Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A Golden Opportunity Part One

At last I have diagnosis of what is wrong with me. Which has invoked all sorts of emotions. Proving again that you never know how you are going to react to in any given situation until you are actually faced with it.

So to get this all straight in my head I am going to take a leaf out of Country Craft Angels book and blog it through.

I have had a life dogged with ill health. Migraines from the age of 11 – happily they are at long last under control with medication and have been for four years. I have Hashimoto's Disease, a Hiatus Hernia, tinnitus, intermittent IBS and possibly the beginnings of diverticulitis. I used to have severe clinical depressions, but that has lifted and I haven't suffered from it since the 80's. I am also an anorexia sufferer – although it is very much under control now . . . then again that is what anorexia is all about isn't it - control. All of my 'illnesses, disorders, syndromes – whatever you want to call them are controllable (that word again) either with pills, or diet and I have been pretty much able to live a normal life. And most of the above have happened later in life and therefore it is not unexpected for health problems to appear as you get older.

Running alongside this since the late 70's has been my flu like aching and tiredness. It used to appear a couple of times a year usually for about a month, or so and was very debilitating. I put it down to having flu, or some virus. It rarely lasted longer than a month. At some point I was sent to the hospital and investigated for rheumatism and arthritis, but all tests came back clear. It was very worrying at the time of each bout to feel so ill, especially as I couldn't work and there was always the fear of losing my job . . . as had almost happened with my migraines. However each time all the symptoms would gradually go away and then vanish completely. I would get all my energy back and life would go on as before.

I had my children in the late 80's. Both by caesarian as I had high blood pressure both times and placenta previa with the first pregnancy, but apart from that the pregnancies went well. Although I landed up in hospital a month before Wildchild was born with a corker of a migraine and high blood pressure – I was kept in for a month. I was sooooo noisy they put me in a side ward . . . we were all having too much fun in the pre-natal ward and my blood pressure was through the roof. They tried sedating me – but gave up as it had no effect – my room was out of bounds to all my new friends, but there was no stopping me. Still I had a hoot and came out of it with a gorgeous baby. Second time around – ended up in hospital again with a migraine and high blood pressure. I didn't take to any of the girls I was on the ward with, so I behaved myself and was let home until I went back in for the caesarian.

I loved being a Mum, but bringing up two children when you have severe migraines was pretty grim at times – but the good times were far more than the bad healthwise and somehow I got through it.

Then in the early 1990's the usual twice yearly aching kicked in, but this time it didn't go. It dragged on week after week. I had no energy and yet somehow I had to continue looking after the children and also running my children's clothing business. My Doctor did some blood tests and said all was fine and then tried to tell me I was depressed which was making me ill. I tried to explain that I was ill which was bringing me down – but I wasn't depressed. No-one listened. Two years went by. I had some remission – but when the aching and tiredness did come back it was always for months at a time and I was scared that it would never stop. It was a very black time for me. I can remember sitting and staring into space wondering if this was it for the rest of my life. I hit rock bottom and really didn't know how I was going to go on.

I had no quality of life and was getting really desperate. I changed Doctors within the practice and then EVERYTHING changed. The new Doctor, a woman, had me tested for an underactive thyroid. Apparently I had been tested before and because my blood tests were borderline the previous Doctor had chosen not to treat me . . . he didn't even discuss it with me. My new blood tests came back borderline also, but my Doctor decided to treat me for my symptoms. And within six weeks HELLOO LIFE . . . I was taking Thyroxine which as far as I was concerned was a miracle drug. I no longer ached, I had energy, life was good again. Yes I still had the migraines, but I'd always had those and life in-between them was amazing. Interestingly I developed Tinnitus at the same time as the underactive thyroid.

Bless my Doctor she still wasn't satisfied and sent me to see an Endocrinologist because she was wondering if I had Hashimoto's disease.

MMMMmmmm I saw the consultant. He had a room full of students and was clearly showing off. He asked my to lift up my chin and swallow . . . which showed off my enlarged Thyroid gland and said that yes I had Hashimoto's Yup that was it no blood tests no history taking – no discussion just swallow and diagnose. He then put me on a massive dose of thyroxine replacement – saying that my thyroid was going to fail completely anyway so might as well get me on the dose I would eventually be taking.

Within a few weeks I was climbing the walls. I was paranoid, tight with tension the whole time, anxious, having heart palpitations and panic attacks . . .in short I was on a massive overdose of Thyroxine. My lovely Doctor put me back on a much lower does and explained that I would need to play around with my dosage until I found what suited to me and that it was not uncommon for it to take two years to get the dosage right. Plus as the Hashimoto's killed my thyroid I would need to increase my Thyroxine over time. I have indeed played around with the dosage over the years and my current Doctor is happy for me to control my own symptoms in this way.

And so life went on and up until 18 moths ago I had been fairly stable. Bouts of aching and tiredness still came and went, but no prolonged spells of feeling ill. Gradually my Thyroxine increased over the years from 50mcg to 225mcg – with a few hiccups in my dosage, but nothing catastrophic.

Four years ago, after I had been through the menopause, medication that hadn't previously worked on preventing my migraines suddenly did and just like that I had my life back , I could plan ahead and things were looking good.

But all that changed dramatically at the end of June 2006.

Comments moved over from Health blog

lampworkbeader said...
Hi WW I am afraid to say I haven't even heard of some of the things you have to live with on a daily basis, other's are only too familiar.
Take care of yourself and continue listening to your LWB

16 March 2008 10:21

littlebrowndog said...
Crikey, WW - that all sounds pretty horrendous! I too get migraines - although thankfully not as regularly as it sounds like you do - and know how utterly debilitating they can be. Will read your continued story with interest.

LBD xx

16 March 2008 10:22

chrish said...
Hmm, I feel somewhat ashamed of having a bit of a grizzle when you (and LBD above) are coping with so much. Migraines are difficult enough in themselves - I go through phases of them - but put them with all the other symptoms you've had to deal with and I wonder that you've achieved so much.

16 March 2008 11:04

faith said...
Poor you, it all sounds so horrible, and yet you seemed so vibrant when Kitty and I visited. Two out of my three sisters, and a dear friend of mine, have had thyroid problems so I know what all that is about - shudder.

16 March 2008 11:47

cait o'connor said...
I hope you get things sorted WW. I hardly ever get a migraine now, one of the (many!) joys of coming through the menopause.Have you tried cranial osteopathy by the way? And Reiki or healing. I can recommend both.

16 March 2008 15:16

cowgirl said...
Oh, WW, what a lousy time. And not just for a little while either. You manage so well, you make me ashamed of the times when I have my mini-meltdowns (quite often at present). The key seems to be a great GP, thank heaven's yours is one of these, do take care.


17 March 2008 00:27

exmoorjane said...
Yup, ditto to what the others have said. YOu have a plateful and no question about it. I do hope you're very kind to yourself through all this..and know what's coming next! jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

19 March 2008 04:22

1 comment:

LittleBrownDog said...

Dear WW - I hope you get this - I had to scroll round down to the bottom to find your comments link.

I'm so sorry to hear you've had all this to deal with. You always sound so supportive and giving when you comment on other people's blogs, its quite a shock to see that you have so much to deal with yourself.

It's difficult when you don't have a label for something. Whatever it is, it's very real as far as you're concerned, and I think you need to listen to your body and be kind and gentle with yourself, not expecting too much at first.

Lots of hugs. Really hope you come through this as soon as possible.