Going with my gut…

I’m stuck in my house due to the hurricane (which, thankfully, has done no damage at my house), and my mind is in a million places.

First, regarding my new TSH level: I can’t stop thinking about how I’m “guessing” my OB-GYN and endo doctor would both say a 2.02 is good, but not quite there, in terms of TTC. And since I don’t know that they would actually say that, I’m realizing these are the thoughts in my own head, and I’m just hoping the doctors will say this, so that I can say, “Well, I’m not TTC because my doctors said I can’t”, rather than because I really probably shouldn’t. I’ve been doing my research, and I haven’t found a single piece of information that says someone with Hashimoto’s is in the clear at a 2. Rather, the “normal” range for TSH in any person is 0-3(ish), and 2 is on the high-end. Further, everything I have found says between a 1 and 2 is ideal for TTC, and for some people, closer to 0 is best. There’s no information that says, “Well, because you have Hashimoto’s, and you want this so bad, 2 is good enough.” 2 is good, but not good enough, and that’s what it really comes down to. That said, it may become good enough if I continue to balance out at a 2 for the next few months. That might be as low as it’s going to get, and then I think my OB-GYN will give me the go ahead (she hinted at this type of thing before). But I just became a 2. I was just an 8 a month ago. It was a huge jump, and the hives on my arm right now remind me that all is not perfect in thyroid-land. My official conclusion about this is that I need another blood test before TTC. Doesn’t matter when -I’ll take it in 2 weeks or 2 months, whenever my endo doctor will give it to me. Hopefully I’ll drop below a 2, and I won’t question it – I’ll be good to go. But with this huge jump, and still adjusting to this new diet (more on that in a second), and the risks for an unhealthy baby or miscarriage just make it not worth it. Yet.

My other thoughts today surround my diet, and my hives. My hives started 4 years ago. I was so confused then as to what they may be caused by, since I’m not allergic to anything, so to speak. I know people who still think they are caused by things not related to my thyroid. But I know in my heart this is thyroid related. I’ve found research to back this up and have experienced changes (my TSH levels down = less hives), and today I found one more little clue. It came in the form of a forum, and the person who started it said this:

“I will just start at the beginning. About 4 months ago, I woke up covered in hives and have not had one hive free day since then. I have also had several episodes of angioedema that are not controlled by anything. After several doctors, prednisone, antihistamines,etc., I was about to give up. Through the internet I learned that my hives could be autoimmune related and began to realize that I had many symptoms of an autoimmune disorder. I went to my GP and literally had to beg him to draw blood to see if I had an autoimmune problem. He told me that he had never heard of hives being related to an autoimmune disease. He begrudgingly took my blood and found out that my thyroid antibodies were very elevated and that the ANA test was positive. So, he sent me to a rheumy who basically said, “Well, you don’t have lupus.” Okay, I thought, so what’s with the hives? Long story short, FINALLY found a doctor who said I had Hashimoto’s disease.”

Then someone responded with this: “Your TPO antibodies are causing the hives. Supplementing with thyroid hormones should eventually put them to bay, but it could take a long time. You should try to reduce the titer of antibodies by taking a selenium supplement every day, up to 200 mcgs. Larger vitamin stores/departments carry it. If you take a multi-vitamin, check it for content and take it into account in the 200 mcgs/day total. Selenium has been shown to decrease TPO titers up to 40%. It always amazes me what doctors don’t know. An allergist might have more knowledge about the TPO/hives connection, but there isn’t much more to be done about it even if he/she does know. Trying the selenium and waiting for the antibodies to leave is your best bet.”

And someone else responded with this: “several years ago I had angioedema and found out my TPO antibodies were like 1,000 and then I was eventually diagnosed with Hashi’s, more with the help of all the good people on this board then my internist, I finally got help from my rheumy. My TSH had shot up from 2 to 69 in three months. But now I am on a maintenance dose of synthroid and doing well. I also have RA and it was all part of the autoimmune picture.”

For those who aren’t sure what all this means: angioedema is when hives go to your face and lips, and swell up like you’ve never seen (I’ve had it many times, and if it gets extremely bad, there’s the worry of your throat closing..it’s not pleasant). RA is rheumatoid arthritis. My doctors have told me that if you have one auto-immune disease, you’re likely to have more. I continued with this post and found more info. I won’t post it all here but someone said she tested negative for lupus but still had it. Someone else said gluten also affected her hives. But they all had Hashimoto’s.

So, it’s without question that my hives are caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. That is what the issue revolves around. However, I believe there are other factors which draw out the hives, and in me, they are stress and something else food-related. So here’s what I’m noticing about food: The last week and a half, I did great – I ate basically all protein, vegetables, and dairy. I had one piece of corn on the cob one night, and some granola another day. I even went to a wedding and had a little bit of sugar, and wine. I exercised, but not to an extreme level (only a few times that week). No major problems – felt great, no hives mostly (except on that day I had granola). No major hives for one week. Then, I celebrated my low TSH level (and my upcoming birthday) by eating things this weekend that are on the “don’t eat” list: ice cream cake, truffles, cereal, chips, more corn, potatoes, a hamburger (with bun), etc. I’ve eaten badly. And what happened? Well, the first time after having a lot of sugar I felt extremely sick, but I think that’s simply a matter of sugar, and not really related to the thyroid. But yesterday and today, I have hives. They are on my arms right now. And today I’ve eaten….leftover cake, leftover corn, cereal….

I hate how there are so many complicated parts to this ridiculous “condition”. And I love how I feel that are just a few little ways I can actually control it – mainly with my diet. I don’t regret eating my ice cream cake this weekend. And I’m starting to think sugar isn’t the issue (though it’s still plain bad for me). I think it’s gluten. But because I’m still not 100% sure if it’s all starchy carbs, just gluten, or just sugar, I’m reminded that I have to continue this diet, with just the occasional cheat. Because if I don’t, not only will I have hives, but the hives will be a reminder that my thyroid isn’t pleased with my choices and may send my TSH skyrocketing – which is the whole reason I’m doing this in the first place.

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