Circle + Bloom and going “green”

All right, people. My brain is buzzing with excitement over my appointment with my new ND on Thursday. Through the ICLW, I’ve “met” a few new bloggers who have been nothing but helpful! I appreciate all of your comments, by the way, and a lot of you know so much more than I do, and I’m eager to come to you with questions.

Therefore, I have a few more.

1) Can someone kindly explain what Circle + Bloom is? I gather that it’s a series of audio tapes, but after that I’m lost. I have heard so many people rave about them, and again, I’m just beginning to embrace the idea of natural remedies for health and fertility issues, so I definitely need a bit of convincing. I’m guessing this costs a lot of money. But like I said, people rave about it. Given that stress runs decently highly in my life (especially in the form of health and wellness issues), I’m curious. Should I look into this further?

2) I have done it. I have signed up to follow the journey of a blogger who has a child. There are a few of you out there who have one child already but are struggling with the second, but this is the first blog I have followed where she predominantly writes about issues related to already having a baby. I suppose in doing this, I am subconsciously telling myself that I will be pregnant soon. Not necessarily this cycle, but soon. Soon enough that I am excited about reading posts related to raising a baby. I don’t intend to follow a lot of baby blogs, yet, because I suppose after a while I’ll find myself depressed. But this blogger is very cool. Check out Cotton Bottom Mama if you’re interested – she’s a very “green” mother, which is something I hope to be eventually. She does cloth diapering, for example. We plan to go that route as well someday (of course we’ve already discussed it), though N still needs a bit of convincing. The price for diapers is enough convincing for me! Anyway, she’s got a ton of info on that topic, as well as other “green” issues. Best of all, she also suffers from Hashimoto’s, and went gluten-free and sugar-free. There aren’t many people I know of who have this. She’s doing very well, as she met with her ND and got pregnant five months later. So here’s hoping.

Anyway, this all leads me to my second question. Do you follow any bloggers who have a big focus on health and wellness? What about food allergies and autoimmune issues? I would love to find more people like Cotton Bottom Mama. It’s so nice to have a support system.

I wasn’t going to post today, so I’ll keep it nice and short. I’m grateful for the activity on my blog. I’ve written almost 100 posts, I’ve had over 5,000 views, and I’m lucky enough to have almost 60 followers. So thank you. Blogging has taken, once again, a new turn in my life, as I find myself telling friends and family about you and your stories. You’ve suddenly become very real, though we’ve never met. Just another perk of blogging about infertility!


Blah, blah, blah.

Thank you for all the comments in my last few posts, everyone. I haven’t gotten to respond to them yet but I will today. I know you have gone through all the ups and downs of all this, and then some, and so I appreciate the comments even more. This was not something devastating, in the scheme of things, but I did trick myself into believing I might actually be pregnant, and that just can’t happen every cycle.

Now, let me just say: These Clomid periods are no joke. Holy crap. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a regular period, which I haven’t had, well let’s see, prior to BCP – since I was about 12. Either way, no matter what kind of period this is, it’s not what I’m used to, and I learned that lesson yesterday. We were about to run out the door last night to a work party for my husband, and I stopped into the bathroom one last time. (TMI alert…scroll down if you wish). Basically, I bled through….everything. And not just a little. Soaked. Through underwear, into my jeans, legs….soaked. I haven’t had any accident like that since I was in middle school, when after I got up from my English class chair I told the girl behind me that it was “just turpentine”. I didn’t even know what that was – I have no idea where that word came from. Either way, if I was in middle school last night, that excuse wouldn’t have worked, because it was that out of control. If I had passed out and been found in the bathroom it would’ve looked like a crime scene. If we weren’t literally running out the door to this party, I would’ve taken a shower. So that was fun. This morning, I woke up feeling major cramps, hungry-nauseous…and just in time to deal with what could’ve been a big mess. What is this??

Also this morning,  I’m attempting some optimism about the rest of my health that’s always on my mind. I’m so sick and tired of my autoimmune issues. (Pardon my negative rant…I’ll be positive shortly). I have crazy hives. Crazy. They are under my skin, not on top of it, which causes the swelling. They can be in my mouth and throat, in my cheeks, lips, etc. Even though they are directly related to my high-antibody levels, I have recently noticed a connection with my sugar intake. So I’ve cut out all desserts, chocolate, etc. of any sort. But that hasn’t stopped it, because it’s ANY sugar…after a certain time of day. So this is what I’ve noticed. I felt crappy all last week (of course, thinking pregnancy symptoms), and it turns out I was fighting some weird bug. Nothing ever happened, but I was mildly nauseous with no appetite for a few days, which was weird, and now that my appetite is back, I have a killer sore throat. Anyway, last week I was eating a lot of carby type things because I felt crappy, and pretzels/crackers have always helped settle my stomach. Last week I had hives multiple times. One day, after skipping dinner, I finally felt like some dried cereal at about 8:30 at night. I ate a decent amount of it, (gluten-free Chex, honey-nut) and had hives within a half hour after finishing. They were up in my cheek, making it look all swollen. The next morning, I had the same cereal, and had no day hives. Let’s see. Then two days ago, after I realized I wasn’t pregnant, I came home from school and treated myself to a small cup of the gluten-free granola I made, which has sugar in it. I eat it most mornings for breakfast with no problem. But when I ate it at 4:00 in the afternoon..I had hives by 5:30. My hives are almost always at night, and they take a good 12+ hours to go away. I always pray my students can’t tell the next morning. My body is out of control right now. It’s not always like this. Just a few months ago I was eating sugar normally. Now it’s down to a time of day. I can have cereal with sugar in it in the morning, and creamer in my coffee, with no problem. I have a Greek yogurt with lunch, which has sugar, with no problem. Anything after like…3:00 and I’m apparently doomed. And you know what? That pisses me off.

So last night, at my husband’s work party, they served:  A pasta bar. A carving station. Desserts. That’s it! So I had …a plate of meat. Just carved meat. It was good, but meat by itself? I was hoping for maybe a potato, salad. Nope. After two small plates of nothing but meat, I realized this wasn’t working for me. My husband got in the pasta line and got me some broccoli and artichoke hearts with pasta sauce, without the pasta. Then, while he was eating chocolate cake, carrot cake…etc. I had two cups of “Sweet dreams” tea. With one splenda each. That’s when I started the pity whine. It’s not fair!! I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. That’s all I keep hearing.

And I’ve been trying to lose weight – well, mentally. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever pants barely fit, I love leggings but with every shirt I wear with them a muffin top is present…I don’t like anything I put on. It’s not like I’m making horrible food choices – no gluten, no sugar. But I do eat too much, and even if I didn’t, it’s a fact with an autoimmune thyroid problem – weight is going to come off VERY slowly. I get impatient.

But the REAL reason I’m not losing weight is because I’m so fixated on my weird cycles, my BBT, my ovulation, and my hives, sugar intake, and going gluten-free, that having tiny portions and being dedicated about that is just not something I can handle. I cannot be in tip-top shape in EVERY aspect of my life. Something has to give! So I let the portions go. I can be in control of my sugar intake, and going gluten-free. I just can’t do it all.

So that’s how I’m really feeling – pretty negative. But I told you I was attempting optimism. So, I’m dressed for the gym, leaving shortly. And I re-downloaded the app “My Fitness Pal”, which I saw on Stirrup Queens’ blog. I had it before and never used it. But today, I’m going to try. I hate counting calories. Hate it. But I think it just might work. Today I will give it a try. One day – I can do that. My life has quickly become a “one-day-at-a-time”. I can only handle one thing at a time. Today, I will count calories.

Thanks for listening to my rant! I feel like these negative posts come more often than the positive ones. I will work on changing that!


“Hi, I’m Fertility-Challenged. And you are….?”

Today is one of those days. Bear with me as I proceed to whine, rant, and sort through my pessimistic feelings. Tomorrow will be a new day with hopefully a better outlook.

Frankly, since my last post, I haven’t been feeling all that positive – about anything, not to mention getting pregnant. I woke up yesterday morning with a severe pain on the top of my foot – I figured out that I sprained or pinched a nerve in my tendon. Or something like that. It was supposed to be Day 1 of going “back” to my healthy lifestyle (as if I was ever there before). Instead, I spent the day elevating and icing my foot. Also, yesterday morning we awoke to the news that my husband and his family’s church burned to the ground. It wasn’t devastating to him, but still, random and upsetting. It was a weird day.

Today isn’t much better. I feel my negative thoughts about to spew out; apologies in advance. I’m just in one of those moods where EVERYTHING is wrong.

My biggest complaint right now is that my body is in control of me, and not the other way around. I’m supposed to be making better food choices, and eating less, which is my goal for the month. That isn’t really happening, because I’m fixated on my messed up health:

– I have hives in my face (usually lips) every day now. Well, make that night. These hives (angioedema), unlike regular hives, form under the skin, causing swelling, as opposed to on top of the skin. I can feel when they start. They have been hanging around every single night! It is so irritating! Last night I was brushing my teeth and I felt one starting on the inside of my lip, in the corner where my top and bottom lips meet. There was a second one high up in my gums, feeling like more in the cheek. When those swell, they move up into my nasal passage and I get stuffy. I woke up this morning with swollen cheeks, lips, and eyes. Like I said, I’ve been used to this once in a while, but not every single night. It takes HOURS to go away. I’m lucky if my students can’t still see it the next day. The other thing bothering me about these hives is my anxiety. I’ve been a little paranoid the last few months that I’m going to get them in my throat and have trouble breathing. I’ve only had them in the throat a few times now, and it makes my voice all scratchy and feels like there’s a lump in there (heyy, Christmas Eve). Last night, being probably over-tired, I basically sent myself into a paranoid state trying to fall asleep, creating hives in my throat that weren’t there. AKA – I was starting to have a panic attack. Those are not things I want my mind to get used to. Not okay! I yoga-breathed my way out of it, counting backwards from 100, twice, finally falling asleep. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS??

– Slightly less scary, but annoying nonetheless, I have bad circulation in my fingers and toes. This isn’t new news to me, but lately it has been extra bad. (Is this a side effect of Clomid?) After barely being cold (or cold for just a minute), these extremities turn white and feel numb/tingly, and take forever to go away. Today, at recess with my students, I had gloves on and my hands were shoved in my pockets. When we came back in, my middle finger was all white and tingly. This afternoon, after pilates class, where I went barefoot, I came home with both feet completely white and tingly from the balls up, even though I had socks and boots on in the car. It took a good hour to restore the blood. These were just today’s episodes – but it’s been going on a while.

Why is my body screaming at me?

And then, just because it’s the mood I’m in – I’m having major Clomid doubts. First of all, everyone is pregnant all of a sudden. Including my pilates instructor. It’s everywhere! Here I am, CD 12, with a self-prescribed plan of action (based on internet research) of “trying for a baby” (so many funny/gross ways to put this, but I’ll be polite) every other day until my blood test, which is on CD 20. Even after that, I may continue with the plan (I’ve heard many people say that on Clomid, they ovulated really late). It starts today. Hope the husband is geared up! It’s almost comical – and it would be, if I had any actual feelings that this may work!

My body isn’t giving me any signs of ovulation, not that I would know what they feel like, since I’ve most likely never ovulated.

I’m going to say it; feel free to scroll down and skip this. Here’s my ultra-whine: Clomid isn’t going to work, I’m going have 5,000 auto-immune problems and be a sickly middle-aged woman, and I’m never having children! I don’t smoke, do any drugs, and rarely drink. But my body hates me, and lets me know on a regular basis.

Okay, thanks. 🙂 I knew it was just a rant. I don’t have them often, and it needed to come out. Don’t take it all to heart – I completely understand that I’ve only just begun all this, and that so many people have it so much worse. I don’t negate that at all, and I feel for all of them. I’m just bitter that I’m fertility-challenged, and even more bitter that my body has the nerve to say, “Hey, let’s make fertility a struggle. While we’re at it, let’s give you an astronomically high amount of auto-immune antibodies and throw some random auto-immune diseases at you!” I’m only 27 years old, relatively healthy. Sure, I’m a good 10 pounds overweight, but still in the cusp of the healthy BMI, and I’m holding on to that!

I do see my thyroid doctor in about three weeks. I’ll mention all of this. I’m better now, thanks. Blogging today was some seriously needed self-therapy.

Now, let’s get down to business.

My thyroid is so good – it’s bad!

Oh, the irony. My thyroid’s been a bit quiet lately. I’ve almost forgotten that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the fun auto-immune disease linked to infertility.

I almost forgot how, when my husband and I started trying last spring, we were told to stop in the summer, because my TSH was at 8, way too high for conception, and if I did conceive, the likelihood for miscarriage was strong. That was a fun time.

Then came the adventures of my TSH level dropping, little by little. I cut out gluten from my diet a couple months ago. I tried to really kickstart my healthy eating. I jumped for joy in August when my TSH went from an 8 to a 2.3 in a month. I was astounded when, after switching to a more supportive endocrinologist, my TSH came back at a 1.39 this past October. It had never been that low.

Back in October, after meeting with my new endocrinologist, she told me that even though my TSH was technically in the normal range, for people trying to conceive she recommended it a little lower than 1. I was told to up my dosage twice a week with an extra  half a pill, then get my blood done.

Just got the results back.


It has NEVER been that low. Guess what the normal range is?

0.35-1. My TSH is TOO LOW. Honestly, how ironic.

All this means is that my thyroid is still producing some hormones, though it changes all the time. Currently, it’s producing enough on its own that the amount of Synthroid I’m taking is too much. I’m sending myself into HYPERthyroid land. A place I’ve never been.

I’ve spent months this summer agonizing about how to change my TSH level with my own habits, like upping my exercise and eating smaller portions. I’ve been doing that for a while now, and I’m wondering if that had anything to do with this.

Either way, I’ve been told to cut down to once a week on that extra half a pill, which I will do. I’m SO close to the normal range.

I could have all the fertility treatments in the world – if my TSH is out of whack, there will be no baby.

When the power goes out, the bloggers get blogging.

As I predicted, last week would give me a lot of information on the health issues I’ve been facing. While I shared them with some people, I really wanted to settle in and write about it, because blogging 1) helps me collect my thoughts, 2) is a great way to put things in perspective, and 3) is definitely a peaceful and relaxing activity. I always feel better after writing!

Then the power went out. We had a crazy October Nor’easter, right on my sister’s birthday. Her power went out before mine, so with the snapping of tree limbs all around my house, we had a birthday dinner for her. We made it through dinner, dessert, and clean-up with power. As I was commenting on Facebook that we seemed to be the only neighborhood in town with power, the lights went out, at 8pm. And so did the heat. Five days later, and we’re still without power. I have lived in this house, with the exception of college and an additional year, for 23 years. We have only lost power once, for about 24 hours. I’ve never seen anything like this. My house got down to a very chilly 51 degrees. I wore a heavy winter coat while hand-washing the dishes, and my dogs shivered as they curled up in little balls on the couch. This is no way to live! I’m all about living simply, but that was pushing it just as bit. Luckily, we were able to borrow someone’s generator who does have power, and we finally hooked it up last night. It’s ridiculously loud, and there are a million cords all around the house, but we have been given heat, two lamps, the tv/internet/phone, and my one surviving fish now has a heated tank once again. Now my house is a roasty 63 degrees, and slowly rising. I’ve decided to take out the computer and waste the batteries for a little while to compose my thoughts.

Let’s back up. At the beginning of last week, with still no AF (Aunt Flo…I didn’t make it up.) in sight, I called my gyno, as she had told me to do the week before. She faxed over a pregnancy blood test to my now-so-familiar blood testing lab, told me to get the blood test done in the next few days, and if the results came back negative, they would start me on Provera. It has a more complicated name, but I know it as Provera. It jump-starts your period.

So I went on Tuesday afternoon and got the blood test. It was extra painful, for some reason. Between all the blood tests I have been getting lately, I don’t know what it was but it hurt. Anyway, the woman said she’d process it in the morning. I got pretty anxious and excited. I have no idea why.

So I waited, and checked my phone throughout the entire day Wednesday. No luck, but then again my gyno said I should know on Thursday in the first place. Thursday came and went too, again with my phone by my side. I was praying to the pregnancy gods, honestly, that a miracle would occur. I told myself there was a 99% chance I couldn’t be pregnant. I had low temps, two negative OPK’s, but I did have CF two days in a row, unmistakeable. And we tried, even though at that point we didn’t know how low my TSH was. Oh well, it was low enough, but it didn’t matter anyway. Friday at lunch, I had a voicemail. Of course, they won’t leave anything over the phone so I had to call the office. The receptionist said in a cheery voice that the results came back negative (duh) and she had already phoned in my prescription for Provera. I could pick it up after work. She also told me that there were 10 pills, I needed to take them once a day, and by the end of the 10 days, within two more weeks I should have my period. Oh, and they sometimes make people very sleepy so take it at night. If I don’t have my period two weeks after the 10th pill, she said, call back. I told her I have an appointment with the gyno in about a week and a half, so could I just tell her then? She said sure. Would they still want to see me for a physical if I do have AF then? Yes, she said, they would. Good, because I have lots of questions.

So, I’ve been taking Provera every night since Friday. I have four more pills to go. Then another two weeks to wait. By the way, today is CD 77. Good times. The last time I got AF, it was August 19th. This is insane! And it sucks not knowing when it’s coming. I’ve always had some notice, and been able to prepare. Now I have no clue. And what if – is it possible that the pain and cramping I could experience with this would be a million times worse than normal, given it’s been a build-up for months? I seriously hope not.

That’s where I stand on that issue. I just want AF to come, honestly, because I want to start over. Let’s pretend this multi-month anovulatory crap cycle never happened, and go back to those precious 41-day cycles. I had three of those in a row, then this. By the way, I went off BC in April. I’ve only had AF three times since then, and waiting on the fourth.

Then there was more news. I went to my new endocrinologist on Thursday afternoon, for the first time. As you may recall, my old endo was great in the beginning. She put me on Synthroid, monitored it decently, and seemed pretty knowledgeable. But over the summer, when my TSH came back at 8, and I mentioned TTC, she told me I was not allowed to try. I don’t blame her for that one, that did seem like a good move. But then, even after it came down to a 2 a month later, she was unwilling to discuss the risks of TTC and the growing list of questions I had. My biggest question was if I could get my TSH tested more often, just so I knew what it was (so I could TTC without her knowing….). She said no. My next appointment with her was in January, and that’s when she wanted to test it again. I begged for one additional TSH test, and she finally gave me a slip for the end of November. That’s it. And that’s when I decided I have to do enough waiting as it is with these health issues. I’m not doing it for one more thing. So I did a google search, found an endo in my town with good reviews, and it turns out she works in conjunction with my gyno down the street. Perfect.

Upon meeting her on Thursday, I was thrilled. Her demeanor was friendly, caring, and almost motherly. The receptionist let on once that she has school-age children, and that was even better. She would definitely understand my desire to TTC when she has children of her own, right? I put on my polite, professional, gracious voice to show my appreciation for her help, and as a way to say, “Forgive me, but I’ve brought with me 5,000 questions”. In fact, I did bring a doubled-sided piece of paper filled with research and questions I’ve accumulated from Mary Shomon’s books and the internet. I did actually say to her, just to butter her up, “You’re going to think I’m crazy, especially as a new patient, but I’ve brought a lot of questions….” Then I sat, calmly and patiently, and we reviewed my history and old labs. Finally, she said, “Okay, you’ve got questions. Shoot.” Really? I can actually ask you questions??

I touched upon basically all aspects of thyroid and reproductive health. I asked about diet, food allergies, exercise, vitamin deficiencies, the fertility issues I’m having, difficulties in losing weight, ideal TSH levels, etc. I asked about it all. And she answered it all. Here are some of the most valuable answers she gave me:

-After mentioning that my current TSH is a 1.39, which is definitely in the normal range, I asked what she thought the ideal TSH should be when TTC. (I knew that all doctors have a different number. The lower, the better.) She said between 0.5 and 1. Wow!! So, I asked, should we up my Synthroid dosage? She decided that instead of upping it to 100mcg, which might be too much, twice a week I am to take an additional half a pill along with my regular pill. After 6 weeks, she’d like to check it again. But together as patient and doctor (aww) we’re aiming for my TSH to be between 0.5 and 1. That, in itself, is the most wonderful news. My TSH is low now but she’s going to let me go lower. Awesome.

-I mentioned the research I’ve done on antithyroid antibodies. They are a sign that you have an autoimmune thyroid problem. Obviously, I do. My numbers are “off the charts” as my allergist put it, at 900. Normal is 9 or less. I’ve read that high antibody numbers doubles the risk of miscarriage. True? And what can I do about them? The doctor said yes, it is true. It does up the risk of miscarriage. (’s high enough already). However, if a miscarriage were to occur from the antibodies, it would more than likely occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, when many women don’t even yet know they are pregnant. I probably would, because I’m charting, but 3 weeks in isn’t nearly as upsetting as 3 months. Phew.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about that number. The number isn’t the problem. It’s just the signal that I have another problem. As long as I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (um, forever), that number will remain high. She said she won’t even bother to check it in the future, because we already know what it is. It will drop a little, maybe, but not much. So that’s that. Pray for no miscarriages when that day comes.

-Celiac’s Disease – what’s with that? She said in patients that already have Celiac’s Disease (allergy to gluten), she finds many of them also have an autoimmune thyroid problem (either Hashimoto’s or Grave’s Disease). However, that is not necessarily the case the other way around. She noticed that my food blood tests came back negative. I don’t have flat-out Celiac’s Disease. But I still do think I have a gluten, or at least wheat, intolerance.

-Here was a big one: If my TSH is doing so well, what is up with this long, messed up, anovulatory cycle? Well, she said, since your thyroid is doing so well – it’s probably not your thyroid. Seriously? So even though people with hypothyroidism tend to have long, anovulatory cycles and messed up fertility, that’s probably NOT what this is? Maybe not, she said. Then, and this made my day, she filled out a lab slip for me to get done immediately, testing all my hormones! I got it done Saturday morning (another 7 vials of blood). It might take up to 2 weeks to come in, but when it does, it may help answer my fertility question. What is going on in my body? She explained what the tests were, but I can’t remember them except for testing my estrogen and testosterone levels. She did for me what I was hoping my gyno may have done when I see her in the next week. Only my thyroid doctor, but testing my gyno-related stuff. She rocks.

-Then, just for my piece of mind, she gave me an additional 4 or 5 lab slips for my TSH. She even said, “I gave you a few extra just in case you’re feeling worried about it and just want to see what it is.” Oh my goodness. Seriously, she must be the best doctor I’ve ever had.

I would recommend this doctor to anyone who thinks they might have a thyroid problem. She is wonderful. I stayed in there for almost an hour, asking all of my questions. She patiently listened, answered, and I felt like I was the only patient she has ever had. It was the best thing. And it helped, thinking back to that appointment when I got my negative pregnancy test the next day. It’s still helping now, as I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the past few days, waiting for AF to come, feeling like a real chance to conceive is so far away. At least I have a caring doctor.

In my final thoughts on all this, it’s pretty hard to eat healthy when the power goes out and the contents of your fridge and freezer are sitting in the snow on the front lawn. A hot meal goes a long way. So when my friends got a hot pizza the other day for lunch, I decided, here’s the test. I ate two big pieces. Then, that night with the hot dinner my husband’s cousin cooked at his house, I ate a wheat roll. Let’s see what happens, I thought. Well, since those two meals that day I have had stomach pains and digestive issues (let’s leave it at that) a couple times a day, especially the first two days afterwards. I haven’t felt that kind of stomach pain in a while. Do I think it’s the wheat? Yes, I do. That said, this is an intolerance, not Celiac’s Disease. Thanksgiving is on its way and I will be damned if I’m not going to eat pies made in wheat crusts. I may have some pains the next day or two, but it’s worth it. Until then, though, it’s back to wheat-free cereal, pasta, bread, etc. I don’t think my body likes it, and that’s just the way it is. As for sugar – I’ve been eating a lot of that again too (hey, I bought Halloween candy for the kids…and then Halloween never happened! Returning the candy never crossed my mind…)So that could be a part of the pain too. Once the power is back on, and the gym reopens, and I go back to work (school was cancelled for the week!), I hope to refocus on my food health, without obsession. Weight should be saved for the creation of another blog, maybe, but I’m at the cusp of putting my BMI into the “overweight” category. I don’t like that, and I don’t like how I feel. Right now I feel fat (I know I’m not “fat” by some definition but I feel that way), out of control with my eating, and infertile. Not a good combination. It leads to the funk I’ve been feeling! So, looking forward to getting on with my good health and dropping a few pounds with some healthy eating and small portions.

Hey, that was a lot of information! And just as I thought, I feel better. I always do. So, thanks for reading these long, huge blog posts. I do appreciate it. Someday when I’m feeling adventurous, I’d like to make them more readable, perhaps with pictures, more links, etc. For now, it’s my primary venting mechanism.

Finding Willpower…

And then there’s my other set of thoughts – my diet. I have been doing some serious internet searching, and there are a large amount of people out there with Hashimoto’s and Celiac’s disease, or at least some gluten intolerance.

I knew this, so I got tested for it, and am currently awaiting the results. But I have a feeling I will test negative for Celiac’s. My allergist said that the disease is on a spectrum. I believe I had a ton of stomach discomfort, bloating, constipation, etc. from it, but that might not be enough to show up on a blood test. But, he said, and he’s right, why eat it if it makes you feel badly? I have been doing great with no gluten. It’s so crazy how 99% of the time, I don’t even miss it. What I hate is being the lone one out at parties, or out to dinner. When I go out to dinner I’m good as long as there is at least salads. But at parties, not so much. Twice recently I’ve gone to events where they only served pizza. One of the times, I brought my own subway salad (yuck) and the other time I just starved. I kept some nuts in my purse. That is when it really sucks. And if someone that doesn’t know you that well says, “Why aren’t you eating?” you don’t really want to take the 5 minutes to explain in detail the issues you are having. You might just say, “Oh, I can’t. I’m allergic.” Or, “It upsets my stomach”. But even that is TMI for most people. And so many out there do not understand Celiac’s disease at all.

Here’s the fascinating thing I’ve learned a few times over lately: Gluten intolerance, or Celiac’s, can CAUSE Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Especially if it goes on a number of years without you knowing it. How? Well, little specks of gluten can’t be digested properly in your system, and they exit the stomach and get into your VEINS, which is crazy. If that happens long enough, your body sees it as a disease and attacks, giving you an auto-immune problem. Even if I don’t have full-blown Celiac’s, what if for the last 15 years I’ve had an issue with gluten and never even knew, causing my own Hashimoto’s?

This would all be so easy and everything if I felt great. Unfortunately, I don’t. Getting rid of gluten did, for sure, decrease my bloating, pains, and other fun stomach things. I also don’t crave it (usually) and don’t feel like I’m going to die of fullness after meals. It’s nice.

But I still have insane hives. Especially right now. Usually, when they come back in full force, I take a ton of antihistamines and wait for them to go away. This usually takes a few months. This time, I want to see if I can control them with a more focused diet.

In the last month or two, almost every single time I have ice cream at night (it’s the last thing I eat) I have lip hives, which are the worst, within a half hour. They last all night, into the next day, make it hard to swallow, get up into my nose and make me stuffy, etc. Then, one night I didn’t have ice cream, but ate a few pieces of candy. That night, I had horrible hives in my cheeks and ears, but not lips.

Dare I say, as I’ve said before – I think gluten bothers me, dairy in large amounts, but most of all – sugar. Last night, doing research, I found a number of people “allergic” to all three. And it makes sense. At least with gluten and sugar – they are one in the same! I may not have Celiac’s, and it may not really be a true gluten intolerance, but instead a sugar intolerance. As for the dairy, I don’t know how that fits in but it does.

Getting rid of sugar is SO hard. I tried, during the summer, for like..a month. And then when I cut out gluten, I let sugar back in. I told myself I could only let go of one thing at a time. But I think I HAVE to get rid of sugar. If my hives went away, I’d know for sure. I have to find the willpower to do this. I can probably manage at home, but when I go out, that’s when it’s hard. Think of all the foods that have gluten, dairy, or sugar in them. And I have some very nice, supportive friends who want to make sure I have something to eat. While I appreciate this, I don’t also want to be that person with all the issues. I want to blend into the scenery and not make it a big deal. My friends know that it is a big deal, of course, but I hate calling attention to myself like that.

So this morning I have woken up with no hives (thanks to some meds last night). Today is experiment #1  of no sugar. Now, I can have sugar from stevia (truvia) or xylitol, thank god. But that’s it. My husband has already been cooking (starting last night) a pulled pork for tonight’s dinner, with brown sugar on it. Oops. It’s already cooked, it’s going to be delicious, I’m going to eat it. And that’ll be a test. But the rest of the day, no real sugar. My husband is also a great chef – and he’s making us a gluten-free, sugar-free apple pie. Yum? How good could that POSSIBLY be??? I’ll let you know…

The lightbulb has really gone off this time…

It’s almost my bedtime on this school night, but my brain is on overload! I hate when that happens – you get all worked up and then can’t sleep. So I’ll attempt to vent my thoughts in order to help me eliminate them when I crawl into bed….

First of all, I do want to say thank you. This constant venting of mine is definitely therapeutic for me, but I can’t imagine it’s all that fun to read. But you do it anyway, and then let me know you’re my little support system. I never thought I’d ever need a support system for anything, but it does feel nice to have my thoughts understood by others. So, thanks. 🙂

So, today I got my other book I’ve been waiting for in the mail. Again, I HIGHLY recommend it, especially for those who think they may have, or have already been diagnosed with, a thyroid issue. It’s called “Living Well with Hypothyroidism”, by Mary Shomon. I read amazing reviews about it everywhere, and so far, I’m so glad I purchased it.

I haven’t actually read it. Like I said, I just got it today. But, just to see what it might have in store for me, I opened up to a random page. There, in bold print, were three headings with short paragraphs underneath, from the chapter, “Are you at risk for hypothyroidism?” Here were the three headings:

Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance

Infertility/Frequent Miscarriage

Skin Problems

I basically jumped out of my skin. Then, after that, I quickly looked for the chapter on pregnancy. By skimming, it confirmed what I already know: long cycles, short LP, anovulatory cycles, etc.

Here’s my question: WHY did I have to do all the research I have done only to find out something I should have found out literally 4 years ago???

All my health problems are related. My food issues: bloating, IBS. My “infertility” (not, but at this point, messed up fertility) – anovulatory cycles, low BBT, long cycles. And my skin problems – chronic uticaria.

It’s like this rush of adrenaline (hence my need to post on a Monday night). I can’t believe it – all my questions are answered. After all this time. And stress. And research. It really does all come back to the thyroid. And my thyroid is still messed up, even though my TSH is a 2.

I haven’t fully read it yet, but I did see a part in the book saying anything above a 2 is too high. So, my 2.03…is probably not good enough. I think I need a new endocrinologist.

I had a little bit of candy tonight, and now I have a lip hive. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say a small amount of sugar is okay, but too much gives me lip hives. Wheat is just a no-no.

Here’s my last piece of venting: There are so many people with thyroid problems, my father included. Unless you really do your research, you wouldn’t realize how many other symptoms and problems are connected to this disease. If you think you have any of this, you must check it out. Apparently doctors are just looking at the numbers instead of you. So, I feel like a walking billboard, but definitely get a blood test. I can tell you what exactly to look for, to ask the doctor to check. And I’ll save the rest of my preaching for a future post.

Thanks for listening 🙂 Someday this will all be humorous…

Listen To Your Body!

So, I was going to let this blog sit for a while, because I’ve felt like all I’ve been doing is complaining, and while it’s therapeutic for me, it could get pretty annoying to other people. Plus, it’s been getting depressing. But this morning, as I’m trying to wrap my brain around a couple of concepts, I decided – I might as well put them out there, and see what you think.

The concept for this post is once again – health. I have done so much research in the past few days, and the most shocking part of it for me is how many health issues I have dug up. I’m learning that it is SO important to listen to your body. Don’t just assume whatever symptoms you have, for however long you’ve had them, are normal for you.

I’ve diagnosed myself with a gluten-intolerance, and possibly more dietary restrictions. Here’s what I found out in my research: If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy (Celiac’s), the damage done to your stomach lining can cause Hashimoto’s to spring up. Damage done over many years can cause many issues, and put you at risk for other diseases, like stomach cancers. Of course, I also read again and again that there is a known connection between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Celiac’s disease.

I have also had issues with dairy, but only in large doses (and usually involving sugar…). Sugar, as well, may be a culprit, but again, depending on how much. Having this thyroid condition is all about monitoring my blood sugar, like I am a diabetes patient. I knew this already, but I just can’t believe how everything, all of my health problems that I’ve had starting as a child, are connected.

At the end of this post I’ll put the links I’ve used for research for you to check out, as I’ve heard from some people that they think they may have a similar condition. But you can always just google “Hashimoto’s and Celiac’s” and watch what comes up.

Here’s a rundown of my health history, in case you may feel as if you are heading down a similar path:

-As a child, super low-blood sugar before dinnertime. Always needed a nap, very cranky. After dinner, I was a new person! Also as a child, I was obsessed with sugar, and ate a ton of it.

-As a teenager in high school, junior year I developed stomach issues which, when taken to a doctor, turned out to be IBS. I took extra fiber 3 times a day to help with the stomach attacks I would get. Again, ate a ton of sugar and carbs.  This continued through college.

-After college, I developed hives. They would start minor and become severe. They were itchy and lasted many hours. This continued for at least a year or two, and I eventually developed hives in my face and lips (angioedema). I saw an allergist, and he treated my hives with many antihistamines. They worked, as long as I took them up to 3 times a day. He ordered my first blood test.

-My blood test came back a giant mess. My thyroid antibodies were “off the charts” at 900. They were working overtime. My TSH level was high (can’t remember the exact number, but definitely in double digits). He continued to treat my hives, but recommended I see an endocrinologist, and possibly a rheumatologist. (Here’s where my current thoughts are – what if those hives were never a symptom of my thyroid, but a symptom of gluten (and who knows what other foods) intolerance? What if all these years of sugar and carbs helped kick Hashimoto’s into gear?)

-The rheumatologist decided I didn’t have lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, at least not now. The endocrinologist put me on Synthroid. I have known how to care for my hives so I stopped seeing my allergist for the time being.

-Synthroid has helped, a lot. But the two times in two years that it hasn’t, and my dosage has had to be increased were May and June (and July and August) of the past 2 summers. Both of those times were #1 -stressful. A few deaths occurred that first time, and my school closed the second time. With this stress came lots of bad eating. Treats were brought in, I needed quick, easy meals, and sugar and carbs came back full force. I would go weeks without a vegetable. It was bad. Lastly, I stopped exercising.

-Now I’ve switched to this low(er) sugar, no gluten, heavy on veggies and protein diet, and my TSH number jumped down to 2, and I feel pretty good. Who knew?!

I just can’t believe that this whole time, I have had a thyroid issue. And, this whole time, I may have had a gluten (and dairy, and sugar?) issue. It may have helped cause my Hashimoto’s.

If you are concerned about your health, try not eating gluten (or sugar, or dairy, or all of the above) for a week. Two weeks. Try eating protein and vegetables. And exercise when you can. My cravings go away, my bloating goes away, my hives go away, and my TSH level drops. If you feel great after 2 weeks, you can diagnose yourself. Thyroid issue or not, I just don’t think carbs and sugar are good for anyone. Now, I’ve decided to call my allergist next week and ask for a blood test to find out exactly what I’m allergic to, food-wise. I’ll keep you posted.

Here are some links I found helpful while researching:

And there’s so many more. Doing research on your health conditions makes you #1 – shocked how everything is connected, and #2 – mad you didn’t know sooner. If your body does weird things, don’t assume it’s normal!

Food Allergies?

Hi! It’s been a while since my last post; school has started and life gets busy again. Also, there hasn’t been too much to say, and I’ve wondered if I should continue this blog. But for now, I’ll post the occasional comment. Someday, when I’m actually pregnant, I’ll have more to say on the topic!

However, I have discovered that I may really have an intolerance to wheat. And possibly dairy, when mixed with sugar.

School started, and I didn’t have a single wheat product all week, and felt great. No hives, etc.. Well, Wednesday night I had a skinny cow at my mother’s house, which has some wheat, but it wasn’t much and I was fine. Thursday night, against my better judgment, I had a cup of oatmeal cereal with milk, thinking that so far, it’s been hard to tell when I’m having food allergy issues and when I’m not. Friday morning I woke up with both intestinal issues and hives on my arms and legs. Some hadn’t come through the skin yet, but I was very itchy. I thought that was the strongest evidence of a wheat intolerance so far.

Then, last night while meeting relatives, I had ice cream (larger than I should have had…). I woke up this morning with slight angioedema (hives on my lips). That’s the second time that I’ve had lip hives after an ice cream product late at night. It happened a few weeks ago as well. But in between a few weeks ago and last night, I’ve had ice cream with no problems. So what’s the difference? I think the amount.

I find this whole food allergy this so ironic, because prior to all these health problems, no only was I practically addicted to sugar and carbs, I’d overeat both of them in huge portions on a regular basis. I was trying, and failing, to curb my addictions when this health thing took over and is doing the job for me.

I looked at Celiac’s disease, which is having an allergy to gluten. I know someone with this disease, and her symptoms have been life-long and severe. I’m not necessarily sure that I have that, and more than likely, I’ve just developed an intolerance for gluten, which isn’t the same thing as an allergy. But while doing a little research, I discovered this at

What symptoms may be caused by a gluten allergy?

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Canker sores
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Infertility
  • Iron deficient anemia
  • Irritability
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Joint Pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poor Growth
  • Poor immune function (frequent illness)
  • Sinusitis

And it also said this: People with celiac disease are known to be at higher risk for many conditions, including cancer of the digestive tract, thyroid problems, anemia, osteoporosis, and many autoimmune conditions.

So, if I did really have this gluten allergy or intolerance, perhaps it’s also connected to my IBS and Hashimoto’s – in other words, autoimmune issues.

It’s eye-opening! Now, technically oats do not have gluten in them, but typically they have gluten on them, from normal grocery stores. But when I have my organic steel-cut oats, I’ve never had a problem. So that cereal the other night was a bad move. As for the ice cream, I have known for years that too much dairy messes me up (I can’t drink milk with dinner). But in small doses, I’m fine. So I think it’s a case of portioning my ice cream…which is hard, but I’ll do it.

Who knew that my desire to get pregnant would result in discovering so much about my health!

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’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.