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Wednesday, February 03, 2010


This is a harder post than I thought it would be. I have been trying to write it since yesterday, but the words are not as available as I would have hoped, which means that I am still processing.

I was diagnosed with an auto immune disorder yesterday. Graves disease. The reason why I have been a toothpick for over 6 years.
See, I started at about 120 lbs before having my kids, and my last weight was just over 90 lbs, on a 5'6" frame...needless to say I look pretty emaciated.
But, still able to get pregnant, and gain weight while pregnant; so kinda confusing.
When I was pregnant with my last child the midwives noticed that my thyroid levels were low, and we got them retested but they normalized so we stopped investigating. This time they were even lower, almost non-existent. So they kept testing and a specialist finally decided that Graves is what I have had since my early 20's.

I have very conflicting feelings about getting the diagnosis. On the one hand I feel relieved that it isnt cancer, or something worse. I am also surprised to find out that all of the weird things that I thought were just quirks of myself, are actually tingly fingers, and insomnia.
I am also freaking out about the treatments that are available.
Basically there are 3.
1) Radiation - my least favourite but most effective treatment. While I don't get the willies from radiation itself, I am nervous to either a) have to wean my child prematurely, and b) not be around them for at least 4 days after treatment. I have not ever been away from my kids for 48hrs, let alone 4 days....and my oldest is almost 5.
2) Surgery - again, the need for weaning, and not being there for my children. Not to mention a huge scar across my neck...partial decapitation is not something one would look forward to.
3) Medication - 30% effective...not really good odds. Again the weaning, the doctor did say that I could nurse while on medication...but at the same time, what would this medication do to my new little buddy.

So, the neat thing is that pregnancy actually inhibits this disorder, but I can't be pregnant forever. Although this may cause me to try for #4 in a year or two....if only to delay these choices. The worse part is that I am an attachment parent that *wants* to nurse for as long as mutually agreeable, and *wants* to wear my baby close, and not leave my kids for long periods of time.


Patrica G. Blomme said...

Surgery does not mean weaning luv.

Mother Risk is the best place to seek info about medicationsnd breastfeeding.

I've gone away for 5 days and had my son attack my boob when I got back. I pumped and dumped when gone.

You'll get through this and will make an amazing recovery.

Weaning is not on the alter of sacrifice. Lack of education aobut breastfeeding on the docs...we can sacrifice that for sure.

Fonda said...

Do you have to wean for radiation (I have no idea about this)? Could you do like Patti says and just be away and offer mama milk when you're back?

I know you don't want to be away from your babies, but 4-5 days is nothing compared to the rest of your life. Definitely hard and heart-wrenching, but perhaps worth the sacrifice?

K, I just briefly read-up on Grave's... how long can you delay treatment for? Perhaps you can wait until this babe self weans and then go for treatment if its still necessary (hoping they will figure out its something less drastic in the meantime)? You are very young, so if you "need" to put baby #4 off until you are better, you still have lots of "time" for more babies.
In the meantime can you up your iodine intake and take natural remedies to support your body??

Have you thought of seeking advice of a naturopathic doc on this? I think that would be a great idea for you so you can still be the mama you want to be.

Lots of hugs and support coming to you from over here... I will be thinking of you lots and sending you LOVE.

Alisha said...

I am going to be delaying for a while so that I can nurse until this child eats some solids..I am going to get a naturopath and a second opinion.
I am still just processing at this point, but am grateful for everyones support. It means a lot to me.

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