A2A, 38 mile finish line; 2011

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Long Road Still Ahead

As inline skate season looms and I'm still nowhere near 100%, I figured it was time for an update. I'm sorry to deviate from the main purpose of this blog but this is still part of my journey. I've been enjoying the cold, gray, snowy days because the sunshine makes me think of skating and running and being outside; and not being able to do those things depresses me even more. At this point I don't know if I'll ever do them again. Oh I know, I have people telling me "You'll be back! Stronger than ever!" but the truth is - I don't know that for sure. I might not be. I HOPE so, and that hope is what keeps me going; but I have come to terms with the possibility of it not happening. 

Here's what I do know - my body is still pretty jacked up. I'm on doctor #4 as far as hormones go; but this one seems to be more focused on my thyroid. I was diagnosed hypothyroid several years ago, and have been on medication for it. Last year my numbers suddenly shot high; then after lowering my medication, they were good for a short period of time, then suddenly dropped. I raised my medication again, but my numbers are still low. My dr thinks I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. This would explain some of the symptoms I'm still having. She ran a few tests, and my tests came back pretty conclusive of Hashimoto's. I do not know what this means for me yet, it's an autoimmune disorder, I've been reading that one thing that may help is cutting out gluten.

I see my doctor again on the 19th to discuss a different delivery option for my hormones, I'm still fluctuating a lot on the cream and not absorbing right. These fluctuations make for some pretty bad days; I'll have a day where I'm suicidal depressed; next day I'm happy as a clam. Some days I can drive like normal; next day I'm so anxious and panicky I can't even walk to the mailbox. It's FRUSTRATING. I'm considering BioTE hormone pellets, I am hoping to have those inserted on the 19th. They seem to release a more consistent dose of hormones. I'm sure we'll discuss the thyroid results and what that means for me as well.

I'm still having issues with the Gastroparesis, but it seems to be getting a bit better. I got down to 115 lbs in December but since starting the hormone cream I've gained 10 lbs. The bad news is that part of it is due to horrible sugar cravings; so I'm not eating quality foods. The weight I've gained is also all in my stomach; so I have these little stick arms and legs and a nice round stomach. Gross. I'm hoping the pellets will balance out whatever is causing these cravings; they are horrible. I end up eating stuff I shouldn't and them I'm uncomfortable for the rest of the day...

Also - still with the shortness of breath and no idea as to what's causing it. The slightest bit of exertion (like a short walk, less than a mile) leaves me winded and feeling like I'm starving for air; this sensation triggers panic attacks. I've had 2 panic attacks while out on walks; and one while walking around shopping. The panic attacks have gotten better, I am no longer taking Xanax during the day; but I'm stuck in a cycle of situational anxiety where I avoid the things and places where I've had them. I am extremely uncomfortable driving by myself; although I can now ride as a passenger in a car without medication or having any discomfort. I see that as a positive sign of progress. I just wish I knew what was causing the shortness of breath - it's very disconcerting.

I saw my GI doctor last Thursday and that too was disheartening. She was abrupt with me, told me I needed to accept my diagnosis of Gastroparesis and quit looking for some magic wand that will make it go away. She told me to buckle up because I was looking at a good decade of struggling with menopause and getting my hormones balanced. I wanted to punch her, I left her office in tears. She wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant (Elavil) which is supposed to help with the 'visceral response' to the discomfort of Gastroparesis (example - my stomach bloats and makes it harder to breath; that triggers panic. This medication is supposed to help with that.) Then she told me I can't take it until I get my other hormones sorted out - so who knows when that will be...

I'm not a fan of medications as bandaids anyway, I hate it when doctors throw a prescription at you and send you on your way without even trying to dig for the root of the problem. It pisses me off. I know that by correcting the primary issue (in my case I honestly believe it's hormonal; be it thyroid or sex hormones) that the gastroparesis will calm back down. I am sorry, Mrs. GI doctor, but I do not just accept this and I do think I can fix it enough to regain my quality of life. I've always had slow digestive transit; but never to this extent. I believe that when my hormones went haywire, my gut did too. I still believe that once I find the balance with hormones and nutrition then I should be in a much better place.

And that's where I'm at. I already know for sure that this year will be a sidelines year for me, but I've accepted it. What else am I going to do?