Friday, October 30, 2009

Nutrition Info

I haven't blogged about this at all because, frankly, it's boring. But I'm realizing more and more that it would be helpful if more people knew about this, so here goes.

When Holland was about 6 months old I noticed an enlargement in my throat. I asked Kev if he could feel it, but he thought I was nuts. Also at that time, I took Holland for her well visit. I was still exclusively breastfeeding her, and at the appointment I learned that she had not gained ANY weight from her 4 month visit. So, I changed my diet, added a lot more good fats and started her on solids. It wasn't until a couple of months later that I put the two things, my throat issue and her lack of weight gain, together.

Memorial Day weekend I told Kevin it felt like I had something stuck in my throat. This time I asked him to feel my neck and he pulled his hand back in horror (okay a bit exaggerated). He said, "I think you should have that looked at." Tuesday morning I called an internal medicine doctor who is a family friend. I was told he was out of the country, so I called my OB. He got me in almost immediately on Thursday. When I went for the appointment and his nurse took my vitals my resting heart rate was 130. He walked in, took one look at me and said, "You have Post Partum Thyrioditis and you are in a hyper thyroid state. I'm going to refer you to an endocrinologist and they will most likely take your thyroid out within a year."

Now, I love my OB doc. But I'm only 30 years old, and I kinda think I should probably try to hold onto all my major organs for as long as possible. Long story short, I saw the endocrinologist the next week. He confirmed the PPT diagnoses but basically said the only treatment available to me was a beta blocker to control my heart rate. Blindly, I agreed and started taking Labetalol. Not only did it not help control my heart rate, the insomnia I had experienced for months worsened. Yet another drug was prescribed to help with that. To be fair, the endo doc did want to run a specific test on me to confirm I was in a "hyper" state (apparently the ridiculously out of whack lab work I had already gotten wasn't quite enough). But the test makes you radioactive, that's right radioactive, and you can't do it while you are breastfeeding.

So, here I am bawling my eyes out pretty much daily because I felt like total crap. I couldn't sleep, I could barely write or do anything fine motor because the tremors in my hand were so bad, and emotionally I was on a roller coaster from hell. Then, a light at the end of a dark tunnel. My sis has been having health issues of her own. Her search led her in the direction of a Natropath here in Amarillo. I decided to give this lady a shot (by the way, she's also a Nurse Practitioner and a Physical Therapist and operates under her father, a well respected pediatrician).

The Natropath, Marian, looked at my lab work and talked with me about all my symptoms for almost an hour. Her clinic takes no insurance, and her fee is $90 an hour, but since I was with her only 45 minutes I was only charged $60. The endo doc spent like 5 minutes with me and I got a bill for $165! Compared with him, she seems like a bargain.

Anyway, she ordered a slew of other lab work. She said in her experience it's rarely just the thyroid hormone levels that are off. One of the tests was a 24 hour urine collection that would measure the amount of iodine my body would consume if given a loading dose of iodine. It was the same principle as the radioactive test the endo doc wanted to do, except obviously a lot safer.

The results of the test showed that I was extremely iodine deficient...most likely from the fact that I've been pregnant or nursing for 3 and a half years. And this brings me to the point: we think that we get the nutrients we need from our food, but we don't. In the case of iodine, since we are a developed country and it is added to much of the foods we eat, you'd think we'd have plenty. And we probably do. But iodine has a competitor that is also added to a lot of the foods we eat...specifically breads and cokes. The competitor is called "potassium bromide", and is also found in hot tubs and car interiors. It looks a lot like iodine to our cells, so they gobble it up instead of the real deal. If you are not iodine deficient, then your body can recognize the difference and detox the bromides naturally. But if you get a little wiped out of this essential nutrient like I did, then the bromides can take over and pretty much get rid of any iodine you do manage to consume. And potassium bromides are toxic, carcinogenic little boogers.

Sooo....Marian's plan for me was to first take an iodine supplement. I am currently taking 20,000% of the recommended daily allowance by the FDA. I know that sounds like a lot, but our RDA is only like 150mg whereas Japan's is like 15,000mg a day. Incidentally, Japan also has one of the lowest rates of cancer in the world.

The other thing she said to do is limit bromides in my diet. Which basically meant avoiding all breads unless made with unbromated flour or spouted grains like the Ezekial bread products. And that's been a lot harder than you might think. I LOVE grains and have always tried to eat whole wheat breads and pastas. Eliminating them has been hard, especially when you go out to eat. So, I've been making my own baked goods with unbromated flour. There is a brand called King Arthur that I've been using. But I got some good news today! I found an article that says that organic flour, by law, cannot contain potassium bromides! I feel like this opens up a whole new world of bread, cereals, and cookies to me and I am SO excited!

I hope that writing all this will help somebody out there who stumbles across it. I know that researching with the web can be overwhelming and intimidating, and it's nice to hear about people who have dealt with thyroid issues first had.

I'm about to retake the iodine test to see if my body is responding to this course of treatment. It's been a long road, and I'm ready to open a new chapter. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo Study

I know this is a bit late, but I wanted to post the pics from Holland's post helmet appointment. She has now been helmet free for 3 months! And we continue to see improvement in her head shape. I wish we could go back and have these pics done again just so we could see how much her ear alignment has straightened and the left side of her head has filled in simply from growth.
Also, the torticollis in her neck is almost completely resolved. We had a consultation around the first of July with a wonderful doctor here in town that does Botox for tort. We seriously considered going that route because it seemed that even though we were taking her to PT every week and doing neck stretched daily at home, the tightness had just plataued and we were seeing no improvement. It was like one step forward, two steps back. But around that same time, we switched chiropractors. The Botox doctor encouraged us to pursue that non-invasive route first, and if after a month we did not see any results we could revisit doing Botox. Our new chiropractor started doing what he called B.E.S.T on Holland. That stands for Body Energy Sychronization Therapy. Within a month our physical therapist said we could drop down our appointments with her to every other week! She still has just a "touch" of the tort left. We are planning to do some kinesio-taping on her neck next week to hopefully help completely resolve the tightness.
Anyway, the pics on the left are the "before" that were taken of Holland's head in March. The ones on the right are her "after" 5 months of wearing her helmet. The last series is the most dramatic. By the way, her head went from being 18mm assymetrical to only 6mm!

You can still see a bit of head "tilt" in this one.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Milestones In Progress

Big things have been going on at our house. Reading, pottying, and weaning to name a few. Bronwyn is making huge strides in the book department. She has a brilliant mind and is creative beyond measure...thinking outside the box is her specialty, and she's now in classes to further develope those gifts and talents. Thinking inside the box, however, not so much. While she hasn't been at the bottom of the barrel as far as reading goes, she's been pretty darn close. But I am totally blessed that she has not one but TWO aunts whose area of expertise is reading. They are keeping an eye on her and giving her some extra attention in this department and she is going to be reading Harry Potter before I know it (just kidding...maybe Junie B though).

And Boaz is an EXCELLENT little pottier! We had a rough start at the first of last week. Lots of poop in the garage and daddy's studio (don't ask), but he's doing awesome now! Yesterday he wore the same pair of jeans AND undies ALL day long! I was so proud. He even got up in the middle of the night last night, took off his jammies and diaper (still sleeping in one) and went potty all by himself! Of course, he got back in bed naked and woke up with damp sheets this morning, but hey it's a great start.

The only one really backsliding is Miss Holland. At the first of this week, I had her down to 2 feedings a day...once in the morning and once at night. That lasted all of 2 days. By Wednesday at noon I had already nursed her 4 times. I blame the emerging 4 teeth and the insidious ear infection that her ped found at her well visit yesterday. Oh, thats why she's been waking up in the middle of the night screaming! Good to know! Well, maybe next week will be better.

And I can't post without including some pics. Here's some from our Fall Festival at B's school last weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy 1st Holland!

On Thursday we celebrated our family's last first birthday. What a year! Oh how I love this little girl! You can't be around Holland for long before you have either caught her infectious grin or been slobbered on by a sloppy wet kiss. She is quite simply the world's happiest baby. Here are some pics from her big day!

Me and my Hazelnut Crunch

That funny little smile.

Truly the yummiest cake ever!

Holland agrees.

See Boaz eying her present.
All in all a great end to a great year. And do you realize that I will now have two toddlers? This should be interesting!