April 13,2005

It has been a while since I have added to my diary entries.  Lack of motivation has been the problem.  How many of you have periods of time when your illness becomes overwhelming and you have absolutely no motivation or enthusiasm to seek a meaningful life?  Medical professionals would probably label me as depressed but I would not agree.  I do not feel depressed; just have no desire to contribute to anything outside of my little world.   Sounds pathetic I know but this has been my reality during the last two months.

Thankfully spring has finally arrived and most of the snow has disappeared.  My husband and his friend, both members of the Orchid Society, went on a crocus hunt last weekend and managed to find some beautiful specimens.  We had periods of rain for the last three days which helped to clear the air.  Quite frankly, spring is not my favourite time of year.  Yes the trees begin to bud, the lawns turn green and the flowers begin to grow but over all it is a messy and obligation-filled time.  Neighbours, who have perfection in mind when it comes to their yards, are out in full force preparing their properties for the summer season.  All I manage to do is sit in the house and listen to their efforts while making lists of all the things that need to be accomplished in our yard.  Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers gardens, beautiful lawns and trees.  I just don’t have the energy and good health to go out there and make these things happen.  Thank goodness for the six foot fence surrounding our back yard.  It keeps my pathetic attempts at gardening from the public view.

Last spring I realized that my plans for elaborate flower beds would have to be shelved.  There was no way I could keep up with the weeding and care that these beds would require.  Instead I began what I call container gardening.  My father provided me with numerous old wash tubs which I filled with flowers.  I was actually quite impressed with the result and the upkeep was so much simpler than flower beds.  My dad loves antique and auction sales and over the winter he managed to find a few more old wash tubs.  They have been added to my collection.  During the latter part of May I will head over to the greenhouses, pick out my selection of flowers for this summer and plant them in the tubs.  Where we live, it is not a good idea to put out bedding plants until after the May long weekend.  The risk of frost is just too great.

My daughter was hospitalized for three weeks in March which was a difficult time for our family.  Bipolar disorder is such a nasty illness and can rear its ugly head at any time.  Her last hospitalization was exactly two years ago and she had been doing so well.  Since his dad leaves for work by 5:45 AM we all decided it would be better if our grandson stayed with us during this time.  It was just too hard for grandson to get up that early, get dropped off at our house so that he could sleep a few more hours before it was time to go to school.  Our son-in-law would come for supper on the nights he did not go in to the city to visit our daughter.  On those nights he would help Grandson with his homework and hang out with him until it was bedtime.  I drove Grandson to school every morning because that was the only time he would talk to me about his worries and concerns.  He asked some very difficult questions about his mom’s illness.  I wish I had a magic wand that could make this illness disappear.  It is so hard on my daughter, my son-in-law and my grandson.  My daughter was discharged on March 29th but it was probably too soon.  She is dealing with a deep depression which is very worrisome but on the upside she has been making the effort to go into work for a few hours every day at her dad’s business.

The highlight in March was our son’s visit.  Our son and daughter-in-law’s US visa renewals began in August, 2004 and were finally issued the second week in March.  During the renewal process they were not able to leave the US.  Our son had been very anxious to come and see his grandma who has been sick since September 2004 and he was finally able to do so.  We had a wonderful visit with him and he was able to spend every afternoon with his grandparents.  Sadly his visit was very short; he left on March 29th.  We are looking forward to this summer when both our son and daughter-in-law will be flying out for a much longer time.

Grandson celebrated his 11th birthday on April 5th.  Were does the time go?  We had a small family celebration at our house that evening and his papa and I are having a birthday party for him this coming Sunday.  I decided to do it the easy way by renting the pool at the local hotel.  The kids will swim from 3:00 – 5:00 PM after which we will order in pizza.  The hotel includes a hotel room and a party room with the rental.  The party room has tables, chairs, couches, fireplace and a small kitchen.  After pizza the kids can hang out in the party room until 7:00 PM.

My bone scan took place in February but I have not heard back from my family doctor or the Rheumatologist who ordered the scan.  I suppose this means that it was normal.  I realize it sounds ridiculous but I had hoped that it would provide the answer to why I have this continuous bone pain.  The cardiologist I saw in 2002 told me that he felt that my health problems were a direct result of the RAI (Radio Active Iodine) I had in April, 1998.  According to him, and I should add that he is a top cardiologist and very well respected, RAI can sometimes leave a patient with irreversible damage.  He told us that he had seen other cases like mine where a patient had submitted to RAI and ended up with a new set of nasty symptoms and health problems.  The cardiologist also told us that we would be hard pressed to find an endocrinologist who would admit that RAI can cause life long problems.  I was not willing to accept that this would be my lot in life.  However, in the last few months I have slowly begun to accept that the cardiologist was probably right and that I will have to learn to live with and accept the pain and the limitations.  There is however a slight hope that having my thyroid removed surgically might improve my over all health.  A friend of mine has an endocrinologist who told her that he has removed thyroid glands from patients after they had RAI treatment.   Once the damaged thyroid gland was removed these patients had a much better quality of life.  This is an option that I am going to pursue.  I have nothing to loose except a damaged thyroid gland.

If any of you are contemplating RAI please think long and hard about it.  For me this was the worst mistake I ever made.  I was naive and trusted my doctor to do what was best for me.  I had never heard of Graves’ disease before my diagnosis and I was overjoyed when my endocrinologist told me that after RAI I would have my health and my life back.  She even went as far to tell me that I would probably not become hypothyroid but just in case I did, all I would have to do was take a little pill for the rest of my life and everything would be okay.  Talk about a fairy tale.  I was given no options; surgery was never even mentioned.  When you make a decision about Graves’ disease treatments please research all your options, ask questions and get a second opinion.  The results of RAI can haunt you for the rest of your life.

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