I’ve been meaning to write a post about a health issue I’ve been dealing with shortly after Josephine was born. If you remember, I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy with Jo. After she was born, I went to my doctor to see if I no longer have gestational diabetes (in the majority of cases, this goes away for moms after giving birth.) The blood work showed that it was still somewhat high which means I am considered pre-diabetic. I don’t need medication or insulin. I just need to cut carbs and sugar intake, exercise more, etc.
HYPERPARATHYROIDISM. Say that 3 times fast ;)
My doctor also did a complete blood count which tests for my heart health, kidneys, liver, cholesterol levels, etc. Everything came back fine except for my calcium level in my blood. This was very high. My doctor suspected I have hyperparathyroidism.
Instead of trying to explain what this is, a quick video would be best.
I know the video sounds scary, but something that wasn’t mentioned in the video is that only 1 in 2000 parathyroid tumors are cancerous. Almost all cases of hyperparathyroidism are caused by non-cancerous (benign) parathyroid tumors.
When my doctor realized my calcium levels were high, she did more blood work and sure enough, my parathyroid levels were also very high. That’s all that was needed to diagnose me with hyperparathyroidism.
Then I had an ultrasound done on my neck to see if they could find the tumor. They did find it and my endocrinologist said it was large and “hard to miss.”
So yes, I do have a tumor. Most likely it will be benign. I won’t know for sure until they surgically remove it and biopsy it.
The plan was to wean Josephine as soon as she turned 1 year old. (She is now almost 2.) Once weaned, I can go and get a 4D CT scan done. I’ll have to have radioactive dye put in by I.V. in order for the tumor or tumors to show up on the scan. After being injected with the radioactive dye, it’s best to stay away from small children for a day or two.
Well, if you have been reading my blog, you know that Jo is underweight and may soon be diagnosed as “failure to thrive” if she doesn’t start gaining more weight soon. Because of this, I have postponed weaning her, which means the 4D CT scan and surgery needs to be put off for now.
I informed my doctors that I have not yet weaned Josephine because of her health issues. They said that hyperparathyroidism is not an aggressive disease. It can take years for symptoms to develop. It might even take around 10 or 20 years for consistent high calcium levels to finally cause real life-threatening problems.
Long-term high calcium in the blood will begin to leave calcium deposits in:
- The arteries that can put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
- The kidneys causing kidney stones or kidney failure.
- The brain causing memory loss and confusion.
- The breasts causing breast cancer.
I am experiencing some symptoms but nothing major, yet. So my primary care physician and my endocronologist said that I can wait to schedule my surgery until I’m ready. Thank goodness.
The most common symptoms of this disease are bone pain and kidney stones. I don’t have any bone pain or kidney problems, so I’m guessing my diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism was caught in its early stages.
However, I am experiencing some symptoms that worry me, but my doctors are not yet too concerned. I have had heart palpatations. (Palpatations are explained in the video above.) A recent EKG I had was normal. I had a heart monitor on for 24 hours which showed skipped heartbeats, but again, the cardiologist said it is nothing to be concerned about.
The most frightening symptom I’m having is an increasing loss of my short-term memory, and also moments of confusion. (Cognitive issues are also explained in the video above.) Sometimes I forget (literally within seconds) what I just said, or did. I frequently use the wrong words when talking. Sometimes I feel it takes a couple minutes to understand what someone is saying to me. I’ve become confused at times. For example, I was showing Faith a video on my phone. My phone was sitting on the couch. I turned it around to show Faith. I was watching the video, too. In my head I thought, “This is a funny video but WHY did they record the video upside-down!?” Instantly I realized my confusion that the phone was turned around to show Faith, and that I was watching it upside down… not that the video itself was created upside down. Little things like this happen to me DAILY. It may seem funny, but it really angers me and honestly frightens me.
I use to have super fast speech, especially when I was a teenager. Ask anyone that knew me in my youth. I was quick-witted and had ultra-sharp focus. So these recent problems with my memory and problems finding the right words when speaking is very unsettling for me. I feel like a different person.
This is EXACTLY how I feel.
I read that hyperparathyroidism can cause dementia. Fortunately, I’ve read that these problems in cognition usually REVERSE after surgery! Thank God.
I follow a couple hyperparathyroidism Facebook groups. Thousands of people post onto these groups, and I’ve learned so much. The majority of these people that have memory loss, brain fog, and confusion say that after they had their surgery, it was like someone turned on the lights! They could think clearly, were able to focus, and felt years younger. Many say they feel like a brand new person after their parathyroidectomy, and their energy level skyrockets!
Another recent symptom I’ve been having is occasional pain in my upper right abdomen. It usually causes a dull aching pain at night. It’s not excruciating, but it’s uncomfortable enough to keep me from sleeping. I think it’s gallbladder pain. So I could have gallstones. I read that high calcium levels in the blood can also cause gallstones to form. I will have to get this checked out with my primary care doctor. It looks like another surgery may be in my future to remove my gallbladder.
Being a mom first and foremost has been the most important thing I could ever do. This is why I never got around to making a blog post about this disease, and why I am waiting to fix my health issues. Right now Josephine’s health is priority.
Please remember that on January 9th Josephine will be going under general anesthesia to get her dental work done. Here are the details about this if you haven’t read about it yet … Jo’s first dentist appointment. Please keep her in your prayers as she goes through this procedure. And please keep praying that she gains weight and avoids being diagnosed as failure to thrive. I pray she never has to get a feeding tube.
Faith is doing well. This winter is turning out to be bitter cold, but we are keeping her warm and cozy so she won’t have any allergic reactions to the cold. Please read about her cold urticaria if you don’t know about her condition. Keep Faith in your prayers that 2018 will bring NO allergic reactions to the cold or to the food she eats. Yes, she’s allergic to nuts, too :(
I hope and pray that everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight! 2018 will be a year of doctor appointments and surgeries for me and my little Josephine, but I pray this new year will bring us a season of healing and good health!
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I pray for your happiness, for your health, and another year for all of us to count our BLESSINGS!
One last thing... please subscribe to my blog. This will be the easiest way to stay updated. Once subscribed, you will get an email when I make a new post. Thank you!