Aug 23, 2012

Warm Yoga

I have officially lost my mind. I have joined a 'hot yoga' studio for three months!

Before I got sick, I used to be a regular at yoga classes. Once, about a year and a half ago, I had a private yoga lesson in my home to see if I was anywhere near ready to go to a class. It was embarrassing!

But last week, something inside of me 'clicked'. I've been feeling so much better for the past six months, and I've been very careful not to push too was time to give it a try again.

Let me tell you about hot yoga. It feels like exercising in a sauna.

I went into the room a few minutes ahead of time to put my mat down and get comfortable. Lying on the mat, I started to feel perspiration pooling around my lower back. The class hadn't even started yet!

The poses weren't especially challenging, certainly within my range if I modified them slightly, but the heat. Wow.

I longed for air conditioning...I silently cursed myself for trying this hellish endeavor.

And then it was over, and a funny thing happened: I got home and noticed that I felt great. I was so energized that I went for a 5 km walk. (so much for taking it slow)

Since then I've been back twice, and I'm planning to make this an every-other-day routine.

The heat still gets to me, but it's not so bad as the first time.

More than anything, I'm loving the feeling of building strength in my body. I love that my body is capable of holding strong poses. I love feeling my heart rate climb.

I'm looking forward to this three-month adventure!

Mar 4, 2012

New York City

According to my Body Bugg, I've walked 30,000 steps in the past two days. Wow. I must be feeling better.

Feb 24, 2012

My annual physical - the good and the bad

Here is a summary, as I remember it, of what my doctor told me:
  • noticed that my ferritin level is still very low (up to 28!), advises I increase supplements and repeat labs in 2 months. [note: I've been on supplements now for 5 years]
  • believes I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and that I need to learn to pace myself,  live with my limitations and treat the symptoms.
  • was very resistant to my questions about the genetic test for MTHFR, telling me a story about a patient she did not authorize a genetic test for who went to the US and paid for the test...apparently she felt this was irresponsible; whereas I think if you have the money, why not?
  • Told me that MCH means "red blood cell height"....height? (I am envisioning a long, tall blood cell at this point). But not to worry, because lots of people are over the reference range for this test. Thanks to my blogger friends, I knew that one.
  • Suggested that an ANA of 1:640 was not uncommon (despite my research showing that a titer of 1:80 is found in less than 5% of the population, 1:120 in less than 3%...)
  • Has trouble believing that a TSH below 5 could make much of a difference clinically (but agreed to continue treating anyway, thankfully)
  • Thinks that giving me access to my lab records may be harmful to me, presumably because I will research the results online and come up with new theories. (but agreed to continue sharing them, with a longer turn around time).
  • Did not seem to fully accept that their office sent outdated lab results to the endocrinologist (after declining to send me my most recent copy records in preparation for the appointment), leading to the specialist choosing a potentially inappropriate course of treatment.
  • Is concerned about me continuing to seek explanations for my fatigue and bringing ideas and research to her for discussion. (I think she feels I won't value her opinion).
BH attended the appointment with me and shared his reflections when we left, saying, "I don't think either one of you is listening to, or understanding the other."

Here's how it looks to me: I feel like she is telling me that I have to give up hope of finding an explanation...if given the Chronic Fatigue diagnosis, I'm afraid I'll get put in that box and forgotten - never getting back to work or to school. 

BH says he doesn't see it that way, he thinks she is trying to manage my expectations.

I know that there may not be an answer, but if I'm not the one looking for it, who will?

In the end, I think we got to a fair understanding, I just wish that I could communicate more effectively with her from the start.

Feb 21, 2012

Penelope 1 - Depression 0

What does it feel like to fight depression?

It was an agonizing effort to push my body forward, despite having no neurons supporting my decision to move.

During the very worst of the dark, ugly feeling,  I forced myself out for a walk. The sun was too bright, the air was too cold. My legs felt like leaden. My heart was pounding.

But then a funny thing happened...about 40 minutes into my walk, I stopped noticing how crappy I was feeling and started noticing the trees, the ice on the walkway, the was like the world outside my head suddenly started to materialize. I started feeling alive again.

In fact, I felt so good that I came home and did another two miles on the treadmill, logging in at over 10,000 steps!

And that is how I fought depression and won this round.

Feb 17, 2012

It's back.

Depression. I'm pretty sure it has come back.

Today's feeling of tiredness isn't the usual, more physical feeling of fatigue that I'm used to. This time it is a sense of deep getting up sounds nice, but staying in bed is just easier.

I've been trying to go for a walk now for the past four hours. I haven't even made it to my shoes yet. The heaviness feels unbearable.

We've had some stressful issues to deal with lately, and when I think about them, my eyes tear up and I feel overwhelmed.

Where did this come from?! I was doing SO well. I was back on the treadmill, even running for up to 15 minutes. This time last week I was thinking I might be able to get back to school again soon. 

Is it even remotely possible that the T3 has triggered this? I know it seems unlikely, but that's the only change I've made recently.

Now I just want to lie down in a dark room and close my eyes. 

I hate, hate, hate depression.

Feb 14, 2012

Day 3 on T3....zzzzzzz

If I thought for a minute that T3 was going to give me a 'kick' of energy, boy was I wrong.

I've slept almost non-stop since starting my T3 dosages (half a pill, twice a day).

Brilliant Husband says I need to give it a chance, but sleeping around the clock - especially when I was actually ON the treadmill last week - seems like a step in the wrong direction.

Feb 11, 2012

Adding T3

Despite my reservations, my visit to the endocrinologist actually went quite well.

The resident who took my history for the better part of an hour was excellent. She quickly picked up on my anxiety and skepticism from previous medical encounters and assured me that she would cover everything possible during my exam. Her presentation of my case to the specialist was impressive - she summarized everything I had shared with her into a complete profile, highlighting the issues that she most felt related to thyroid. Her future patients are going to be fortunate to have such a thorough and caring physician.

The endocrinologist told me that adding T3 made virtually no difference for most people - the only notable exception being people with depression. Because of my history of depression, he thought it would be worthwhile to try adding T3 at 25mcg/day (half in the morning, half at night).

The theory is that in some people, T4 does not effectively convert to T3. I pray that I am one of these people. What a joy it would be to feel like my 'old self' again.

One interesting aside - both the endocrinologist and the resident noted my high ANA level (1:640, speckled), saying that it was suggestive of 'some other process' going on in my body. They took blood tests to look for markers of inflammation; which I should hear more about soon.

So this morning I took my first dosage of T3...and I screwed it up! I took a whole pill in the morning instead of half. Here's hoping all goes well today.