Tag Archives: thyroid

Fat, And Then Some

thyroidThere’s short straws. Then there’s short, fat straws.

The Alemtuzumab treatment I had for MS gave me odds of 1 in 3 that I would develop Grave’s Disease, a thyroid problem.

I was the 1.

At first, it was wonderful, as my loopy thyroid helped me shed pounds effortlessly. I was buoyed up with an incredible amount of energy (the Holy Grail for any MSer) and I sighed with sheer bliss as yet another pair of jeans were consigned to the growing Fat Pile, tucked away at the bottom of my wardrobe.

Enter the endocrinologist who took one look at my thyroid levels and immediately put a stop to my fun, effectively reversing then decelerating my over-active thyroid into a sluggish, bored, tired under-active thyroid.

I cried when I stepped on the scales. I snivelled when I rummaged around my Fat Pile. Every single day I gained a pound. I banished carbs and chocolate (gah) from my diet. I sipped green tea and swirled cinnamon sticks in my natural yoghurt.

I have a fairly physical job, so hoped against hope that this would offset the rapid weight gain. Nope. My Duracell-Bunny hyperactivity had morphed into slow-mo.

At my last meeting with the size-six endocrinologist, I’m not afraid to say I begged. I pleaded and put my case forward: the meds I was taking were of course sorting out the thyroid, but were ruining my life on two levels:

  • Relentless weight gain. I am now a blob of my former self.
  • Extreme lethargy and fatigue. Commonly known as, well, common MS symptoms, so I was having a double-whammy.

She had no mercy and told me I might be on them for a year. A year. At my current rate of weight-gain, I will be dressing in tents with holes cut in them for my head and arms.

It’s getting harder to keep going at work, as weight gain plus fatigue means it takes me hours to recover after just half a day in work. Never before has my nickname, ‘Half-Shift’ been more appropriate. My body and mind shut down at a certain point and I slump onto a pile of bricks, head in hands.

On the plus-side (lol), I am yet again radically over-hauling my diet in a desperate bit to put a stop to the pounds piling on even more than they already are. I have dusted off my kettle-bell. It’s still a door-stop, but I live in hope.

For now, I am experimenting with black clothes and dramatic scarves. Perhaps I should start wearing my heavy, black-rimmed reading glasses again, to draw attention away from my triple-choc muffin top.

And I will have insane pleasure in saying, ‘oh the fat? It’s my thyroid. Honest.’

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Things That Go Bump In The Night

rashThe boss has had a lot of fun this week, pointing at me, saying ‘ewwwww’ and ‘commiserating’.

Not the foot-drop, the fatigue, the red face or dropping my buttie. Nope, something spectacular and brand new.

I have broken out in a humungous rash of blisters, all over my arms and neck. And ears. Ears! I now have Spock ears.

For some bizarre reason, unknown to MS or the thyroid problems, I have erupted in icky, hot, itchy blisters. Even The Teenager is impressed, which takes some doing.

One GP appointment later, I am back on a course of steroids (meh), plus steroid cream, plus anti-histamines. In the back of my mind, I’m already calculating how much energy these tiny innocuous tablets of Prednisnolone will give me – skirting boards? Spice cupboard? Dusting?

I look awful. The boss likens me to a post-apocalyptic zombie. The blisters itch and burn. I slather steroid cream on them and pull  my sleeves down in shops.

I was back at the doctor’s today, where he posed me in several ways, taking great shots of the rash to send off to a skin expert. Then it was off to the endocrinologist for a follow-up appointment as my thyroid has gone haywire since Alemtuzumab. To be fair, I knew all about the risks and was more than willing to sign up. It just so happens I was the one in three.

Anyway, the endocrinologist told me that my thyroid was going crazy again. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘hmm, weight loss?’. ‘Yes please’.

The upshot is, I have to let them know when I feel a kind of manic energy again, with palpitations. And tremors.

The joy. On the one hand, the slump of MS combined with the up of thyroid. It’s making me kind of confused.

Up? Down?

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I Love You, No Really, I Do

nhsValentine’s Day (aka Smugged Up Day) is drawing ever closer.

Confronted by oceans of red roses, snuggly-wuggly teddy bears and soppy cards, I am sending a different sort of Valentine’s card this year.

Gone are the painfully awkward days when I had nothing – nothing – to display on my desk at school/work. The shame. Despite firing off 3 for £1 cards to all and sundry, in particular the guy who wore Grolsch bottle tops on his shoes at the height of Bros-fame (younger readers, you may have to google this).

Nope, this year, especially after today, my heart most definitely lies with the NHS. I am in love.

To cut a long love story short, I had an appointment with an endocrinologist this afternoon. I was, of course, the 1 in 3 who got thyroid problems after Alemtuzumab. To my delight, my weight dropped two stone in six weeks, nothing short of miraculous. I sent The Teenager up into the attic to ferret out boxes of clothes I had consigned to the Skinny Era. However, my ever-vigilant GP spotted the trend in my blood results and put an end to my fun.

Anyway, I had the most wonderful consultant today, and, buoyed up by his kindness, I waxed lyrical about the NHS. We’re so lucky in this country and it’s something I try not to forget. I have a great neurologist, a fab team of MS nurses and the knowledge that any problem I have will be swiftly addressed.

In short, I am counting my blessings. Despite the horror of this week, when I lost my beloved cat and companion, I know that I am in good hands.

So, this year, despite being a Sad Singleton the Wrong Right Side of Forty (with a Teenager and Compost Heap), I will be celebrating. I may even treat myself to a romantic dinner for one. But in the back of my mind, I will always remember just how fortunate I am.

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Paleo for Schmucks

paleopicThis Paleo malarky is taxing my brain.

I’ve read everything I can get my hands on, I’ve raided the local fruit and veg shop and The Teenager can’t find his yoghurts in the fridge without foraging through bags of curly kale and spinach.

I’ve scoured Gumtree and am now the proud owner of a juicer (ok, not strictly Paleo, but I’m easing myself in gently). I have also bought a spiralizer gadget thing which I tried out yesterday; after grating my fingers over and over I finally figured out how to make carrot ‘spaghetti’, yum.

I made a packed lunch for work today, eschewing my usual carb-laden fare and pulled out my brand new salad box (with detachable dressing pot) and started munching away on my carrots before moving on to four chicken drumsticks. I also turned down a pastry and snacked on nuts instead. Unheard of.

So far, so good. I’m feeling virtuous and renewed, and it’s only Day Two. I’ve read that Paleo can be excellent for MS although some of the internet posts verge on the fanatical and are a little worrying. According to some of them, by not doing Paleo before, I’ve been compromising my health and making my MS worse. I even – if you can actually believe this – read that the Paleo lifestyle, i.e. living clutter-free and calmly, can cure MS. Oh, really?

I like the idea of Paleo, eating a more natural diet, cutting out the wheat, etc. It’s basic and it makes sense. And that’s where it stops for me. None of this forum nonsense with people posting questions such as, ‘I weakened and had a Dairylea Triangle and now I’m devastated, how can I overcome my feelings of shame?’. Or, ‘can I feed my cat a Paleo diet?’

For now, I’m going to stick to the 80/20 rule, i.e. for newbies like me, Paleo 80% of the time and treats the rest, even a Dairylea Triangle if I fancy it. Or some chocolate cake. Sigh. Will I stick to it? I reckon so, as long as I relax about it. Since my thyroid’s been playing up I’ve had the unparalleled joy of losing two stone rapidly then piling most of it on again. I spent a couple of weeks in my skinny jeans and loved it, but it was the wrong way to lose weight.

This time, I’m going to do it properly. And reward myself along the way …

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Erm, What Am I?

starvingOk, ok, violins out – my chosen career path is, well, dead. Withered. Mothballed and shoved to the back of a cupboard in the spare bedroom next to the Nordic walking poles.

Apart from the fact that there’s a distinct lack of translation jobs in Cardiff, not many companies are inclined to convert their English brochures into Norwegian. And why would they?

And that’s fine. Honest. Gulp. Takk, and all that.

So now, who exactly am I in the grand scheme of things?

Well, pull your Ikea chair closer, for I have The Answer.

I. Am. A. Writer.

I know, strange, huh? We had a new peep on board this week at our latest project. He took in my overalls, my notepad, my, ahem, probing questions about the job. And then he asked me what I did in my real life. Hmm. I stumbled. I stuttered, ‘well, I, like, you know, erm, blog?

‘You’re a writer then.’

‘Erm, ah, no, not really, I, you know, blog, kind of…..’

‘You’re a writer then?’


*Pauses for a very, very long time to let this information digest, totally forgetting that I am enrolled on an MA in Creative Writing*

‘Erm, Yeah, s’pose. Never thought of it like, you know, ‘Writer’.

Eek. A writer?

A seductive thought. The clouds, they are very dark and they are bright. And dark! And light again.

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