Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Forgiving Each Other

Deaconess Emily Carder has a beautiful post called "Listening to Children" about forgiveness at her blog Quicunque Vult. Not just about children...but what it means to forgive each other as husband and wife. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Health Issues

Doctors exhaust me.

I've had several years experience going to doctors (GP's OB/GYNs, endocrinologists, and reproductive endocrinologists) telling them about clear symptoms that I was having, only to be told "your blood tests are normal" and to be sent away. Despite having unexplained weight gain, difficult periods, acne, difficulty getting pregnant, three miscarriages, acanthosis negricans (darkening under skin folds like armpits, thighs, and under my breasts); it took four doctors before I got my diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, because I finally found a doctor that treated the symptoms, rather than the test range (which I was very close on) and who was the first to know that fasting insulin numbers should be less than 10 in a female, not 18 - as the test range stated.

When I was pregnant with Maggie, one of the meds I was on was a low dose of thyroid hormone. Despite feeling constantly nauseous and dehydrated, mentally, I couldn't remember feeling so clear-headed and like things were good. I was taken off the thyroid hormone a few weeks before she was born, and after she was born, descended into postpartum depression. It never occurred to me that the two were related.

When she was a year and 1/2, I did test positive for anti-thyroid antibodies, but since then, have not, but still have felt terrible. I've really stopped responding to my PCOS meds, and feeling so bad, starting a low carb diet AND feeding three others was just more than I can bear.Since our move, I've gone to three doctors, who all have told me that I test normal on the TSH test, and I might want to consider anti-depressants, ADHD meds, and/or gastric bypass, all of which my gut told me were not the problem. I tried calling a highly recommended endocrinologist off of Mary Shomon's thyroid site, (a site I HIGHLY recommend) but couldn't ever get a person to call me back. That was three years ago.

Now in the present, things just kept getting worse. I kept gaining weight, my skin is worse than it has ever been, I look awful, I feel worse. Finally, I tried the endocrinologist again and got a person, and better yet, an appointment. But still, I feared being told that my tests were normal (interpretation: its all in your head.) Dr. Kadambi didn't do that. He listened to the symptoms and immediately prescribed natural thyroid hormone for me. He ran all the blood tests, but wasn't going to make me wait. My symptoms were very descriptive of hypothyroid. He also added Byetta, an insulin helper drug, to my PCOS meds, and promised it would help me lose weight. (12 pounds in the first month, but slow since then).

The blood tests came back, and the thyroid hormone was normal. But next to the range, it said "may not be normal for this patient." Lots of the results said that. He also found a few other things that were not in range. My vitamin D was low, my B12 was low, and so was my Insulin-Like Growth Hormone. He said that would mean a pituitary stimulus test.

I learned that basically, IGH controls all the other endocrine glands, and there was a possibility I was not making much, since I seem to be having problems with several of my endocrine glands. As I sat there with the I.V. in my arm being stimulated, I saw the diagram on the board that listed the symptoms of Insufficient Growth Hormone....and it was describing me -- difficulty losing weight, social anxiety and isolation, problems with fertility and reproductive cycles, insulin resistance, etc.

The test came back with no change. My pituitary pretty much refused to be stimulated, so the next step was to convince my insurance that I needed it, and Eli Lilly took care of that. I got a letter in the mail last night saying that the growth hormone therapy was approved. Dr. Kadambi says that if this works, and he had no doubt that it would, I should be off most everything within a year. The Byetta and the metformin will be unnecessary should I lose enough weight to defeat the insulin resistance, and my pituitary should kick back in. I don't know if that includes the thyroid hormone as well.

I'm eager to see how this goes....and whether or not it will improve my baseball game (just joking). Its nice to be heard. Its nice to have a doctor that is eager to find the answers to the problem. It's definitely nice to feel like I'm moving in the right direction.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tempers and Tennis

Something that I am hearing over the last day is that the reaction to Serena's "losing her temper" in the match recently is racism, especially when compared to the reaction to John MacEnroe in the late 70's, early 80's.

I think rather than screaming "racism" we need to look at the fact that the very nature of the media is different now. News and sports are covered 24 hours a day by competitive cable stations, and honestly, there isn't enough news to justify that, so they have to sensationalize. They create drama where there really is very little in order to keep you watching the same way you would stare at a tabloid in the checkout line. If T.O. says something stupid (and really, who is surprised about that?), then it has to be analyzed from all sorts of angles and shock needs to be created. If Brett Favre hasn't decided yet again whether or not he's playing -- its not news if they just report -- "Brett Favre, same deal as last year. let you know what he decides next month." There has to be a "Favre watch" with suspense from every angle as to whether or not he'll sign with this team or that team, an analysis about how the Packers feel about that, etc.

And here's the not so secret: they are hoping things like this happen, and they don't care what athlete does it....because they have to fill hours and hours of discussion for the next week on their syndicated radio shows, and fill up an hour of Sports Center. They don't want you to tune in to check the score of your favorite team and then mosey over to the Food Network.

Are African-American athletes overrepresented in these stories (Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, T.O., Michael Vick, Shaq, Kobe, etc.)? Yes they are. But only because a lot of really exceptional athletes are African-American.

It wasn't like this when MacEnroe was playing. Sports got five minutes in the local half hour newscast, so at BEST, he would get 2 1/2 minutes for a really good tirade. But those who don't remember how vilified he was for his lack of self-control are kidding themselves, and choosing to remember how much fun it was to watch the temper tantrums. But he was held up as a perfect example of bad sportsmanship, whether he was right or not. His outbursts were even worse when you consider that tennis was just one of those games where etiquette and restraint reigned supreme. But people liked watching him because he was rather creative in his expressions...but he was not respected for them. In many ways, like with T.O., Barry Bonds, and Brett Favre -- we were waiting to see when he'd self-destruct and finally completely lose it. People enjoy a good tragedy -- "he was so talented, but no common sense. " MacEnroe didn't earn respect until after he left the game and grew up.

Serena's getting more heat for protesting and walking off the court than she deserves (barring whether or not she actually threatened the official). It was a shock because she is always so professional. Everyone has a bad day. Unfortunately, the camera was on. When you reap so much from good press...its reasonable (though not fair) that you expect a little heat when you have a bad day, too.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Legislating Morality

I am always amused/annoyed whenever I hear the phrase "You can't legislate morality." That statement is one of the biggest lies around for one reason:

Laws define what is right and wrong for a society.

When a law is made, so is a moral judgment. Murder is wrong. Theft is wrong. Fraud is wrong. Driving while intoxicated is wrong...etc. Society has determined these are not right and has passed laws that proclaim this and also how the society will deal with those who break these laws. Even my town's proclamations about no dogs in the park is a judgment about whether or not dogs' activities in the park mesh with other people's activities in the park (more probably, its a moral judgment saying "people have been jerks with their dogs in the park).

Also, take a look at our Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. It declares that certain freedoms are good. The right to free speech, for worship, to assemble, to bear arms, to not be forced to incriminate oneself -- these are protected under the highest laws of our land because our forefathers agreed these were GOOD (a moral judgment). Our laws even proclaim these rights are above the rights of the government.

When I was a teenager, there was a huge push for tougher drunk driving laws. Whether or not these laws reflected society's increasing concern regarding the dangers of drunk driving, or whether the tougher laws inspired the feelings of the people, it is difficult to tell. Probably both. We are seeing the same process with the "Don't Text and Drive" campaigns now. (God help us that we even need this!)

More people were against abortion when a woman's right to have one was proclaimed by the Supreme Court than years later. Because it is legal, it has become more accepted. Even people who state that they believe its murder often maintain that a woman has a right to do it -- which in and of itself is a contradiction. Under certain circumstances, one person may have the right to take the life of another human being, but murder is when someone takes the life of another person with malice and without having the right to do so.

Morality is legislated all the time. In fact, Aristotle (I believe) stated that the application of morality to an individual is called "Ethics." The application of morality for the good of society is called "Politics." I paraphrase, because I can't find the quote.

You cannot separate law and morality. They are intertwined. And you CAN legislate morality. Except for some administrative laws, legislating is when a governing body making a moral judgment. Really, you can't NOT legislate morality, if you are legislating at all.