Tuesday, March 10, 2015

February to March: Anniversaries to Baby Goats...

Strange title, I know...but I will explain.  February was a tough month in that the anniversary of the passing of our baby, Francis Marie was on the 6th and Mary Grace's anniversary was the 28th.  So the month was sort of bookended by these anniversaries.  I don't know if I adequately grieved Francis Marie, but I felt particularly sad on the 6th.  The 28th was full of snow and ice, but we made it to the cemetery on the 29th and it happened to be a miserable, cold, wet day.

But February and March kept us busy, because it is now kidding season for our goats.  And as this was our first kidding season, it has been full of anticipation, excitement and a bit of nervousness. 

These are our two mama goats:


and Cameo.
Cameo went into labor first.  Poor girl. 12 hours of pressing her head against the wall.

She delivered two bucklings around 7am.


This is one of her bucklings below (yet to be named).

And Ian has started calling her other buckling "Snow Runner" (below).
That same evening, Amaretto went into labor and her labor was even longer; ending around 11am with the delivery of triplets!
Ian was really excited because he and Rob were home to help deliver these babies; just the two of them!

The kids were tuckered out their first day of life.

But two days later they have lots of energy!
Here is a picture of Amaretto's only doeling (below), still unnamed.

And one of the bucklings; Isabel has named this one Charlie.
Close up of Charlie.

And the third triplet (second buckling), still unnamed.
Charlie and his sister (below).

Our two "teenagers" were worn out after babysitting all the "babies".


Caroline doesn't mind the newest babies, but the teenagers are starting to get a little rough for her.
She was sipping "seashell tea" from a dog food bowl here. 
Below:  All the kids for this year (7 total) together.

It's really tricky to get pictures with these little goats, because at first there is only one.
And then there are...well, more than one.

And nobody wants to stand still!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

So I had a thyroid biopsy...*Update*

Check that off of my list of weird medical things to do.

It went fine and an initial look at the cells that they extracted look normal and not like cancer.  We are awaiting official pathology results that should come in Thursday, but it looks good.   Praise God!

So just in case you are wondering what it is like to have a thyroid biopsy, I went in and sat upright in a chair.  They put betadine on my neck and the doctor looked at my thyroid nodules by ultrasound and then stuck a needle in my neck and extracted cells/fluid/tissue...not sure what all came out of the nodules.

So I had 2 nodules and they had to do 2 biopsies on each nodule to make sure they got a good sample.

That was FOUR needles in my neck!!!  The first one hurt a little but, you know like getting blood drawn by a not-so-good nurse.  The second stick was much better, but right after he got done with that one I got really, really lightheaded.  The room started flashing, I thought I was going to be sick.  I had to sit forward, turn a fan on, sip cold water, put a cold washrag on the back of my neck and two ice packs on my thighs and hands.  And finally, I started to feel better.  The ice really helped.  That was pretty embarrassing and the doctor suggested we not do the last 2 biopsies, but I was not going to drive all the way again on another day for something that we could get done right then, so we trucked through the last two and I had some juice afterward and felt fine.  My neck was a little sore afterward, but all in all, it was a very simple procedure.  The worst part was me getting faint.

As long as the pathology report comes back clean, my little nodules will remain right there on my thyroid and I will go back to the endocrinologist in a year to check on them.

Overall I am feeling better...I think all the vitamins are definitely helping me, and being on the thyroid medicine must be helping.  But my heart still does pound on a daily basis, although it no longer seems to be skipping beats. 

I go back to my NaPro doctor in 2 weeks.  So we will see what she has to say about it.

*UPDATE*  My biopsies came back normal...they are benign!  Praise God and sorry to keep you waiting for the results. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yet another Thyroid Update (with numbers)!

To begin with, my bloodwork came back from endocrinologist and there are no signs that I have a paraganglioma!  Which is great news!  Which means we can proceed with a biopsy of my thyroid nodules in 2 weeks on February 3rd.

Today I had a follow-up with my NFP doctor.  She asked if the endocrinologist had discussed my thyroid bloodwork and I told her that he had told me that it was all normal.  She laughed and said, it is definitely not normal!!  Basically I am hypothyroid.  My Free T3 and Free T4 were in normal range, but my total T3 was 71 which is low (normal is 76-181) and my Reverse T3 is 13.  She explained a chart of thyroid function and dysfunction which I can't really explain...it seems to come down to the fact that my T3 to reverseT3 ratio is not normal....mine is 5.5 and normal is 10 or higher. 

SO.....long story short, I am starting Armour at the smallest dose (15mg/day) for a week to help my thyroid and then she is bumping it up to twice that.  She wants to be cautious, because with my blood pressure on the high side, she doesn't want it to jump.

I am also low on iodine and vitamin D, low-ish on B12, low on estrogen (during my cycle) but everything else seems to look good.

Here are the supplements/medicines I will start on:

Iodoral 12.5mg/daily for 2-3 months to get my iodine levels up.

B Complex daily to boost my B12.

Vitamin D prescription 50,000 units 1/wk for 4 months and an extra 5000units daily.

Niacin no-flush, slow-release 1/day as a starting point to work on lowering my blood pressure

Armour 15mg/day for 1 week then 30mg/day

HCG shot on P+3, 5, 7, 9 of my cycle to make my body make more estrogen

B6 Sustained 500mg/day to increase mucus in my cycle

She threw around the idea of doing an adrenal function test, but because insurance doesn't cover this it would be about $180.  Not sure if we will do it or not.  Adrenal fatigue she said could be caused by stress over many years, which she noted I have had lots of stress (of losing babies) but overall we think that I've handled it pretty well....so not going to check adrenal function as of yet.

I go back in 4 weeks to check on blood pressure again.

Thanks for the prayers!  I feel like we are headed in the right direction.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thyroid Ultrasound Update

On Thursday I went to the endocrinologist and they went over my history, symptoms, took my blood pressure (which was much lower at 140/90!), did an ultrasound of my thyroid and pulled lots of blood.

All of my thyroid blood panels had already come back at normal levels.

On the ultrasound they confirmed two nodules that were side by side on my thyroid about 1.5cm each.  Normally they would do a fine needle aspiration biopsy right then to check them out as they were not just fluid filled, but had solid parts.  However, this doctor suspects that it might be possible that I have a rare adrenal tumor called a paraganglioma on my thyroid.  Basically a paraganglioma is an adrenaline producing tumor.  If they were to biopsy this, it could send out too much adrenaline and have....well, unfortunate results for me!  So, he wanted to be extra cautious and do some more bloodwork that would help determine if that is what this is. 

I really saw God's hand in this, because the doctor relayed to me that they had had a case like this last month and he had really been reading up on this condition and discussing with other doctors about the best course of action should they come across this diagnosis again. 

They put me in a dark room in a supine position for what was supposed to be 15 minutes.  However, they must have forgotten about me, because about 40 minutes later (although I really had no idea how long it had been and didn't want to get up to go check because that would ruin the whole lie-still-so-we-can-take-your-blood-and-get-an-accurate-reading thing)....I finally prayed, "God, please let me know you are with me in all this and send a nurse in within the next 60 seconds so I know you haven't forgotten about me!"

And I started counting down with confidence....Sixty.



Fifty-se........*knock knock knock*

A nurse walked in the door to take my blood!  Yep, even though I was confident God was listening, I was somehow still surprised he answered that prayer so quickly!

So she took my blood while I was so calm and that should give a good idea as to whether adrenaline is pumping through my body when it's not  supposed to be; thus suggestive of the paraganglioma.

Here is some more information on these tumors, in case you are interested.  I was so glad this doctor took the time to write down all this information because my brain could barely keep up with all the information he covered in a short amount of time, much less was it able to spell or even remember the word "paraganglioma"!


Of course this would be something that is rare....because all of my issues turn out to be "really rare" and "this will never happen twice" and "surely it couldn't be this because you've already had x, y and z".

I should get the results back Monday or Tuesday and then they will let me know how we should proceed.

My symptoms are:  lightheadedness, high blood pressure, very strong pulse, pulse skips a beat, nausea, eating less, constant dull headache, irritability, times when I just have no more energy.. and I could go on! 

I did ask again about what I should or should not be doing in the meantime, and the doctor just said, "Don't run a marathon!"

Ha.  Don't worry about that.

My mom sent me a really encouraging psalm and I just loved reading it yesterday.  I am not too worried about this....God has it all in His hands. 

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Photo #5 Putting away Christmas

We packed up all the ornaments today. 
This is one of my favorites.  Divino Nino, the Divine Child. 
A gift from my mom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thyroid and blood pressure madness.

Yesterday I went to see a new doctor.  She is great.  She is an NFP only practitioner which means she does not prescribe birth control and I knew that I wanted to become a patient of hers to support her in this, because I feel morally, that is the only way to go.  But it was hard for me to think of leaving the OB/GYN practice that I have been with for almost 10 years.  They have seen me for 8 pregnancies.  I knew exactly where everything was in that office.  I knew office staff.  I knew the routines.  I was comfortable there.

I told Rob I was nervous about leaving and going somewhere new, and he told me that sometimes God wants us to be uncomfortable.  Doing the right thing is not always comfortable.

And so I made my appointment after nearly 2 months of having a bounding pulse.  My bounding pulse is not a fast heartrate, but a insanely annoying throbbing of my pulse which I mainly feel in my neck. I can usually see it pulsing on my wrist as well.  So that was my impetus for making this appointment.  It felt like last February when I was in the hospital for the partial molar pregnancy and my blood pressure was high and my thyroid was hyper.

I left my kids with a paid babysitter (for the first time ever I think)....and went to the office.  When I got in there the waiting room was small and I thought, "Oh boy, was this a good idea?"  But once I got back with the nurse and doctor; my opinion of the place greatly changed.  They were so nice and the doctor ended up spending 30-40 minutes I think, talking to me and discussing my history.  One of the things I noticed right off about the doctor's office was that she had a huge picture of Jesus with little children gathered around Him.  Right there, hanging on her wall.  No wonder I had such a sense of peace.  That and beforehand I prayed that this office visit would be fruitful and that I could adequately relay all that had been going on with me physically without forgetting or getting "brain fog".  And God gave me the grace to do that!

So on to the health stuff....the nurse took my vitals and noted that my blood pressure was high.  Like 166/100 high.  They ended up taking my pressures 6 times and it was high every time and with 3 different cuffs.  I was told to go about my daily routine but not to exercise/overexert myself.

She went over all my symptoms and history and checked my neck.  Only to find that I have a thyroid nodule.  So that could be what is causing my blood pressure to be high.  Or I could just have developed high blood pressure based on my familial history.  Or I could be stressed from all that I have been through and not properly grieving Francis Marie.  Or it could be something else.

I am being referred to an endocrinologist to check out the nodule.  They will determine without it is solid or fluid-filled and whether or not it needs to come out.

In the meantime I had a ton of blood drawn and she is running thyroid tests and who knows what else.

And I have to go on P+3, 5, 7 and 9 of my cycle to get blood drawn.

This doctor is on top of things. 

I am to call her if I get a headache that won't go away, shortness of breath, more chest pain, vision changes, etc.

So that's where I'm at.  I'm not really nervous about any of it....this doc really has me confident that we can get to the bottom of this and get it straightened out and then we can try to conceive again.

And in the meantime, here is Photo #3 and #4


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Photo #2: Can you spot the big problem?

If you said, "Baby in the bathtub with her clothes on!"......you win!

She and Ian took a bath together and when she was done, I dried her off, put her in a new diaper and stuck her in pajamas.  She proceeded to walk back to the bathroom and to Ian's cries of "Nooooooo Baby!!!" climb her fully clothed body right back into the water with him.

*sigh*  A mother's work is never finished....even after she finishes it!