While I had been delving into the online gaming and social scene for research and other purposes, and blogged about it a couple of times, recent developments prompted me to go offline and dive back into real life.
Unfortunately, Murphy had other ideas. That's right, the Murphy stepped in just when I was beginning to think I could re-enter life and said, "I don't think so!"
Okay, he didn't really, but it sure as hell felt like he did. Here's what happened:
For some time now, I've been experiencing increasing amounts of pain, wheezing, and swelling, to the point that everyday life became nearly impossible and the Internet the only form of life I had. Leaving the house to go to the library for books to read wasn't even a possibility there for a time because walking a few feet made me feel like I was going to pass out. I really felt like something just wasn't right, but couldn't "put my finger on it".
Well, through trial and error due to a simple twist of fate, I discovered that the very medication designed to regulate my thyroid created life threatening conditions.
Well, instead of being able to lose weight, I kept gaining it. I swelled up like a balloon, my blood pressure had been up drastically high and my breathing was awful. Simple movements were so hard. My legs were like tree trunks and my joints like rocks - heavy and difficult to maneuver. I felt chest pains, and those were what scared me the most. I knew it wasn't normal to feel this way, so I kept trying to find something.
Well, due to this difficulty of mobility and constant physical tiring, when my meds ran low, I really had no desire or ability to leave and get them. I wasn't even capable of driving myself anywhere because the pain and swelling were just too much for my body to handle. Then, when a bout of vertigo hit after I returned from Holiwood Nights, I went a week without any of my regular meds because I just couldn't trust myself to go down the stairs of my condo to get them out of my travel bag.
Yeah, I know, I could have had my husband bring them up to me, but rather than risk all that medication coming back up the way it went in, I decided to just go without. Well, after a week of no meds other than my meclizine, I began to feel better. A situation I've found myself in many, many times before, but I never connected the "ill" or "off" feeling with my meds before. However, this time I did.
Well, since I was feeling better, I even noticed that the swelling had gone down and I began to feel healthy enough to move and actually go up and down the stairs multiple times in one day, I decided it was time to restart my meds again.
That's when I noticed it. The swelling and shallow breathing returned fairly quickly, too quickly for it to be anything else but an allergic reaction to one of the meds I was taking, but I didn't know which one because I restarted all three back up at the same time, so I knew I needed to narrow it down to the culprit. So, I did my research.
Both Naproxen 500mg and HCTZ are known to cause swelling, so I started off my trial and error testing by eliminating one for a week and then the other. I continued taking the Levo with the HCTZ and the swelling occurred, same thing if it was just the Levo and the Naproxen, so I couldn't really be sure if it was one or both causing the swelling and I knew there was only one real way to tell, take only one pill at a time, so the trial began.
For about 4 days I took just the Naproxen 500mg - no swelling or anything, immediate or otherwise, so I eliminated it as the culprit.
I took just the HCTZ for a couple of days (about 2) with no swelling, rough breathing or anything else, so I eliminated it as the problem.
At this point, I hadn't ruled out a problem with the combination of pills, so I knew I needed to do one more test, but I wanted my body clean again, so I stopped taking all meds again. It had been at least a week without the Levo and a couple of days without any meds, so I figured it was time to start taking just the Levo, so I did.
An instant after I took the Levo, the swelling and rough breathing returned. There, I had my culprit, so I stopped taking the Levo, the HCTZ and Naproxen for the next week, and I started feeling so much better! It was about mid to late June at this point. By my second week without Levo, the swelling was completely gone and I noticed I lost about 10 pounds. All the pain I had been feeling began to go away as well.
After the third week without the Levo, I could go up and down the stairs multiple times in an hour! The change was dramatic. Here's the proof:
On Mother's Day 2010 (May 9th), I couldn't even make it beyond hole 7 at Brown Deer disc golf course because I thought I was going to have a heart attack or something. Just over two months later, I was able to make it through the entire course with very little issue other than what I expect, which is slight and due to allergies. Of course, I did feel a bit tired by the end, but it was hot out and it had been awhile since I had been able to do exercise of any kind, so being tired isn't really a big issue at this point.
Things seemed to return to normal. After months of being unable to move properly or do ordinary, everyday things like wash dishes and laundry, I felt like the weight of the world had been removed from my body and my life. I began to want to make up for all of the exercise I lost over the past couple of months.
Well, the next day after my first successful disc golf outing, I opted to play again, at Valley View in New Berlin. On one of the holes in the back nine, I lost sight of a disc and had to search for it (like in real golf, you play from where the disc lands). I ended up in the wrong area and looked in the foliage where I thought it landed. What I found instead was a gigantic hole in the ground, lost my footing and sprained my ankle in the process. My ankle bent so far inward (practically parallel to the ground) that I could feel things stretching. I was lucky I didn't break anything. That was over two weeks ago and it still isn't healed.
I can move around the house, going up and down the stairs normally (left-right-left fashion) still hurts, so I have to do it left foot first on every stair. I do rotation and stretching exercises everyday to keep it the muscles from stiffening up, and I walk around the house as much as possible, but planting still appears to be an issue. It might be another week yet before I'm even ready to get out and walk normally - ugh!
Of course, my research implies that I can't be allergic to the drug itself, but the "dyes and fillers" but it does confirm that I definitely have issues with the pills. I have yet to locate where a list of these "dyes and fillers" can be located. It doesn't mean I'm giving up, but I have an allergy to Vitamin A, so I honestly don't find it hard to believe that I could be allergic to the drug itself.
How do I know I've done the right thing in stopping the medication?
Well, most of my life, my blood pressure has been low, outside of stressful times. However, when I started taking Levothyroxine, my blood pressure has been "elevated" and any meds they gave me for it made me sick, except HCTZ, and it didn't even work all that well anyway. The Friday after I sprained my ankle, I went to the doctor to make sure it was just a sprain, and not broken - which it wasn't (yay!). They took my blood pressure, and for the first time in a couple of years, it was well within the acceptable range, just slightly elevated, which is expected considering the amount of pain I was in.
My blood pressure was 127/70 (or something to that effect) but while on Levothyroxine, my bp readings were somewhere in the neighborhood of 140/90 and even as high on 146/100.
It leads me to wonder, just how safe are these drugs that we're supposed to take to "regulate" our bodily functions? What I've also begun to wonder, is if I'm feeling so sick by these pills, is the problem really with my thyroid or with another part of the process? In other words, is my doctor actually treating the problem itself or just treating a symptom of the problem?
What do I mean?
Well, the thyroid isn't the only gland involved in the process. There are two other glands involved in this process - the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. At this point, I think I need to start asking, how do we know the problem I'm having is really the thyroid and not one of the other glands?
How it works
Okay, since this post is already long, I thought I'd make it even longer by adding in some info about how the glands function together in an effort to see for myself if there's any possibility that I've been misdiagnosed.
The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) which then travels to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland then releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) into the blood to stimulate the thyroid to produce two thyroid hormones, L-thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland also needs adequate amounts of dietary iodine to be able to produce T4 and T3.
Obviously, I can't make much headway without knowing my actual numbers (all of them), but I might be able to recognize certain patterns, so maybe something will stand out. I'm also curious to know if maybe my problem might lie with an Iodine deficiency, because that can mimic conditions of an under active thyroid.
Interesting to note, while we use Fluoride in our toothpaste, it is considered a toxin by the body and Iodine detoxifies the body by replacing fluoride with itself.
Isn't that interesting?
Iodine is also responsible for detoxifying the body of mercury, chlorides, and bromides.
Chlorides are considered a toxin. Again, isn't that interesting?
We eat salt "sodium chloride" every day, which means we shove toxins into our body that must be filtered out of our bloodstream for our health. The more I read, the more I'm wondering if I don't have a deficiency because I'm allergic to shellfish, and I tend not to eat much fish either. According to Thyroid.org, Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism all over the world, except in the U.S., where it's merely an uncommon cause. However, over time, our lands and waters are becoming more and more deficient in Iodine, meaning we consume less and less amounts of Iodine in our diet, especially when fish and shellfish are not consumed.
Why else might this be an issue? Well, I happen to have large breasts (not bragging, stating a fact) which means I need to consume more Iodine than the average woman, so I might really be at a disadvantage and not even realize it and neither might my doctor or the diagnostic center.
Since I'm beginning to search out natural methods of dealing with issues, this might to a place to start.
For more information on thyroid issues, check out this link:
For more information on Iodine deficiency, check out these links: