Monday, November 29, 2010

Get Yer Hands off my Glands

It's been 2 weeks since I've last blogged. That's not good. If I don't start writing again soon, I'll be a forgotten blip on the blogosphere.

But I've become a medley of medical mishaps. My body is misfiring and breaking down so often that my ailments should grab a numbered ticket and wait their turn - NEXT.

Here's a random thought: people rarely think about their thyroid gland, yes? I doubt most people could tell you its function. They might be able to tell you it's shaped like a butterfly and it's located somewhere on the neck. The pituitary and hypothalamus have starring roles on the endocrine stage but the thyroid is a sneaky little scene-stealer. You have to keep your eye on it because the thyroid is a common culprit for all kinds of metabolic problems, much like a prima donna throwing hormonal fits of temper. When the thyroid is outta whack, she'll take you down like a bag of hammers.

Lately, my thyroid has been the cause of a lot of trouble. I need another system failure like I need a stick in the eye. My thyroid problems made their debut at the of age 19,  It went high, it went low and everything else in between. It had been stable for 10 years until a blood test in March showed a teeny-tiny abnormality. This abnormality was so miniscule, some doctors would not have bothered to treat it at all. In her effort to heal me, my doctor changed medications against my better judgment. It's not like I didn't warn her or protest because I certainly did. Stabilizing my thyroid is a precarious balancing act. Still, she insisted that I must do this for the benefit of my health as a whole.  I  reluctantly went along with her and predictably, within a few weeks, I hit bottom  physically and emotionally. It was rough stuff. I became seriously depressed in a  short period of time. I moved slowly, my speech became slower, as did my thinking. If only I could have thought fast enough to say to her: I f***in' told you so!! Quite literally, I was incrementally shutting down.  That was almost 10 months ago and I'm still thrashing around to find the dosage of medication that will stablilize my hormones and my life.

Funny thing! I remember that I felt rather well (fibro not included) before she started practicing medicine and went all scientific on me. While my thyroid was trying to right itself, my heart-rate went on fast-forward. Clearly, it was the only thing in my body operating with any speed. I was prescribed Inderal, a beta blocker, to slow down my rapid heart rate. I've taken enough meds in my day to know there is always a side-effect lurking around the corner.  Inderal's major side-effects included fatigue, mood disorder and depression. Not good the voices in my head hollered! I already possessed a lazy-ass gland. It didn't take long before the energy drain hit with a wallop.  I was not only exhausted but I was sleeping up to 18 hours a day. One drawback to excessive sleeping is that it doesn't leave you with much time to do anything. Like bathing. I'd convinced myself that I'd surely perish in a hot bath tub yet I had no strength to stand up in the shower either. Ultimately, I discovered a new level of humble when I found myself sitting on a cold, lonely Rubbermaid foot-stool in the shower.  I shaved one leg with the strength of a kitten while my husband stood vigil nearby in case I fell off the stool - from the dizzying height of 5 inches.

During this time, I noticed that my left shoulder hurt. Trying to dress myself  brought me to my knees in pain.  It felt like a dislocated shoulder flaring up whenever I put on a top. I assumed it  was the fibromyalgia,  worsening with the cold weather.  I usually don't impart lessons in my blog, but I'm going to anyway! Here's a nugget of  knowledge for fibromites. Don't assume all pain is due to fibromyalgia.. When my doctor examined my shoulder, the diagnosis was tendonitis - not fibromyalgia at all.  She advised physiotherapy but I didn't see that happening. I was not about to spend $50 an hour for therapy that may or may not help me.  I decided on the drive-through option and received an injection of cortisone. Super-sized!

Meanwhile,  my good knee got lonely and decided to hook up with my bad knee. Well, at least I'm now symmetrical with a matched set of bum-knees. I was worried that I might have torn cartilage in my knee. I've done that before and I'm familiar with the symptoms: swelling, clickiness, instability with a tendency to lock. I'm trying very hard not to dwell on the prospect of another knee surgery. Must send those thoughts far far away. I don't know why my knee suddenly started acting up. I don't recall a specific injury. Knowing my luck, it probably happened as I collapsed all those times from the searing pain in my shoulder as I dressed myself.  Do you ever feel like you're Charlie Brown and life is a football wielded by Lucy?

I'm the youngest in a family of 5. My siblings don't get sick like I do and I've often wondered why. Was it because my mother was older when I was conceived? Possibly. Was it because she smoked during her pregnancy? Who knows - she smoked through her other pregnancies, too. Had a glass of vino or two? Perhaps. As I get older (and presumably wiser!) I believe I should focus less on why I have multiple illnesses. What is important, however, is facing them with all the dignity, humour, courage and grace that I can.

One of  these days, Lucy is NOT going to yank the football out from under me. And I will do one heck of a happy dance! If my knees don't hurt...


  1. I enjoyed reading your blog, I have FMS and have had that shoulder pain too, especially my left shoulder. I was prescribed Lidoderm patches that helped but now I am on two different pain medications that work however I am concerned that my kidneys/bladder may become affected.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed reading. I enjoy the feedback, too. Hmm, now I'm wondering if the shoulder pain (in my left shoulder too) is still part of fibro or not? Maybe it isn't tendonitis. I've heard that many people use Lidoderm patches. If this cortisone shot doesn't help entirely, I will consider the Lidoderm. Yes, I worry about the different meds that I'm on, too, for pain, and their long-range effects. If it isn't one thing, it's another, it seems.

    Thanks for the comment.