Friday, October 5, 2018

advocate for your health

I say this because it's been a long time coming that I finally feel that the sources of most of my health issues these last few years has been found.

This latest could have been found 3 1/2 years ago or even before then if my idiot of a primary "care" doctor (who didn't care to do any work to actually help me) had actually ordered just two more tests. He ordered the colonoscopy (digestive issues) and endoscopy (celiac possibility, a month after I quit eating gluten). If he had actually used a brain or even cared to resolve the problem instead of saying outright that it was all in my head and stopping there, I would not have had to suffer some of the worst years of my life.

For over ten years, I had been told I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), yet it was certain foods that set off the symptoms (stomach cramping and diarrhea primarily). Weight gain, an almost unnoticeable jaundice, and brain fog were minor issues. I gave up pizza a long time ago and then pasta and then gluten foods altogether eliminated the painful cramping. Guess what--gluten foods tend to be high-fat foods or combined with high-fat foods... double whammy. No wonder I felt much better, at least for a while, after giving up gluten foods.

A few days ago, I had my gallbladder removed. It was the BEST decision of my life! (at least health-wise, even better than pursuing the thyroid issue)

A day after surgery, once the carbon dioxide that had been pumped inside me started to be absorbed and the anesthetic had completely worn off, I felt clearer headed than I had in a long time. In fact, I had forgotten I could think like that. After two more days of having an appetite and adding back foods that I had given up in the weeks before the surgery and even before the HIDA scan that showed a barely, almost non-functioning gallbladder, I can eat again! And, man, am I hungry! (no more nausea)

And I can sleep, or at least so far, so good. Much improved sleep (so far upwards of 7 hours at a time). After three years of struggling to get even 3 hours a night of sleep, depending on what and how I ate, that's a literal dream come true.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that my liver was suffering because of my gallbladder issue. The liver suffers when bile backs up. A poor-functioning liver affects thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and brain function, including sleep. Already a few days after having my gallbladder out, I have begun sleeping better, eating more (improved appetite), breathing easier, losing weight more easily, and feeling more creative. (The thyroid treatment helps too, but thyroid-gallbladder connection is a chicken-or-the-egg issue.)

I'm still waiting on the results of the pathology exam of my gallbladder and am curious to know if there was an infection or unseen stones blocking the bile flow.

All this because I advocated for myself and didn't give up. I took a lot of wrong turns and had medical professionals outside the corporate hospital structure who actually listened to me and ordered the tests that led to this. Unfortunately, it also took them a while to order the right tests, but at least they tried! That is the important part. I pushed them to keep looking and they did, unlike a supposed family doctor who only wanted to collect a paycheck. Truth be told, those medical professionals who have supported me are nurse practitioners and a naturopath with a lot of medical knowledge. (But it was a surgeon at a hospital-affiliated clinic that performed the operation.)

This is why it is important that our medical system remain independent of any control--medical professionals need the freedom to do what we as patients need. Choices are good and benefit everyone.


Update 11/9/18: I'm still struggling to figure out my new levothyroxine dose. I had to drop it down a week and a half after surgery because I actually felt hyper. I can't go without, but I can certainly take less. That was another bonus of the gallbladder removal. I have to wonder if the higher dose was what was keeping the gallbladder going as long as it was, giving it just a little extra power instead of crashing entirely. It's gone now, so one less need for thyroid hormone in the body.

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