Monday, 31 October 2011

When bad news is good

Today I saw Dr McLovely again, I actually told her that I call her Dr McLovely in my blog and, living up to her name, she blushed!

She had all my test results back and there were some not so nice results.

Quincy MD I'm not, so my grasp of the significance of all these things is tenuous at best but here is the upshot...

Whatever indicates a possible auto-immune disease was elevated.

Something to do with my thyroid was wrong and she said my brain was having to work very hard (no news there) to try and get my thyroid to produce enough of whatever makes my metabolism metabolize.  This makes perfect sense because I have always been what the old cow cockies (beef farmers) would call an "easy keeper".  I don't eat very much but I don't lose weight either.  I'm not the size of a barn or anything but I am generously proportioned.

The thingy (that is a technical term for those of you who are uninitiated) that indicates Celiac Disease was high.  Potentially this could account for the fatigue and what I had presumed to be a touch of IBS.

My sugar levels were elevated on a fast test which could indicate diabetes.  I told her about my weird sugar stuff from when I was pregnant.  I used to go to my pre-natal checkups every month and every month my sugar levels were elevated on the pee test so dutifully I would trot across the road to the path lab for a blood test and every month my blood sugar was fine.  Dr McLovely is an expert at that breeding stuff, pregnancy, family planning etc and she laughed when I told her this and informed me that I had had Gestational Diabetes which apparently makes a woman predisposed to develop real diabetes later in life.

There were few other odds and sods... apparently I have at some time had glandular fever (news to me!)  Naughty cholesterol is high, nice cholesterol is too low (the bad guys are in the lead in the cholesterol Stupidbowl apparently).

NOW - a "normal" person might come out of the surgery reeling from news like this, they might be HORRIFIED or even TERRIFIED!!!  But, as anyone who has dealt with Fibromyalgia symptoms knows - we are far from normal!  When you live your life with a myriad of unpleasant problems that have no known cause and no known cure it does strange things to your mindset.  It makes you sometimes almost wish that you had one of the trendy, clearly defined, conditions.  Something that is easy to explain to other people; something that has a well publicized name; something that can be nailed down with a specific test; something that potentially can be CURED!

I'm not very keen on the idea of having diabetes; I lost a very close family friend (almost a sister) through complications of diabetes earlier this year at the tender age of 52.  I'm not keen on having thyroid issues or Celiac Disease.  I'm particularly not keen on having some kind of auto-immune disease (the idea of my white blood cells attacking some part of me is like a bad B Grade horror movie in my mind).  Still, let's face it Fibromyalgia is not a pic-a-nic with Yogi and Boo Boo either.

In spite of blood tests up the wazoo over the last two years no one has ever seen these results before, maybe Dr McLovely ordered a more comprehensive series of tests, maybe Aussie path labs are better, maybe all these wonderful problems are all new... I don't know.

The possibility is that some of these things might explain some of the fibro symptoms and that some of these things might be manageable with diet or meds, some of them might even be curable...  Of course I have been dancing with chronic pain for most of my life... long before Dr MingDynasty decided to call it Fibromyalgia so I don't really hold out much hope that these things are INSTEAD of the FMS.  Most likely they are in addition to FMS... but still an explanation, however limited, is a welcome piece of news.

Wouldn't it be cool if they could up my thyroid dooverhickey (another technical term - look it up!) and increase my metabolism?  Maybe I could become trim, taught and terrific and all the eligible lesbians in Sydney would suddenly be bashing down my door!

So back for more blood tests in the morning - glucose tolerance etc...  I made an appointment with the Immunologist, I think it is for January 2031 (He is a VERY important person).  They told me they process their cancellations every Friday morning so I have set an alarm to remind myself to annoy them weekly.  They asked if I wanted to see him about chronic fatigue or allergies...  I said I have fatigue and auto-immune irregularities and this stuff is ruining my life and that 2031 is just not soon enough!  Hence the suggestion to call on Friday mornings (silly woman telling me that - she'll rue the day!)

Just a side note - anyone in Sydney or environs there is a rally to Re-Occupy Sydney at Noon this Sat at Town Hall and if I can drag my exhausted arse out of the house I will be there!

NB - My lovely American friends I was only kidding about the Path Labs
The immunologist appt is 2012... ok forgive me, so I exaggerated a little!


  1. OK - hypothyroidism - underfunctioning thyroid gland - I have it *high five!* It definitely would be contributing to your fatigue... possibly a lot! And excess weight. Basically it means that you eat and instead of enough of those calories being properly metabolised to give you the energy you need, only some of them are, with more of them being stored as fat than ought to be... leaving you tired and overweight. It's often, or perhaps usually, associated with an auto-immune disorder. And not at all unusual among women of a certain age.
    They put me on Oroxine (brand name of thyroxine), there's a bit of mucking about with blood tests to get the dosage right, but the difference it makes is unreal. Not as good as having my own properly functioning thyroid, but after dragging one's self around for ages not knowing what was wrong, the improvement can be immense (well, for me it was). So hopefully that might sound... hopeful....?

    If you end up on a gluten free diet it's not so bad now, heaps of gluten free products in mainstream supermarkets, I remember 15 years ago when people used to have to take their own food everywhere with them!

    It all sounds a bit overwhelming but - still - it has the whiff of progress...x

  2. Thanks Channah! Yes it is hopeful! None of it really touches the pain probs... but hey one thing at a time eh! See you sat I hope!

  3. So much in there that I can relate to...not the specific conditions, but the general way the system works...especially the long waits to see Very Important Doctors, lol (I only see my seizure specialist every 18 months).

    I hope that something positive comes out of it all for you. :)

  4. With Channah - Once you have proof of hypothyroidism, the 'old' way of treating it was to let the thyroid die, which leaves you fatigued for years. The 'new' way (like the last 10 years), is that if you get synthetic thyroid, like synthryoid, in a smaller dose to 'top you up' it takes a lot longer for your thyroid to die, and may not die at all (though if you notice your voice getting lower, that's the thyroid getting weaker - actually though weight gain is common, so is inability to process food so dramatic weight loss, like I had).

    Once you have those results, you don't need a specialist to prescribe synthroid for you, a GP, even a walk-in clinic will do it. I recommend a female doctor with experience with lots of female patients as the thryoid goes off, so can the estrogen - but I got my prescription from a walk in clinic - every doctor I went to I asked, showing them the blood results. She was like, "Oh, yeah, let me put you on a low dose, have a blood test in two weeks and we will see if it is enough" - the change in fatigue was dramatic, well from having to lean against a wall sitting down to not - that's big for me.

    For IBS, I recommend adding a probiotic like Florastor to your morning meal - as it will keep things together as it were. It is the one recommend for when treated for UTI's, and they give you CIPRO, which can destroy the flora and fauna in your intestines, this helps bring it back. There are others, but this one is the most recommended.

    I hope this information leads to a increase in your Life of Quality.


  5. Thank Cane Girl for your support and empathy... I find sisters in the strangest places through this web thing!
    Elizabeth, thanks for all that great info and advice. I had thyroid antibody tests today so I will know more soon!

  6. Thyroid and celiac disease symptoms both have a lot of overlap with fibromyalgia symptoms, including fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and tingling in the extremities. I know with celiac there are often issues related to malnourishment where your body isn't absorbing nutrients properly, especially importantly things like B12 that can lead to serious (but fibro-mimicking) symptoms. The tests for celiac are pretty expensive, at least in the US, so I think GPs rarely order them here (The complete panel ordered by my GI doc was billed at $900!). Both of these things are very manageable, so I hope getting treatment brings you some relief! And at the very least it sounds like Dr McLovely is the kind of compassionate physician we all need.

  7. thanks Megan - Dr McLovely is well, in a word, lovely!