Moving. To a new state. Not Utah. Like, next week.

Well. That’s one way to motivate me to blog a bit more – brain-dump churchy stuff, get a bit itchy & decide it’s a super great time to write more stuff as to push the post off the front page.

Plus, I’ve got something to tell y’all. We’re moving.

moving-boxes

Sadly, not to our dream homestead — just to another rental (for now) — so we can be closer to E’s work. The long distance relationship* thing has been a drag (and really hard on the kids), plus E was wasting his limited home time with a 10 hour round-trip commute. It has been a decision we’ve really labored over. There are lots of tears over moving far away from amazing friends we have here in an area that we’ve really come to love.

* I realize I have blogged little to nothing about this. But E’s new job took him out of state and he was only able to be home for a day and a half or so each week. We were really wanting to keep the kids in this area and thought the travel/long-distance thing might work, but no, it hasn’t been ideal.

It will be a brand new experience for my kids, we’ll be living in a bigger city in a regular neighborhood without the cushion of lots of country space around. I think they’ll come to like novel things like sidewalks and having friends really close by rather than acres and acres away. It’ll be kind of fun, I think, to live near amenities like a rec center (with lovely lap lanes!) and be within bike riding distance to ice cream shops and parks. But it’s still very hard on everybody** — we have put down some very deep roots here, and we hope in time, we’ll be able to come back.

** Miss K is not sad at all actually, as she’ll be getting her own room. Finally. Gosh. (They’ve really done surprisingly well sharing even though we have been here about 4 months longer than we originally planned, but girlfriend needs her own space, I totally agree.)

empty-bookcases

My super-hero friends have been helping since I am not supposed to do much and brought over boxes and supplies yesterday. E. is the only one who has seen the new place, so we don’t have any good photos, but we should be moved in by next weekend & I’ll show you around after the dust settles. Here’s one picture from the listing (the rest are of the outside, which I don’t want to post online).

kitchen

I’m a broken record, but we have really found this 1968 trailer rental more than fine, but I will admit that it’ll be nice to have a kitchen in a more user-friendly layout, and LOOK MA, no peel & stick tiles on the floor. Woo.

p.s. I’ll be back tomorrow-ish with the obligatory costume photos from tonight, and, with how today is going so far, a picture of four kids passed out in a sugar coma.

p.p.s. I realize I have not told you which state. More on that later.

A rambling faith manifesto of sorts & the curiosities of Mormon garments

Hey guys! I clearly don’t know what I’m doing with this space, but it has been nice to be on a different, cheaper hosting system so I don’t get so antsy (riddled with money wasting guilt) when I’m not feeling the blogging bug.

I just wanted to pop in & share this video that explains the Mormon temple garments (commonly referred to as magic underwear online). I’m typically not a really open person about my faith, but I’ve had lots of (tentative, nervous, and curious) questions about my underwear over the years (and I was always happy to answer questions), so I thought if you hadn’t seen this, it might be interesting. I think they did a really great job with the topic and the explanations, and love that they showed pictures of the temple garments and clothing alongside sacred or special religious vestments from other religions.

I am a ‘card carrying’ member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) — which means I have a temple recommend and keep it current even though I can’t attend temple services often these days due to my health. My faith is very important to me, though I am very quiet about it — it feels very, very personal, and isn’t something I want to fight or argue about. The Mormon culture in which I was raised and my pioneer heritage make up huge aspects of my identity — I would have a very hard time separating those things if I were to experience a faith crisis and wanted to leave the church (I don’t see myself ever leaving, but I just wanted to point out that my religion is more than just faith, it’s a way of life.*) I am not a perfect member (no one is!), and though I take comfort in my faith, I have a lot of unanswered questions too; especially concerning controversial issues that make headlines these days.

Fall colors

I, personally, am extremely accepting of people from all walks of faith or non-faith. I have a great deal of respect for people on the whole; good people who are doing their best in life to live according to their hearts – following the faith that is just as deep and meaningful to them as mine is to me. This respect encompasses those who struggle with or eschew a faith in a higher power altogether. *I have respect too, for those who honor their faith crises and leave — it cannot be easy. I don’t think those people are necessarily ‘wicked sinners'; they are people who are trying to follow their hearts.

God, as I understand him, along with his son, Jesus Christ embody love and understanding for all of their children here on earth. I view God as a perfect father to us all and I cannot see someone’s daddy tossing them out of their heavenly home just because they worshiped differently than I do. (Or hey, were raised in the Australian bush, or some remote tribe in South America and walked their own path of happiness — if we are all his children, how could he possibly damn someone to hell just because they grew up without ever meeting a missionary or wore loin cloth in an uncontacted tribe?) I do believe in right and wrong, but I also believe in a loving, understanding, all-knowing God who gives us our free agency and sent his children to earth in a huge array of cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds. He allows us to make our own choices and to be affected by people making their own choices as well. As a result, we experience pain, sickness, death, frustration, grief, anger, and hurt, but also personal growth, love, joy, and happiness.

Fall colors

I am not a theologian. I am not even a scriptorian. I’m not going to knock on your door and ask you to read the Book of Mormon. I’m not going to fight with you over various interpretations of the Bible. While I question things and think for myself and don’t think I am a blind-follower, I also don’t feel driven to strip organized religion to its core and examine the pieces. I’m okay with not having all the answers. I have had an Evangelical Christian yell at me and offer to pray for my rescue from my horrible, misguided cult. It wasn’t my favorite experience, but I respect her boldness of faith and doing what she felt was the right thing to do. I know that missionaries of my faith can be obnoxious and pushy, and understand completely why someone might slam a door in their face, too (and I really hope I can train my children up to be respectful of others on their missions, should they choose to go). I honestly think for the most part (excluding the legitimately deranged, truly sick, evil people, of whom I’m sure there are many… the world is gross sometimes, y’all) we’re all bumbling about down here, trying to be happy.

I believe that Christians, at our core, all believe in the same Jesus (the one who suffered for our sins and died to save us all). I believe that fighting over the definitions of Jesus or God won’t get us anywhere. I like it when Christians from different churches can hold hands and be friends — or better yet, work together to do good in the world. I like it even more when Christians can respect an agnostic or atheist point of view, and vice a versa. While I am not outgoing enough to be a missionary, my faith brings me hope, peace, comfort, and joy. I am happy to share that with anyone who is interested, but I completely respect those who feel comfortable and happy in where they are at … or you know, just too fond of beer to join up with a bunch of nutty teetotalers.

Fall colors

I understand why people who leave their faiths might feel angry and hurt and then lash out at their former religion — it’d be nice if they didn’t feel like they must trash my way of life, but I totally get where they are coming from, too. I can smile at a lot of LDS humor and mockery, and unlike it says in the video above, I’m not horrifically offended if you call my panties magic — I’ve done so myself, though I see their (the video makers’) point. Mean-spirited mockery of religion & religious artifacts/vestments can make me sad to see (whether it’s toward my religion or someone else’s) and I don’t enjoy stumbling across it, but I also understand it, and realize that it is a pie-in-the-sky dream for everyone the world over to just hold hands and sing kumbaya.

I fully realize this is a jumbled mess of a post, but if I try to edit it and make it eloquent I’ll probably never post it. I might delete it at some point if getting public with my random and meandering statement of Belief makes me feel uncomfortable at some point. Be nice in the comments, k? Or just say hi even if you don’t care about any of this, because that’s okay too. xx

p.s. Pictures apropos of nothing. It was just a lot of text.

p.p.s. Still struggling along over here. Sometimes rashy, sometimes swollen, sometimes super dizzy, but very little actual passing out (knock on wood). I feel like I’m making progress, but it’s slow.

p.p.p.s. I signed up for a writing class and it has been really, really fun.

p.p.p.p.s. I’m totally doing NANOWRIMO next month, are you? I’m verymom over there, let’s be friends.

Constant vigilance and my hyperactive adrenals (finally)

Welcome to another super simplified biology lesson, brought to you by the letter A and your adrenal glands.

(Hey, it should go without saying, but I am not a doctor, and none of my blatherings here have been evaluated by the FDA or any reputable medical establishment. This stuff is cobbled together from my long-ago and rusty background as a nurse, and various tubes on the internet. Please join me in the frustrating journey of finding medical help, and don’t take my word for… well, basically anything, ever.)

hey-adrenal-glands

I got a little happy with the type-tool in Photoshop. Ahem.

adrenal-function

Your adrenal glands actually have different parts that do different things. The adrenal cortex makes hormones that are vital to life: cortisol and aldosterone; your body won’t be able to function without them. The adrenal medulla produces nonessential hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine & norepinephrine). These aren’t considered necessary for life, though they do important things and you are very lucky to have them.

mainstream-adrenal-disease

When your adrenal glands get sick and diseased, it wreaks havoc in your body. That list isn’t comprehensive, by the way.

affect-correct

During a period of extreme stress, your adrenal glands will over-compensate for the extra demand placed on your body. Illness, late nights, a high-stress job, a death in the family, major relationship problems, etc. can wear you out. Your little Dorito-shaped soldiers (or party animals), the adrenals, will rise to the occasion, producing extra cortisol and adrenaline to keep you going.

cortisol-too-high

(Symptom list not comprehensive, yo.)

While they do a good job of keeping us together during periods of duress, over-working your adrenal glands definitely isn’t meant to be a long term solution. After so long (and the exact time frame will vary from person to person) they too will run out of steam; they can’t sustain those high levels of production forever, and as a result your cortisol levels dip.

low-cortisol

Okay so that brings us back to this comic:

Feel like crap? Well I have great news, your labs are 100% normal. You are the picture of health!

You present with a host of troubling symptoms, the doctor runs a blood test — maybe even checking your blood cortisol levels — and blamo, your results come back within the normal range. Sorry you feel like the bottom of a garbage can! Here’s my office bill, have a nice day.

As I’ve come to understand it, the only effective way to test for high or low levels of cortisol is with a 24-hour saliva test. Depending on the test provider, you collect saliva samples either with swabs or by spitting copious amounts of saliva into test tubes *gag*. You then mail the samples to the lab and they get back to you with the results. Then you get to fight with your doctor and make him take into account the results.

barf

Last time I went through this I ordered this saliva test through the Optimal Health Network. I had a good experience with them. For a reasonable fee, they’ll go over your test results with you and work out a treatment plan. I responded very well to the host of (expensive) Standard Process supplements designed for adrenal support. That test will also look at your DHEA (another adrenal hormone), Secretory IGAs, Insulin levels, and Gluten antibodies. This time I used the saliva test recommended by Stop the Thyroid Madness which is good, but not quite as robust.

Mid-novel check-in

Okay, are you with me? Does that make sense? Your adrenals are little machines that take the wheel when life gets NUTS, but they can get tired and crash.

Give that wheel to Jesus, adrenals.

Last time I went through this I had broken my arm, suffered through my fourth hyper-emetic pregnancy, lost a twin baby, went through a brutal D&C for the twin’s retained placenta, hemorrhaged horribly during said D&C, and (not to sound too dramatic) nearly died.

If that isn’t stress in a pressurized can about to be punctured, I don’t know what is. After a year of breastfeeding and increasing difficulty with my weight and health, my skin exploded in a 10 month bout with giant urticara and angioedema. Basically, my body was waving a white flag: WE SURRENDER. HALP. After doing the (frustrating and dead-end) rounds with countless medical professionals, I finally got a tip from blog reader, Liz A. (Holla, Liz.) At her urging, I started researching all this adrenal fatigue stuff. Working with an MD who only sometimes raised her eyebrows so high they fell off her face, a nutty chiropractor, and a very understanding, crunchy DO doctor, I finally took the aforelinked saliva test from the Optimal Health Network, got my insane results, and started healing.

This time isn’t as bad as last time. It’s miserable, but it’s better. Part of that is because I’d already done all the frustrating run around five years ago, and knew what tests I needed straight off the bat. I was able to more quickly get to the point with my family doctor up here and line up the various assortment of medical help I knew I needed. Plus, the stress leading up to this time wasn’t nearly as catastrophic. I didn’t nearly die or anything Lifetime movie-esque. I just pushed myself too hard, so here we are.

My cortisol levels

So my problem (then and now) is too much cortisol. Last time my cortisol levels were OFF THE CHARTS morning, noon, and night. They are screwy this time: low normal in the morning (when they should be higher and ready to give me energy for a new day) and too high at night (when they should be calming the crap down so I can sleep… I currently can’t sleep.)

cortisol-sleep-energy

Cortisol levels can mess up your circadian rhythm. That super magical thing that happens in your body to regulate your energy throughout the day. It helps you wind down at night, gives you the ability to fall asleep, and affects how rested and ready you feel for a new day of work and life in the morning.

spastic-adrenals

Here’s what’s helping

The first thing on this list is a great team of medical people:

I have two family doctors (MDs) who are relatively willing to listen to my own non-medical-doctor research. If one won’t listen to me, the other one will (not that I’m always right, but you know, it’s nice to be heard). The same DO medical doctor who is much more willing to take me seriously. I like her a lot. An energy worker who, I often feel like is doing crazy voodoo, but seems to hit the nail on the head when I’m confused about tweaking a supplement or why I’m having a problem in a certain area. If nothing else he helps me meditate and focus and take RESTING seriously. An ND (natropath physician) with expertise in thyroid / adrenal function which I have so far only corresponded with on the phone, but who I may be visiting soon (he’s in another state). It’s kind of depressing that you can’t just walk into a family practice and get all the help you need, but with sort of weird problems like this, you have to do a lot of your own research and be willing to fight for the right kind of help.

These supplements and medications:

  • Dessicated thyroid. My dose / type is currently getting tweaked. Read more here.
  • Floradix (the gluten free variety) liquid iron supplement. 20ml per day.
  • Dessicated adrenal. By Standard Process. It’s expensive, but very effective. I take 7 per day for 6 weeks (I have 2 more weeks left — you don’t want to be on it longer than that, your adrenal glands will get lazy)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons of Real Salt in water daily
  • 3 Dermatrophin PMG (this also stops after 6 weeks, more on that below)
  • 8 Standard Process Calcium Lactate tablets
  • 2 Potassium tablets
  • 3 Nature’s Way B-100 complex capsules
  • 1 Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle capsules
  • 6 Twinlab C-Plus Citrus Bioflavonoid capsules
  • 3 Standard Process Zymex
  • 1 Standard Process Prolamine Iodine
  • 14 Standard Process Cataplex B
  • 5 Standard Process Cataplex D
  • 6 (3 in am, 3 at night) Standard Process Congaplex
  • Trace Mineral drops
  • 6 (3 in am, 3 at night) Standard Process Chlorophyll Complex
  • 2 Himalaya brand Holy Basil
  • I took one bottle of Medi-Herb Nevaton
  • 1 teaspoon in water of Medi-Herb Ashwaganda
  • 1 teaspoon in water of Medi-Herb Rehmannia
  • 2 teaspoons in water of powdered Turmeric (natural antihistamine)

At the 6 week mark, I stop the dessicated adrenal and Dermatrophin PMG and switch to Drenatrophin PMG for 6 weeks (also by Standard Process). After that I take Drenamin for a year and then retest everything and re-evaluate (lots of those supplements will get tweaked / eliminated as we go).

It’s a lot, but it’s helping and so that’s motivating. For me, the monster rash seems to have a direct correlation to my cortisol spaz attack. With adrenal support, I’m down to just 3 Benadryl every 8 – 12 hours. This is AWESOME. I have various degrees of welts and facial swelling most mornings, but after taking my bowlful of supplements I’m usually fairly comfortable by the afternoon (comfortable for me is not, probably, going to be comfortable for you — you get sort of used to a certain level of misery).

I am perfectly capable of having / running our homeschool from the sofa or bed, but we are still very cautious (due to the POTs symptoms though those are improved) of me doing much more. I do not have any church or community responsibilities, and friends are still helping with grocery shopping and errands. I am able to run the kids to dance classes, but they are very nearby.

There is a link between adrenal function & thyroid and low iron & thyroid. We’re hoping that as I continue to get my iron & adrenal glands in line, some of my thyroid problems will resolve, or at least be easier to treat.

Oh my gosh, just one more thing and then you are FREEEEEEEE

I made a mistake last time this happened: I abandoned everything (supplements, testing, doctor visits) once I felt better. I am realizing more and more that my body is a delicate flower. What I need to do is remain vigilant even when I start feeling like a human.

Mad Eye says don't stop taking care of yourself

I’m going to need to stay on top of having regular blood work and the gross saliva tests. I need to remember that I probably can’t just dance off into the sunset and abandon my resolve to maintain my iron levels just because I can go to the grocery store without help. This is going to be an ongoing regular-checkup sort of thing. Some of you are probably like, “Uh, no duh?” But really, once I feel semi-normal it’s super easy for me to forget all about everything until I wake up with a Bratwurst sized lip.

Okay then. I think that’s all. Can you guys appreciate why these posts take longer for me to put together than I think they will? I mean the obvious need for an editor aside, it’s kind of a lot to figure out how to present in a semi-digestible fashion. I hope I did okay. Holler if any of it is confusing.

xox-forever

p.s. GAH! I left out a couple of illustrations & took the time to edit for clarity (and sanity) in a couple areas. Friends don’t let friends hit ‘publish’ after they’ve taken their melatonin for the night.

Writerly

corrections2

When we last left our long-winded heroine she was apologizing for her utter lack of reliability in regular posting, and sort of promised another update sometimey soonish. Well. Almost two weeks later, here we are. I should be downright sheepish, but you guys, I fell down an educational rabbit hole this time. Well, sort of.

Reasoning with Vampires can be nitpicky and harsh, but I also found it very, very amusing and could not stop reading. The blog writer takes a critical look at the grammar and syntax of the Twilight series, and posts corrections and improvements using scanned pages from the books. I read and even (gasp) enjoyed the Twilight series and managed to read this tumblr-blog without getting my panties in a wad (the indignant and defensive protests from Twihards are especially entertaining). Seriously, what a fun way to explore some of the finer and often abused points of grammar — I’d happily read a similar blog on any number of other popular books. Take out some of the innuendos and language and this sort of thing could be a great way to teach grammar to teens, don’t you think?

Reading the ENTIRE archive of Reasoning with Vampires led to one of those weeks wherein I accomplish absolutely nothing but feel rather as though I am doing quite a lot. I call it the Plight of Pointless Research. Awakened to my own writing flaws I found myself searching the internet for ways to improve one’s grammar when you are an adult and rather set in your ways. I also looked into a wide variety of writing workshops that I’ll never muster the gumption to actually sign up for, and poked around the “for writers” sections of my favorite authors’ websites, making a list of their recommended “How to get that novel out of your head” type how-to books. I then ordered three more “How to Write” books even though I already own an unwieldy collection of said books; many of which I haven’t finished yet. (Did I use that semi-colon appropriately?)

It’s all just a lot of silly dithering and time-wasting leading up to National Novel Writing Month in November. This will be my 3rd year participating. I don’t find it difficult at all to spew out 50,000 words (obviously), but I don’t think it has resulted in anything remotely worthwhile, though I do enjoy the process.

I, like a frillion other people, feel that I have several stories rattling around in my brain, whether they are good stories or not, I couldn’t tell you. They’re simply there, and are very noisy from time to time. I write character profiles, draw their portraits, dream up their backstories, and even take a stab at archetyping and story arcing. I have dozens of languishing half starts and a handful of “complete” (<-- those are airquotes) stories in need of approximately eighteen million more re-writes (if not bonfires). Books I've airquote "finished" are spectacularly bad and not even my mother has seen them.

I can’t not write (and thus, my complicated relationship with writing online). I’ve been writing since I could handle a crayon. I don’t think it matters (to me) if any of that writing is ever mass produced or read by more than a dozen people, I’ll still write. It’s just impossible not to.

I’m currently re-reading The Forest for the Trees and I enjoy her different profiles on the different types of authors. I am a combination of the both the ambivalent and neurotic writer, but seem to be missing the gene that either desires fame (shudder) or fortune (at least when it comes with fame). In other words, I’m missing that special something that pushes a writer towards publication. If I ever do manage to write something readable I will probably quietly self-publish under a pseudonym and never tell anyone I’ve done it. I realize most authors can visit the grocery store without being accosted by fans, but I have this innate fear of publishing an actual book with my actual name. I can’t explain it. I’ll probably write my whole life, but never feel that push to ‘come out’ of my writerly closet.

I find both the ideas of a packed book signing and a ghost-town book signing EQUALLY horrifying. At least recluse authors are not unheard of, though I laugh (rather manically) at the thought of being included (guffaw) as one of their peers. Still, I identify with their public-shy ways.

Anyway, my meandering point is that this past week has at least been more literary minded, which feels like a better thing to be than mired in the very questionable swamps of celebrity gossip. I think that’s an improvement even if my inbox is ready to burst and my blog has been moldering over here in a dusty state of neglect.

I’m certain no one is dying for my next health update, but I’m doing the artwork for it TONIGHT (like seriously, right now) since I’m currently plagued with ridiculous insomnia. Why not draw angsty adrenal glands while listening to Mark reads Twilight? (Because, obviously, that’s what you do when you run out of Reasoning with Vampires posts to read.)

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Okay before I dive into the rest of the fascinating mystery of my health I want to back up a little with a mini human biology lesson.

This is your thyroid gland.

thyroid

Pretty cute little guy, right? This is where he lives:

thyroid-location

Your thyroid gland needs nutrients to do its job. Its primary nutrient is iodide which it converts to iodine. Selenium, zinc, and iron are really important too.

thyroid-cells

Your pituitary gland (located at the base of your brain) senses when your body needs more thyroid hormones and releases TSH (short for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). TSH knocks on the thyroid gland’s door to, you guessed it, stimulate the production of more thyroid hormones. Traps for iodide are increased to ‘catch’ the nutrients the gland needs, and the thyroid cells then gets busy converting iodide to iodine and producing H202 (Hydrogen Peroxide). To super, super simplify things, this results in the production of those needed thyroid hormones, commonly referred to as T1, T2, T3, T4 and Free T3.

These are all super important, and when all is well, you feel really great with all those thyroid hormones zooming about doing their job (regulating your metabolism, helping you feel happy, and aiding in proper sexual function.)

Psst: You can make too much of these hormones, and that’s called Hyperthyroidism, but we’re talking about Hypothyroidism today, where your thyroid gland is not making enough (and you therefore feel like crap cake garbage in a poo can).

crap-cakes-garbage-poo-can

(You also feel like crap cake garbage in a poo can when you’re “hyper” but that’s another story for another day.)

Okay, there’s a lot more going on in those cells, but that is the basic picture. So when your thyroid is feeling under the weather (or rather, is nutrient deprived) and isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland increases the amount of TSH in your system – it’s basically screaming at your thyroid gland to produce MORE STUFF.

po-ed-pituitary

Therefore, a high TSH blood test is supposed to alert your doctors to the problem, and they are then supposed to give your pooped thyroid (and pituitary) a break by giving you some kind of thyroid medication to replace those hormones your body isn’t producing. Thyroid medication, in theory, should alert your pituitary gland that all is well, and it should then shut the crap up.

The problem is (and this is what my previous cartoon was poking fun of), that you can present with all the classic hypothyroid symptoms, yet still have a “normal” TSH blood test. If a physician is only going by TSH (and not symptoms or other more revealing blood tests), you can find yourself in a really frustrating position.

Feel like crap? Well I have great news, your labs are 100% normal. You are the picture of health!

Further complicating the matter, the readily available thyroid medications (Synthroid, Levothyroxine) ONLY give your body a synthetic form of T4, which isn’t all that your body needs. Some doctors are willing (or can be coerced) to run the right blood tests (Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3) and will (with arm twisting) prescribe dessicated thyroid, made from porcine thyroid glands. Dessicated thyroid includes the entire range of hormones your body would normally produce: T1, T2, T3, and T4. Many people do a lot better on dessicated thyroid for this reason. It mimics what your body should be making, and therefore does a much better job of calming your pituitary gland and that TSH production down.

TO SUMMARIZE

Okay, are you with me so far? A lack of nutrients (remember? iodide, zinc, selenium, iron) leads to a decrease in thyroid hormone production, which leads to an increase of TSH from the pituitary gland hammering on the thyroid to increase production of hydrogen peroxide. An increase of hydrogen peroxide results in the inflammation of the poor little thyroid cells who don’t have the nutrients they need to finish the job.

(There can be a myriad of reasons you aren’t getting enough of the nutrients your thyroid needs. It might be your diet, or you might be eating great but not absorbing well.)

sad-thyroid

TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

When thyroid cells get inflamed damage can actually occur, the cells can actually burst open and leak their contents into your blood stream in the wrong forms. What happens when you’ve got stuff that belongs INSIDE a cell coursing through your veins? Your white blood cells — the army guys, as my 5 year old likes to call them — start fighting.

I ran out of steam, click picture for drawing credit on this one.

I ran out of steam, click picture for drawing credit on this one, and please add sound effect: “KABLAM, KABLOOEY”.

These warriors, normally responsible for fighting crime like viruses, contaminants, bacteria, and disease, are now forming antibodies against stuff your body not only needs, but needs to be making. This, my friends, is an autoimmune situation. In blunt terms, your body is now incorrectly fighting itself. When you have antibodies in your blood stream called antithyroglobulin antibodies, or thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, you get a whole new diagnosis: Hashimoto’s. Or “Quasimodo’s Disease” as my father in law likes to call it.

Quasimodo_17

NOW THAT WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE HOPEFULLY

After letting myself get a bit walked over back in June with my family doctor, I ponied up the dough and ordered a big ol’ pile of labs through My Med Lab including the 24 hour saliva cortisol test which I could not arm wrestle any local doctors into ordering for me. Since I left you on a stupid cliffhanger, I’ll wrap this mile-long post up with a quick run down of my blood work and saliva (ew) tests:

DRUMROLL PLEASE

Low iron, anemic. Crazy high B12, “normal” TSH (high if you ask me), super low Free T4 (Thyroxine), high Antithyroglobulin / Thyroglobulin Antibodies, a super low Free T3, and a low reverse T3 / Free T3 ratio (more on that here). The cortisol test results showed a low-normal in the morning, normal during mid-day and too high at night.

In short (ha ha ha ha, never believe me when I say I’m giving you a ‘mini’ biology lesson or a ‘quick’ update. I think I am physically incapable of brevity.) I have Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism with overactive adrenals (little triangular shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys and secrete the stress hormone cortisol, more on them later this week). Mine are currently a little messed up, not as messed up as they were last time I had this huge rash, but still hyperactive enough to trigger my histamine freak out.

My low iron and hyperactive adrenals are complicating matters quite a bit (stressing out my thyroid gland). There’s a lot that can be fixed by first getting these in line, so that’s what I’m focusing on right now, and I’ll go into that in detail tomorrow. Or the next day. You know the drill, I’m sorry I’m so unreliable. This is why I don’t make the big pennies blogging. Also, lame cartoons and super long explanations of odd ailments. (And market saturation and serial domain hopping, and a serious over-use of parenthetical asides, I’m sure.)

OH MY WORD, THE CLIFFHANGER

Like I said I’m so bad at this blogging thing. I almost forgot. Our bodies are usually quite adept at getting rid of excess B12, and a high result in the bloodstream is pretty rare. To give you an idea of how high mine is, a normal range is 211-946 pg/mL. My result: 2000. TWO THOUSAND, HOLY CROW.

High levels of B12 can indicate cancer! Isn’t that super fantastic? The list includes: chronic myelogeneous leukemia, promyelocytic leukemia, polycythemia vera and hypereosinophilic syndrome. HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND. Or, if that’s not scary enough, it could also indicate several liver diseases like acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic liver disease (here is the source for all that terror).

I did find a mention online that a build up of B12 can occur if one has been taking too much B-12 supplement. That is a possibility for sure (and probably a very likely explanation), as whenever I was fatigued (all the time!), I’d double up on my B12 supplement. I have stopped supplementing and we’ll have to retest. If levels are still high I will need further screening to rule out any of those more serious issues. My ‘gut’ tells me there isn’t anything to worry about here, though I will absolutely be responsible and follow up, but I don’t have that panic alarm bell going off telling me that I have a terminal disease. So there’s that.

I’M FINALLY DONE, THERE ISN’T ANY MORE

Finally, good grief.