Stress = Thyroid imbalance = RELAPSE

I want to keep giving good information out there for people like me suffering with daily headaches. However, due to recent events I have been under a tremendous amount of stress and my pain level has increased. I go back to see my endocrinologist next week and hopefully will get back on track to healing. I will then continue with this blog as I have found a lot of helpful information for people suffering like me!

Due to the death of my first grand child this past weekend there will be no post this week. Thank you.
Born 2-12-2012 - Died 2-12-2012

Putting the pieces together… Wait, weren’t my doctors supposed to do that?

 

 

 


According to WebMD approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Chronic headaches are described as being experienced at least 15 days out of a month. World Health Organization states that women are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from chronic headaches than men.

Headaches are a symptom of hyperthyroidism. Besides suffering with my 9 year headache I had almost every possible symptom of hyperthyroidism, but still kept being told that “my thyroid levels (TSH) were within normal ranges.”

Before we get into all of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and thyroid disorders in general, let’s first start with the basics. The endocrine system is responsible for releasing hormones into your bloodstream. Hormones are like messengers in your bloodstream which tell your cells who receive them and what to do.

*http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works

Your thyroid is a horseshoe shaped gland located in the front of your throat which is part of the endocrine system. The thyroid is told what to do by the pituitary gland which is located in the base of the brain.

*http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works

The pituitary gland is told what to do by the hypothalamus which is also located in the brain. They communicate with each other through hormones. These glands work together to keep your body’s hormones in balance. If one of these glands is not working properly then your whole system becomes unbalanced.

Hence, causing some or all of the symptoms below:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Bowel problems
  • Goiter (visibly enlarged thyroid gland) or thyroid nodules
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heat intolerance or cold intolerance
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Increased or lack of sweating
  • Heavy, irregular or lack of menstrual periods in women
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Breast development in men
  • Clammy skin or dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Hand tremor
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pounding, rapid, or irregular pulse
  • Low sex drive
  • Protruding eyes
  • Rapid, forceful, or irregular heartbeat
  • Skin blushing or flushing
  • Bruise easily
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Headaches

I won’t even pretend to be an expert on thyroid disorders. I am still learning and I will share what I learn with you periodically on this blog. If you live with a daily headache and have not been able to find help for your pain, then you might want to look at your over all symptoms and see if it could possibly be your answer too as it was mine.
I am one of many people who suffered with this disease for many years but was not diagnosed because of this controversy between world wide endocrinologists. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimate that approximately 25 million people have some form of hypothyroidism and out of that only half have been definitely diagnosed. Add to that, that according to the University of Maryland Medical Center it is 10 times more likely for woman to suffer with hypothyroidism than men.

I finally gave up on my family doctor and started doing research on all of my symptoms.  I tried to find a multi-symptom checker on the internet but was unable to.  So, I looked up my symptoms one by one and started noticing that every one had a possibility of hyperthyroidism.  So after connecting the dots so to speak, I put together my list of symptoms and my family history of thyroid disorders then went back to my doctor.  I actually had to see a different physician (actually a new PA) as my usual doctor’s schedule was full.  She listened well like my regular doctor.  She showed compassion like my regular doctor.  She did do the same procedure as my regular doctor had done in the past, which was lab work to check my TSH levels (of course they came back again within normal ranges).  But, the difference with her was that she didn’t want to send me to yet another Neurologist or another Pain Specialist!  She agreed that the amount of symptoms I had were enough to send me to an Endocrinology Specialist.  She agreed with me regarding my research that there was a discrepancy in the medical profession as to whether to treat patients by their TSH levels (national average of people without thyroid disorder) or to treat the patient’s symptoms.  Thankfully, she sent me to one of the specialists that disagrees with the American Medical Association.  She believed in treating me as a patient with symptoms instead of a patient with numbers.  And now, I am on my journey of healing!

My next post I will explain the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

In another upcoming article we will take a more in depth look into the Medical Controversy on Hyperthyroidism.

Click the “Follow” link at the top of this page if you wish to be alerted to my new posts.

Part II: I’m surrounded by love…but I feel so alone!

PART II
When you are suffering so much, you don’t feel like going out with your friends.
A friend would call, and I would put on my best voice to sound like everything was fine. We would talk for awhile, I would be invited to go out or come over to their house later. Then I would usually say, I’ll have to see how I am feeling. Their answer would always be, “well you sound great today, you should be able to make it.” I would eventually hang up saying that I would try, knowing I that probably wouldn’t make it. I stopped calling my friends and texting them. I never felt like checking my messages or returning phone calls. So I inevitably shunned my friends. I hurt them without meaning too and I ended up feeling all alone.

It wasn’t just the extreme pain that kept me home all of the time. I was scared to drive too. I had NO mental clarity. I came close to having several stupid accidents because I was so out of it. I thought it was the pain that made my thinking so cloudy and my reactions so slow. It probably was a big part of it.

However, now that I have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism I have discovered that cloudy thinking and poor mental clarity are symptoms. Other symptoms are low energy, depression and anxiety. So, first I hurt. Second I had no desires. Third I had no energy. Three strikes, I was OUT!

My husband compares all of this to animals in the wild. When they are sick they wander off away from the pack. There, they end up dying. It makes me think; maybe they died from not just their illness but loneliness as well.

There are several researchers out there studying the affects of loneliness on the human body. Ronald Glaser and his wife Janice Kiecolt-Glaser pioneered the study of how mental states affect the immune system. There is also Dr. Thomas Glass, a Harvard Professor who wants to know the key to longevity besides just living a healthy lifestyle.

“When all is said and done, the best guarantee of a long and healthy life may be the connections you have with other people.” The above is a quote from John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago during his interview by US News Health.

It is so difficult to show others how much you hurt. To let others in on how much pain you are in, it makes you afraid that you will become even more vulnerable. We all know someone (or more) who is a hypochondriac. We are so afraid to let other people think that that is what we are all about. We don’t want people we look up to think; “oh, here we go again…” every time we open up to them and tell them how much we hurt.

For those of you who are suffering in pain whether it is a severe daily headache like me or some other form of pain, don’t isolate yourself. I know this is easy to say but hard to do. As you have read, I have no room to lecture anyone about this. But then again, from my experience, I know how loneliness can make your pain more intense. When you hurt so much you really do not feel like doing anything. So when you are having a severe pain day, stay home and rest. But when you are having a good day, you really should get out and go somewhere with a friend or just have someone come over to watch a movie with you.

I’m surrounded by love…but I feel so alone!

Pain that is so severe that it is debilitating isolates you.  You can be surrounded by love, but the pain separates you from that love and friendship.  It is not the person that is suffering that is pulling away from the ones they love.  It is the pain that is tearing them away from everyone and everything they care about!

I have been married for almost 27 years.  I have 4 children (2 adults now, a teen and an 8 year old).  I used to have a great job that I dearly loved.  I was surrounded by awesome friends.  I am surrounded by love…but I feel so alone.  This will be a 3 part series looking closely at family, careers and friends and how even though you have loved ones, you can still feel separated from them because of your pain.  This will hopefully be a guide to help those that are suffering and feeling lost.  On the flip side, I hope this will help friends and caregivers comfort their loved ones that are dealing daily with pain.

My headaches averaged a pain level of an 8, pushing a 9, out of 10 on a daily basis.  I had to stay in my room with my door shut because of the noise.  My pain level so severe I couldn’t tolerate any noise.  I would lie in my bed, with blankets over my windows to shut out the light, ear plugs in my ears to try and block out most of the noise from the other rooms.  Then to complete my sound and light barrier I placed a pillow over my head and the pain sedated me and I went to sleep for hours.  How isolated is that?

For the first couple of years with this daily headache, I would always be positive and say “well, at least I am blessed and am not dying of cancer.”  However, after 6, then 7 then 8 years of it, I became depressed and negative.

 

 

 

Living life like that day after day made me feel useless.  I didn’t understand “why” I was suffering like this.  I have to be honest and say that I started to wish it was cancer, because then there would be an end to the suffering.  I was beginning to think that this lonely life of pain, stuck in a dark and quiet bedroom for the rest of my life, was all that I would ever have.  If it were not for my faith in God and my love of my family, I seriously would have considered suicide.  I was miserable…beyond miserable.  I had tried everything.  I was surrounded by love, but still felt so alone.

My husband was working a full time job as well as doing the shopping, the cooking and the cleaning (well actually doing most of the above but also supervising the kids to get it done…which is most of the time…worse than doing it himself!).  He was caretaker for not only me who was bedridden, but also for our 8 year old daughter with special needs.  He was tired of working so hard at work, at home, and as a caregiver.  I am very blessed to have such a wonderful husband.
But, sometimes, honestly, he wasn’t that great.  He is only human.  Sometimes he would be so run down, so depressed to see me in bed all of the time, so overwhelmed with all that he was responsible for, that he would actually come in our room and complain (well, yell) at me.  I realize he had to vent.  But when I was lying in bed, in so much pain I couldn’t handle it or even understand why he was yelling at me.  It’s not like I could do anything about it.  I needed him to be more than human.  I needed him to be able to do it all and not give me any grief about it.  I needed him to find time to hold me and tell me he loved me and that some day, we would figure it out and I would find a cure and I would be able to LIVE again.

I know it is a difficult position to be in, taking care of someone who seems unappreciative, or out of it and unaware of all that you are doing for them and your family.  But, please understand this, when someone is in such severe pain, they really are out of it.  They physically can not show you their appreciation.  Just because they are not on their death bed does not mean that they are not suffering severely!

 

So if you are living with someone in pain, be patient with them.  Support them as much as you can.  Cheer them up and bring them flowers, a small gift or a card (or Chocolate!) once in awhile letting them know that you care and that you are still there for them.  Don’t give up on them.  They need you!  Desperately!

If you are suffering with severe pain on a daily basis and you are reading this and feel alone, reach out to someone.  If you don’t have any family or friends around, reach out to your Church, a Non-Profit agency that helps people or even join an internet social network.  You need support.  You DON’T have to be alone!  There is help and support out there for you!  Just reach out!

 

I’m alive but I want to live: Comfort for Daily Pain!

Everyone knows how if feels to crave comfort food when you are sick, stressed or depressed.  The reason for comforts is to “comfort” you. We all know that comfort will not take away the sickness or the problem, but they make us feel more comfortable for just a little while allowing us to escape our troubles.  A person in chronic pain craves comforts as well.

When I am sick with a cold and sore throat the best comfort for me is soup, hot chocolate or maybe ice cream.  Stress, well that is a no brainer…Chocolate!  (Remember stressed spelled backwards is desserts!)    Depressed?  Foods from my childhood like homemade Macaroni and Cheese do the trick.  Yum!  Oh and of course…chocolate!

All of those comforts are great.  But how can you find comfort with a severe headache that you have had for years that will not go away that is so bad you are bedridden?  Most of the time, the pain medicine doesn’t even TOUCH the pain!  I’m talking about a pain level with an average of 8 out of 10.

 I am listing 7 comforts that I have found that have helped soothe my spirit while still suffering physically with my severe headache.  While the pain is still there, comforts help me survive it! Remember, the idea of this blog today is not to give anyone a magical cure to take their headache away.  I wish I had that too!  But, for today all we can do is keep on moving on.  We can survive.

The only thing missing from this picture is the pillow over the head!

1. Dark room.  No television.  No computer.  No book.  Is this boring?  Yes!  But when your pain is so severe, you don’t feel like doing anything anyway!  In all honesty, I am blessed in the way that when my pain level is severe, it is like taking a sedative.  I get so sleepy and to fall asleep and receive a break from the pain is the most comforting thing I could list.

2.  Okay, this one is probably obvious, but a massage!  My husband, poor thing, has spent HOURS giving me a massage concentrating on my head, neck and shoulders.  It felt awesome and was a great comfort.  Why do I say “was” as in past tense?  Yes, I am still married.  However, because he put so much effort into it and did not see a great outcome (lessened pain), he has become disheartened and does not offer it as much.  I can understand his point but even though it did not magically take my pain away or even curb it to some degree, massage IS comforting!  Having a deep muscle massage is relaxing.  And that is what this article is about.  If I could write a blog on how to totally get rid of all types of headaches…I would do it willingly and become a millionaire in the process!

3.   Most women might even fake a headache for this one!  A hair rub.  What woman does not enjoy a nice, gentle hair rub?  Now that is relaxing and definitely comforting, especially when my head feels like it is killing me!

Homemade Rice Heating Pad

4.  I love to use a rice pack, heated in the microwave, lying on the back of my neck and shoulders.  Then I place another rice pack that was in the freezer across my forehead.  When most of the moist heat is gone from the heated rice pack, I lay it across my forehead.  Ahhhh…this is so very comforting!  I just wish I had a mini freezer and mini microwave next to my bed!  I do have my spares in the freezer all of the time though.  Please note:  Rice Pack photo –  http://howdonow.info/35086-homemade-rice-heating-pad.html.  Learn how to make your own Homemade Rice Heating Pad.

5.  A hot bath to sink into all the way up to your chin!  And if you are lucky enough like me to have a Jacuzzi tub, the hot bubbles on your neck and shoulders feels awesome.  But, I actually use my next suggestion in the tub because the running water and the bubbles are too loud and the noise actually increases my pain level.

6.  Earplugs!  What can I say about those?  They buffer the noise level (which in my house can be quite loud sometimes).  Anyone who has suffered a headache knows that your eyes and ears can be extremely sensitive which will generally increases the pain.  I have even had to wear the earplugs to the library, to Church and of course the one time a year I go to the theater.

7.  Sunglasses!  Of course this makes sense for going outside.  Especially when you live in clear skied and bright Arizona!  But, honestly, I have even worn them in my house!  “I wear my sunglasses at night…”  Yes, I have even worn them at night on a few occasions.


Well, that is my two cents worth today.  I invite you to read my Premier Post and About page then follow me on this journey of headache pain survival and my hopeful healing journey into hypothyroidism.

Did you know hypothyroidism can cause chronic headaches?  Follow me and learn all about it!   New postings will be made every Tuesday.

           You can find the “Folllow” and “Like” links above!  🙂

Please feel free to comment, I and other readers can use your ideas on comfort for headache survival!

Premier Posting

Hi,
My name is Angela Sigler and I have had a headache for almost 10 years now! Yes, I do mean every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Some of my readers might be surprised by this. However, I imagine that most of you found my blog because you, yourself or someone you care about is in the same situation. In my research I amazingly discovered that there are an alarming amount of people suffering every day from headache pain. According to WebMD approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Why write a blog about it? Because I hope to help anyone else out there living like me in pain by giving you ideas of ways to eliminate your pain, lessen your pain or at the very least, live through it!

There are 4 main types of headaches: Migraine, Tension, Sinus and Cluster. However, there is a new diagnosis, which I personally feel is just a term invented to help those of us still in pain after receiving all available treatment feel better! This new diagnosis is called New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH). For some of you, maybe this new “label” is comforting. For me, at first it was. But after a while, I became disheartened. I researched NDPH and realized that just because IT had a name didn’t mean IT had a cure and I wanted a cure!

I understand what chronic headache sufferers are going through.  You talk to your doctor, do research, try different treatments, doctors and medications with absolutely NO improvement.  You get your hopes up.  You get excited that you may actually be able to LIVE your life again, all to be disappointed, no devastated that the newest “cure” did not work!

Over the years I have been to 4 General Practitioners, 4 Neurologists, 3 Pain Specialists, and a Physical Therapist. I have tried acupuncture and 4 different types of Chiropractics. I have had 3 epidurals and a nerve block. I lived on 12 Ibuprofen and 4 Extra Strength Tylenol a day!  I had been on Oxycontin, Methadone, Morphine and Dilaudid.  Living in a state that has legal marijuana, YES, I even tried that. NOTHING worked. NOTHING helped. I was miserable. I had become bedridden! It was bad enough that I couldn’t work, but I couldn’t even cook dinner for my family or do simple tasks like load a dishwasher or do the laundry. I had been reduced to living in my bedroom with blankets over my windows. I would lie in bed most of the time with a pillow over my head. If I ever went out of my room I had to have earplugs in and all of the blinds in the house closed.

Wow! So what changed for me? Well, as far as the daily headache, I still have it. But the severity level is improving. I discovered that I have hyperthyroidism. I am not saying that this is the answer for everyone suffering from a daily headache. It was just my answer. And maybe it can be the answer for a few of you.

In my future blogs I will provide information for support and comfort for those daily headache sufferers and those that have to live with them. (Believe me, when you are in a lot of pain and you can not get your headache to ease off…you tend to be a little bit on the grumpy side!)  I will write about how chronic pain can negatively change a person’s life (other than the obvious).   I will also discuss my journey into discovering about hypothyroidism its symptoms as well the medical profession’s contradicting views on diagnosis!

I invite you to share in my past journey of pain and my new journey into wellness which I hope my thyroid medication can bring.  Follow along and learn how much pain can isolate a person even when they are surrounded by people who care.  Continue with me as I share advice, suggestions and support for those living in pain.

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