Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Today I was asked, “How do you handle taking care of a son with chronic illness, while you have chronic autoimmune issues yourself?”  Of course I answered with the courtesy that I can usually muster up for such incredibly difficult questions…”I just try to take it one day at a time…and cherish each and every moment.”  But now as the day is coming to an end…I don’t think I am “handing it” very well.  How does one handle such heartache…besides praying and trying to cherish life.

My body literally tremors these days.   Yesterday, I was told that it is due to my two newest diagnoses.  I have both Graves Disease AND Hashimoto’s Disease.  Of course I asked the endocrinologist how in the world I could have both since they are pretty much opposite of each other…Graves with hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s with hypothyroidism.  She said that it happens and the two diseases have probably been battling inside my body for quite some time and Graves is currently in the lead.  No wonder I feel so horrible…now for those of you who have seen me lately, yes, I hide it well…but let me tell you …the way I feel inside is a complete battle.  My heart rate is way rapid and also irregular at times.  I am sweating like crazy.  My hands and legs have been having tremors and now my head also tremors off and on.  I am incredibly fatigued.  It is causing my glucose to be high and I also happen to be anemic.  My eyes have had some issues too with floaters, blurriness, blacking out in one eye, and muscle pain.  Walking has also become more difficult.  My muscles are quite weak.  And I am having trouble swallowing, difficulty breathing at night, and difficulty with projecting my voice and my RA is flaring…likely all due to the battle in my body. 
The doctor spent quite a lot of time with me and my husband explaining that my immune system is very compromised and that I am very likely to have more autoimmune issues down the road; especially since I already have multiple autoimmune diseases (severe allergies, asthma, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s).  She was concerned but felt that she could help me.  So that was very reassuring.  I am now proceeding with a radioactive thyroid uptake over a 24 hour period.  So I go in for the first scan…then back 2 hours later, then 6 hours later, and again 24 hours later.  The pulmonologist and the endocrinologist both think that my thyroid is now pressing on my esophagus and that could be causing the swallowing and breathing issues.   Once we get results, then we can move forward.

And as I read up on my newest of autoimmune diseases today, I ran across a reference to autoimmune diseases as “birds of a feather flock together”.  I read it out loud to my husband and we both just laughed.  So how do I take care of me….I have tried several times to take time off from work for “me” only to have something come up that needed my immediate attention…and I did’t get that “me” time.  Well, tomorrow is going to finally be my “me” day (after I get more labs in the morning).   And I am looking forward to it!


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