Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Look Back at 2008: Moving & Medication

On January 19 Brad and I participated in the Walk For Life (short video), a pro-life event held in San Francisco every year. The walk itself was only 2.5 miles, but moved slowly. This was it's fourth year and the first time for Brad and I. I had a great time (though it was very cold, and want to go back next year.

On April 29 I received the standard letter from the owners that they would be raising my rent starting June 1. It was going up to $780. I decided to move. I put in my 30 days notice in May and started shopping around. Most places wanted people right away so I had to give up until June.

May 18th was the annual Bay To Breakers race. I bested last years best time by about 4 1/2 minutes and came in at 1:19:54. I again ran the whole race except for the hill.

I looked at three more apartments in early June, but ended up moving into one I had looked at back on May 4th! It is a little more expensive at $725 per month plus water, and is very small. But it was completely refurbished and quite cozy. Brad and I were able to move most stuff over ahead of time, so the actual move was mostly just furniture and went very quickly. Brad and I each took two days off work to move, unpack, and run numerous errands. I officially moved on June 30th when we took the furniture and bed over.

June 10th I had most of a complete physical at my newest doctor out in Castro Valley. They did complete bloodwork, urine and fecal testing, an EKG, and a chest x-ray.

July 11 Brad and I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D, my first 3 D movie since I was a kid. :) The movie itself was only okay, but the 3D made it worth it.

When the bloodwork results from my physical came back I noticed that my TSH was toward the high end and my Free T4 was barely in range on the low end. These are thyroid markers so at my next appointment on July 25 I asked for further testing - Free T3, ferritin, Vitamins B-12 and D, and thyroid antibodies.

I also asked for a 5 hour glucose tolerance test at this appointment. I went in for that test on August 1 (video), and when I got the results back I found out I was hypoglycemic and my blood sugar went as low at 30 at one point. No wonder I felt like crap during the test!

My DSL kit arrived August 1 and I got hooked up to high speed Internet. Zoom zoom! No more having to bring my computer to work to upload videos. :)

At my next doctor's appointment on August 8 we went over the further tests that were ordered - my Free T3 was in the basement, my ferritin on the low end, great Vitamin B levels, slightly low Vitamin D (though not worrisome), and no thyroid antibodies. I was officially diagnosed as hypothyroid and put on 50mcg levothyroxine (T4 hormone), as well as an iron supplement to get my ferritin up.

I wasn't able to go to General Conference in early August due to skyrocketing costs - I simply didn't have the money - so I tried to take just one day off and have a little fun locally by playing tourist for a day in San Francisco. Unfortunately, my fill-in at work flaked on me and since I hadn't totally covered my butt, her screw up was blamed on me and I was told to come in.

I finally got my much needed vacation on September 25, coincidentally enough the day that the fill-in girl had originally written down incorrectly. I also took the last half of the 24th off so I could get everything ready and be well-rested so I could better enjoy my day off.

On September 2 I took the deposit money from my old apartment and signed up for a 3 year pre-paid membership at my gym, so no more monthly dues for me!

I had another doctor appointment on September 19. The doctor bumped me up to 75mcg of levothyroxine. I asked him for adrenal tests to rule that in or out and he sent me for them. According to the people at's thyroid forum my results were good so I am going to drop that line of inquiry.

My TSH came down a bit, my Free T4 went up a teeny bit, but my Free T3 took a 130 point jump and was finally in normal range for the first time in God only knows how long! :) My ferritin went down. I had given blood September 5 and thought the intervening time (three weeks) would be enough to get my levels back up, but it wasn't. I started eating Cream of Wheat every day, at first one serving and then two. Cream of Wheat has 50% of the RDA of iron in every serving.

Since the levothyroxine made me edgy and I would cry easily the doc bumped me up to 60mg of my anti-depressant (Celexa). I started the higher dose that very day, but didn't begin the 75mcg of thyroid meds until September 27, the day after my blood tests. I wanted to see how 50mcg effected my numbers before going up to 75.

After a while I tried to go down on the Celexa dose back to 40mg, and while it wasn't as bad as it had been, I still got weepy and edgy so I went back up to 60mg.

75mcg of thyroid meds made me very hungry. I am always hungry anyway from my Celexa, but this was much worse! Thankfully it seemed to calm down after several weeks and slowly return to my "normal" level of hunger.

October 31 the doctor bumped me up to 100mcg of thyroid meds. I also gave blood at the Red Cross (video). When I gave blood September 5 my hemoglobin level was 12.5% - the minimum required to be able to donate. On October 31 my level was 13.8%, so I guess the Cream of Wheat is helping. Of course, after the donation it will be much lower! I'm not going to give blood as often now. My low ferritin is the reason for my tiredness and I take two steps back in my treatment every time I give blood.

My next doctor appointment is the end of January and I will get blood tests done a couple weeks before.

It has been a hard year financially. When the economy went to pot, food prices soared. I'm now paying nearly double for some items I use every day (like salad), and can't afford anything better than iceberg lettuce. Before I could occasionally buy something healthier if it was on sale. Now I can't even afford the sale price.

So it's been a rough year just trying to survive from paycheck to paycheck, and if I didn't have the $200 a month from my Dad and the $200 a month from the Oregon property I wouldn't be able to make it.

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