I'm Finally a Crazy Nut!

I visited the specialist yesterday. I picked up my blood results beforehand from my primary care physician. The levels meant absolutely nothing to me. For example, I had no idea a low something-or-other equalled an overactive thyroid. My laymen guess would have been high equals high but lo and behold, those zany medical people have to confuse us normal folk with their fancy medical terms. Or something.

I began by apologizing. I was supposed to have one more blood test before visiting the specialist. My primary care doctor assumed he had time to do so since he didn’t think that I would get an appointment with the endocrinologist until after the holidays. That wasn’t the case due to a last minute cancelation. So I ended up visiting the endocrinologist before having that blood work done, hence the apologies. He interrupted me after a bit and said, “Well, Michele, say no more, clearly there’s a problem here. This isn’t normal at all.” Someone, other than myself, has finally decided I’m a Crazy Nut!

I had half a mind to have him write it down as such.

He did some testing which consisted of having me look in certain directions, show him my legs, my hands, my eyes. He also made me swallow a lot. He asked me a lot of questions about my behavior and my sleep patterns, my pain and my pregnancy. He prescribed to me some temporary medication in order to keep my manic behavior at a minimum. (Toby thanks him. This morning I woke up and didn’t immediately put him to work cleaning the house.)

The good news is, this could all be due to postpartum. (Just as many of you suggested here and via email.) He said that some women experience this after pregnancy and that it does sometime work itself out by 6 months. So, I may be coming down off crazy. The unsettling news is, if it is due to postpartum, that doesn’t explain the last six years to TobyJoe and, well, the last 10 to me. The doctor is going to run a few more tests to figure out if this is permanent or if it’ll work itself out over time.

The next step is to have a snapshot done of my thyroid, which is scheduled for the beginning of January. My thyroid stimulating hormone levels are low enough that he’s worried about my heart palpitations and my heart rate, hence the drug I was prescribed. It’s only purpose is to keep my heart from exploding. And I do feel calmer today. I haven’t had any sudden jolts or spasms and my heart feels pretty even. I even slept finally. (Usually, I wake up every other hour and have trouble falling back to sleep.)

The bad news (which I have come to terms with) is that I am no longer able to supply breast milk for Emory. But since my supply tanked from an already low supply, it’s not a huge change or surprise. He’s doing well. He’s strong, healthy, and I gave him almost five months worth of milk. I asked the doctor if hyperthyroidism could be responsible for my very low milk supply (10 oz now, 23 at my highest) and he said yes. Granted, things could have been different had Emory and I worked on a latch, but for whatever reason, we never got that worked out. Maybe my supply was too low and he became frustrated. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough (although I tried all the time back then and I continued trying up until about two weeks ago). I realize I have talked about this a lot (too much). I even said it’d be the last time I talked about it a hundred times before now. It’s hard to let go. Plus, I have received dozens and dozens of email (a beautiful one just yesterday) from mothers who have run into problems breastfeeding. Many have met nothing but nastiness from other women. A fact that will never stop shocking me. I can’t figure out why women do this to other women. I am reminded of a paragraph from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“Most women had the one thing in common: they had great pain when they gave birth to their children. This should make a bond that held them all together; it should make them love and protect each other against the man-world. But is was not so. It seemed like their great birth pains shrank their hearts and their souls. They stuck together for only one thing: to trample on some other woman… whether it was by throwing stones or by mean gossip. It was the only kind of loyalty they seemed to have.”

Now, even I think that’s a little harsh, but you get the point.

I (what pumpers call) “hung up the horns” last night and I started to cry a little bit. I turned to TobyJoe and said, “If it’s this hard for me to put a pump away, it must be really difficult to wean a child.” (Breastfeeding mamas, you have my sympathies.)

I’ll know more in January. And I’m trying not to think about the possibility of having my thyroid irradiated because the thought of being away from Emory (and EVERYBODY) for several days makes me want to break down and cry in place. Right now. So, in the meantime, I’m going to smooch my baby boy, take care of myself, be nice to my husband and eat as much crap as I want. I fell off my diet due to this ravenous appetite and have managed to stay at 148. (I wonder… if I stay away from entire chocolate cakes, would I actually lose weight from all of this?)

This is so boring, these medical posts. So, I’ll leave you with this adorable picture of my two boys.

Thanks, y’all for dealing with my crap. xoxxo


  1. you rock! hang in there.


  2. Knowledge is power, Michele.
    You are powerful.


  3. It’s not crap. It’s good for other women to read this – especially those who have never had a prblem with pregnancy or breast-feeding. These are the women who seem to have no perspective sometimes. Reading about or knowing someone who has gone through problems and are dealing with health issues beyond their control gives them a sense that breast-feeding, pregnancy and child birth without any complications is actually a miracle and a blessing – not the norm and if it isn’t what’s happening to you, you are a bad person.

    Quite the other way around.

    I clearly need my blog back… I always ramble on yours.


  4. This seems to happen pretty often to women. And I have read that it can and often does affect milk supply (even for breastfeeders.) Now, people (LLL, LC’s) say that low supply is almost always a myth. They always bring up the fact that 95% of Sweden/Norway breastfeed.

    Here’s my point, perhaps, we should look into the difference between both countries. Do those countries have the same environmental toxins we have? For example, do they use as much clear, hard plastic as we do? phenylethene (I think that’s the chemical) found in plastic is known to cause hormone problems. Could our environment be the cause for some American women to have a low supply and therefore a hard time breastfeeding?

    I’m rambling now, but it’s something to think about.

    I learned in anthropology never to compare two cultures, stating that another country does one thing so why can’t we is a week argument. It’s impossible to compare two entirely different cultures.

    Sorry, I’m worked up. I just read something and probably should have left this comment on the Web site I read it on. ;]


  5. Good news! Sounds like you have a good doc, too. It’s really important that they listen to how you FEEL. “Normal” range isn’t the same for everybody. If it turns out not to resolve itself in a few months, I’ll dig up all of the info I have buried somewhere. I remember having a guide for levels…

    Um… what happened to your other cats? I only see Murray anymore!


  6. Norway and Sweden also give birth very differently than we do. I had trouble breastfeeding initially, and I think it was because of my c-section, all the IV fluids I got, the drugs, etc.

    I had to wean my son after a strict elimination diet didn’t fix his gastrointestinal bleeding. It was very hard, and you have my sympathy.


  7. Taking care of yourself is the best thing for you AND your family. I’m glad you’re getting checked out for hyperthyroidism – knowledge is power and once you know more, you can make informed decisions. Good for you.


  8. Yzz: We sold them so we could buy Murray Xmas presents.

    Not really. But Pookum threatened me with a lawsuit, so no more pictures of her.

    And Tucker was here last Friday. (I think it was then. Sometime recently.)


  9. hahahaha… i thought as much.


  10. It’s not always necessary to do radiation therapy just because you have hyperthyroidism. Find out the reason behind WHY it is in that state. Like I told you, for me, it was toxic nodules. They shrank them by injecting alcohol into them, and I didn’t have to worry about staying away from people. Also, as much as you like your doctor, get a second opinion.

    What was your TSH level? Did they prescribe atenolol for you?

    Everyone has to decide for themself what is best, and I’ll explain here why I opted for surgery rather than swallowing a pill. I had toxic nodules on the left side only. Doctors don’t know for sure if the high doses of radioactive iodine therapy can have an effect on fertility. The iodine exits the body through urine, and your bladder is, (of course) right next to your reproductive organs.

    I had a ruptured ovarian cyst when I was only 13, (had surgery for it) and have had a few more rupture over the years, (one last week, actually) but thankfully never big enough to require another surgery. I figured that I was already having issues with my reproductive organs, and I did not want to take even the smallest chance that something could make me infertile. Also, some people have to do the radioactive iodine several times before it works. I just couldn;t bring myself to do it.

    So I chose to have surgery and have half of my thyroid removed. I know some people may think that’s extreme to have surgery instead of swallowing a pill, but it was the right decision for me. And no one ever even sees my scar unless I point it out.

    I also didn’t like the thought of needing to take a pill EVERYDAY for the rest of my life. I hate pills. But since my post-partum depression kicked in and I have taken zoloft and valium everyday, I have gotten used to taking pills.

    I am having a hard time admitting this, but it is time that I stop pumping and supplying breastmilk for Adeline. She refuses to nurse anymore, because the bottle is easier for her, and when I pump, I can barely get anything. And whenever I take a valium, I have to dump everything I pump for 8 hours after that. I tried a bait and switch the other day: had the bottle in her mouth, took it out, and quickly put her to my breast. She suckled for about 4 seconds before realizing what happened and she started crying. I then started crying because I know that’s the last time she will ever breastfeed.


  11. Oh, Pascha. I am so sorry. I feel your sadness. I wish I could give you a hug.

    As far as taking a pill every day, I feel your pain. I am not into taking pills either, I would probably be one of those people to opt for surgery as well. We’ll see. I am not a fan of pills. Won’t even take birth control. But we’ll see what happens in time.

    Yes, you are right, they did prescribe atenolol. But I’m only on it for 30 days until they figure out if I have postpartum thyroiditis or something permanent.


  12. Good luck, Michelle. I hope this all turns out well and that you don’t need a lot of medical intervention. I guess the good thing about thyroid issues is that they are easily treatable. It’s just a pain in the butt going through it to begin with, and diagnosing the actual problem. Once they figure it out, that’s when it gets easy. :)


  13. It must be a relief to know what the problem is.

    The low level of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) means that there is already plenty of T-3 and T-4 in your body that that the thyroid requires very little stimulation, hence the low TSH translates to hyper as opposed to hypothyroid. It’s a feedback mechanism.

    Good luck!


  14. You have a lot on your mind—putting it on your blog may be very therapeutic. Your “boys” are gorgeous. I hope all goes well with the thyroid treatments!


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