October 21, 2010

hmm... What does God have up His sleeve...

Today has been a great day. Just saying. I went to the pumpkin patch with the kiddos at school, and witnessed pure happiness on their faces as they experienced the joy of laughter and the power of animals. Baby bunnies and chicks made their faces scream 'happpy!' it was perfect!

In other great news Matt and I bought a new car. Something that has been on the back burner for a while... until a car was found that really matched our needs. We got a 2007 Suzuki Forenza, station wagon with a roof rack! The rack was important to us so we can transport our tandem kayak. The whole purchasing process was decently pleasant and for that we are thankful. Not to mention we were able to purchase the car up front... no financing... just cash! great feeling, no doubt.

Now in odd news: As many of my close friends and family know, over the past year and a half I have been on the mission to figure out what causes some pretty crazy health issues. Over a year ago I started seeing the doctor for rapid heart beat, intense jitters, cob webs in the brain, lack of focus, lack of sleep, loss of weight, intensity of hearing and intolerance to light and also panic attacks. My former doctor decided he would treat me for an anxiety disorder, explaining that since so much in that year had changed (graduating college, moving home, working with special needs students, getting engaged and so on) that it must be my inability to adjust to so much change. I took the medication and it worked! I felt great again (mostly, and in comparison).... and at the same time I was also starting to believe that I must really have more of a mental illness that anything else. So I continued to be satisfied with this treatment. However, I did still wonder how I was able to do so many large life events with out every experiencing a panic attack before (traveling to Palestine, living a semester in Pittsburgh for an internship, living in Maine for the summer and so on...). So this got me online to try and figure out what else could be making my body feel this way.

With the help of my mom, knowing my family history and searching my symptoms.... it lead us to the conclusion that I may have a thyroid condition. The thyroid hormone is located in your neck. It largely controls your metabolism, but also has a direct affect on your brain.... how foggy or clear your brain functions, how your body temperature adjusts to environment, depression, anxiety and so much more. A year after my initial doctors appointment I was up for my next yearly physical. This being March 2010. So this time I went into the doctor very prepared. I had done a bunch of my own research, read a book on thyroid disease and jotted down all who have ever had issues in my family (which there are a lot). Being more prepared felt great! I knew what I was talking about and I also knew that I was not terribly thrilled about taking a med that could be only 'band-aiding' a situation instead of fixing it.

My doctor did the routine physical blood work and noticed that my TSH (or Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) came back on the high end at 4.9. Most up to date doctors like to see this number between 0.3 to 3. So he did take the next step in investigating what this could be from. He ran a series of more blood work and also checked to see if this could be an auto-immune disease. The results came back stating that I had Hashimoto's disease (or the failure of my thyroid...which is an auto immune disease). HOWEVER he still suggested to wait another 6 months before he wanted to do anything. And I will mention that though my panic attacks ceased once I started on the initial med. it did not take care of all my symptoms. I still continue to randomly lose wait, I am almost always hungry and almost always so tired. I often still struggle with foggy brain... and lack of putting together good sentences :) haha, just ask Matt!

Once this doctor decided to not look further into my situation for another six months, I decided that I would be finding a new doctor. However this was back in March and my main focus for some reason was our wedding. ha. And I also knew that I didn't want to be changing meds during all the wedding and honeymoon excitement. So this now brings me to this past week. I was able to find a specialist in glandular issues in Bellevue, OH. near Port Clinton. This initial appt. with him was great! I enjoyed his presence and knowledge so much more that my former doctor (I must say, if you ever don't feel 100% with your doctor, even just your general doctor, find a new one. You pay a lot of money to get treated correctly, and have a health advocate fully on your side.) In this first appt. the new doctor was able to look at my former blood work from the prior doctor (always get copies of everything from each doctors appointment. I have started my own file and it came in so handy in meeting with the new doc.) The new doctor agreed that I do have Hashimotos'. But he wanted to know more. The first thing he did was feel my neck, and almost immediately he felt a bump/lump on my thyroid, along with numerous other bumps along my neck and collar bone. He said that this would start his research and he issued a new set of blood work and an ultra sound for the following week.

Yesterday I had more blood work done along with the ultra sound. I guess I always imagined my first ultra sound would be for a baby in my belly, unfortunately no. It was a really neat experience however. And she allowed Matt to be in the room with me. She took many pictures and at the end she showed me what my thyroid looked like and compared it to what her healthy thyroid looked like. Quite a difference. There is most definitely something growing in or on my thyroid in addition to some smaller rougher looking things. (I'm clearly not able to describe what an ultra sound of my thyroid looks like. ha.) She was not really able to say anything to us about the look of my thyroid, though she seemed positive. Yet she did say that if she were to ever get cancer she wants it to be Thyroid Cancer since it has an extremely high survival rate. Hearing that was strange, the fact that cancer even has to be mentioned or evaluated. The ultra sound results will take about 10 days. They send the pictures to a specialist in Utah who is reading them for malignant tumors. So strange.

Now I feel good about all this. The only reason I have concern is that my sister had Thyroid Cancer just a handful of years ago. It is in the family. And I believe that growths on my thyroid are not great things to have. Though many peoples growths are not cancerous they still do hinder how a thyroid should function. So at this point I wait and see. I'm actually prepared to hear anything (I think.) Regardless of cancer or not, there is a high chance that I will still need work done on my thyroid to remove the unwanted lumps and bumps. So I know this will not all just be solved next week, but I sure do look forward to getting some answers.

Writing this all down is something I have been wanting to do for a while. This being my first experience with lots of doctors appts. and also sticking up for my self, I wanted to share my initial experiences in trying to figure out what is going on with my body. Trust that you know your body best and listen to it. I look forward to knowing a lot more about my body, how I function and what I can do to be in the best health. I will be updating my blog concerning all of this when I know more.

I do ask for prayers. It's such a strange feeling to be waiting on the answer of whether there is cancer in my body or just unwanted liquid filled lumps. No matter what I also know that medical bills can easily get overwhelming, so I also pray for stability in our jobs. Thanks for thinking of Matt and I. I have great peace in the belief that this will all get figured out very soon! And how exciting to not feel so tired and pooped all the time. I look forward to that. Thanks for reading! :)

*pictures are uploaded from our great field trip today!


  1. katie! wow thanks so much for sharing... i had no idea you went through all that! i will definitely be praying for ya... my cousin had a similar thyroid issue last year and i am happy to say she is doing great now... i can't believe that your first doctor did not do more, especially considering you had thyroid cancer in your immediate family... i am so glad you found a doctor that is thorough and attentive! love ya! miss you!

  2. Katie, my hashimotos buddy! You have reminded my that I need to go in for blood work. My general doctor said sometimes pregancy can mess with your levels. Although, I'm struggling to tell if my fatigue is caused by this or the fact that I have a 5 month old draining me of my sleep! Your words are encouraging though. I also must tell you that when I was 18 a friend of mine was diagnosed with Lymphoma and was told the same thing as you were-that if you are to get cancer it is the best kind to get ;). She also found that to be an odd statement. She is 24 and still cancer free. Although I am super happy to read on fb that your lumps are not cancerous!
    Hope all is well!