October 22, 2020

Winter has arrived.  It snowed for a while yesterday however it disappeared overnight.  We are consistently experiencing below zero temperatures.  Hopefully, the snow will stay away until the end of October.  These barometric pressure changes and temperature changes sure play havoc with these old bones of mine.  

As I mentioned in earlier posts my family doctor stopped my Cytomel 25 mcg medication because it was giving me a high heart rate.  He then went on to reduce my Synthroid medication from 200 mcg to 175 mcg.  The change in dosage has not been good to me.  In the last two months, I have managed to acquire many of the hypothyroid symptoms and let me tell you they are not fun.  Here is a list of some of the symptoms that have invaded my already compromised life:

Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. In addition to physical fatigue, a person may experience low motivation and mental exhaustion. Exhaustion occurs because the hormones the gland produces regulate energy — too little leads to fatigue. If this symptom is a result of a thyroid issue, getting sufficient sleep will generally not alleviate the problem.  

Rapid weight gain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. When your body does not release enough thyroid hormone, it slows resting metabolism, the rate at which the body burns energy at rest. This causes weight gain. Furthermore, the exhaustion that leaves a person with hypothyroidism feeling sluggish or tired contributes to a lack of regular exercise.

Depression It’s unknown why depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism. However, many people report feelings of sadness associated with low levels of thyroid hormones. Medication may help this and other symptoms by boosting the production of the missing hormone. Medical professionals can help find the right form of support, be it medicinal or psychological.

Itchy or Dry Skin Hypothyroidism can lead to itchy or dry skin, another sign of issues with the thyroid gland. When the thyroid is not releasing enough hormones, the skin may dry out. Furthermore, if skin cell turnover slows due to hypothyroidism, skin cells stay in place longer instead of shedding as they should. In turn, they build up and cause flaky skin.  The above from Factcheck – Trista

Monday afternoon I called my doctor’s office and discussed my thyroid issues with his assistant.  The assistant called me back this morning and told me that my family doctor did not want to raise my Synthroid back up to 200 mcg.  He was willing to compromise by allowing me to add an additional 25 mcg of Synthroid three times a week.  I can only hope and pray that this will help to alleviate some of the symptoms. 

About an hour before going to bed last night I noticed that I was experiencing pain around the ankle that I broke a number of years ago.  I had a compound fracture and after three surgeries and the removal of three screws, the ankle healed nicely.  I woke up this morning and the pain has travelled up my leg almost to my knee.  My foot is swollen and if I did not know better I would consider a fracture.  However, nothing happened to that foot to warrant this much pain.  I suppose it will eventually settle down to the point where I can walk on it again.

Peter will be celebrating his 74th birthday on the 24th of October.  Not sure what we will do to celebrate.  With the high number of COVID 19 cases in Manitoba, we do not want to go to a restaurant or any other public venue.  We will probably spend a quiet evening at home.  

We just finished watching seven seasons of “All Creatures Great and Small.”  We both enjoyed this series and were sorry to see it finish.  We subscribe to Prime Time, Acorn, Britbox, Mhz and Sundance Now.  I really enjoy the series from Sweden, Denmark, France and Norway.  It does not take long to get accustomed to reading the English captions provided for foreign language shows. 

Just in case anyone is interested I decided to list the books that I have been reading in the last few weeks.  They are as follows:

  • The Pact by Linda Castillo
  • Winter Grave by Helene Tursten
  • Revenge by Susan Hill
  • Hunting Game by Helene Tursten
  • Snow Creek by Gregg Olsen

Excerpts from the Zacharias Site https://zachariasfamilytree.com  

The following are excerpts from a few of the 580 histories, stories, documents, letters documented on the Zacharias site.

Annihilation of the Kulaks: A personal journal written in the 1930s by a member of the Zacharias family documenting the annihilation of the Kulaks in Siberia. Many of our Zacharias family members were forced to participate in collectivization. The penalty for refusal was death.

Compulsory Return Transport: A personal journal describing the difficult times the author and other Mennonites experienced while waiting for exit visas from the former Soviet Union and the cruel forced return journey from the suburbs of Moscow to their village homes. These events happened from 1929 to 1930.  On Sunday evening, November 17, 1929, the menacing return transport began from Perlowka, Malo-Metischtschi, and Tarasowka. The transport continued on the 18th. During the previous night, the GPU had written up a list of all the refugees. The refugees who were forced onto this return transport were mainly Mennonites and included members of the Zacharias family.

The summer of 1929 in Moscow: A personal journal describing the summer of 1929. Many Mennonites from Siberia spent that summer in Moscow and the suburbs of Moscow while waiting for their exit visas. Many of them were forcibly removed from Moscow and its’ suburbs and transported back to Siberia and to the villages they came from. Many of the children died on the return trips from the extreme cold, starvation and an outbreak of measles.  October 1929 will remain in the memory of many people. This was the day that in the early morning hours the first group of refugees who had gathered in the passing months in Moscow were loaded into prepared cattle train cars to begin their trip back to Siberia.

Bernhard Giesbrecht’s Letter to His Children: The following is a translation of a German letter written by Bernhard Giesbrecht to his children in Canada dated October 30, 1934. The letter was written very carefully to avoid censorship by the Soviet government should the letter fall into the wrong hands.  The letter was smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1934.

History of Katarina and Maria Giesbrecht: Katarina and Maria Giesbrecht were the daughters of Bernhard and Helena (nee Zacharias) Giesbrecht. They were the granddaughters of Wilhelm and Anna (nee Peters) Zacharias. The sisters survived World War 1, World War 11, Hitler’s Birkenau Concentration Camp, and Stalin’s Gulag. They raised their sister Anna’s three orphaned children namely Helena (nee Zelmer) Neufeld, Heinrich Zelmer and Ewald Zelmer.

Autobiography of Isaak Isaak Zacharias:  Isaak Isaak Zacharias was born on February 22, 1868, at Zachariasfeld, South Russia and this is his autobiography.  Wilhelm, Isaak and Gerhard, three sons of Isaak Wilhelm Zacharias, the founder of the Zachariasfeld Estate, all farmed together on the estate, all experienced the same events during the revolution.  All fled to Osterwick during the time of anarchy in 1918 and immigrated to Rosthern, Saskatchewan in the first contingent of Russian Mennonites to arrive in Canada.  Full credit for this document belongs to Ruth Heinrichs and Heinz Bergen.

History of Johann Johann Epp and Family: The Great Grandfathers; from a thesis titled “SADLY THERE ARE NO DIARIES OF THE GRANDMOTHERS” HEALING ANCESTRAL WOUNDS ‘AN EXPLORATION OF TWO GRANDFATHERS’ PERSONAL MENNONITE TEXTS, 1852 ~ 1945;  Permission granted by author Eleanore Margaret Koop.

Holodomor:  Ten million children, women and men died in this horrendous genocide, the Holodomor of 1930-1934.  The survivors who have shared their stories with me will live on forever in the hearts and minds of future generations.  It is a testament to the resilient spirit of the Mennonite, German and Ukrainian people.  Holodomor was genocide by starvation and one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind.

Nestor Makhno:  Nestor Makhno was born on November 7, 1888.  He was a terrorist. Between 1917 and 1921 he took advantage of the breakdown of law and order in Russia and assembled a band of thieves, rapists and murderers.  My great grandfather and his family including my mom Helen (nee Giesbrecht ) Reimer were forced into the basement of their home by these monsters and left to die.  Helen was a six-month-old baby at the time.

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September 29, 2020

Woke up to a chilly house this morning. Won’t be long now and we will have to turn on the heat. The big tree outside my den window lost all it’s leaves this past week. We have experienced some very strong winds in the last two weeks but thankfully our tall spruce trees survived. Two of the trees originated from the family farm. When my parents had to relocate because some of their land was being expropriated for a four-lane highway they had two of the trees moved to their new country acreage. After approximately 10 years they decided to move into the city and moved the same two trees and had them planted on their front lawn. I took in my Mandevilla vine hoping to keep it healthy during the coming winter months. The blooms on this plant are so beautiful.

This afternoon my liver specialist called me and we had a great conversation. He reassured me that after the last MRI, CT Scan and Ultrasound no lesions or masses were seen on my liver. He also told me that my last blood work all came in within normal levels including the test for liver cancer. My family doctor had already called me with the MRI, CT Scan and Ultrasound results but it was nice to have it reconfirmed by my specialist. I will have another CT Scan in November and then a follow up with a Telemedicine appointment. I love Telemedicine appointments. All I have to do is go to the local hospital where the TV is set up and wait for my doctor to come online at the specified time. No driving for an hour or paying huge parking costs.

Since I have nothing of interest to add to this blog I will keep it short and write a longer one in a few days. Take care of yourselves and keep safe.

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September 22, 2020

In 1998 I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease.  After my diagnosis, I built and maintained a message board with over 900 members called Widebertha’s Message Board.  The name Widebertha was very appropriate at that time in my life.  The main goal of the message board was to inform people about the perils of radioactive iodine.  The powers that be did not approve of my message and often let me know in no uncertain terms.   I remember one lengthy email in particular written by a doctor from Australia.  He berated me for my negative opinion on radioactive iodine.  Having never endured the side effects of this treatment, I felt that he had no business berating me for my opinion on the use of radioactive iodine to treat Graves’ disease.

After doing some research on treatments for Graves’s disease I came across an article written by Dr. Sun Y. Lee and published in the American Thyroid Association papers in 2019. The article started off by stating the following: “Quality of life is worse at 6-10 years after radioactive iodine therapy of Graves’ disease compared with treatment with anti thyroid drugs.”   I did a double-take after reading this.  I am a prime example of what can happen to a person after drinking radioactive iodine.  The article went on to read and I quote, “Overall, patients with treated Graves’ disease had worse thyroid-related quality of life scores than the general population. Among the three treatment groups, patients who received radioactive iodine therapy had worse thyroid-specific quality of life scores than patients treated with anti thyroid drugs or surgery, as measured by ThyPRO.  The radioactive iodine therapy group had worse scores for goiter symptoms, hyperthyroid symptoms, tiredness, anxiety, depression, emotional susceptibility, impaired social life, impaired daily life, and impaired sex life than the anti thyroid drug and surgery groups. In addition, the radioactive iodine therapy group had worse scores in hypothyroid symptoms, eye symptoms, and appearance than the anti thyroid drug group. A similar pattern was found in general quality of life measures as assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire, with worse scores in the radioactive iodine therapy group compared to the anti thyroid drug or surgery groups.”

Dr. Lee went on to write and I quote, “If these findings are confirmed in other studies in other countries, it would suggest that radioactive iodine therapy may be less desirable in the long term as compared to anti thyroid drugs or surgery.”

If only I had been able to talk to a doctor like Sun Y. Lee before I drank the poison called radioactive iodine.  As I have mentioned before I had huge doubts about drinking a poison called radioactive iodine.   Had I been able to discuss my concerns with a doctor like Dr. Lee I would never have agreed to drink the poison. 

 If you have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease please think about your options very carefully. My gut feeling at the time was that I should absolutely refuse radioactive iodine.  However, I was made to look like a fool and proceeded to drink the poison.  Again, think very very carefully before ingesting radioactive iodine.


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September 19,2020

Island Paradise

Today I am incredibly thankful that my son and daughter-in-law arrived safely in Seattle.  Crossing the US from Boston to Seattle was a five-day road trip. They left Boston to go back to their island paradise. Our son’s employment situation remains the same as it was in Boston.  They have moved onto the same property and into the same house that they lived in four years ago.  They managed to stay ahead of the snowstorms in Montana.

Island Paradise

I am also grateful that I did not do major damage to my body when I fell on Tuesday. I have no idea why I fell.  I had been dizzy earlier in the afternoon. All I did was get up from the supper table to get a drink and the next thing I knew the whole house shook and I ended up on the floor. I banged my head on the stove and damaged my already problematic knees. My head and shoulder are fine but my knee continues to give me grief.  It will probably take a lot of patience and rest before my knees stop throbbing.

A week and a half ago I finished scanning in all my old negatives.  When I added them up I realized that I now have just over 4500 pictures I did not have before I began this project.  I admit that many of my projects in some way include pictures.  I would even admit to being addicted to picture projects but when all is said and done this addiction is really quite harmless.  The following pictures are a result of the negative scanning project.  They are pictures of my childhood home.  It was located only a mile from the nearest town.

Since I am considering a change in my thyroid medication I have been doing some research into desiccated thyroid, also known as thyroid extract.  According to Wikipedia and I quote, “desiccated thyroid, also known as thyroid extract, is the thyroid gland that has been dried and powdered for medical use.  It is used to treat hypothyroidism. It is less preferred than levothyroxine. It is taken by mouth.  Maximal effects may take up to 3 weeks to occur.”

Also from Wikipedia and I quote, “desiccated thyroid has been used since the late 1800s.  It is usually made from pigs, sheep, or cows. (Many people prefer desiccated thyroid made from pigs).  It is available as a generic medication.  In the United States, the wholesale cost for a month of medication is about US$15.30.  In 2017, it was the 130th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than five million prescriptions. Usage has decreased since the 1960s.’

As I have noted in previous posts I am not doing well on 175 mcg of Synthroid.  I am scheduled for a blood test this coming week that will measure my TSH.  Coming off the Cytomel was a necessity.  Apparently, it is not a drug of choice for older people and I guess I am an “older person.”

Dr. Bimbo

Before I continue I want to say that I am well aware that I have written about my Graves disease diagnosis and treatment many times throughout this blog.  Please bear with me as I write about it again.  When I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (Hyperthyroid) in 1998 the only option I was given to deal with this autoimmune disease was to drink radioactive iodine.  I had a bad feeling about this treatment option.  However, I was continually lied to by my family doctor at that time, Dr. Squirt and by the endocrinologist, Dr. Bimbo.  I was told that all I had to do was take a little pill every day for the rest of my life and all my nasty symptoms would disappear.  It still makes me angry that I believed their lies and drank the poison.

Dr. Squirt

To get a prescription for desiccated thyroid I believe I will have to see a naturopath.  A cousin of mine sees a Naturopath in Winnipeg to deal with her thyroid issues.  She gives him a high recommendation.  I have to admit that I am somewhat leery about seeing a naturopath.  Early on in my journey to find answers to my thyroid-related medical problems I went to see a naturopath practising in my hometown.  While talking to him on the phone he reassured me that he always took a lot of blood and sent the samples to a well-known lab in the US.  Imagine my surprise when he poked my finger and squeezed a small amount of blood on to the specimen glass used with microscopes.  When I questioned him about the small amount of blood he assured me that the amount on the glass was all he needed to make a diagnosis.  There was no more talk about shipping my sample to the US.  After the blood test, he asked me to stick out my tongue.  He informed me that I had white spots on my tongue which proved I also had a tired adrenal gland.  He gave me a natural medication to boost my tired adrenal gland.

Dr. Nature Boy

This appointment cost me $190.00 which would have been repeated weekly until such a time as he declared me cured.

Since that fateful day in April 1998 when I drank radioactive iodine, I began my downward spiral.  In June 1998 my hypothyroid symptoms became unbearable.  Receiving only angry retorts when I approached Dr. Bimbo for help I began to research Graves’ disease, hypothyroidism and the side effects of radioactive iodine.  I have been researching this topic for 22 years.  An option I have not tried is desiccated thyroid.  I would love to hear from anyone who is presently taking desiccated thyroid.  What dose of desiccated thyroid do you take in a 24 hour period?  Do you have any side effects and if so what are they?  Is your desiccated thyroid made from pigs, sheep or cows?

It is time to sign off for today.  Book #25, The Old Success (Richard Jury Mystery Book 25) by Martha Grimes beckons me.  Be back with another blog post real soon.

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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 MRIs, CT Scans 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 six 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 4500 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 portray 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 the 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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