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The Handler is Hypothyroid and has Hashimotos

Connor in the Pool!

A while ago I was lying in bed, all my joints were burning with pain, and all my muscles were aching and feeling so horrible. I laid there thinking about the Fibromyalgia diagnosis my GP had given me, and was also thinking about how I’d read online that other conditions can also cause Fibro like symptoms, including a thyroid that is not quite right.

So I got out the computer, because I couldn’t sleep for the pain, and started to read. I found out that I could order my own lab test by myself, and decided to do a full thyroid panel. I’d asked my doctor to do a thyroid test years ago, and when she ran my blood, the only thing she ran was TSH. Which, I have since found out, is typical for mainstream general practitioners.

I don’t have a super strong personality and I’m not great at standing up to people, especially doctors, so I paid for the test online. It had me make an appointment with a local blood-draw lab, so a couple of days later I went in for the appointment and had my blood drawn. Three days after that I received my lab results in an email, lickety split, wow that was easy!

So with thyroid lab results in hand, I attacked the internet. And oh wow, there’s a ton of information about there about thyroid levels! I found out that TSH is a pretty meaningless measurement. TSH is produced by the Pituitary gland, and it’s a signal that tells the thyroid gland to produce, or not produce, thyroid hormones. In theory, if your thyroid is super low, your TSH will be super high, telling your thyroid to produce more. And Vice Versa. However, it seems most of the time the TSH does not accurately tell the thyroid what to produce.

Jet in the Pool

Instead, a person needs to test, among other things, their Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3. Without going into super detail about these numbers (if you want more information about them, go here). In short, the cells in our bodies use T3. T4 is converted into T3. And RT3 is telling our bodies to stop using, or producing, T3.

So… the important number is really T3. And my T3s are super low! Which makes me hypothyroid, because my cells are not getting the T3 hormone that is so important. And when that happens, pain, misery, and just awfulness can result. (For a big list of symptoms, you can go here.) I also have a very high RT3, which is telling my body to stop producing T3s, which is messing me up in another way!

Also, I have Hashimotos. This means that one of my thyroid antibodies, in my case TgAb, is very high. This means that my immune system is attacking my thyroid. And that’s not good either! (For more about Hashi’s and the symptoms, go here.)

Maze in the Pool

So, how does this all relate to dog sports, like my blog is geared to? Well… let me tell you. After I do a three day weekend of any sport, I am miserable for about two or three days afterward. So miserable that I pretty much sleep for the first two days. My body aches, I’m exhausted, and I feel rotten. And if I had Fibromyalgia, there’s really no cure for that. But, I probably don’t! I have thyroid issues that cause symptoms like FMS, and thyroid issues CAN BE TREATED!  So I actually now think maybe, just maybe, dog sports won’t totally take me out in the future. I have some hope!

After I scoured the web for a week or so, I debated what sort of doctor I wanted to take my test results to. I considered going back to my regular GP, but then thought why, would I have to fight for the T3 meds that I’m learning that is what I need? I could go see a new endocrinologist, as they deal with thyroid issues, but what if I encounter the same brick wall? So I read more online and found a Naturopath near where I live that received some great reviews from others suffering from thyroid issues. I made an appointment with the Cameron Wellness Center and went in.

I really like him! He explained more about T4s, T3s, and RT3s, and immediately put me on T3 medication (Liothyronine). Wooo! Exactly what I wanted. And he even seemed happy that I had educated myself! I get tired of doctors who groan and moan when I go in and say I read this and that… he was actually happy about it. How is that for a nice change!

Quinn in the Pool

So I started taking the meds… but let me give you some advice. 🙂 Don’t start taking a new medication the Thursday before a three-day agility trial! I took too much initially, and by Saturday, I was buzzing and flying and feeling quite odd! And of course, since it was a weekend, I couldn’t call and ask what to do. So I cut my pills in half and on Sunday took 1/2 a pill. They are 5mcg pills each, so I took 2.5mcg. A couple of days after that, I was feeling much more normal. Though over the next few months I will be increasing my dosage slowly, each week, until my symptoms go away. I am still not completely convinced that I will get all better and have no more symptoms, but I have hope. And hope is good!

So… in order to keep this post from taking a whole day to read, I will stop now. I’ll post later about other things my NP found in more blood work. And what’s going on with my meds and my symptoms and how I feel. And while this is not really dog related, this is my blog, and I feel the need to talk about this journey I’m now going to be having with my thyroid issues, as well as other things. Hormones, wow, what a big difference they can make!

I also stuck in some pictures of my dogs in the pool in our yard, because hey, they are having such a great time, and I love summer, and I love seeing the dogs have a blast in the pool!

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Chronic Pain and Dog Sports

Quinn

I suffer through a lot of body pain, which my doctor has told me is most likely Fibromyalgia. In addition to a general sense of pain in my joints and muscles, I also get very, very tired after I spend three or four days on my feet with the dogs at a show or a trial.

If you suffer chronic pain and still push through and do sports with your dogs, what do you do?

I personally take about 2 or 3 days after a trial to rest and sleep and get back on my feet again. I’m fortunately enough that I don’t work, I’m retired, so I have that luxury. When I was working, I worked a desk job as a computer programmer, so that also helped me to recuperate. However, it didn’t allow me to sleep!

I also take some medication to help my situation, but I won’t go into details. I try not to take pain meds, and I don’t really think they help all that much, anyway. Things like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen. I think they can be dangerous if used too much so I try to stay away from them.

I also have a lot of chronic neck pain, and I try to rest my neck and get massages whenever I can.

I am fortunate that my dogs are patient with me on rest days. They want to chase the ball or play a little, but they will sleep with me if I ask them too. They are good dogs!

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Some Changes to the Blog

As you’ve probably noticed the blog has been changing back and forth the last few weeks between themes and such. Well, I’ve been getting hacked and I’ve been reinstalling and locking things down and changing permissions on files.

Lately I’ve changed hosts. The old host didn’t seem willing to work with me to prevent the hackers and I was getting frustrated. So I’m trying out a new host… and they have a 30 day back money guarantee. So I’m now switched over to this new host and we’ll see how it goes. So far so good, things are running smooth and quickly and the hackers haven’t shown up again. I got a recommendation about this host that they clean up and fight hackers so we’ll see how it goes.

So anyway if you’ve commented in the last four or five days, I apologize but probably your comment got lost in the transfer. I hope you’ll comment again. 🙂

As for the dog stuff.. I’ve been working Jet’s obedience regularly and I think he’s doing really well without treats. There’s an obedience ring setup this weekend that I hope to attend on Saturday. Depends on the weather, though. I’ve also been working some of Chase’s obedience and he’s also doing well.

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Looking at Puppies

Well yup, I’m looking at collie puppies. There are a couple of litters on the ground now, yay, I get pictures! And though I’m not really willing to share who the breeders are, so that I don’t offend anyone or give anything away, I think I’ll know in a couple of months. There’s another litter on the way that I may also consider… and don’t worry, I’m being very upfront with the breeders. I realize how hard it is to find good homes. And I don’t want to make it harder for anyone, or tell someone I’ll take a puppy then change my mind. I think that would be awful and quite rude.

I’m still not sure if I’ll get a boy or a girl.. though I’m leaning toward a particular girl. Though if the breeder wants to keep her, then I’ll probably take a boy from that same litter. So I do hope to bring home that girl that is my first choice. They are only a week old, so there is still time!

I don’t know how the puppies would look under led lighting, maybe black lighting would be better…? I’m mostly looking at some blue merles. I do love the blues, they have always been my favorites. 🙂

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Maybe Puppy Time

Levi
Well… perhaps. I’ve been quite saddened lately since we lost Lucy last August, and Angel the May before. And Levi is 12, and he’s going downhill, unfortunately. So I kinda feel like I’m running out of collies.

The original plan was to get another Danish-Swedish Farmdog next year, before or after I retire. But I’ve actually been talking to a quite wonderful collie breeder (who will remain nameless for the time being) who is breeding this year. I’m still looking around a bit, though, so nothing is in stone. But I would love to have a drivey collie to do sports with. Agility and obedience mainly. Tracking, Herding, Flyball, if possible.

I hope the Danish-Swedish Farmdog breeders will still consider me in the future, since I do want another. Probably in 2014 now. I do want to get another DSF while Jet is still young. He loves to play with the small dogs we meet.

So perhaps a collie puppy will join our house this year. I am looking forward to it. It may not work out, but you just never know. My wish would be to get a blue-headed white collie. White collies are beautiful, and very healthy. There are unhealthy white collies but they have two merle genes and can be born deaf and blind. A healthy white collie has two copies of the white gene, which are separate from the merle gene. But I may end up with a blue or a tri. It all depends on what is born and who is right for me. I do want another smooth. I just don’t like all the hair!

So we may get back up to six dogs before we go down to five again. Loosing Levi will hurt very, very much.

Jet is almost three. Tatum is almost six. Muffit is about 7 and Chase is 8.5. So really I’d be okay taking another puppy training on. Chase may have another year left, but perhaps not much more than that. Muffit I don’t train, he’s my husband’s hiking dog. Tatum I train only occasionally. Jet is my main training and competing dog. So adding another dog for competition would be just fine.

I’d show a collie in conformation, too. Why not. Done it before, and I do love that Levi has his championship. So I will need to retire… because I have to much I want to do!

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