Monday, December 8, 2008

The End of the World and a PSA

First, I am covering my ears and saying, la la la la la la. Doom and gloom and layoffs and plagues and locusts, I'm not listening. We need to relax. These may be tough times, but things could be and have been a lot worse, and keeping up with the bombardment of information about the end of the world as we know it isn't helping anyone.

But just to get it out of all our systems, let's all take a few moments with this video and remember how many other times the end has been upon us:

Feel better yet?

And now for the Public Service Announcement (PSA):

Please get a physical every year that includes blood tests.

I'm proselytizing because I recently saw a doctor after going five years without a check-up. I had lots of excuses. We moved twice, it was too much of a pain in the neck to find a new doctor and make sure he took my insurance, blah, blah, blah. I've never been afraid of doctors, but at 47 I wasn't in any hurry to see a doctor when I thought I felt fine. I figured if I went in with no real complaints, she'd find something horribly wrong with me.

I finally stopped procrastinating and went. I had nothing of note to report. Two days later, she called to say my blood tests indicated that I have hypothyroidism. "Hmmph. So what kind of problems does that cause?", I asked.

"It can cause weight gain, fatigue, depression and dry skin to name just a few of the symptoms. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism, so it can really throw you out of whack if it's over active or under active. The good news is that we'll put you on thyroid medication and although it may take a little time to get it regulated, we can fix this and you're going to start feeling lots better."

Some of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism can include: cold intolerance, fatigue, weight gain, abnormal menstrual periods, constipation, depression, irritability, memory loss, loss of libido, joint or muscle pain, paleness, thin and brittle hair, thin, brittle fingernails and general weakness. Late symptoms may include: decreased sense of taste and smell, dry, flaky skin, hoarseness, puffy face, hands and feet, slow speech, thickening of the skin, migraines, wounds that are slow to heal, and thinning of the eyebrows.

Something like ten percent of the population has some kind of thyroid disorder and it's estimated that there are probably hundreds of thousands of people who are undiagnosed. Men and women of all ages can develop hypothyroidism, but the majority of people who get it are women in their forties. My thyroid wasn't doing much of anything and although I had just about every symptom on the list, I just chalked them up to the aging process and figured I'd have to live with it.

Two weeks after starting to take the medication I felt much better. I'm not freezing all the time like I was (sweet -- now Scott and I won't be battling over the thermostat all winter) and I'm not constantly exhausted. After eight weeks on medication, my hormone level improved, but not enough, so my doctor increased the dosage and I'll have to keep going back for blood tests until it's in the normal range. Apparently this can take a while to figure out.

Knowing there's a reason for the annoying symptoms I've had, but not paid much attention to over the last couple of years and that there's something (easy) I can do about it improved the way I felt immediately. I was especially pleased to know I had an excuse -- ahem, a reason -- for the weight I've put on.

Hey, come on. I have a thyroid condition!

Please get regular physicals and see a doctor if you're feeling run down and and crappy. There may be a medical reason for it and there's no reason to feel bad if you don't have to.


Yogamum said...

REM is genius!

Glad the thyroid medication is making you feel better!

debra said...

So glad you got things checked out and are feeling better.
It's not such a bad thing for it to be the end of the world as we know it. Time for a new paradigm!

Patti said...

you went from the end is near to making me go to the doctor....i won't have talk like that missy!

but, i'm glad to know you are working it out.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've had it for fifteen years with no adverse problems since on the drugs. And I have an excuse for the extra weight.

Larramie said...

Lisa, you might imagine my reaction to this incredible negativity...UGH! Forget the media's spin and think for yourself because there's always an alternative (re)solution.

And it's so good to know that there was a reason for your "lost-in-the-woods" state of being. Now you can celebrate feeling so much better!

Melissa Marsh said...

I, too, have hypothroidism. It's no fun, but the medication definitely helps. So glad you went to the doc and got things figured out!

Carleen Brice said...

I'm with you: la,la,la. Sometimes we gotta take breaks!

Steve Malley said...

These days my doc makes me get bloods done, too. *So* nice living in a place with National Healthcare!

Ello said...

First off great song! Second off. So glad you feel better! And yes I agree. Going to the doctor regularly is very important. I used to say this about dentists too, but lately I have changed my mind about them. They truly are evil! ;o)

Lisa said...

Yogamum, No doubt REM is genius, and can you believe this video is over 20 years old? It's from 1987. Where does the time go?

Debra, I whole heartedly agree. There's nothing wrong with the end of the world as we know it -- it's clearly not working out all that well in a lot of areas and I'm optimistic that once the upheaval of the changes in publishing and other industries is over, we'll see improvements.

Patti, It's all going to be alright and like Debra pointed out - the song isn't about the end of the world, but the end of the world as we know it. Most of the changes that have come along over time have eventually been good, even though they scared us at first. Like -- I'm glad women have the right to vote and that we don't have to wear girdles anymore...there's two good things about the end of the world as it used to be ;)

Patti, I was pretty sure I'd get comments from at least a couple of people who had the same diagnosis. My doctor thought it was funny that I seemed to be so glad to hear I've got to take a pill every day for the rest of my life. I say it beats the crap out of just thinking you have to feel like hell every day! And, last week I found out one of the guys I work with was diagnosed 3 years ago. We're the same age and he said he'd ballooned up in weight before the diagnosis and since he went on the medication, the weight has come back off, etc. At least I know I should stop gaining weight :)

Larramie, I figure you must be throwing your hands over your ears and your eyes to block all this negativity out! And yes -- finding out I felt bad for a reason made me feel better immediately just from a mental health standpoint. Since this affects pretty much everything, I'm optimistic I'll drop weight, get more energy, be in a better mood and start looking better a little bit every day. Who wouldn't be happy about that? ;)

Melissa, My levels are still way off, but still I feel so much better already!

Carleen, LALALALALA is right!

Steve, I'll bet it is...maybe one day...

Ello, That song is awsome, isn't it? And yeah -- I've been following your dental trials and tribulations and I don't blame your for your reticence :(((

Elizabeth said...

So glad that you're on the mend. I went to the doctor a year or so ago, hoping that the slow creep of weight might be due to a thyroid problem. It turns out that it was completely normal, so I actually vainly left feeling horrible -- the weight gain has to do with babies, stress, too much food and not enough exerices.

Barrie said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. And the annual physical with a blood work-up sounds like very very good advice.

Vesper said...

I'm not watching any television and not listening to news...

I'm glad you're feeling better, Lisa. I hate going to the doctor and I usually find all kind of reasons not to go. But you did a good thing...

CindyLV said...

OK...I made an appointment with a new cardiologist (I had some issues with the staff at my "old" cardiologist's office, and I'd been avoiding making the appointment). At my appointment today, I asked for blood work. I told him about your post and my symptoms (I think I have all but two on your early symptoms list and my eyebrows have definitely thinned out in the last few months). Testing next week at my convenience and a followup appointment (after my slew of cardio tests) in a month.

Thanks for the prod. I needed it. And I'm glad you're feeling so much better!


Lana Gramlich said...

Ironically I went to my "doctor" a couple of years ago with LOTS of those symptoms & requested that test, specifically. The results came back SO excellent that the "doctor" assured me that "most people would kill for your numbers" & that was that. I was sent home with all of my symptoms, no help, less money & no faith in a completely inept, American "medical" system.
Bully for you, though! Glad you got some help.

Shauna Roberts said...

So glad you not only got a diagnosis but also were treatable! Here's to lots of new energy and pounds dropping off effortlessly as your dose gets adjusted!

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