Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some Days

Some days I just feel so overwhelmed with all this health mess going on for me. Today just happens to be one of those days. I'm sitting here writing this, covered in hives, even though I have taken every bit of medication, plus the extra stuff that is supposed to clear everything up, every time I'm supposed to.
Just to give you a brief idea of the level of medication I'm on, I'm taking 360mg of Allegra, 300mg of Tagamet, and 10mg of Singulair. I also have prednisone at the ready when I need it, and I've taken it in the last 24 hours.
All this medication just makes me feel pretty crummy, for the most part, all day. And most of the time keeps the hives under control, but I know that as they get worse the thyroid issue is getting worse. I've also had some other symptoms that have worsened, one of which being a tremor that I've had for some time. I was at work last night trying to dissect out some pretty small, delicate muscles for my students to see for their upcoming test and I could hardly hold the scalpel still enough to dissect at the right spot.
Anyway, I don't have my next endcrinologist appointment until the end of May, but I think I'll be calling and trying to bump up that appointment. I also have a lead on a doctor in town who is a little more attuned to some alternative therapies too that I'll probably check out as soon as I can get in to see him.
I have a hard time asking for prayer for myself, but right now that's what I'm shamelessly asking for.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Decision

We have agonized over what to do about Caleb's education.
Do we send him to public school?
Do we send him to private school?
Do we homeschool him?
Based on our experiences in school and some of the requirements in our state, we decided very quickly against public school. This is something that we are very passionate about. I do believe we have both said that our children will not attend public school, just to give you an idea.
As I've mentioned before, we did interview for a university model school in our town. If you are not familiar with this type of school, basically the kids would go to school MWF and are homeschooled on TTh. We were really drawn to this type of schooling because it would have given us the best of both worlds, homeschooling and still getting him out of the house for a bit.
Long story short, we left the interview with the private school feeling very negative about the whole experience and were sure that they would not want us there. That was January.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from the principal at the school saying that she wanted me to take Caleb to the school and leave him for a day. Throughout this time period, Jes and I have been discussing what would be best for Caleb and really came to the firm conclusion that he just was not emotionally ready for a classroom (however, the kid is reading, writing and doing math at a pretty high level), so leaving him in this school for even a day wasn't an option.
I had a very enlightening and honest discussion with the principal in which I told her of my misgivings about the whole idea of sending Caleb there. She was very supportive, listened and even told me that she wished that she had not forced her youngest to go to school when he wasn't ready because it set him up for some really difficult years.
So, the decision is that we are going to homeschool Caleb. I have a real peace knowing that we have made the right decision for our family and for our son.
Now, we just have to find the right curriculum for him, which seems like it will be a much more daunting decision!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do you notice something awry here?

No? Well, let's just take a closer look.

Empty juice bottle. On a day when I was running out the door to make it to a meeting that I was already late to. So, frustrating.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Typical Conversation...

Me: Do you know where the remote is for the bedroom tv?
Jes: No, didn't you have it last night?
Me: At some point, yes. Was the tv on when you got home last night? (he worked reeeaaallllly late)
Jes: Yes
Me: Did you turn it off?
Jes: No, you did.
Me: With the remote?
Jes: I guess. I didn't see you get out of bed.
Me: Well, I've lost it.
Jes: (laughing) Yes, yes you have.

(Not that I have to mention this, but he wasn't referring to the remote, but to my mind.)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Health Update

I've been putting off this post for awhile now simply because I just didn't want to write it. Also, I really don't like talking about myself that much, but so many people have asked about what is going on with my health and this is really the best way to answer all those questions.
I'll just start from the beginning.
In October of last year, I came down with a really nasty upper respiratory infection. It was one of the worst viruses that I had encountered in some time and was really super sick for quite a while. At this time, I had a few lymph nodes that swelled up in my neck. When they didn't go away right away I made an appointment with the same set of physicians that Jes sees and made the trip there.
As a side story, Piper, at that time, was on some antibiotics for something, which all you moms know what that does to a little one's poop. Let's just suffice it to say that she decided to do her business just as we entered the exam room. Boy was it bad. Later on during the visit, a nurse came in and gagged. Nice. This was also the same visit where Caleb ran out of the exam room while they were drawing my blood. Luckily, a former student of mine who worked there walked by and caught him. I didn't think they would allow me back...
Ok, so Carol, my fab PA, examined me and determined that it must be the illness that I had just nearly gotten over that caused the lymph nodes to react as they did. I was to come back in a month.
At the next appointment, 2 of the 3 swollen nodes had gone down and the 3rd and shrunk some but not back to normal yet. I was to come back in 2 weeks.
When I returned the lymph node was still swollen and she thought I should go see a surgeon.
Surgeons are surgeons and they want to cut and that was the first thing he jumped to. I managed to hold him off for about 3 months before I saw Carol again where she was pretty outraged that he was going to just cut me right open and take it out.
During this same time, I developed a raging case of hives. I had never experienced this before and went in to see Carol. She gave me some allergy medicine and prednisone and told me to document everything that I came into contact with and I was to see her in a couple of weeks. We were both confident that I wouldn't have this again.
The course of prednisone that I was given was 6 days long. I woke up on the 6th day with hives worse than before and my lips so swollen I looked like a duck. I made a quick trip up to see Carol who upped my prednisone dramatically and gave me the number for an allergist.
As soon as I got home I called the allergist and was able, miraculously, to get in the very next day. Dr. B, as we'll call her, took one look at me and was instantly intrigued. We couldn't do any allergy testing because that requires one to be off all allergy medication and steroids for 7 straight days and I hadn't even made it 6 while on both meds. So, her best guess was that this might be a metabolic or autoimmune issue, since I do have significant family history for those.
After 9 (!) vials of blood I waited and waited and waited. About a week later as I pulled into Chipotle after a playdate I got the call I had been waiting for: I had autoimmune thyroid disease.
I returned to Carol and had some follow up blood work done and a sonogram done on my thyroid that week and waited to make an appointment with an endocrinologist.
When I got the name of who I was to go see, I called right away and was told I would have to wait over a month to get into the practice. After a stern talking to with the scheduler on the phone, an appointment just randomly opened up right before her eyes for the next week (can you hear the sarcasm?). Can you also tell why some health care professionals really don't like me? I just know how to work the system... It comes from working in it...
The endocrinologist took even more blood and we did what is called an uptake and scan over 2 days. Basically, I swallowed a low dose irradiated iodine pill and the next day my thyroid was scanned to determine how much iodine my thyroid took up. A high number would be diagnostic for Graves Disease and a low number would be diagnostic for thyroiditis. We were obviously hoping for a low number.
High normal for this test is 25. My number was 37. They don't diagnose Graves until you are around 80, 90, or 100. So, we decided to wait it out. This was my worst fear because now I have hives, every day, and all the other symptoms that are coming along with it as well. None of this is impairing my life, but it sure is bothersome.
The lymph node issue continues to persist and the ENT that I saw, after the debacle with the surgeon, felt that I needed to have an image taken of it to see what it looked like. The issue with this is that they want to use contrast, which for a person with documented allergies (check) and a heart condition (check) should not use it.
As a side note, throughout this whole time going from doctor to doctor I was told on more than one occasion that I probably had cancer. To be frank, I was terrified. Many hours of lost sleep came because of these flippant remarks by various doctors. This ENT was the first to tell me that he was confident that I did not, in fact, have cancer. He made this determination after a very thorough examination, so it was not, like the other comments, made after no exam.
I went to have the MRI last week, without contrast, and they wouldn't do it because they couldn't prove that I wasn't pregnant. Even though I took a pregnancy test right in front of them. And it was negative.
So, at this point, we are waiting on the thyroid stuff to get worse or my appointment to come up again (May) and to schedule a MRI for the lymph node issue.
That's about where it all stands now.