need to switch to a new host server. I hope not but will try to keep y’all informed if I do.
Other happenings have been centered on my health. I am not an old woman yet but getting there (quickly it seems) and my physical well-being has been hit hard. A year ago this past October I went to the emergency room with breathing problems. I was told it may be a heart attack but I didn’t have any other usual symptoms of female heart attacks. They determined I was not having one and that it was probably adult onset asthma as this does run in my family. So, off to a pulmonologist I went and he discovered that I had better oxygen levels than he did himself. I was sent home with prescriptions for an emergency inhaler and 5 day’s of Prednisone pills. It seemed to work and I didn’t have any more problems.
Fast forward to this November. Slowly over the summer my breathing problems returned, this time with a pounding/racing heart. It happened often and mostly when I was laying down and resting. It got worse whenever I had to get up and walk…anywhere. The further I had to walk the more painful it was, to the point I was grasping my chest and gasping for breath. Then came the shaking. They call it tremors and it got so bad that I couldn’t hold a cup without splashing liquid all over my hand. My mom, who was visiting for Thanksgiving, told me Parkinson’s runs on her side of the family and that my sister was diagnosed with it in 2015 (my family is not good about notifying each other of these kinds of things for some reason). So, one day in late December, after the tremors became worse I went to the doctor. I underwent a 24-hour heart monitor,which came back as being non-life threatening (thanks), and a thyroid ultrasound that revealed no nodules or cysts and nothing suspicious though it was mildly enlarged. Next, blood work, and that revealed levels twice as high as they should be, meaning an overactive thyroid. I am now on medication to regulate it and I went to a neurologist so we can rule out Parkinson’s. I have a date with a brain scan (a DaTscan) where I get to drink radioactive iodine, which will make part of my brain glow, and probably wear a skimpy nightgown (hospital gowns are the worst). The perfect Valentine’s date, right? 😉 I have to do all this because the tremors are now in my legs and I have a hard time walking because I feel weak or like I am about to fall down. Hand writing anything is hard and I have to focus-this makes it harder as it makes the tremors worse. Also, I have been noticing short-term memory problems and some difficulty thinking and saying certain words. Then, there’s the insomnia, and don’t get me started about the incessant itching everywhere.
I’m a hot mess right now.
Thankfully, the medication should help with many of the problems. Unfortunately, many of the problems are also the side effects of the medication, and it takes about 8 weeks to begin affecting the problems. Also, my doctor has me on a low dose so we can see if the medication has any results on my thyroid. In two weeks I go back for more blood work and I’m hoping for a positive result. I have noticed one small difference (huge one to me). My heart has reduced its racing and I haven’t had many breathing episodes. This makes a world of difference. It means I can actually do more than the minimum housework. I can walk to the elementary school my youngest goes to and pick him up and walk home again. His school is literally a 5-minute walk from our house. It means, I can catch back up with everything that’s fallen by the wayside since I had to stop doing anything. In this respect, I am getting stronger every day. I believe the doctor is on the right track; now it’s just finessing the details. I can’t wait to be back to normal.
I don’t believe I have Parkinson’s but it will be good to know for certain. Also, my neurologist says an overactive thyroid is actually a diagnosis of Graves’ Disease, which sounds worse than it is. Ironically, the radioactive iodine I drink for the DaTscan is also one of the treatments for overactive thyroids. Only, I will be on medication instead, probably for the rest of my life. I’m sincerely thankful this is all I have to do. One pill a day. Totally doable.
One of the things I’ve read about all this is that thyroid problems are very common and affect more women than men. Also, it can affect you as early as your 30’s, but many of its symptoms are common for any number of other issues. So, ladies and gentlemen, go have a physical and insist on blood work for thyroid problems. Like every health issue out there, catching it early is hugely beneficial. I’ve probably had this for years but never knew this could have been what was causing many of my problems like my anxiety, irritability, depression, and sleep problems. Now I know and am getting myself taken care of. No thyroid storms for me!
So, let this be your PSA (public service announcement) for today. Schedule a physical if you haven’t had one and insist on testing your thyroid. It really can save your life.
Take care of yourself, my friends.
P.S. Certain features on my blog are unavailable. Thank you for being patient and getting through this mess with me.
P.P.S. Poetry will be forthcoming. In fact, please check out this collection from a very dear friend, Sherrill S. Cannon. It’s already won 2 awards! Then, give her your thoughts. Links below:
A Penny for Your Thoughts: Poems of Love and Loss (Feelings Into Words) (reviews encouraged!)