September 3, 2020

The weather here in Manitoba seems to change as soon as September 1st rolls around.  It went down to 8C last night and the forecast for early next week calls for temperatures of -2C at night.

Last Saturday I received wonderful news from my family doctor.  The results from my August 7th Ultra Sound had arrived at my family doctor’s office and no mass or lesions were seen.  What a tremendous relief and an answer to prayers.  My husband keeps telling me not to worry before I receive the results of my MRI’s, CT Scan’s and Ultra Sounds.  I am a worrier and the more I try not to worry the more I worry.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense but that is who I am.  Now I wait for my next 6th month MRI.  

Finally completed one of my projects this past weekend.  I scanned all my old negatives onto my computer and the result was a total of 489 pictures.  I was amazed at how many wonderful pictures I found.  I have no idea what happened to these pictures but thank goodness for scanners.

The fatigue continues to haunt my days.  It is so depressing to wake up as tired as I was before I went to sleep.  This lower dose of thyroid medication is not working for me.  Somehow I have to convince my doctor to let me up my dose back to 200 mcg.  I firmly believe that only relying on the results of a TSH test is a mistake.  Doctors should take into account how a person feels.  I began taking the lower dose of 175 mcg on July 20th.  The symptoms that have surfaced between then and now are as follows:  shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, tiredness, worsening  leg cramps and muscle aches, hair loss, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, appetite changes and weight changes.  These are all documented symptoms that can occur when a person becomes hypothyroid.  Thanks to the Radio Active Iodine I drank in1998 I am now hypothyroid.  Any insight on solutions to this problem would be much appreciated.  

Our province had been containing the COVID 19 virus with one or two cases happening several times a week.  On August 9th the number of people infected with the virus jumped to 35 and the cases have been increasing weekly.  Sadly part of the problem is that a certain group of people travelled to a huge funeral in Southern Alberta.  This group with a number of their members infected with the virus returned to their home province of Manitoba.  After their return the number of people infected rose quickly.  Steinbach Online announced today, and I quote, “the COVID-19 outbreak at Bethesda Place in Steinbach has resulted in 13 individuals testing positive. That includes seven staff and six residents. Four of those residents have passed away.”  People are still complaining about wearing masks and social distancing.  I really do not understand why people would take such a risk and in doing so infect people they come into contact with.  Granted the patients who died at Bethesda Place were elderly but why did they have to die because of carelessness?  Very sad.  

Before I sign off for today I would like to share some pictures with you.  Finding the negatives earlier this week was a nice surprise.  I had forgotten about them.  The pictures protray a unique place in Manitoba.  Wikipedia states and I quote, “Spruce Woods Provincial Park is located in south-central Manitoba, Canada where the Assiniboine River passes through the delta of sediment left by the last glaciation.  An area of open and stabilized sand dunes within the park provides habitat to species of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Manitoba.  The Carberry Sandhills, or Spirit Sands is one of a very few areas of sand dunes in Canada. ”  I took the pictures featured below in 1988 on a day trip to the park with our daughter and our exchange student from Europe.  

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August 17, 2020

View from our cabin.

Another week-long summer vacation at the lake came to an end on Saturday, August 15th.  Renting a cabin this summer became a real fiasco.  I first rented a two-bedroom cabin with sleeping accommodations for six at the Caddy Lake Resort.  After receiving confirmation of our booking, I was told that we would have to rent an extra cabin since we were six adults and one child.

At this point, I had given up on finding a cabin to rent for a week-long family holiday.  On August 5th my daughter called me to tell me that there was a cabin available for the same week at the Whiteshell Lake Resort.  The owner was willing to accommodate us by allowing the seven of us to stay in a cabin with sleeping accommodations for six.  We arrived at the cabin on August 8th and spent the week swimming, boating, canoeing, hiking and reading.

One of the pelicans that lived on the little island.

Two pairs of beautiful pelicans lived on the small island in the middle of Whiteshell Lake.  I managed to take a few pictures of the pelicans using my telephoto lens.  On the second last day of our stay, my husband and granddaughter were on their way to a hiking trail when they suddenly realized a grey wolf was running along the ditch on the same side of the road as the car.  After some time it meandered off into the woods never looking left or right.  There were a lot of hikers in the vicinity but the wolf took no notice of them.

During the course of the week, I managed a very short hike to Rainbow Falls.  I have to admit I was totally exhausted by the time I reached the falls but after a rest, I was able to hike back.  I also managed a few short walks around the resort.  While others participated in various outdoor activities I entertained my self by reading the five books I had downloaded.

The fatigue is an ongoing battle as is nausea.  Thank goodness for Gravol
(diphenhydramine ) shots.  Our former family doctor in Calgary showed my husband how to administer the shots and this has been a lifesaver.  He did this so I could avoid the nasty stuff I was subjected to in hospital emergency departments.  I suffered from horrendous pre-menstrual migraines accompanied by projectile vomiting.  Gravol pills did not help since I threw them up as quickly as I took them. The only solution to keeping down my medications was a Gravol shot.  I believe that my ongoing battle with extreme fatigue that no amount of sleep can cure and nausea when I wake up in the morning is the direct result of lowering my thyroid medication.  I have to take the 175 mcg dose for another four weeks before I have another blood test to check my TSH.  I am hoping that my family doctor will accept the fact my Synthroid dosage should be in the amount that makes me feel well and not decided by the numbers of my TSH.

At this time I do not have the results of my last Ultra Sound of my liver.  I hope and pray that no tumours or lesions are found.

Until next time……

Rainbow Falls

 

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August 3, 2020

Time does not standstill.  There are only three weeks left in the month of August.   Here in Manitoba, it seems that fall begins on September 1st.  Actually this morning it felt like it had already begun.  It was 9C at 8:00 AM.  We are celebrating a long weekend and so far there is no rain in the forecast.

This morning after reading the online news put out by our local radio station I realized yet again how invasive COVID 19 can be.  I believed that the people in Manitoba were being vigilant in taking precautions to avoid further spread of COVID 19.  According to Steinbach Online and I quote, “after 7 new cases of COVID 19 were confirmed there is a heightened sense of caution in Steinbach.   Two local restaurants closed after employees tested positive for COVID 19.”   Other restaurants have closed as a precautionary measure.  Our local Credit Union posted a notice on their website stating that one of their employees tested positive for COVID 19.

It took less than a year for our world to change completely. During the summer of 2019, I had no idea that by the summer of 2020 a potentially deadly virus would control much of the world. If someone had told me that in less than a year schools would shut down, restaurants and other businesses would close their doors to customers and our doctor’s appointment would if at all possible be virtual appointments I would have told them they had a screw loose. In less than a year I have come to believe that this virus will have a negative effect on democracy. Who made this virus? Who decided to put this virus out into the world? Who will gain politically when our world as we know it no longer exists? Who could actually succeed in implementing world dominance by using this virus instead of guns, bombs and other forms of violence?  I hope and pray that I am just a 72-year-old woman with a vivid imagination and that my fears are unfounded.

As I mentioned in a previous post I had my regular six months MRI of my liver on April 23rd.  Since the results were inconclusive I had a Multifocal CT Scan on July 8th.  Since I did not hear from my doctor I presumed that all was okay.  I was quite surprised when I got a phone call from my doctor’s office on August 1st.  The result from the CT Scan was also inconclusive so I was told by the nurse that I was scheduled for an ultrasound on August 7th.  This nasty liver of mine has certainly given me a lot of grief as of late.  Who knew that non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver could be so invasive.  I find the wait time between a test and the test result extremely difficult.  It is so hard to remain optimistic.  Of course, when I unintentionally wake up at 3:00 AM all my fears are multiplied.  It is at 3:00 AM that all the scary thoughts fill my head and it is nearly impossible to get rid of them.  Any positive thoughts sent my way would be much appreciated.

Lately, I have been reading the works of several Swedish authors.  Viveca Sten is the author of the Sandham murder mysteries.  Camilla Lackberg is another Swedish author I have discovered as is Asa Larrsson.  Asa Larrsson’s books are very well written but a dark theme runs through them.  This has been mentioned before in my posts but I am busy trying to finish 4 cross stitch pictures of Ukrainian dancers for my grandson.

By now you have all heard enough of my complaints about my fatigue.  At the moment it is all invasive and makes me extremely anxious and discouraged.   Approximately six weeks after taking me off of Cytomel my doctor decided to lower my Synthroid dose from 200 mcg to 175 mcg.  The fatigue has become unbearable and is seriously impacting my life.  If I go to bed at 9:30 AM and sleep 12 hours I still wake up feeling like a zombie.  I can barely get out of bed by 11:00 AM.  Quite frankly I have had days when I have slept all day.  Cramps in my legs, feet, arms and hands are another result of lowing my Synthroid dose.

Enough complaining for one day.  Enjoy the rest of the summer.  Stay safe and stay well.

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July 20, 2020

Another Monday morning.  Yesterday afternoon I ordered Linda Costillo’s latest book called the “Outsider.”  It is the 12th book in the Kate Burkholder series.   I read a few chapters this afternoon and so far it seems like another good read.  I wish books were not so expensive.  I finally converted and having been buying Kindle books.  I must say that reading with an iPad is not the same as reading while holding a book.

Today our son celebrates his 52 birthday.  Where has the time gone?  Had a lovely chat with him via phone this afternoon.  We are hoping to be able to meet him and our daughter in law in Fargo, North Dakota later in August.  However, as it stands now we cannot even get our passports renewed.

My last two blood tests showed that my TSH was below normal.  My doctor has decided to lower my Synthroid from 200 mcg to 175 mcg.  I am quite worried about this.  I stopped taking Cytomel earlier this year because it increased my heart rate.  Ever since stopping Cytomel, I have experienced horrible fatigue.  Sleep does not help this kind of fatigue.   I can only imagine how bad the fatigue will be on just 175 mcg of Synthroid.

An article by Anne Krueger states that feeling tired and having no energy are issues associated with lots of conditions, but they’re strongly linked with the disorder that’s the result of too little thyroid hormone. If you’re still tired in the morning or all day after a full night’s sleep, that’s a clue that your thyroid may be underactive.   She also states that feeling unusually depressed or sad can also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. Why? It’s thought that the production of too little thyroid hormone can have an impact on levels of “feel good” serotonin in the brain.  My question is why do doctors only use TSH to decide what strength of Synthroid a person should be taking?  Why not prescribe the dosage of Synthroid according to how a person feels?

An article in the Rush University Medical Centre states that about 15 percent of the 10-12 million people in the U.S. with hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, continue to feel sick despite following the standard of care recommended by the American Thyroid Association. Physicians routinely prescribe levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, adjusting the dose until blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) stabilize.  The same article states new research gives hypothyroidism patients—who often feel dismissed and forgotten—evidence that their persistent symptoms are not just in their heads.  I am going to try to find out more information on this research.  I am sure there are many more of you out there that continue to feel ill with their current TSH levels.

After I drank radioactive iodine, a terrible poison, to kill my thyroid I have suffered from joint and muscle pain.  I have been diagnosed with arthritis another autoimmune disease.  I was surprised to read the following on the Mayo Clinic website. For some people, hypothyroidism can contribute to joint and muscle problems. Specifically, hypothyroidism may lead to:

  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in the shoulders and hips
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling of the small joints in the hands and feet
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

I would be interested in reading about the experiences of others who have continued to feel unwell on their prescribed dose of Synthroid.  Please go to the section on this site called “Share your Story.”

Author Unknown

 

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July 5, 2020

It is the end of another hot and humid day in southern Manitoba.  Storm warnings were in effect this afternoon but have since been cancelled.  We have been fortunate that most of the bad thunderstorms have bypassed Steinbach.  The southeastern and western parts of our province have experienced above-average rainfalls which resulted in serious flooding.  The temperatures for the coming week will be lower than last week.  However, the highs will still reach 28C.  Combine that with the humidity and it feels like you are in a sauna.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.

The constant change in barometric pressure, temperatures as high as 32C and high humidity have certainly impacted my pain issues.  The last few weeks have been miserable.  Another problem I am experiencing is debilitating fatigue.  It is not the kind of fatigue that you get after a day of hard work.  This fatigue is mind-numbing.  This bout of extreme fatigue began shortly after I had to stop taking Cytomel.  (My doctor took me off of Cytomel because I was experiencing a rapid heart rate and my EKG showed PVC’s).  T3 is more potent that T4, which means that one mg of T3 has a greater effect on the body than one mg of T4.  Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is a synthetic version of T4, and liothyronine (Cytomel) is a synthetic version of T3.  I was prescribed Cytomel to give me some relief from extreme fatigue and lack of energy.  Another concern of mine is the dizziness and nausea I experience almost every morning when I wake up.

On April 23rd I had another MRI at the Grace Hospital in Winnipeg.  Two weeks later I got a call from my family doctor telling me that the MRI was once again inconclusive and that I had to go for another Multifocal CT scan. This time both my family doctor and specialist decided that I needed to go to the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg for the CT scan instead of making use of the Steinbach facilities.  I had the scan on Friday, July 3rd and now the waiting game begins.  It is becoming more and more difficult to be optimistic while waiting for the results of the MRI’s or CT scans.  The odds are that one of these days the result will be bad news.  Enough complaining for today.

We have rented a cottage at the lake for part of the summer.  (A friend will be staying at our house during this time).  We will be joined by our daughter and her family and our grandson and his partner.  Spending time during the summer months at one of Manitoba’s many lake resorts makes for a wonderful holiday.  Sitting under an umbrella on a sandy beach with a good book to read is a wonderful, relaxing experience.  Spending time taking a boat through the tunnels at Caddy Lake is a great way to spend an afternoon.

With all the news reports about racism and discrimination, I have been doing some soul searching.  I have been tempted to write about the discrimination faced by adopted children.  I have decided to give this some more thought so that when I write about this topic I will share my views in a way that is the least disruptive and the least negative in tone.  I would love to hear from my readers who have been adopted or have adopted family members.

Take care and have a great week.  The following pictures were taken at the tunnels at Caddy Lake.

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May 20, 2020

Summer-like temperatures have finally arrived. This afternoon my husband planted the gladiola bulbs from last year. Hopefully, they will do better this year.

Tomorrow we are planning to put in the Hostas which a generous neighbour gave to us. I love Hostas; they are a great filler and come up every year. 

With the state of my health, I have to resort to perennials only. The one exception is two hanging baskets of petunias to place into my planters.  Of course, my preference is purple petunias.   The Hydrangeas I planted 16 years ago still come up every spring.  Because we live in Manitoba, the only Hydrangeas available are those that produce white flowers.

Incredible fatigue continues to plague me.  Going off Cytomel brought my heart rate back to normal and did away with the  Premature ventricular contractions also known as PVCs.  PVCs are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest.   I, however, need to find a solution for this neverending fatigue.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  I am also curious to hear from patients who are taking Desiccated thyroid extract (DTE) instead of Synthroid. DTE is a prescription medication made from the desiccated (dried) thyroid glands of animals.  DTE drugs include the brand names Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, NP Thyroid, and WP Thyroid.  Desiccated thyroid extract was first used in the early 1890s.  Natural thyroid preparations, mostly DTE, were the standard treatment for hypothyroidism until the mid-1970s.  

My pain levels have increased dramatically in the last three weeks.  The only thing I can link it to is weather changes.  Hopefully, the summer-like temperatures will remain constant and my pain will decrease to a barely tolerable level.   My daughter and daughter-in-law are dealing with incredible pain on a daily basis.  My daughter has finally been diagnosed with a pituitary tumour.  She also has been given the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia a word that doctors love to use when they neglect to come up with the real reason for pain.  The only pain relief she has been offered by her doctors is Tylenol.  There are days when her depression, caused by constant debilitating pain, scares me.  My daughter is extremely creative and manages to cope most days.   She is a well-educated businesswoman.  My daughter-in-law who lives in the USA has doctors who refuse to help her deal with her severe arthritic pain.  Consequently, she is unable to work in her chosen profession.  Doctors’ attitudes will have to change.  How can they allow people to suffer like this on a daily basis?

Well, I will get off my soapbox for today.  Hope all my readers have a great week.  Be back soon.

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April 14, 2020


Easter weekend has come and gone and we survived isolation quite well.  Our daughter dropped by to bring her dad a mask that she had made.  She put the mask in a bag and hung it on the outside door handle.  We shouted our thanks and waved at her through the window.

What I did miss was the family tradition of an Easter basket hunt.   My dad hid Easter baskets every year for as long as I can remember.  They were hidden outside if weather permitted and if not they were hidden in the house.  He continued this tradition even after his daughters were married.  He then included baskets for the sons-in-law and for the grandchildren as they came along.  The baskets included chocolate, candies and a gift or two.  The gift was always something that he knew we really wanted.  To say I miss those times is an understatement.  However, the yearly Easter basket hunts have left me with wonderful memories.

The featured flowers on this page are crocuses, one of my mom’s favourite flowers.  Every spring we would drive out to the Sandilands Forest Reserve and look for the first crocuses that had managed to peek out of the ground.

This virus we are all dealing with has certainly changed many lives.  It has not been an issue for me to stay at home since I am practically a hermit.  My husband has driven away some of the boredom of staying in the house by walking the dogs or taking them for rides.  I just wish that everyone would abide by the guidelines set out by the government and stay home.  There are always idiots who think that they are special snowflakes and can, therefore, ignore the rules and guidelines.   The 1918 flu epidemic had a terrible toll on my dad’s family.  His oldest brother Joseph died at the age of 8 just a few days after my dad was born.  My grandfather had to build the casket and prepare the body of his dear boy without any help from family or friends.  They feared the consequences of the flu.  On the day of the funeral, my grandfather placed his son’s casket on the wagon, hitched up the horses and made his way to the village church about four miles away.  He was unable to enter the church and remained on the wagon with his son.  A church window had been left open so that he could listen to the funeral.   Once the funeral was over he buried his son in the church cemetery.

My daughter is truly an amazingly creative person.  She decided that she would help the health care workers in Winnipeg by sewing surgical hats and masks.  She has never had sewing lessons but through sheer determination to learn has managed to create quite a number of masks and hats.  Natasha is the drop-off point and coordinator for the Seven Oakes Area in Winnipeg.  She posted the following on her website:

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:

Hello everyone, we simply did not anticipate the demand that we would be meeting when the sewing of surgical caps for healthcare workers took off.  I realized too late that there were a couple hundred workers in my area alone. Each person needs at least two to four caps.  I know that not everyone can do this, for a huge variety of reasons and there is NO shame if you choose not to participate.  We all have our own call to help in this pandemic. You do your best with what you feel you need to contribute.  I have been going non-stop for seven days and I am humbled by my limitations. I cannot function today. My body has literally shut down and I cannot make hats today.  It breaks my heart because I have people depending on me. I only have one other person to help sew. We cannot meet our quotas alone.  If you love to sew and you need a project, please consider helping us. You certainly do not need to make it a morning to night commitment. A few caps here and there by many more people would make an enormous difference.

Please pm me if you wish to contribute, even if it is a few caps. The nurses/healthcare workers are desperate for these items and every cap helps.  I am the drop-off point and coordinator for the Seven Oakes Area. I will respond as quickly as I can.  I may not be able to respond instantly.  If you would like to help contact me at widebertha@gmail.com. Thank you so much,  Natasha

Note her bossy bird Nemo is perched where he can be sure to voice detailed instructions and complaints as needed.

Stay safe and please stay home.

I would love to hear from you after you try the following called “How Smart Is Your Foot?”

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April 7, 2020

Another week in isolation, but, since I consider myself a hermit it really does not bother me.  After making the worst mistake of my life by agreeing to drink Radio Active Iodine, the most common treatment for Graves Disease,  I had to change my lifestyle.    Two ways I keep boredom away is by reading and writing.   I have spent many years researching the Zacharias side of my family and continue to do so.  Thankfully, I have learned how to keep busy without depending on the outside world.   Hopefully, we will soon see an end to this virus.

Yesterday was a day of great accomplishment for me.  I actually managed to iron 15 shirts and 5 pairs of pants.  You would not believe how long those items have been hanging in the laundry room waiting for me to get motivated to iron them.  Sad when one considers this to be a great accomplishment.

I was supposed to go for blood work today, however, I made the decision not to go.  Since the lab is only a few feet away from the waiting room for approximately 20 doctors I felt the risk was not worth it.  Hopefully, I have made the right decision.   The reason for the blood work was to check my potassium levels which have been on the low side and my TSH.   I am sure that my surgery will not be scheduled for quite a while since it is elective surgery.

Our only grandchild, Benjamin, celebrated his 26th birthday on April 5th.  We were unable to celebrate this special day with a family get-together, but we did chat on the phone.  Benjamin and Danika are enjoying their new apartment.

Ever since stopping Cytomel, I have been incredibly tired.  I wake up tired in the morning. Hopefully, once my thyroid levels are back to the level I need to feel good the fatigue will go away.  I believe that the TSH number should not be the only thing that doctors look at.  I feel the best if my thyroid levels are 0.1.  Most doctors would frown on this number and consider it out of the normal range.  However, that is the number I need to function.

My post will be a short one this week.  I have writer’s block.  Hopefully, this too shall pass.  According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of writer’s block:  Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.  The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce work for years.

Author Unknown.  If anyone knows who the author is please let me know.  Thanks.

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March 27, 2020

Free photo 2106866 © Chrisharvey – Dreamstime.com

Time seems to fly by these days and sadly I find that I am neglecting my blog.  I really do make an effort to do better, but what I can say other than I am old and forgetful.

I saw a cardiologist on March 9th and he cleared me for surgery.  Apparently, my EKG was fine and my heart rate was normal.  Hopefully, the surgery will take place within the next four to six months, though I think this virus pandemic might just interfere with that.

My friend Kathy posted the following item on Facebook and I felt it was important to pass it on to my readers here at “Not over Till the Fat Lady Sings.”  The article is as follows:

Individuals like myself, are the ones considered to have “underlying health conditions” A quick lesson about autoimmune diseases. It takes an average of three years and five doctors for a person to get a proper diagnosis of an autoimmune disease. It is a disease where instead of your white blood cells protecting your body from invaders, they turn around and attack your cells, tissues, and organs. Chronic fatigue is another symptom. It is not a cold or the flu, you will never get better, and even a nap will not help. Just eating a salad and hitting the gym won’t slim your face or get the pounds off. Sleeping 10 hours doesn’t leave you well-rested, ever. The last-minute changes in plans because that “just got ran over” feeling never makes appointments, it just walks in whenever you aren’t ready. Painful joints, muscles and bones, dry skin, breaking hair, hair loss, mood swings, and depression are just the tip of the iceberg. You are also prone to having multiple autoimmune diseases; they typically come in pairs of two. You easily catch viral and bacterial infections. You have days where no matter how hard you try; you just can’t smile for anyone.

I urge you to think twice before passing judgment and thinking our nation is overreacting to the extra measures being taken to curb the spread of this virus. YOU might be able to recover from it no problem, however, carry it to someone with an autoimmune disease and that individual won’t be as lucky.

Please, in honor of someone who is fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis, POTS, MCAD, Sjogren’s, Scleroderma, Hashimoto Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Raynauld’s Syndrome, Diabetes, Addison’s, Mold Illness, Celiac, CROHN’S, Ulcerative Colitis, Pemphigus, SPS, MS, PBC, Psoriatic Arthritis, CIDP, MMN, and GPA stay safe and follow isolation rules.  For more information on Autoimmune Diseases, go to Aarda.org.

Today I would like to focus on Addison’s disease.  A dear friend of mine deals with this disease on a daily basis.  Jan has fought for her life many times during an Addison’s crisis.  The following charts and graphs may help to explain this disease.

Mayo Clinic gives this definition of Addison’s disease:   Addison’s disease, also called adrenal insufficiency, is an uncommon disorder that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones. In Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands, located just above your kidneys, produce too little cortisol and, often, too little aldosterone. Addison’s disease occurs in all age groups and both sexes and can be life-threatening. Treatment involves taking hormones to replace those that are missing.

Symptoms – The following information comes from the Mayo Clinic’s website at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease

Addison’s disease symptoms usually develop slowly, often over several months. Often, the disease progresses so slowly that symptoms are ignored until stress, such as illness or injury, occurs and makes symptoms worse. Signs and symptoms may include:

Extreme fatigue

Weight loss and decreased appetite

Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)

Low blood pressure, even fainting

Salt craving

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting (gastrointestinal symptoms)

Abdominal pain

Muscle or joint pains

Irritability

Depression or other behavioral symptoms

Body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women

Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis)  

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly.  Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis) can lead to life-threatening shock.  Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

Severe weakness

Confusion

Pain in your lower back or legs

Severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration

Reduced consciousness or delirium

In an Addison’s crisis you will also have:

Low blood pressure

High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)

When to see a doctor:

See your doctor if you have common signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease, such as:

Darkening areas of skin (hyperpigmentation)

Severe fatigue

Unintentional weight loss

Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain

Lightheadedness or fainting

Salt cravings

Muscle or joint pains

 

 

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February 8, 2020

Before I begin my post I would like to wish all my readers a Very Happy New Year; one filled with much joy, many blessings, good health and a wealth of wonderful memories.  Please forgive my negligence when it comes to keeping my blog up to date.  I hope I still have some followers left who have not given up on me.

Christmas was rather a low key event this year.  We spent Christmas day at home with our grandson, Benjamin and his partner, Danika, our daughter Natasha, and her partner Mike with his daughter Melissa, and our son Prescott.  First Choice provided us with another delicious Christmas dinner, which included turkey, gravy, meatballs, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, broccoli salad, cranberry sauce, and buns.  It is such a treat to be able to sit down to a wonderful Christmas dinner without having to plan and cook the meal.

Weather-wise January and February were strange.  The temperature fluctuated from as warm as -2C to -30 C.  These fluctuations play havoc with my poor old bones.  Of course, once the temperature hits -2C the humidity becomes very noticeable.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Manitoba Health has approved my surgery.  The surgery will include a breast reduction and modified Panniculus.   Panniculus is a medical term, describing a dense layer of fatty tissue, consisting of excess subcutaneous fat within the lower abdominal region.  Abdominal Panniculus can be removed during abdominal panniculectomy, a type of Abdominoplasty.   My pre-surgery exam with my family doctor was scheduled for December 13th at which time he discovered that I had a resting heart rate of 129.  I mentioned to him that ever since the fall of 2019 I had been very nauseous and tired when I woke up in the morning.  Extreme fatigue continued all day.  I often would have episodes when I found it hard to catch my breath.  My family doctor told me that this could be a result of a high heart rate and he ordered an EKG and blood work.  The next morning was a Saturday and upon waking my resting heart rate was 140.  Since my heart rate was higher than the day before my husband and I decided that we would go to the hospital to see if I could get an EKG that morning instead of waiting until Monday.   I had the EKG in Emergency at the local hospital since the lab does not take walk-ins during the weekend.  The blood work was done at the same time.  The EKG registered my heart rate at 142.  We had a conversation with a nurse practitioner in Emergency and he told us that the heart rate problem might well be the result of the drug Cytomel, a thyroid medication I had been taking since 1999.  Apparently, our bodies change as we age and medications can begin to affect us differently.   We waited for nearly seven hours to see the emergency doctor.  When no doctor showed up after all this time we decided that I needed to get home so we left.

After doing some research online and thinking about the situation, I decided to quit taking Cytomel to see if my heart rate would settle down.  I was taking 200 mcg of Synthroid and 25 mcg of Cytomel.   My heart rate slowly went back to normal.  After being off Cytomel for nearly two weeks restless leg syndrome struck.  What a nightmare!   My legs jerked and crawled for three days and three nights.  I was ready to jump off the nearest bridge.  Finally, I got my husband to take me to the Emergency department at a small country hospital just twelve miles from the town we live in.  By the time I got to this emergency, my blood pressure was 179/119 and my heart rate was at 150.  The only help the doctor could give me was sleeping pills in the hope that I might be able to get some sleep.  The sleeping pills worked and I slept.   Sadly, upon waking the next morning the restless leg syndrome was still there.  Thankfully, we finally found our own solution later that day that miraculously took away the restless leg syndrome within minutes.   It truly felt like a miracle.  I must also mention here that our visit to the Emergency Department at the country hospital was a wonderful experience compared to the visit to the Emergency Department at our local hospital.  At the local emergency, I waited for nearly 7 hours and did not see a doctor.  At the country hospital emergency I was registered, questioned by a nurse, seen by a doctor and on my way home within an hour and a half.  Amazing difference in service.

After this horrendous episode, I decided to give the Cytomel another try.  The rapid heart rate returned within a few hours.  Of course, these problems caused the surgeon some concern and my surgery was put on hold until the heart issues could be resolved.  I saw my family doctor on January 31st and he told me that PVCs at irregular intervals had shown up on my EKG.  Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest.  However, my family doctor said that this too could be a result of Cytomel.  He ordered an EKG and blood work to be done on February 3rd and told me to discontinue taking Cytomel immediately.  He has ordered another EKG and blood work to be done on March 5th.  Hopefully, my heart issues will be resolved by then and the surgeon can go ahead and schedule my surgery.

At my January 31st appointment with my family doctor, I was surprised to learn that my potassium levels were a bit too low.  I have discontinued Elival which is a potassium leaching drug and have been eating at least one banana a day.

My friend Marina picked me up on Friday and we spent a lovely afternoon together.  I had not been out for coffee in ages.

We had a lovely visit today with our grandson, Benjamin and his partner, Danika.  They came for supper and shared with us the particulars of their upcoming move.  We are so excited for them and hopefully, this will be a wonderful new adventure for them.

Again, I promise to try to do a better job of keeping up with regular contributions to my blog.  I really do have good intentions, but for some reason, they disappear and it seems to take forever before I realize they are gone.

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