Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It may not be my fault...

I apologize, this is gonna be a long post with no pictures. But, if even one other person with similar issues to mine reads it and decides to learn more about the thyriod then it's worth it.

One thing I found very interesting when reading Ultra Metabolism was his focus on addressing the whole problem. That includes eating habits, exercise, supplements, liver function, thyroid function, etc. There is a self-assessment at the end of each section that allows you to gauge how your body is doing in various areas. If you score over a certain threshold he recommends going to a doctor for further testing and even gives you guidance as to what tests to make sure to get, the right questions to ask, and what to expect for treatment.

I've always been a little uncomfortable going to a doctor and telling them, "Hey, this is what I think is wrong with me." After all, that's their job isn't it? However, after reading the book and taking the self-assessments, I really do feel that I'm a more educated patient. It's not the same as watching a pharmaceutical commercial on TV and saying, "hey, I think I have that!" I think prescription drug ads should be outlawed. But, educating yourself and learning how your body could be responding to certain deficiencies is acceptable and encouraged if you ask me. So, after reading the section about thyroid issues a light bulb went off. Actually, more like a big, Vegas-style neon sign turned on.

I've often felt that something wasn't right. It seemed like it was way harder than it should be for me to lose weight and keep it off considering my activity level and how well I eat. It's been a battle for many years and I would have loved to been able to look at my habits and realize I was eating crap or that I was a couch potato so that I would have a clear cause and effect situation. But even nutritionists couldn't help me. Having regular well-rounded workout with cardio and weight training didn't help me. If I slacked off on the eating or exercise I'd balloon up so quickly it was unbelievable. And that's just with a little bit of slacking off. It's not like I went from eating quinoa and steamed veggies to a bucket of KFC for every meal. So frustrating!

For the last two years I've been very diligent about my eating and exercise. I've lost about 40lbs in those two years and it's been just by kicking my own ass. But now, as always, I've hit that point where I've got 15-25 more to lose and I'm stuck. I never make it past this point. In fact, after losing 8.5lbs last month I'm stuck again. And have gained some back. I want to scream.

After I read the book I already knew that I wanted to look into my thyroid. I knew that in 2006 I had it tested and it came back normal so despite having a laundry list of associated symptoms I wasn't hopeful. I signed up for a screening offered by Iowa Health Systems. I had my vitamin D and my thyroid checked. As a side note, did you know most people are deficient in vitamin D because we don't get enough sun exposure? I take 7500iu a day of vitamin D supplements and my levels are at 66 which is perfect (range is 33-100). So, I take a lot per day but that's what's required for me to be right where I need to be. Take vitamin D! There's so much research now indicating vitamin D deficiencies could be responsible for many ailments. Why risk it? Anyway, back to the thyroid.

As I mentioned, I match up on many of the symptoms that are common for hypothyroidism. When I got my results my TSH was 3.305 which is "normal" according to the ranges used by the lab. However, I called BS on that and did some digging and found that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists updated their recommendation a few years ago to say that anything over 3.0 was actually hypothyroid or should be examined more closely. So, it just depends on which range the doctor/lab wishes to use. How annoying. Consistency, people! The thyroid is a pretty important little part of the body, can't we agree on how to measure proper function? I decided that I'd take my results straight to a specialists after many of my friends said to skip the middle man. I did need a referral, however, so I asked my family doctor to send in the referral and he agreed without me coming in simply based on my history with him and my struggles with weight. It pays to use the same doctor! One bit of info that came as a surprise to me while talking to his nurse was just how much my thyroid levels had changed since I last had the test. I was tested by my doctor in 2006 and at that time it was 1.648, totally normal. And now it's 3.305? That is very much no bueno. Not only is it now in the hypo range, it's a significant change from before. That is definitely something to address before it can decline further, as it likely will without treatment.

Something is clearly going on and I need to get it under control before I drive myself crazy trying to battle my weight and my body really starts to suffer. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be waiting until April or May before I can get into to see one of the specialists (I prefer a female for this). I was hoping to get started treating this sooner rather than later so that I can be used to the drugs or whatever it is I get before I go on vacation. I don't want to be adjusting to new meds while in a different country. I guess lucky for me Tony's mom is a doctor. :)

Thanks for listening. I'm frustrated and, like I said, others may unknowingly be battling the same demons so I thought I'd share. Hope I didn't scare my three readers away! :)

1 comment:

Tony CaƱas said...

Tony's mom and large part of the family so we can have you in observation the whole time... :-P