Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Diagnosis

Well I wanted to get up early and work out.  I was up at 3am and fell back asleep around 5:30am and then got up at 6:50am.  So no workout this morning before the appointment.  Nathan and I left the house at 7:50am and made it to Balboa at 8:20am.  We were in the office at 8:30am for a 9:15am scheduled appointment.  The 8:30am time was the time given to me yesterday for when I should be in the office.

I checked in at the nuclear medicine desk but wasn't taken back for the last gamma probe until around 10am.  I did bring a book to read with me so I wasn't bored.  I was taken later because I didn't have the pill until 10:30am the day before.  After the scans it was a 10 minute wait before Nathan and I went in for the diagnosis consultation.

Nathan and I were taken into a lounge where there were two doctors.  One of them was the doctor whom I spoke with yesterday and the other gentleman didn't have a name tag/badge so I assumed he was a doctor.  The third person in the room was the nurse practitioner from endocrinology.  She told me my diagnosis was Graves' Disease and I do have a hyperactive thyroid.  We quickly went through my medical history, symptoms I have had which wasn't much and some tests.  The nurse practitioner went through the three resolutions to the problem; cut out the thyroid, use radioactive medication to stop/kill the thyroid or a pill.  I immediately inquired if there was another option such as a diet change.  The nurse practitioner quickly answered no and explained that autoimmune disease is not something that can be fixed.  Many people just have it just like there are folks that need glasses.  The assumed doctor in the room with no name tag then stated that this is not something that I did.  I didn't do anything wrong.  I was grateful that he said that because I felt at this point like I have done something wrong.  After the nurse practitioner asks what I would like to do.  I asked Nathan what he thought.  Nathan then asked everyone in the room what they recommended.  The doctor without the name tag recommended the pill.  Nathan and I then agreed to the pill.

We were out of the lounge after saying Thank You to those in the room.   We did get directions to the endocrinologist for the appointment at the end of the month.  From nuclear medicine we headed down to the pharmacy.

It was 11:15am by the time I dropped Nathan off at work.  I headed to the exchange and did some retail therapy.  I wasn't happy about needing to take a pill and the experience from the last two days of testing had me in a grumpy mood.  After shopping for over an hour I headed back to the truck and sent Nathan a text to inquire if he was interested in lunch.  He wasn't hungry but he was ready to leave.

1:45pm by the time we got home!  A long day!

Vein today,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thyroid Uptake and Scan

also called Radioactive Iodine Uptake and Scan.

November 10th I went in for my woman wellness exam.  It had been a little over three years since my last one.  I went in for blood work the week prior to the appointment so that the clinic/hospital would have time to run the tests and send them back to the doctor.  He wanted the tests before my appointment with him.

Blood work for the thyroid is not good.  I should clarify.  The TSH measures the activity of the pituitary glad that produces hormones.  Mine was below .005 which means my pituitary gland isn't producing any hormones.  The T3 measure the activity of the thyroid gland.  The thyroid gland also produces hormones.  My T3 is measuring 1.8xx.  A little higher than it should.  It was explained to me during the scan and uptake today that the pituitary and thyroid glands help each other out to produce a "balance" or proper hormones.  My Thyroid is overactive or producing too much.  The point of the tests today was to see how exactly the thyroid is overacting.  Also the pituitary gland stimulates the thyroid gland.

I thought that this website was helpful in explaining the Thyroid Uptake and Scan, http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=thyroiduptake

When I called to make the appointment I jotted down all the information I was given.  No seafood two weeks prior.  I didn't bother asking for a specific list so I just didn't eat fish for two weeks.  I was going to swallow something a pill or serium.  I would have a scan done.  Then 6 hours later I would have a second scan done.  I would have blood work done before and a urine test.  The appointment was scheduled for 9:15am so I should arrive around 8am if I was having blood work before.  That was that.

Fast forward to Friday December 12th I figured I should call and see what else I needed to do before the appointment.  Was fasting going to be required for blood work?  Did I need to worry about what I wore like for a CT scan.  Etc.  I spoke with a gentleman this time that confirmed no seafood has been consumed.  No fasting was necessary for the blood work.  I was to not eat two hours before the appointment.  I didn't need to worry about what I was wearing.

Skip to December 16th the night before the appointment.  I had my last snack at 7:30pm.  I went to bed at 9pm but could not sleep due to nerves.  Nervous about what these tests might show or not show.  Upset that I may now need to be on a pill for the rest of my life.  Upset for needing to have a test where radioactive material was going to be swallowed.  I finally fell asleep around 1am but was up at 5am to a downpour.

I got up without working out this morning.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday's are my workout mornings.  I was ready and Nathan was out the door with me at 7:30am to try to be at the doctors at 8am.  We were 15 minutes late.  Have to love traffic.  I head to the laboratory for blood tests and urine test.  I am unable to go to the bathroom so I figure I would have the bloodwork down and then go downstairs.  I had blood drawn just to obtain a blowout vein.  Have I mentioned how much I hate needles.  I had a nerve hit once when bloodwork was done and it hurt for the rest of the day and now this.  I am pretty sure I am not going to want blood drawn ever again.

I head to the the scheduled 9:15am appointment to have to wait 45 minutes.  While waiting I get up to talk to the receptionist because I got a call to confirm my appointment for tomorrow morning but I was confused because I had to make an appointment with endocrinology separately and have an appointment for the 29th.  The receptionist told me "you have to be back tomorrow morning for final scan and will meet with a group of doctors."  When I go in for the meeting I need to ask if I still should come in for the 29th or cancel.

I get a call from the lab that they needed the urine sample before I can have what was supposed to be the 9:15am appointment.  They needed the urine for a pregnancy test before said appointment.  I will answer before you ask, no we are not pregnant.  We wait another half hour before I can have said appointment.  I am curious how many times one can be asked "please state your full name, date of birth and why you are here today?"  I swallow a pill and then sit down with the doctor to have a 10 minute consultation.

First I should explain the pill is radioactive and given to you in a test tube.  You are not to touch the pill with your hands.  Just tilt your head back with tube in hand.  Swallow with a glass of water.  The pill is a gelcap like Motrin or Tylenol.  Pill colors, half green and half white.  After swallowing the pill I had a chance to go over family history with a doctor and ask some questions.  I am pretty sure I didn't impress the doctor but he was patient and took my criticism as well as questions.  After that Nathan and I are out.  I do have to remember no water for another hour and no food for another two hours.

Nathan has to head to work.  So after Nathan heads to work I take the truck to fill it up with gas. Point one for good thing today, gas on base $2.50.  I walk about the exchange for a little bit and then sit down in the sun, outside to read a book for a couple of hours.  I go pick Nathan up from work to head back to the doctors.  I can finally eat but since we have to head back to the doctors I opt to not eat but drink and snack on a handful of mixed nuts.  (Side note it is not 6 hours like I was told it is 4.) Nathan waits just a half hour with me and then I go in for scans.

I end up with motion sickness of all things from the position I laid in without my glasses on.  They lay you down on a table with your head slightly slanted back and throat "exposed".  There is a pillow placed under your shoulders to help you obtain the desired position.  The scan itself is a table you lay on.  The top of the scan is something that looks like a street cone inverted with the top of the cone directed or pointed on your throat.  Anyway the technician setup the scan with me in a goofy position and then a ten minute scan proceeded.  I am able to get up and move for a minute. Go back into awkward position for scan setup and then lay there for a five minute scan.  A sample of what the scan looks like is in the image to the left.  I found this on a Google images search.  The link to the website where the link was originally uploaded doesn't work.

Next is the uptake or gamma.  There is no intravenous for this.  Thank goodness because after the blowout vein I wasn't going to do that.  I did ask for a break to get some water.  I was having a hot flash due to the awkward positions. This probe takes an image of the thigh for a minute and then the neck again.  The head must be tilted back for the one minute.  The machine looks like the image on the right.

After this is over we head home.  I walk out of the appointment without putting my sweater on because I was still having a nice hot flash from the motion sickness.  When we get home I jump into bed for an hour.  I did pull the bandage off the arm from this morning.  Image on the left.  Point two for good and husband knowing better who says lets eat, so we go out for a walk for subs.  Point three come home from walk to find a nice gift basket from my Aunt and Uncle in Boston in the mail!  Thank you so much!

I am going to workout before the appointment tomorrow if I am up early enough.  I am hoping it will be a better day.  No blow out vein, no motion sickness, not starving, not dehydrated, no running around and will be able to cancel the appointment after Christmas.  Is it the new year yet? I will let you know if I glow tonight.  My new nickname may be glow girl.  That will be my super power.  Anyway sorry for the rant.  I will come back and update you.  I hope you had a good day.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was our first Thanksgiving in San Diego.  It was the warmest here than any place else in the U.S.  It was warmer here than in Florida.  Nathan actually had a 4 day weekend.  It was nice that he was home because he didn't get the 4 day weekend during Veteran's Day.

Thursday morning he had to go into work to turn over SDO.  While he was gone Angel and I went for a walk.  When we got home Nathan went for a run.  We spent the rest of the day at home watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The turkey turned out well and Nathan even admitted he likes the dark meat now.

Prepared turkey

Cooked turkey

Plating turkey

Pulling out the wishbone
On Friday I spent the day Christmas shopping.....online.  Nathan relaxed and played some video games.  We did go out for an evening walk to watch a sunset on the beach and then came back home to watch a Netflix movie.

Nathan and Angel watching the sunset

Friday sunset
Saturday I spent the day catching up on work and Nathan relaxed playing some video games.

Sunday morning we went for a walk on the trails at the Tijuana Estuary.  Then headed to the Exchange and Commissary.  When we got home we enjoyed the quiet before the work week starts.

The start of the week after Thanksgiving is interesting.  There is a flood advisory for the area for Tuesday to Wednesday.  I am hoping that we get some real rain.  We have seen two days of rain.  Those weren't all day rains.  It rained only for an hour on each of those days.  It also wasn't a straight hour of rain.  We will see what happens.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!