Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Hi, readers. Many of you know I have Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is what I write about, mostly, for this blog. Two days ago my intentions for this week’s blog entry were (honestly) to write about my blood glucose numbers the past ten days or so. “Keep it focused on the diabetes,” I thought.

I was going to be good. I planned this long — OK, somewhat long — meditation on why I think that maybe, in conjunction with going off my thyroid hormone (liothyronine sodium, brand name Cytomel) and moving towards hypothyroidism, I also discovered I’d been experiencing lower blood glucose readings. Not lows, necessarily; in fact, I was mostly always right at my target level.

It’s been an almost ideal blood glucose existence for the past ten days or so.

But my speculation about why will have to wait. See, next week I go in — all week I go in! — for radioactive iodine therapy. It’s the last major hurdle (I hope) in getting completely rid of the thyroid cancer I was diagnosed with last fall. Four half-day outpatient days at the hospital, then a few days of isolation because I’ll be mildly radioactive. After that, I’ll just need to get my new synthetic thyroid hormone dosage (a daily pill) adjusted by working with my endocrinologist.

In preparation for the radioactive iodine therapy — to make any remaining thyroid cells thirsty enough to take up the radioactive iodine — I have (1) stopped my Cytomel and (2) started eating a low-iodine diet.

And, whoa, but the hypothyroidism symptoms have come on strong the last day or two. I’m finding that I can’t think coherently enough (or simply can’t muster the energy to try to think coherently enough) to write what I’d like to write. Oh, I could sit here and babble on for quite awhile about not much in particular, but I doubt my editor would find it publishable or editable.

Thus, while I’m not sure what may have been contributing to my wonderful blood glucose numbers — a slower metabolism because of hypothyroidism? A different diet? Other stuff? (I had a long mental list prepared) — that blog entry’s just not going to happen. I wish it was. I wanted to write through it to see if I couldn’t figure it out. Had I stumbled upon a secret formula?

The world may never know.

The thyroid gland, as you probably know, controls metabolism. I don’t have a thyroid gland any longer, and without the synthetic hormone in my system, my metabolism right now is moving at a snail’s pace. I’m completely exhausted and full of aches and pains, spaced out, kind of numb. Oh, and the cramping’s started; it was one of the symptoms I read about but hoped to avoid. Yet it’s here, mostly in my legs, neck, and hands.

The hypothyroidism has really been hitting me hard the last few days, with last night the worst yet. Although I’ve been utterly exhausted, I still wasn’t able to fall asleep until two or so. It felt like my skin wanted to separate and crawl off of me, and I couldn’t lay still. I think I probably burned several hundred calories with twitching and tossing and turning, in and out, dozing, drifting, mind racing, all so very disconcerting. It was difficult for me to separate that liminal, in-between world of dreams and falling-asleep thoughts with what was really going on in my life. Kind of trippy, and if I felt better, it’d be kind of fun. Yet it wasn’t fun because I was miserable.

So the chances are it’s not going to get better before it gets worse, and chances are that if I have another evening tonight like last night, I’m not going to be motivated for much blogging the next few weeks. I’m leaving open the option to write my entries during radioactive iodine therapy, because sometimes the writing helps even if it’s difficult to get started. But if there’s a lack of Eric Lagergren in your RSS feeds, you’ll know why.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and regarding this week’s title? What it was they said about my thyroid surgery? I was told that the actual thyroidectomy part was the easy part; that this, what I’m experiencing right now — the hypothyroidism — is the worst part.

I’m inclined to agree. Where’s the morphine now?

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