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Dang it Graves. Hello again.

I’m almost 10.5 months postpartum, my cycle is back and I thought I’d check on the thyroid since my body is nearing pre-pregnancy normal. Well, the TSH levels tell me I’m hyperthyroid again. D@mn. I’m not feeling symptomatic yet, so perhaps it’s still early stages of relapse. Some symptoms I’d feel when full blown hyperthyroid include:

  • shortness of breath such that singing or conversation leaves me gasping for air
  • fast resting heart rate, above 90 bpm, and I can hear it pulsing in my head all day long
  • muscle weakness in arms and legs
  • rapid weight loss, like 14 lbs in a couple weeks
  • incredible hunger towards meal/snack times and a voracious appetite (I can out eat my husband)
  • trembling hands
  • insomnia

I still feel strongly about trying to manage this as naturally as possible (read: No radioactive iodine to permanently disable my thyroid). This hyperthyroid condition is a symptom of an autoimmune issue. While some treatment to manage the symptom may be necessary, the main focus is supporting and improving my immune system. When I had relapsed after having Nessness, my naturopath advised three main things to do to best support my immune system:

  1. Avoid dairy and wheat products (in addition to just eating less processed foods). These two things probably cause the most immune/inflammatory issues for most. While I don’t have anything that western medicine calls allergies, or even intolerance, to either of them, I know I develop dry itchy patches on my body when I start to regularly eat dairy (namely cheese and ice cream in my case).
  2. Sleep before 11pm and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Why the timing is important is because the body naturally starts to detox the liver from 11pm to 3am, so for immune support, my body best be resting and allowing this detoxification to happen. I count myself blessed that I can get 8hrs of sleep usually, but getting those hours starting at 11pm is HARD. As I type it’s already 1am.
  3. Exercise daily. For it to count I need elevated heart rate and be starting to break a sweat. Vacuuming or mopping will almost do this for me. This is probably the hardest item for me because I’m not naturally active and it’s hard enough to get downtime much less find time (and energy) to exert myself on purpose. This is important however because physical exertion gives stress a way out of the body.

I bet anyone who does these three things regularly will enjoy improved health. But it’s. So. Hard. To. Do. But I will try. And I will try hard before losing an organ (to RAI). I appreciate all prayers and positive thoughts! Thanks Friends.

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Weaning is a MoFo

46-47 weeks old

While the endocrinologist tells me both Tapazol or PTU are safe for breastfeeding, it’s still a Class D drug and it’s still passing through my breast milk. I don’t need trace amounts of aggressive thyroid suppressing drugs in Nessness’ system any longer than I’ve already got it going. I resolved to wean though it was a few months earlier than I was planning. The knowledge of that was actually harder to take than I expected. I really enjoyed breast feeding.

So on Mar 9th I started presenting EBM and/or formula in a sippy or bottle to her to see what she would take. I nursed her bedtime feed. She was an excellent water drinker from the sippy but after the first taste and subsequent whiffs of the various milks in the sippy, she refused all of it, batting it away with her ever-strengthening hands. The bottle was actually worse…she refused to have it in her mouth and if she finally allowed it in her mouth, she refused to suck. This continued until Friday Mar 13 when I decided that even the bedtime feed would be bottle only. I had thought maybe the bottle would be nice so she could be held and cuddled easier. I thought wrong. She fought the bottle so hard and so long that she threw up. I gave in and nursed her. One. Last. Time. (so sad)

From the 14th to the 15th we had a new resolve to only offer the bottle. I also bought different formula to try. She continued to cry and fight the bottle to the point she threw everything up. And she was so upset she’d just roll herself around our bed in protest, crying and screaming the whole time. Whether formula or EBM she wasn’t taking any of it. We told each other we had to outlast her. We were so sure she’d wake in the middle of the night hungry and we’d have to do it all over again. But she slept til morning! And did it again the next night. Then we knew she doesn’t need the bedtime feed! Hurray!

On Monday the 16th we decided to just not fight her with the bedtime feed. We would also only use the sippy cup instead of trying to go backwards and introduce the bottle again. If she took milk then great, if not, then have some water and off to bed. A Mommy friend also suggested trying homo milk since Nessness was almost one year old anyways. And what do you know…she accepted it. She didn’t take a cup’s worth or anything close to that…but she wouldn’t refuse a second sip…and sometimes would reach for a third sip. That was a win for us.

The current struggle (all last week til today) is that she would fight bedtime for up to an hour and a half. Crying and crying. Even if we held her she’d continue her back arching and crying and pushing your face away. Though if you laid her in bed then she’d scream even louder. No idea what this is. Anyone know??? She’ll still sleep until morning once she falls asleep. And she’ll still sleep two full 1.5 hour naps.

All this to say weaning is tough. Emotionally and physically. Especially since I don’t even have the strength to hold her without giving myself some tendon flare up. I miss holding her. I miss the last cuddle of the night. I miss feeling her in my arms. I miss her needing me. But she’s growing up….heading into pre-toddler stage…and she’s only going to need me less and less. Sigh.

Ok…some drier technical stuff…the progression of weaning I went through:

Previously – five feeds a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, bedtime)
Day 1 – Mar 9 – pump 3x (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and breastfeed the bedtime feed
Day 3 – Mar 11 – pump 2x (breakfast, snack) and breastfeed the bedtime feed
Day 5 – Mar 13 – pump 2x only (breakfast, bedtime)
Day 7 – Mar 15 – pump 1x only (breakfast)
Day 9 – Mar 17 – no more pumping

All the very best to weaning Mommy’s out there!

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What a grave week

So, Graves came back. I lost a lot of muscle and with that, strength.

Last Saturday morning, I bent over to pick Nessness up from the floor, felt something pull in my lower back and then pain & weakness. I was next to my bed so I tossed her on and fell into bed myself, then phoned my uncle for help. My hubs came back from his morning shift and said I shouldn’t nurse the pain but to get up and walk. Which I painfully managed. By Monday I was on my own again. Still tight but no more pain. PTL!

Then this past Friday I started feeling itchy. Across my back, sides, tummy, and wrists. By the next day I had hives all over. I had an allergic reaction to Tapazol. Hives on your hands & feet are the worst!

Then on Tuesday I woke in the middle of the night with my right shoulder in so much pain. I could barely move my arm. Biceps tendinitis. Also probably linked with the muscle weakness. My wonderful hubs took the day off to take care of baby and me.

Then not to be left out my left shoulder seizes Wednesday night leaving me unable to use either of my arms on Thursday. I could bend my elbows and bring my hands to my chin. That’s about it. I felt like Tyrannosaurus Rex.

And as of yesterday my right knee is getting stiff and I’m limping. What is going on?? Is it still the Graves muscle weakness?

I’ve never had to be so dependent on others. I couldn’t even brush my hair or change my clothes unaided. It was humbling…and heartbreaking too as Nessness couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t pick her up. But I am SO THANKFUL for family & friends who so generously helped us out.

This week also helped us start the weaning process but that’s another post for another time.

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Graves Disease Mommy

46 Weeks

I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease at the end of 2011. By the middle of 2012 I was free of meds but on diet restrictions (namely no seafood) to help manage it. In 2014, after delivering Nessness, the endocrinologist advised the Graves antibody wasn’t in my body anymore. And on finishing the Chinese postpartum confinement diet, I started to eat seafood again. But this year, to my great disappointment, it came back. Our plans to start trying for #2 are on hold for who knows how long. I’m back on meds and food restrictions. And this time, the muscle fatigue is worse. I’ve got joint pain as well…in my fingers, wrists, toes, ankle, low back. Ugh.

How does this affect being a newish Mom?

It’s hard to pick up my baby. My arms threaten to give way. My hands can’t keep their grip. My hands quiver as I bring spoons of food to Nessness’ mouth. My legs are also weak and quivery. Stairs are a feat…and a fear, of tripping or of legs giving way. So we take it slow. And I sadly try not to pick her up unless I need to. There’s also the meds that pass trace amounts into breast milk. The endocrinologist says it’s safe but I don’t want to risk too much….so I have to figure out this weaning business. Sorry Nessness. Mommy won’t be very fun for at least the next month. And then I’m going back to work. Oh man. Please God, let me be back in remission soon!