Throwback Thursday-Prior Post 10/9/09 and 10/29/09–Thyroid Issues, Panic, Anxiety and Childbirth

10/09/09

How do you help an 11-year-old boy with Asperger’s? How do you help him make the social connections that can be crucial to survival in junior high, when despite your best efforts, he is continually on the periphery of activities?

I’ve encouraged him to invite kids over, we’ve also encouraged him to get involved in his scout troop, and to be active in our church. How do we help him make the connections to others?

We’ve been working on crisis management (He tends to freak out when something unexpected happens like milk spilling), and I think we’re making progress there, but I worry for him when he is at school.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

10/29/09

All of those doctor visits?  I found out my TSH levels are low (.58 is the latest) which as I now know–means borderline hyperthyroidism.  The good news is this shouldn’t affect the baby.

Here’s the problem: Just because I fall into some technically random range of “normal” does NOT mean my thyroid is acting normally.

If this was normal then why have I had racing heart issues? Seriously why does it shoot up to 100+ beats a minute when I was resting quietly the minute before? How about 120 beats when I was just standing and looking at some papers? What about the increased agitation? The increasing frequency this is all happening with? This was all happening before I got pregnant, so while a racing heart may not be uncommon during pregnancy, that does not mean it is the norm for me. I’ve had five babies and this is NOT normal for me.

That said, I have to say I’ve had panic attacks before, and initially I thought I was having a series of panic attacks. I simply do not react well to certain medications, and they can bring on panic attacks and racing heart.

*******

My first panic attack was in 1998 when I received Vicodin after Firstborn’s C-section. I stopped taking the Vicodin and did better. It helped that my mom arrived. In 2004, someone decided I need to take Percocet after Princess Ballerina’s birth and the tearing I had. I should have listened to my gut and not taken the medication. The Lord has blessed me with a high pain tolerance and I think it was to balance out the reactions I have to some pain medications. I don’t like how morphine makes me itch and be fidgety. The reaction to the Percocet was extreme. I couldn’t sleep. I was so tired, I kept slipping between dozing (only to be woken by the racing heart) and not quite dreaming, and wakefulness. I had weird half-asleep dreams and thoughts about being strapped down flat on my back while I was pregnant–waiting for surgery, and my baby was in danger. No one was there and no one would help me.

And then I didn’t sleep and dream for 3 days. I couldn’t relax. I had a hard time enjoying my sweet little girl. It was torture and traumatic.

I should have never taken the half Ambien recommended to me before I went in for induction. Then, because I am lucky enough to test positive for Group B Strep (sarcasm), I was given Pitocin and a high course of antibiotics before they broke my water. I ended up with an epidural. Then add the anti-fungal I have to take because my body love to immediately launch into thrush when I have antibiotics. It was a nightmare. Too many drugs in my body interacting with each other.

Thankfully with Acroboy’s birth my midwives were really proactive in my care. I was worried about not being able to sleep. (How are you supposed to be able to sleep when every couple of hours someone comes in to check on your or your baby’s vitals and then offer you things like newspapers and baby’s first photo?) My midwives instructed that the baby and I be evaluated at the same time intervals. NO unnecessary interruptions, and they recommended I take advantage of naturally occurring tryptophan in turkey and warm milk.

Everything is all well and good until March when I had a severe cold and took a cold medication as often as allowed to try and relieve my symptoms (something I almost never do).

Result? Panic attack(s) that lasted more or less for three days. Yikes.

*******

I ended up talking to a counselor multiple times over the course of a few months trying to figure out what is going on.  I found out I was pregnant during the course of counseling and then some of the fears of childbirth and what it means for my body come back. I worked through a good many issues and I was doing better for a little while. Then I found out my pregnancy was ectopic and required immediate surgery. Did I mention my DH (Dear Hubby) was on his way out of the country when this all started happening? Fortunately I had a fantastic friend stay with me until well into the night. I finally sent her home around 1:00 am–she had little ones of her own to take care of.  Sometime later I ended up facing my biggest nightmare–pregnant, strapped down to a bed and about to have surgery. Only this time I knew I wasn’t alone–I heard the voices of the doctors and nurses, and the room was bright. I faced my biggest fear and got through it. And even though my husband was gone, I felt the Lord comforting me through every step of this process.

I spoke with the counselor about my grief and began to piece things back together. DH had to go out of the country again, and I kept having “attacks” (or what I perceived to be attacks at the time) with more and more frequency. What was happening? Why was I suddenly a basket case? For years I had been a competent, strong woman. Why was I falling apart?

Things came to a head while my husband still gone.  I had become pregnant again fairly quickly–especially after losing one of my fallopian tubes.  I was having a particularly bad evening and as he was on the other side of the world, I was talking to him. He (wonderful man that he is) took time out of his meetings to help me figure out some things. He did some internet research and realized there might be a medical reason for what was happening to me.

Next day I called my nurse practitioner and we started looking into why I might be having these issues.

Once I realized there might be a medical reason, a strange thing happened–I stopped panicking when the racing heart would start. I’d been so used to associating the two, I thought I was having another panic attack whenever the racing heart happened.

Now, I can distance myself and say, “Hmm–my body is freaking out on me at the moment.”

I’m still not sure what is at the bottom of all of this. My good friend with celiac (I’ll call her Anna for future purposes), has had a lot of the same issues I’ve had and has been a stalwart friend and a good listening ear. She is the one that suggested I look into celiac knowing I don’t really react well to wheat or gluten.

The bottom line is, something in my body has changed, and I am determined to figure out what it is. I dearly wish I had a baseline TSH and other thyroid levels to compare my current state to. If I did, I suspect I could turn to the doctor and say, “Here’s where I am supposed to be, and here’s where I am now. What are we going to do about it?”

I’m not going to give up. I will eat healthier and I will find an answer that works for me and my family. We will, with the Lord’s help, find a way through all of this.

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