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The Browns – Tom, Ali, Crescena, Bez, & Ber
March 18, 2013 8:07 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Medical Update:

Well, I keep waiting to write a brief medical update for a time when I know how to tell the end… when the journey is over and I know the last chapter.  I am reminded today that “in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!”

Despite my, and many others, prayers and petitions for healing, my struggle with thyroid disease continues.  Here is a brief over view:

1)   Diagnosed with Graves Disease in October 2010 when pregnant with Crescena… levels went back to normal and thought it was a “blip” on the screen

2)   Re-diagnosed with Graves in October 2011 when a goiter (swollen thyroid) was found as I underwent a physical to gain medical clearance to go overseas; with the convincing of a skilled natural doctor that we love, I gained clearance to go Kenya.

3)   I tried every natural method possible I could find to curb the hyperthyroidism and try to bump my Graves Disease into remission (from diet to remedies to natural medicine); my symptoms drastically improved but my thyroid hormone levels remained 3 times greater than normal.

4)   With the advice from doctors that allowing my body to run on overdrive would have detrimental long-term effects on my organs, I decided to do the normal recommended treatment.

5)   Often time Graves Disease goes into spontaneous remission and so conservative doctors recommend taking thyroid suppressing medications to slow the thyroid and “wait” for spontaneous remission.

6)   The thyroid suppressing medication I was taking was stressing my liver, and the Graves antibodies in my body were very high (suggesting my Graves was still very active) so we decided to do Radio Active Iodine (RAI)

7)   For RAI, you swallow a Radio Active Iodine pill and your thyroid absorbs most of it.  RAI is supposed to kill the thyroid and then you take thyroid replacement hormones the rest of your life

8)   I underwent RAI on December 7, 2012 in California where I had help with Crescena and meals as I had to be in isolation for 1 week (and do things like bag anything I touched for a week before throwing it away or washing it, etc).  The process was challenging both emotionally and physically.

9)   The thyroid “dies” at an unknown rate and subsequently your thyroid hormone levels “drop.”  To our initial disappointment, the levels never dropped below the normal range.

10)  My levels continued to be within the normal range and I was hopeful and ready to declare healing! (healing because medically, my thyroid should die and levels drop to nothing leaving me needing thyroid replacement hormone).

11)  Unfortunately, my levels did not stay in the normal range, nor did they drop, but began increasing.  I had slightly elevated levels last month, and even higher levels this month.

12)  The increasing levels could mean one of two things: my thyroid has not died and is fighting as hard as it can and is not dead YET (still dying).  OR, if the levels continue upwards, it would indicate that the RAI was not fully successful and would require a second round of thyroid ablation (RAI).

13)  We were hoping that I would be starting to take the thyroid replacement hormone by now and starting to become “stable” again… it is rather discouraging to learn we are not at the end yet.

14)  We are still planning to return to Nairobi, where we plan for my health to be monitored by my endocrinologist monthly.

God designed the body to remain at a place of homeostasis in amazing ways.  Basically, with my thyroid not in the “normal” range, I don’t experience normal homeostasis.  As a result, sometimes I am hot and can’t cool down or cold and can’t warm up.  Some days I have more energy than normal and am super motivated and other days my body “crashes” and I am exhausted and lethargic.

In the midst of all this, I have been encouraged by friends, family, and faith in Christ.  In particular, I am reading through a devotional called “Jesus Today” on hope written by Sarah Young (author of Jesus Calling) who is a sick missionary herself.  The devotional is a daily reminder of Christ’s promises and all that I have to find HOPE in!  There is something beautiful about this journey of suffering… though at times I feel weary from the journey.

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