Monday, February 13, 2017

Sherlock Holmes Is On The Case

Invisible illnesses are not easily detected.  Although they often leave strange clues, sometimes those clues seem to point toward something else.  The illness continues, masked behind the guise of another ailment.

It takes a highly skilled detective, like Sherlock Holmes, to gather the clues and piece them together to solve the puzzle.

This past weekend has been a bit rough.  I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights, mostly due to battling high blood sugars (from needing an increase in basal insulin and chasing protein) and not being able to fall asleep until late into the night.  Almost like insomnia.  I'm trying to shake it.  There's also been a lot of anticipation.

My lab work results were delivered.  I had no idea what to expect...good news?  Or bad news?  Was I infected with parasites?  Was my gut leaking horribly?  Was I allergic to something else?  Was I missing something?  Were my efforts doing anything worthwhile?

Dr. Goodyear led me back to his office and we exchanged pleasantries.  He then started by going over my blood lab work.  He had written notes and circled figures on the page that were of particular interest to him and, ultimately, me.  First was my CRP - high sensitivity marker.  This is the test that indicates the risk of potential cardiovascular diseases by measuring CRP, or C-Reactive Proteins, which are proteins in the blood which increase when general levels of inflammation are present in the body.  At my last appointment, my result was 3.5 (high risk).  Today, he was pleased to tell me my levels had dropped to 1.4 (low side of average risk).  Once I get it below 1.0, I will be at low risk and that is our goal!

He then went over my thyroid labs, since he wanted to make sure I was getting the right dose of Armour.  Free T4 came back at 0.7, slightly low.
Free T3 came back at 2.9, on the low side of normal. 
TSH came back at 0.45, which was right where he wanted it. 
He said that since my results came back low that I was getting a tiny bit too much, so I'm going to cut back my dose from 45mg twice a day to 45mg in the morning and 30mg at night.  This will also help my pills last a little longer.  Then came some big news. 

My thyroid peroxidase antibody levels - the antibodies that were attacking my thyroid - were nowhere near where they had been before! 
My initial result was 610 (super high!). 
My next result was 394, if you remember. 
Today...they were 52!!!! 
I was in shock!  I could not believe they had come down so much in just a year! 

"It's testament that what you've been doing is working!" he said. 

I grinned ear-to-ear as he asked if I had any other questions before he moved on.

To my gut health test. 

Questions?  What questions?  Keep going!  I want to hear more of the story!  What happens next?

Infections are a negative.
There is slight inflammation (no surprise there, for either of us.  My whole body is dealing with inflammation and, since the immune system is primarily in the gut, it's only natural to expect inflammation there).
No digestive insufficiencies.
A few slight imbalances.
A low diversity association of gut bacteria but relative abundance.

What does that all mean?

Basically, I am lacking a little bit in the Good Bacteria Department, but I have no issues in the Bad Bacteria Department.

My lactobacillus came back lower than he would've liked, so his recommendation was to add a probiotic to my supplementation regimen.  It should help balance things out so that my good bacteria has a chance to thrive.   

He then said I was negative for any parasitic activity, which was a huge relief!  It felt amazing to know there weren't any extra pieces to the puzzle we had to address, or mysteries to solve.  Some simple probiotics, which I had been wondering about anyway, seemed to be one of the answers I needed.

He also suggested that it might be possible that the gut inflammation could be caused by something I'm eating.  The 4 main food culprits are soy, wheat, dairy, and eggs, so he said to try a 3-month elimination diet with one of those foods and slowly reintroduce it back to see if I notice any reactions to it (he said I would know if I was having a reaction to it). 

Since I'm already avoiding wheat and I rarely eat soy (although I will pay close attention to labels to be sure), we decided I should start with dairy, since that's a big part of my diet (butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese).  I agreed to give it a try so that, as soon as all of the dairy products that are currently in my fridge have been devoured, this next puzzle piece can be checked.  I will instead search out dairy alternatives - almond milk yogurt, ghee, goat's milk cheese, etc.  Who knows?  I may even find some new food items I like!

This health journey has been one mystery after another.  It took me 20 years and several doctors before I found my Master Detective.  If you ever find yourself needing a good detective to help you get to the bottom of a case of invisible illnesses, I cannot recommend Dr. Goodyear enough.  He has been amazing in helping me get to the bottom of my health issues...even ones I didn't even know I had!  I'd say he's a real Sherlock Holmes!