Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Week 1 & 2 - Recovery

I'm going to see the surgeon tomorrow.  I am hoping he will take this bandage off of my neck.  I am getting tired of people staring at it.  I told a lady at the library the other day that it was a tattoo.  She gave me a quick uncomfortable smile and ran away. I told another lady that I was covering up a hole where my cigarette goes in.  She too, scurried away.  I can't keep doing that...especially with my children around.  It is amusing.  My daughter just looks at me with a knowing smirk and I know I'm creating a child with a very dark sense of humor. I simply can't help myself sometimes.

It will be a full 2 weeks since I have had my surgery and I think I have had an epiphany.  I realize, since surgery, that exhaustion does not include the feeling of being weighed down.  I think the feeling of being weighed down is...depression. Along with this new information, I have come to accept that I have more than likely been depressed for a very long time. I come from a long line of women that laugh at the word "depressed".  I am or was one of those type of people.  How on Earth could I be depressed if I laugh, find joy, or even look forward to making other people happy?  I simply don't know the answer to that, but I do know that although I am exhausted most of the time now, I don't feel weighed down anymore.  I want to run again and go places and dance in the kitchen with my kids.  I don't think I was an Eeyore before surgery, probably more like Pooh Bear, but now I want to be Tigger.  If only I had a thyroid to help out with energy part and of course better hips to aid me with dancing and running, life would be perfect.

Along with the grey clouds being lifted, I have been given back my memory.  I don't remember much and that is something that I have been dealing with for years.  I have important memories that I hold dear, but the majority of my childhood is essentially gone. I am starting to remember things that have seemed fuzzy for years and most of those memories are not good.  It has unnerved me and I have begun to think that maybe on some crazy level my thyroid was protecting me or  it could be that stressed out little girls grow up to have stressed adrenals and everything else begins to breakdown.  I'm only speaking for myself, but I remember seeing a psychologist about 3 years ago.  I was feeling tired.  I was unable to get any restful sleep or any sleep at all.  I felt like I was at the beginning of a breakdown.  My regular doctor wanted to give me an antidepressant and because "I don't get depressed", I refused. He suggested I see a psychologist. I believed I was stressed not depressed for obvious reasons.  My husband had been deployed 3 months after we had our daughter and was basically missing the first year of her life.  We moved from our home in Texas to a much smaller one in NC.  I was in a new place with no friends or family.  It was stressful not depressing, or so I thought.

The psychologist was weird, but now that I think back on her, I should have listened.  After we spoke at length, she told me that she didn't believe that I was stressed because of any of the issues I told her about (I spoke about Iraq and my husband's deployment), she thought I had depleted the cortisol in my body because of the constant stress in my life as a whole.  She believed that I had PTSD, but didn't think it had anything to do with Iraq.  She, from one question, in which I was blindly honest, figured that I had PTSD from my childhood and my cortisol levels had been slowly depleting since a very early age.  I thought the lady was full of crap, but now that I have educated myself, I realize what she was describing was Adrenal Fatigue.  If only she would have said the name! I never went back to her after that first meeting and now (since surgery) I think of her often.  She read me correctly and that scared me.  I have always been able to hide the pain of my childhood quite well, but she saw it and I felt like I couldn't breathe after leaving her.  I had been found out. She could see that I was damaged and I didn't like that.  The question that gave me away was: What do you want in your life? My answer: A home without chaos. I am with a bandage around my neck thinking, and thinking.  The fog in my brain has lifted and because of that...I think way too much.  2 weeks after surgery and I have no new "thyroid" stuff going on.  My journey is taking me back to reflect on fixing the inner me.  I will say that even though I think or self reflect more often, there is no emotion attached, which is weird to me.  There is a dullness and I can't put my finger on what that is.

Oh wait, I'm lying...I did get blood work back and the Endo doesn't want to do anything to my medication just yet.  Speaking with some people on the Hashimoto's support page on FB, I have been reminded that I need to take it slow in regards to getting the optimal level of medication.  Here are my labs: TSH 0.762 (0.450-4.500), T4 1.68 (0.82-1.77), T3 2.6 (2.0-4.4), TPO 507 (0-34).  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Step 3: Surgery

The thyroid cloud has rolled in and has settled on my brain.  It feels like I'm swimming in cloudy, gray water desperately trying to find my way to the top to get some fresh air and escape.  I find it amusing...right now.  I guess this is what happens after having ones thyroid removed less than a week ago.

The surgery was a success.  I no longer have a thyroid, but thankfully, I still feel like me.

We (my husband and I) arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m.  I was in surgery by 7 a.m. and out by 10:30 a.m. The drugs they gave me before taking me up to the operating room were AWESOME!  I don't remember much from the time the lady put them in, though I know I was conscious during that time.  Heaven only knows what I said.  My last memory was of my husband walking away from me and telling the nurse that he didn't like to say goodbye because it seemed like we weren't going to see each other again.  I remembered thinking that he should have told me that because I thought he was just being an insensitive ass. A few seconds later, he returned and kissed me on the forehead and said he loved me and again walked away.  That's all I remember.  The next conscious thought I have is of waking up in recovery.

Recovery, to me, was a glimpse into hell.  There are people moaning and you can't see them, but you can hear them.  You really don't know what's going on because you're high, so it's kind of real but not. The lady next to me kept screaming, "it's burning, make it stop, MAKE IT STOP".  I was beginning to think I had really messed up, but then I fell back asleep and awoke more aware of my surroundings.  The lady was still screaming, but I was fully aware of where I was and what was going on. The doctor came and told me that they took the thyroid out and pathology should come back in 5 days.  I gave him a high five.  Yes, I gave him a high five.  I was high, what do you expect?

They took me to my room and that's when the pain and my bladder hit me. I was very, very sore and I had to pee like my life depended on it.  The soreness is intensified because it's in such an awkward place.  I tried to lift my head and boy, did it hurt.  The nurse told me to relax, but all I could think of was making it to the toilet. She (the nurse) reminded me of my grandmother, which alarmed me. I told her I need to go and it took about 2 minutes to unhook all of the devices so I could actually make it.  Thankfully, I made it, but my whole body wasn't in compliance to being upright and I barfed.  It hurt so bad and it continued to happen on and off for the rest of the day.

The rest of my stay in the hospital was uneventful.  The nurse, like my grandmother, just didn't seem comfortable leaving me alone to just sleep.  She would come in and remind me to get up and walk, use the breathing machine, and not get depressed.  Who does that? My calcium dipped to a very low level and almost delayed my release, but it came back up and it was expected considering the surgery happened so close to the parathyroid gland.  I came home the day after surgery and felt fine.  I had no brain fog.  I was just sore.  Today, is day 4 post surgery and I definitely feel like those early thyroid days.

We got the pathology report back and it's not Cancer.  The funny thing is that when I heard the doctor say it, I was angry.  I know it's stupid, but I never wanted to have this surgery. I felt like I had taken my thyroid out for no reason.  I felt stupid. I had a pity party for all of 20 minutes. My husband had to remind me that most people don't cry when they hear they don't have cancer.  That put things into perspective.

I went to the Endo yesterday after hearing the results and got my levels checked and he upped my dosage to 75 mcg of Synthroid.  I'm no longer on Levothyroxine.  He told me that it (Levothyroxine) was not good for me after a thyroidectomy and from this point on I should be on Synthroid.  That made me feel good because a friend told me that earlier. He also said that my dosage would slowly be increased because it was dangerous to shoot me up without monitoring my blood.  Funny thing is that my insurance won't pay for Synthroid, so we have to pay $30 a month for me to be sane.  I'm not complaining because I know others pay more for things they need, but I think it's completely nonsense.

That's it.  Now the journey to wellness continues.  Also, if any of you have seen my appetite, please tell it to come back.  I'm withering away over here and I hate forcing myself to eat.