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Maybe Migraine Isn’t Always to Blame: Adventures in Hyperthyroidism

Since last summer, I’ve lost 15 pounds, eaten anything I’ve wanted without gaining weight, had night sweats, and have been even more intolerant to heat than usual. Nausea went from a rare problem to occasionally more debilitating than the head pain. It has barely abated in the last week.

As symptoms I assumed were migraine (nausea, nearly blacking out, fatigue) and depression (anxiety, restlessness, fatigue) added up, I had to wonder if something else was going on. Suspicious that my endocrine or metabolic systems were the culprit, yesterday I finally had the second follow-up appointment for the lump found on my thyroid in 2006.

With his wild gray curls, enormous smile and a Jerry Garcia tie, the endocrinologist won me over immediately. He listened to me carefully, felt my thyroid and sent me to the lab. In his words, had he been a betting man he’d put money on hyperthyroidism. Two vials of my blood will be tested for thyroid dysfunction and a host of metabolic disorders, including diabetes. The results should be available today or tomorrow.

I have to admit that I have my fingers crossed. I was about to write “I never thought I could be so happy being told I probably have hyperthyroidism.” Truth is, I’m thrilled every time there’s a clue something relatively easy to manage could be exacerbating my migraines.

I’m trying to control the nausea as much as possible as I wait for the news. Antiemetics have stopped the vomiting and I can keep down saltines and ginger ale. I’ve even managed some chicken soup. (Don’t worry, I’ll call my doctor if this continues.)

Baseball season started this week and I’m digging Netflix on demand, so I’m fairly well entertained. Sadly, working on the computer is still making me feel worse, so I’m not blogging, reading news, visiting the online support group and forum, or answering e-mail. In fact, 30 minutes on my computer is taking a toll.

I wrote this Wednesday morning and felt too sick to post it. Last night I drugged myself up and was able to eat real food. I feel better now than I have all week; I’d better get off the computer before I make myself sick again!

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What’s Up With Me

I’m still alive! Yesterday was the best day I’ve had in weeks; the weekend was worse in months. I’m all over the place in my symptoms (although nausea is consistently a major problem), emotions and thoughts. Whether I’m depressed has been weighing on me, but I’m almost positive I’m not. I think I am just worn out and discouraged.

On the treatment front, I’m still have myofascial release massages once a week and have also been doing lymphatic drainage treatments. Myofascial release has been a godsend, particularly in relieving active migraines. Lymphatic drainage was a bust. I feel awful after every weekly treatment and am not seeing any longterm improvement. I may try once more, but even the massage therapist doing the work is doubtful.

My internist reminded me that I was supposed to have my thyroid checked almost 18 months ago, to follow up on a lump she found. I’m looking forward to my appointment with the endocrinologist on Tuesday. It seems like any food can trigger a migraine for me — even rice! This is absurd, of course, and I’m thinking that blood sugar may be involved. I have no idea if it’s the case, but maybe, just maybe, an answer will be lurking there.

We’re off to Phoenix for Thanksgiving. I’m worried about my health when I’m there, especially the nausea. Fortunately, everyone we’ll be with encourages me to relax and rest when I need to. I am truly thankful for them.

Have a wonderful, low-headache/migraine holiday!

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Thyroid Scare

My new GP called me last Wednesday afternoon after receiving the results of the thyroid ultrasound, which I had done that morning. My phone had been turned off for a few days and I didn’t turn it on until Friday. So that’s when I got her message that she wanted me to schedule a biopsy for Wednesday afternoon.

I didn’t hear back from her office Friday, but Saturday I got the results for the tests she had done to check for diabetes or a thyroid disorder. They were clear — good news about those diseases, but inconclusive for everything else, including thyroid cancer.

I finally got to talk to her today. Turns out she wanted me to call that afternoon to schedule the biopsy, not have it done that day. It’s not until Feb. 6, but I’m much calmer than I was all weekend. There’s a 95% chance that it won’t be cancerous.

After the biopsy, I’ll see an endocrinologist to look at the results and discuss my remaining endocrine symptoms even though the most obvious diseases have been ruled out. Instead of being worried about having a different disease, I’m hopeful. Severe headache is a symptom of some endocrine-related disorders; maybe this is my “answer.”

My hope feels disrespectful to everyone who struggles with an endocrine disease. And perhaps to myself. Maybe a different diagnosis will cause me more grief than chronic daily headache and migraine.