Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Potassium and a Tip on Sando

First I'll give the Sandostatin LAR tip, because I'm going to ramble like usual :-) I thought I posted it here somewhere but I guess maybe I commented somewhere else. Anyway, people on forums have complained about the shot hurting, or getting a lump since it is a bigger needle, and the Sando is thick. When I first started getting the shots, I tensed the leg on the side I was getting the shot, and I felt pain shoot down my leg, along with developing a large, painful lump. Maybe I'm getting scar tissue and that's why getting the shot is so easy now, or maybe I'm doing something right. I make sure that I don't stand on the leg on the side that's receiving the shot, and I close my eyes and concentrate on not tensing either. It also helps to massage the area right after the shot. But truthfully, I get a small lump now and I don't massage anymore, and it's easy to deal with. I don't even feel the needle go in usually.

And...I'm onto my next theory why my BP is so high (still prehypertensive). I'm guessing I've been eating a high sodium diet that's also WAY too low in potassium. High sodium..duh..too much fast food/packaged junk. My BP goes up even after one fast food meal. I realized I've gradually cut way too many things out of my diet, probably out of laziness. Even eating at home, I thought eating smaller portions of meat was better, and added some carbs with it. I've also been boiling meats which I read causes it to lose nutrients.

I'd asked my doctors to test all of my levels of like everything possible in years past. So I assumed they checked potassium, but maybe not. I'm going to double check. I do have ALL of these symptoms of potassium deficiency: fatigue, myalgia (muscle weakness), acne, dry skin, memory loss, heart problems, digestive problems, ringing in the ear.

So I'm on week 1 of a new diet. No pill supplements since I've read they can be dangerous. Larger portions of meat like steak, potatoes, bananas, OJ, etc. Less packaged crap/fast food (I really didn't add much table salt to anything, just ate the wrong things). I should also mention prior to this diet I'd pretty much completely cut out caffeine, besides green tea a few times a week. And soda or coffee maybe once a week. So far I'm feeling more energy so that's good. Seems like less bloating and water retention. Digestive stuff better. Lost a few pounds. Feeling less cravings. Usually I crave sugar constantly. Haven't taken many BP readings yet but had a couple good ones. And I'm also aware that I may trade off a better BP for higher cholesterol levels with eating more meats (like I'll take time/remember to make sure it's not fatty every time I shop). I'll update later, along with info from the doctor about whether my potassium level was ever checked.




Mayo Clinic

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Meetup!

Ellen (Acromegaly Bloggers), Wayne ( and I had a chance to meet up in SF. We had a great time. It was like meeting up with old friends for me, they're very warm and sharing people. It's very nice to have a support network online and in real life. I'd had a crazy week since I was a week late for my Sandostatin shots due to a doctor's office mix up, and I almost didn't go. But I figured if anyone in the world could understand me and my crazy, hormonal, totally irritable week it would be Wayne and Ellen. And I did end up getting lost for a few minutes in SF, and breaking at least one traffic law like normal when I go to SF. Those are like two requirements for me when I go to SF no matter how many times I've been there, and it's not on purpose either sadly! Yes I do have blonde roots :-D

I was already so thankful that Ellen has been so proactive, and is such a connector pulling together so many of us with Acromegaly on the Acromegaly Bloggers site. I've become so much more comfortable in myself dealing with Acromegaly, thanks in large part to Ellen's efforts. Wayne and I had only had a few conversations online prior to meeting. He works full time yet he manages his online community, and facebook site, he's working on a book, he's appeared on tv, and he's working on creating an Acromegaly nonprofit. Thank you so much Wayne for working so hard for Acromegalics, and getting the word out there. My post is by no means as eloquent as I'd like it to be. But if you're looking for additional support, definitely visit and Acromegaly Support on Facebook.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Loooong Update!

The latest is my IGF-1 is 384, and doctor says normal is up to 368. Can't remember what my GH was, but it's always under 2 with the OGTT. Since I'm still at this "almost normal" level my doctor wants to put me on a low dose of Cabergoline. He's concerned about potential cardiovascular problems. My blood pressure has been averaging about 125/80, which is good, but still not ideal because it does spike up near hypertensive levels when I'm under stress. I really don't want to take the Cabergoline though. I've fought not to take medications I don't need, or to get off medications I don't need. I've had bad side-effects with every medication I've taken, and I also wonder how I'm harming my body internally by taking these medications. And truly, those side-effects make taking the medications not worth it to me. I also suggested going from 40mg of Sandostatin every 4 weeks, to every 3 weeks instead. My blood pressure has greatly improved this last year that I've been on the 40mg. I was told there really isn't enough evidence to support that would be effective.

So now I'm stuck wondering if staying at this "almost normal" level is ok? If it's all I'll ever be? I don't know if I have a chance at normal. I feel like taking these other medications may put me at unnecessary risk. I already have a myriad of symptoms that aren't controlled by the Sandostatin. I've dealt with them as they came along. I've constantly complained about the fatigue, the headaches, etc., and my doctors tell me they don't know what's causing it. My thyroid and other levels are normal. But it greatly affects my quality of life. I didn't realize that I'd never explained to my husband in depth how this fatigue affects me till the other night. I've been dealing with this ever since 2006 at least, when I was diagnosed with Acromegaly. I guess I just blogged about it.

The fatigue is with me daily, and usually headaches too, although I have less since getting off the bp med Diovan. Dragging myself out of bed every day is an effort, socializing, staying on the computer more than an hour, driving more than 30 minutes, reading....anything that seems to require my concentration for extended periods of time seriously fatigues me. Standing for long periods, walking for long periods, just doing weekly grocery shopping fatigues me. It feels like there are hands compressing my head, my scalp feels tight, my shoulders feel like there is a weight on them. My face even feels like it's being pulled down, like there's a weight on it. If I don't have a headache already, I usually develop one on the left side, along with the muscle pain on the left side of my head and neck. And my memory and concentration are horrible. My short term and long term memory seem gone. I get tired or easily distracted when people are talking to me, or when I'm trying to read. I have to constantly tell myself to pay attention to what they're saying, or I have to constantly re-read sentences. I've turned to caffeine to help me concentrate, but it only helps so much. I have a hard time understanding people too, which is weird. It's almost like I'm dyslexic, which I know I'm not. And I'm harder of hearing now too.

I've tried to exercise regularly but seem too tired/not motivated enough to continue. About a week or two is all I manage before I stop. And the exercise is a problem too. It doesn't matter how little or how hard I work out, I always end up with muscle pain that lasts a few days to a week, and is in fact quite annoying! Why would I want to continue working out when I know this pain is what I can expect? About the only thing that seems to help with the fatigue is laying on the couch prone or almost prone with my feet up. Closing my eyes for a rest, or sleeping also helps. I can watch tv without getting too fatigued. Yay for me, that's the only activity I ever wanted to do for the rest of my life right?! I'm only 33 for Pete's sake! I can do other activities, for instance I went rollerskating at a rink a few weeks ago. It was my first time in probably 20 years, and it was so fun! But I had to push myself the whole time, like I normally do with any activity that requires my concentration. And then afterward I had to deal with the muscle pain for the next week plus. And the sad thing is how much I was looking forward to getting home and resting, like always nowadays.

A friend of mine mentioned she was recently diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'd heard of it before but never considered it. I looked into it though and it looks like I have a lot of the symptoms. It looks like it's hard to diagnose though, and that you must rule out a lot of other things first. And even if I'm diagnosed, really what is the treatment? Especially when I don't want to take more pills that I don't need to take, or pills that will give me side-effects I don't want.

I'm so completely frustrated by my condition right now. I really feel like I look great visually, I think I look almost normal. I'm so grateful the Sandostatin has given me that back at least. Developing the Acromegaly monster's appearance sure isn't every girl's dream! But I don't FEEL normal at all inside. I was a week late on my Sandostatin shot last week due to a doctor's office mix-up, and I was a basket case! I was so irritable, more so than normal. And I was in tears twice, which is not very normal for me. And they were the kind of crying jags that could've lasted forever. I was having a terrific pity party for myself. So what now? I have no idea where I go from here. I'd almost rather take the option of staying at this "almost normal" level with the knowledge that I'll probably die a few years younger, or even quite a few years younger. Rather than worsen my quality of life with more medications, and prolong my misery.

So right now I'm trying to really work on improving my health any way I can naturally. Considering I can't seem to keep a regular exercise schedule (although I am still trying), I'm getting stricter with my diet. Which is hard to do considering I have 3 growing kids, and a husband who doesn't help much in that area! I'm trying to drink green tea once a day at least, since it has cancer fighting properties, as well as helping to slim the waist. I'm trying to kick my sugar habit cold turkey, I have a feeling that won't work but I'm trying. I'm limiting natural sugars. I'm trying to eat oatmeal a few times a day since it's supposed to be good for the heart and the waistline too. I'm working on controlling portions which is very hard because ever since I've gotten Acro I've had a monster appetite. But the main problem for me is sugar I think. I'm hoping once I curb that craving, the fat along my waist will disappear and I'll have a normal blood pressure. I'm hoping that regulating my diet will help improve the Acromegaly and other symptoms I have.

Insurance Ugh!

I'm sorry, I have to post this. Is there anyone who knows ANYTHING at my insurance company?? It's like they've instructed their representatives not to give out any information about eligibility. I call in and always feel like I'm talking to myself!! These people know as much as I do. I try looking online but don't find the info I need. And every time I call in, they never know what laboratories are considered in-network, and they try to tell me that the closest in-network are 40 minutes out of town. I know that's not true because I've gone to laboratories in town and they've been covered. My doctor keeps giving me the lab slip for a lab that's not covered. Maybe they're out-of-network, but in town, but they still pay for it?? Frustrating!!