When Your Labs are “Normal” but you Aren’t

A few months ago, I visited my primary care physician begging her to run blood work on me to test various functions: thyroid, my blood sugar (A1C), and anything else she thought could be causing the symptoms I was experiencing. I felt awful every day; like I was seriously dying. I was waking up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, sweating like I was on fire, and feeling like I was going to throw up. I was extremely fatigued- I could sleep 10 hours a night and still feel like I needed more sleep. I just felt ‘off’, like something was just not right. My anxiety had skyrocketed, much worse than usual. When I inquired about the doctor running my full thyroid panel- not only TSH, but free T3 and T4, total T3 and T4, and a thyroid antibody test as well, she told me that she would only run TSH because she was “pretty sure it would come back normal”. She also told me to try Zoloft, that she thought maybe I was anxious or depressed. I’ve been anxious most of my life, and this was definitely not normal anxiety.

Sure enough, my TSH value (as well as other labs) came back in the “normal” range, but I was still feeling like garbage. My health got so bad that I decided I would have to visit a functional medicine doctor that would hopefully actually listen to my problems and get to the root cause of my issues. I couldn’t get in to the office for a few weeks, so I tried everything I could to help address my symptoms before hand. I started making sure I was in bed earlier- your cortisol can spike if you stay awake after 10-10:30PM. It can be a good thing at the time, but then you stay up way too late and feel awful the next day. I made sure my diet was optimal- I started eating strict Paleo again to hopefully help address any nutritional deficiencies. I started taking supplements again. I did start feeling better.

By the time I saw my new doctor, I had done some work to heal my body. I felt improvement over my symptoms. I didn’t feel back to my old self, but I felt like I was heading in the right direction. After meeting with the doctor, she said she would run a full thyroid panel because she was almost positive that I was having some thyroid problem based on my symptoms.

At my next appointment, she told me I am clinically hypothyroid and to continue with the Paleo diet (I am actually considering trying the GAPS diet for some serious healing), and to take a medicine called NDT (natural desiccated thyroid) at a low dose and we would increase it if necessary. She also said that I had HPA axis (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal) dysfunction and we would work on treating that as well. My vitamin D level was also a little low- 21 was the value; she would like to see it at least 50. The anxiety and fatigue I was feeling was caused from gut inflammation, thyroid, and adrenals. She said to make sure that my stress level is low, and to not over commit to things (hard to do as a mom!).

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

  • Waking up feeling fatigued
  • Inability to handle stress, feeling overwhelmed
  • Relying on caffeine to get going
  • Weakened immune system
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Low libido
  • Moodiness

I ordered this book, which has been so helpful in figuring out how to treat everything that’s going on. These are some of the supplements I started taking in an effort to heal my body from the mineral imbalance that is causing the hypothyroid and adrenal issues:

              • A methylated B complex vitamin- this is the correct form for people with MTHFR issues.
              • Whole food vitamin C – this is not a synthetic form.
              • Triple Calm Magnesium –magnesium is so important to the body!
              • A soil based probiotic – I love this probiotic. I can notice a difference when I take it. It helps with gut repair.
              • Rhodiola, an adaptogen that can help your body adapt to stress. This one is recommended for anxiety as well.
              • Ashwagandha– probably one of the most well known and widely used adaptogens.
              • N-A-C, a powerful antioxidant that helps with detoxification

I’ve heard ff you have a problem money can fix, it’s not that big of a problem. That makes total sense!  Dealing with a health issue has been so hard; much harder than getting out of debt!  I did have to pay out of pocket to visit the functional medicine doctor, as they don’t accept insurance.  If it helps heal me, it will be worth every penny! Some days are great, and then other days are really hard.  The healing is not linear, which is very frustrating. I am hopeful that in a few months or so I will be feeling a whole lot better! I’ll be sure to update on the healing journey.

Have you ever gone through a health problem like this?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this is just my personal experience with hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue. Some of the links in the post are Amazon affiliate links- I make a very small commission off them, which will help me buy my supplements.

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

elderberry

During the winter, my family takes elderberry syrup along with other supplements to boost our immune systems. Elderberries have been known to shorten the duration of illness, and it’s a berry so it’s generally considered safe for pretty much anyone including pregnant and nursing women. I personally have taken it while pregnant and nursing.  I really enjoy making and taking the elderberry syrup. If you don’t want to make your own elderberry syrup, you can buy it here.

Elderberries (sambucus nigra) grow in the wild, and you can harvest them yourself and make the syrup if you would like.  Some of the benefits of elderberries are: cold ad flu relief, blood sugar stabilizer, natural diuretic, good for allergies, and high in antioxidants.  They are also high in vitamins A, B6 and C, which helps them boost the immune system.

I purchase my organic elderberries in bulk from Amazon. They’ve always been great quality and I like buying in bulk so I don’t have to worry about running out when I want to make it.  Sometimes I also make elderberry tea by steeping 2 teaspoons of elderberries in 10 ounces of boiling water.  I add in some raw honey and it is delicious!  Here’s how you can make your own elderberry syrup:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon dried ginger
  • raw organic honey to taste (we purchase from Costco)
  1. Add 4 cups of filtered water to a medium sized pot and sprinkle in elderberries, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. I let mine barely bubble and check it every ten minutes.  It smells so good while it is cooking!  When it looks like the liquid has been reduced and is a little thicker than it was, turn the heat off and remove it from the burner.
  3. Let the mixture sit for awhile to cool down. After this has happened, I take my potato masher and squish the berries to release the liquid.  When done squishing berries, strain through a metal strainer into a glass container.  At this point, you can discard your elderberries.
  4. When the liquid is just warm, add honey to taste. We add between 1/2-3/4 cup of honey.  Stir to combine!

We take 1 tsp for kids and 2 tsp for adults daily as a preventative.  When illness strikes, take that dosage every two to three hours until symptoms disappear.  I actually use the elderberry syrup added to my daughter’s cod liver oil since she prefers the flavor.  She takes it with no problem and actually reminds me to give it to her if I forget!

Make sure to consume elderberry syrup within a month or so.  I have seen it mold when not consumed quickly enough, and that is why I don’t make more than one recipe at a time.  I shake mine well before dosing to the family members. The last illness we had lasted about 2 days for us, and didn’t seem to be as bad as other peoples’ symptoms and I attributed that to the elderberry syrup!

What do you do in the winter to boost your immune system?

 

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Well Thanks, Murphy. Glad we Had that Health Insurance.

I probably shouldn’t have made the last post I did complaining about health insurance. As it turns out, my daughter ended up having to spend two nights at our local children’s hospital, including Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  I noticed that she had swelling on one side of her neck on a Wednesday night. We all had been ill so I chalked it up to swollen lymph nodes and texted a picture to our neighbor who is a pediatrician (she was sick or she would have looked at her). She said it did look like lymph node swelling and to make an appointment with our pediatrician in the morning.

The next morning, I took her to our pediatrician and she agreed, that it looked like a swollen lymph node but because she’s young she wanted to make sure so she sent us for blood and lab work.  We went, had blood drawn, and waited for the results.  Of course, as a mom, I started worrying about worst case scenarios (lymphoma, leukemia, etc) and it was hard to wait for the results.  The CBC (white blood cell count) came back good, as did the crp (checks for markers of inflammation).  Our doctor said we would give it a week and check it again.  Well, the night before her check up I feared it was getting worse.  The next day our doctor agreed and sent us for an ultrasound on it at the children’s hospital.

We went at ten Friday morning for the appointment.  While we were in the ultrasound I asked a few questions and the way the tech replied made me fear it wasn’t just a swollen lymph node. She said she needed to check with the doctor to see if he needed any additional pictures, left, and was gone awhile.  She came back, took a few more pictures, and was gone for even longer.  When she came back she told me that our pediatrician was on the phone wanting to speak with us.

I honestly couldn’t really tell you what she said except it wasn’t good and we were immediately getting sent to the emergency room to see some specialists. It wasn’t a swollen lymph node. We ended up seeing an ENT (Ear, nose, and throat doctor) and they said they needed to do  a CT scan to see exactly what we were dealing with. They started an IV line, she got sent to the CT scan, and after that we went back to a waiting room. After awhile, we saw the doctor who said they were admitting us and the plan of action was to start IV antibiotics and see if that would help-it was an abscess.

We spent the rest of the night worrying about it, and at 6:30 AM the next morning they decided to do surgery.  She was taken back at 8AM and we were able to see her about 9:45AM. The surgery went well but they wanted us to stay to make sure everything was okay. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in the hospital until they released us at 2PM.

She’s doing well, and I’m glad it is nothing more serious.  They determined it was staph and she’s on antibiotics for a few more days. I’m not looking forward to any of the bills and have been stressing about it but we will figure it out somehow. I will be sure to update with what happens!

Have you ever had to take your child to the hospital?

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