Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Doctor and Running Updates

Some of you may still be wondering about my vague post a few months back about the lack of responsiveness of my primary care doctor. The even more observant may have noted my lack of running posts.

OK, the lack of running posts. Last summer I curiously noticed that when I woke in the morning my feet felt weird. When I would step out of bed the bottoms of my feet felt tingly, almost as if many tiny little pins were pricking my feet. But it would go away as I started to move around and I didn't give it too much thought. I'm just getting older, I told myself.

And then I started running last October. At first, as I said, I felt great. I was sore after my runs, but as an inexperienced runner, I felt this was somewhat normal. I can't quite pinpoint when my joints started aching to the point where I was sore in my knees, shoulders and hips when I woke and whenever I would kneel down or walk more than just a few blocks or anything, really. Again, I sort of attributed to aging. Yes, yes, I know I'm quite young, so feeling signs of "aging" at my age sounds absurd, but I really felt fine and couldn't think of another reasonable explanation. I'm also not a person that goes to the doctor often; I go for my annual physicals, but that's about it. And I certainly wasn't about to go with vague symptoms that I wasn't able to describe well. Plus, I never felt that bad and, as I said, I figured it was normal to a degree. And then there was the exhaustion. All parents with young kids are tired, right? So it had to be normal that I felt like I was ready to collapse by 7 p.m. I felt like a failure that, gradually, I just felt too tired to go running at night anymore, which was a really bitter pill to swallow because I really, really enjoyed the time alone. And, as it turned out, I really liked running. But I just couldn't do it, and I felt like a lazy sloth. A lazy sloth who'd started something challenging and quit.

Then in March I had my regular physical. When my doctor asked me how I was feeling I said fine. Yes, honestly. And at 9 a.m., which is when my appointment was, I did feel fine. At least, relatively speaking compared to how I felt at 9 p.m. most days. But my doctor felt something suspicious in my thyroid. I hate the word goiter, but that was the word she used. Later, it would turn out my thyroid numbers from my blood test were abnormal as well. My doctor referred my for a thyroid ultrasound which showed enough suspicious growth that my primary doctor referred me to an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid issues. Dr. Drobny, the endocrinologist my primary doctor referred me to, took forever to get in to see and, I will say, after castigating Dr. Reeder, my primary care doctor, in my last post, she was dutiful in calling consistently until she was sure I had made an appointment with Dr. Drobny and was following up on my thyroid ultrasound, which Dr. Reeder sounded sufficiently worried about (and thanks to my cousin H for the suggestion of calling Dr Reeder's nurse; I did that and she has been extremely responsive and proactive on my behalf. Great tip, so thanks!).

Anyway, I finally got into see Dr. Drobny a few weeks ago and she is wonderful. She is relaxed and I never once got the impression she was in a hurry, even though I know she's booked beyond belief. But best of all, I could tell she was abreast of current thyroid research (something I stupidly thought all doctors just did; you know, staying abreast of current developments as part of their job).

The growth on my thyroid is small at this point. Dr. Drobny is going to keep an eye on it, and we'll do another ultrasound in a few months, but she doesn't want to biopsy it yet. If it is thyroid cancer, which she doesn't think it is, it's completely treatable when found early and she felt completely comfortable waiting six months to see if it was even necessary to biopsy it. In the meantime, she ran a bunch of blood tests and it appears, based on the results that came back, that I have Hashimoto's disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and prevents the thyroid from producing the hormones it's supposed to produce which, in turn, manage and regulate many of your body's regular functions.

The bottom line is this: I received, and filled, a prescription for Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone, and I feel fantastic again. Actually, I probably just feel normal, but after months of feeling absurdly tired and sore, it feels fantastic to just feel normal. I spent the weekend gardening, which would have killed me a month ago, but Saturday evening I just felt the plain ol' amount of tired someone would feel after a day in the sun digging and lifting and pulling and things. Most of all I feel so, so thankful. Good health is nothing to grow complacent about, and I know I never will again. I was making decisions about social activities based on how exhausted I thought it might make me feel which, at my age, is so beyond ridiculous that I feel absurd even typing it. But no more. Now I feel like every other young other with small, exuberant children: tired, but nothing a cup of coffee can't cure.

So, thankfully, that is it. Other than more frequent doctor visits and taking medication, that should be the end of the story and, hopefully, clear up any lingering questions readers might have had.


nina said...

Reading this post was like reading a mystery story. Thank you for the happy ending!

Pensive Dreamer said...

I am really glad that they figured everything out. I have been on synthroid for years...and it is amazing what a difference it has made. There is nothing worse than feeling "blah" and not being able to identify why. I have enjoyed catching up with you on your blogs and hope that this summer we can connect - time allowing. My email is gregjette@msn.com - it's the only thing I check all the time. Will keep you in my thoughts (health wise) etc!

sixty-five said...

Thank goodness for the happy ending! I wasn't familiar with this condition. You must feel positively bursting with energy now!

Beecher said...

I'm so glad you had this diagnosed and are feeling good! When does the running journal start again? :)

it's me, Val said...

Wow, Cait. I haven't been here in forever. I'm so sorry you were having such exhaustion. But I'm so glad you found out what the culprit was! I'm happy you're feeling you again!!! That's such great news. Sorry I haven't been up-to-date to give you the support you probably needed. Take care, friend.

Cheryl said...

Sorry to hear you've been feeling so bad, but very glad that you are now feeling better! And I'm sorry about the flooding! (We have had our share of that, and it is the pits.)