Monday, July 10, 2006

Conversation with God II – Living with Hyperthyroidism

Be careful what you ask for.

I take a personal approach when it comes to having a conversation with my creator. I often believe that he will give us what we ask for.

So after some weight gain, I asked him to please, please make it easier to slim down after my bout of weight gain. Please make it easy for me to return to my previous weight.

Of course I didn’t think much of that conversation again until much much much later.

Almost miraculously, I lost all the weight I gained. Well I did kinda lose it all magically but at a cost of course! I contracted hyperthyroidism.

At that time, I didn’t know I had hyperthyroidism. I was just feeling hot all the time. It was winter and everyone else wore jumpers and sweaters while I could stroll outside in my T shirt. But it got quite bad when I felt hot just being in my own skin. It was most uncomfortable. And then I had some itchyness. I thought it was just my eczema acting up due to the weather. But my shins and ankles were itchy as well. And I had headaches that wouldn’t quit. I had a headache that continually pounded on the left side of the head. And my heart was beating very fast, so fast that I can feel it myself.

And I was losing half a kilo a week. After about one and a half months. I began to suspect that something could be wrong. You see my mum died at age 49 due to hyperthyroidism. So I knew that this disease could run in the family. She lost quite a lot of weight and had heart palpitations. Unfortunately she saw a cardiologist about the heart palpitations but didn’t see an endocrinologist to get her hyperthyroidism diagnosed. She died of a thyroid storm. It was preventable but it was just too late. And it was entirely possible that I inherited this disease from her.

But there was one side of me that was very happy with the weight loss and wanted to lose more before seeing any doctor. So I did my own research first. With Google, anything was possible and information could be obtained at one’s own finger tips. And I had all the classic symptoms except for the goiter:

-I had a sudden weight loss even though I was eating a lot and was always hungry.
-Had the tremors and the trembles. My legs practically shook by themselves.
-My heartbeat was rapid.
-I was always nervous and was easily irritable
-I was always tired. My fatigue was just puzzling me.
-I was feeling hot all the time.
-My legs were weak. I had difficultly climbing the stairs and even onto the car.
-And I had difficulty sleeping, even when I was exhausted.

So finally we decided to chew the bullet and see a doctor about my condition. At least we can rule it out, I said. If its true I have it, we can begin treatment and if I don’t have it, we can rule it out and find out what is exactly wrong with me.

I called a friend in the medical profession which department I should ask for when requesting to see a doctor. And she advised me to ask for the Endocrinology department. We called a local clinic here and asked to see a Doctor from Internal Medicine.

Then came the day for me to see the doctor. I explained to her that I suspect that I have hyperthyroidism and that I wish to do the blood test that will determine if I do or do not have the condition.

It was all explained to me as my mum laid in a coma in the ICU 3 days before her death by the husband of a friend of mine who was a Thyroid Specialist. And I will remember that conversation I had with him just like yesterday.

“Just a simple blood test will tell us that your mum had hyperthyroidism. And hyperthyroidism is a very treatable disease. There is medication for it. But once you get a thyroid storm, it could be fatal.”

So I knew too well that if I chose to deny myself of treatment, I could follow my late mum’s fate.

Now the Doctor whom I came to see was skeptical at first. She asked me, “What makes you think you have hyperthyroidism?”

“I lost a lot of weight lately, I feel hot all the time. I have a headache that won’t quit. My heart is beating very fast. My hands are shaking. And my mother died of it.”

“Its quite rare for people to die of hyperthyroidism,” she said.

“Well she was not diagnosed and therefore was not treated for it. And she died due to a thyroid storm.”

The doctor examined me a little bit. Checked my neck for a goiter. Asked me to stretch my hands in front of me and saw them trembling. Listened to my heart. She then filled up some forms and told me to go to the lab to do a blood test.

And then I was told that I could return to discuss the results of the blood test the following day.

I guess people deal with difficulties in their lives differently. For me, the sooner I know the better. I like to make an informed choice about things. If I know it’s a problem, then its easier for me to deal with it. I just need to weigh my options, the pros and cons and also the consequences. My MIL however thought that it might comfort me to say. “Ah you probably don’t have it. It’s probably not a problem.” Which in turn perplexed me further. Because I know there is something wrong with me. And if I don’t know the cause then I’m even more upset and worried. What if its worst than what I think it is?

My hubby, thank god, was as practical as I was. He was very supportive. In fact if he didn’t urge me to see a doctor, I might have waited a few more weeks so I could lose some more weight. I was losing at the rate of a pound a week. So much so that my clothes were all getting too uncomfortably big for me.

When we saw the doctor she told me that my levels were off the chart. The range for a normal person was 12 – 22 while mine was more than 100. How much more they don’t know because they could only measure up to 100. In the meantime, I was told to do a scan to check my thyroid gland so the next cause of action could be determined.

After the scan, she told me that I must start treatment right away and prescribed me with some medication which she warned me, would be hard to get here and I should buy them whenever I can get my hands on them.

How does it feel contracting the same disease that that claimed my late mum? Well apparently this is not the first time when her history is replicated on me. I do hope that I live longer than 49 though. Because if I don’t, I have just 16 more years to live.

Please God, I hope you will give me a long life full of happiness and good health. I hope I will always have faith in you and be a good servant to you. May I grow old with my hubby and have a happy family. I am always thankful and grateful for what you have given us and hope that you will continue to bless us with good fortune, comfort, happiness, good health and wealth both in this life and the next.

So I must be careful what I ask for in life.
Because sometimes the creator grant my wishes.
Just not in the way I imagined it to be.


CestmoiCK said...

Oh dear, sorry to hear that. Hope you'll get well soonest. I think our Cikgu (Rozi) also has hyperthyroidism. You take care ye!

elisataufik said...

but then we need to also remind ourself that for every 'suffering' he gives us (or what we perceie as suffering), there is also a blessing. (the blessing is losing weight?)
(and the blessing from your mom's passing is that you recognized the same symptoms in time)
Since you're being properly treated for it, the chances for you to get a thyroid storm would be very slim, no?
I really do wish only the best for you. DO tell me if there's anything I can do for you (pegi Zamil? beli kain?)

Lollies said...

I feel like crying. I am so glad that you went ahead for check ups and all. Like elisa said there is always silver lining. We learn something from everything. If not for us, for someone elde. in this case was your mum. I hope with this early treatment, Insya Allah sihat and panjang umur. Huggsssss

Sarah said...

Hey, I am in the same boat.

Waiting for my scan, which, unless my GP brings it forward, will be May 9th.

Good luck to you and I hope we both live long happy lives.

Think positive. :)