May 5th, 2008

chill relaxed

Okay, things have been ... busy ...

Yea, it's been a while... a long while.  I've been going through a lot that might be best summed up by month...

January - It was discovered that (likely by a typo) I was taking twice the recommended maximum dosage of my ADHD for months. Bloodwork alleviated fears of liver damage, thankfully.  Since you cannot just stop SSRI drugs, but at the same time I really needed to get onto a different drug,  a sequence of treatment was started that included weaning me off the one drug in favor of something else....  I managed to attend Further Confusion and had a nice time, in spite having little in the way of new stuff to sell.

February - I started having heart palpitations, the kind that makes you think a heart attack is eminent... and one particularly bad episode had my cougr taking me to the ER, but by the time they actually saw me the palpitation episode had stopped.  After dropping me off ALL pych drugs for a while, the palpitation episodes taper off, but this takes over a month before they completely vanish.  In the meantime, I see a cardiologist who hooks me up to a holter monitor as well as doing an EKG on me.  We determine that the palpitations were a drug interraction and that my heart muscle is very healthy and apparently undamaged from the months of elevated meds.  This is a good thing.

March - Started once again on a drug for my ADHD, this time Effexor... in carefully monitored increments.  No heart palpitations so far, but I'm noticing other symptoms which may or maynot be the ADD or the meds to treat it.  Concentration, sense of time, memory is flaky, but more important for me is the sluggish feelings, waves of numbness in my limbs, brittle nails, brittle hair, coughing fits and feeling of something in my throat.   For the fourth time, I insist to my general physcian to refer me to an endocrinologist.  He makes a 'deal' with me to try a low-dose T3 med for a month and if it doesn't help he'll get the referral.  I see minimal improvement and he finally relents and gets me the needed referral.

April - I see the endo and start on a larger dose of the same T3 meds my general gave while the endo waits for my bloodwork results.  Meanwhile, I go on a casual rental house research trip with susandeer to help her move out of the burglerized home she's in.  A 'pie in the sky' listing I spot on craigslist turns out to be a real possibility, and with great amazement we actually get the rental starting on the 15th.  Now we have the adventure of trying to pack two households down and moved into the new large place -- Sue and Bennie's place being the simpler of the two, as they had only lived in that rental for a few months.  The Doghouse, on the other hand, had been lived in for five years before coug'r and I moved in, and had several past roommates' flotsam in with the rest of the jetsam. 

The stress of moving, the amount of dust and other stuff in the air, and my asthma is unhappy.  I'm having coughing fits that leave me breathless and voiceless, seeing stars in my eyes at work, and making me look like death warmed over.  My manager expresses concern and when I mention seeing an endocrinologist, he insists that I ask for an emergency appointment (my manager had a friend with thyroid issues and recognized some danger signs) which I did.  Explaining my declining health, the endo feels around my throat and declares "You definitely have an enlarged thyroid" and writes me up for tests as well as a medical leave of absence.

May - As of the first, I'm on a four-week leave to deal with my thyroid issue.  Also on the first, I had an ultrasound and a CT Scan taken of the region.   Official prognosis is that I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease where antibodies are attacking the gland) with a goiter. Unofficial prognosis is that I will need surgery to remove at least a part of the thyroid to relieve pressure to my throat, if not all of it. Considering some of my maladies, it's quite likely that a section of inflammed thyroid is pressing against my larynx as well, and there's a small chance of damage to the vocal cords with the surgery.  As much as I prefer to avoid surgery unless absolutely necessary, this may be that case and I'll have to take replacement hormones for the rest of my life.  While that sounds extreme, as soon as you are diagnosed hypothyroid you are pretty much stuck with taking hormone meds for life, so it's not so traumatic a change.

Now I know that at least some of my coughing fits have been the thyroid and not asthma... I have often complained that when I start having an attack it's centered in the base of my throat and not my chest, and this makes sense with the Hashimotos.  Untreated, Hashi's can actually be fatal, but the bigger issue is undertreatment and the slow decline of health even when bloodwork says nothing's wrong.  In my inexpert opinion, I'm likely suffering an autoimmune attack brought on by years of under-medicating my hypothyroid.  As recent medical reports indicate that thyoid hormones are also neurotransmitters, it's reasonable to postulate that some of my recent ADD setbacks are also thyroid related.

So, right now I'm on unpaid leave, broke from the move, and medically broken.  At least I'm not depressed.  :)
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