A few weeks prior to my appointment I had blood tests. As usual the results showed my thyroid was playing up. Maybe this was the reason (again) that I was feeling unwell. Usually my Edno will email and tell me to increase the dose. This time no email! I always ask for a copy of the blood results, so I knew it was playing up. At this point I was so unwell I could barely get off the bed (again). I had stomach pain, no appetite (highly unusual), no energy, heart palpitations, headaches, dry skin, cracked lips, missed period, bloating, hair falling out (still), cold (freezing). Typical symptoms that come with Thyroid problems. My glucose levels were all over the place. The worst they had ever been.
I have a strong gut feeling and I knew something was wrong. I would inject insulin before meals, eat and my levels would plummet, especially after dinner. I reduced the insulin dose significantly but still more hypos. I would treat the hypo (with minimal food), only to see levels skyrocket 6-8 hours after without any reason (I know, is there ever really a reason?). My morning readings were sky high and I couldn't get them down. It took hours. I would set the alarm for 12:30am every night in case of hypo and hoping to make some sense of it. My whole pattern was changing yet I hadn't changed a thing. I kept reducing/increasing insulin where necessary but nothing was helping. Once again I blamed the Thyroid and Menopause.
I still hadn't heard from my Endo. I was seeing her in a week so tried to wait it out. However, I was getting worse and I was getting scared. The stomach pain was increasing and I was now throwing up. I didn't want to eat. The mere thought of food made me feel sick. So I did what I always do in times of need, I picked up Dr Bernstein's book "Diabetes Solution." I went straight to the chapter Delayed Stomach Emptying - Gastroparesis. I have been told previously that I have issues with my stomach so I knew that neuropathy was working its way in! As I re read the chapter it was as if he was describing my symptoms. There it was. In black and white. I read it again. And again. I took notes and decided I would follow his instructions on how to treat Gastroparesis. I immediately started with liquid meals and I ordered digestive enzymes on line. In the meantime I had made an appointment to see a lady who has helped me over the years to get through some serious health issues. I trust her with my life and have huge respect for her knowledge of all things medical. At this point my tongue was an ulcerated mess and as pale as snow with a white coating. I could barely sit in front of her and she was concerned. She advised that I had malabsorption and needed to get straight on digestive enzymes! Tick Dr Bernstein. She also said to have liquid or semi liquid meals. Tick Dr Bernstein. I asked her about my thyroid but she wanted to wait and see what my Endo said. When I got home I emailed my Endo and asked her if I should increase my meds. She replied that the blood results in fact may indicate that my thyroid had now become overactive and I may need to reduce meds. She would discuss with me next week. I couldn't wait. I made the decision to reduce the dose minimally and tell her at my appointment. (I would not recommend that anyone do this if they want to have a good relationship with their Endo).
So the day of my appointment came. I had been taking digestive enzymes, liquid meals and a reduced dose of thyroid meds for a week. I was a new person. A huge turnaround in such a short time. It was a bloody miracle! I was digesting my food and finally absorbing nutrients. As usual the appointment started with a review of my levels over the past 3 months. I asked her if she would mind if I explained why they were all over the place. She listened as I spoke and then went on to talk about how I could manage them better! I asked if I could say something in relation to that and she said NO! "You have had your turn, it is now my turn to speak." "Fair enough" I replied and listened to what she had to say. By now I was starting to twitch!!! I couldn't help myself. I had to interrupt so interrupt I did! "I'm sorry Dr but there is absolutley no point in talking about managing my levels as we are skipping over the cause of the problem and until we get my thyroid and (self diagnosed as she referred to it), gastroparesis under control my levels will continue to be all over the place. I then told her that I reduced my Thyroid meds by a small amount and she nearly fell off the chair though admitted that I had not done the wrong thing. I told her that for 12 months we had been discussing my Thyroid issues and she was putting them down to jet lag or being unwell. This was not the case and something had to be done as I was not getting any better.
It was a little tense in the room that day and she wasn't happy. It didn't help when she suggested that I have the Nuclear medicine test (as Dr Bernstein said she would) to confirm Gastroparesis and I then had my turn at saying NO! These tests are not always accurate as they only gives a snap shot of the stomach in that particular moment of time and the nature of Gastroparesis is that its symptoms are intermittent. At this point I think she wanted to kill me! She went on to say that there is Medication that can help with stomach emptying called Motilium. As I am greedy and a little competitive I said NO again! She was not happy. "Does this medication have side effects" I asked. "Yes" she replied. "What are they" I asked. She could not recall of the top of her head (fair enough) so said she would email them to me. Here are SOME of he side effects.
1. A risk of unusual heart beat or sudden heart failure. (keep in mind my mum passed away from a heart attack when she was 54 and my brother had a heart attack in his 40's. Family history not good!).
2. Headache, trouble sleeping, nervousness, depression, dizziness, tiredness or irritabiliy.
3. Fits or seizures, agitation.
4. Regurgitation, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, changes in appetite, heartburn.
5. Rash or itchy skin.
6. Itchy eyes and crusty eyelids with discharge.
7. Uncontrollable movements of the face or arms or legs, excessive trembling, excessive muscle stiffness or muscle spasm.
..............................there are more but I can't be bothered including them because it is so ridiculous. Do you think she is trying to kill me off? Why would I take this medication? Why would anyone take it?
So I left my appointment feeling great. I had lost weight just in time for summer, I had stopped vomiting, I had more energy, the right solution for my stomach issues, an adjustment of my thyroid meds and levels starting to behave themselves. I felt proud of MYSELF. I trusted my gut feeling and intuition and went with it. Job well done!
As an aside it is worth noting that Dr Bernstein also says that even Non Diabetics with thyroid issues can experience neuropathy. BINGO!! My thyroid issues over the past 12 months had contributed to my stomach neuropathy. I didn't dare tell her! I want to Live!