Sunday, September 5, 2010

Flashback-What a difference a year can make!

This time last year I was sick. Really, really sick and we didn't know what was wrong with me.  My symptoms first started becoming more noticeable the beginning of last summer and by the time fall came around I was a mess.  I felt like my body was shutting down on me or at the very least, having a major revolt.  My heart was racing and I was having heart palpitations.  I couldn't sleep at night, my mind just kept racing. It wasn't unusual for me to be up to 3 or 4 in the morning.  Being a homeschooled mom w/ 6 kids, one an infant, that wasn't good for anybody. My hair was falling out, I was having major hot flashes, my monthly visitor stopped coming to visit and I started losing weight despite being hungry and eating like crazy. (that last one I actually rather enjoyed. If the other symptoms weren't so impossible to live with, I might just have kept on going ;) ).  The worst symptom of all though was the swelling and joint pain that plagued my body.  The joint pain would migrate through various joints usually working it's way through in a few days only to resurface at another joint a few days later. 

When this happened in the past (yes, I've had this before) it would only last about 3 days, give me a couple of days respite, then come back in another joint for about 3 days.  I'd take Motrin and be good. After about a month, it would be gone for a year or so before appearing again with no warning. 

This time, the pain was much more intense and lasted a lot longer.  When it finally moved through the joint, it turned up w/i a day someplace else.  When it finally settled in my ankles and feet, that's where it stayed and wasn't budging.  The only thing that knocked it out was IV steroids I was given for my sinus surgery that took place right in the middle of all this craziness. IV steroids and getting a diagnosis that is.

As I was looking for pictures of something else I stumbled across some pictures I took around this time last year.  These photos were all taken in September of 2009.

 I was swollen all over, but my joints really got hit the hardest.  Both my feet are actually swollen but my left foot was much more swollen. In the last picture you can see how red my left foot was due to the swelling.  Oy! These pictures bring back painful memories. :(

I took these pictures because they swelling would appear and disappear and usually when I had a doctors appointment is when the swelling would have disappeared! I took the pictures to be able to show the doctors what I was talking about.  Just looking at these pictures again makes my joints ache.  It was so incredibly painful.  I couldn't walk and it finally got to the point where moving my foot at all sent excruciating pain coursing through my body.  I couldn't sleep, walk, move. I was miserable.

After going to various doctors who checked me for all sorts of things, I finally went back to my OB/Gyn and she ran a complete workup of my blood checking for everything possible.  Everything came back perfect except for one thing, my thyroid was in hyper over drive.  I finally had my diagnosis, hyperthyroidism most likely due to my pregnancy.  Since the hyperthyroidism had remained one year postpartum, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease.

Although I was happy to have a reason for my odd symptoms,  I wasn't happy to hear that my thyroid had decided to go wacko on me. 

Looking back, we think this probably started after the birth of my 2nd child but it was minor enough and went away quickly enough that it was dismissed on something else.  It wasn't until this last pregnancy and birth that the symptoms became so debilitating we had to not just assume anymore but find out what was happening. 

As I look down at my normal sized ankles and feet tonight, I am so thankful and praise God for my health, for doctors and modern medicine that allowed me to heal.  Since starting on medicine for my thyroid I haven't had any joint pain or this crazy swelling.  My numbers have dropped to just within the normal range and we're hoping to start cutting back on the medication by the end of the year.

It truly is amazing what a difference a year can make!


Rachel said...

WOW! So glad that you are feeling better again!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are feeling well now. Nothing worse than being sick and trying to homeschool on top of it.