Wow. The last time I posted here, I'd just found out I had reactive hypoglycemia. A lot has happened since then!
I will start with the non-medical first: I began voice lessons! Also I applied to a local university, and will begin attending next September in either the Communication Disorders program or the Nutrition and Dietetics one. Currently I am leaning toward nutrition, for reasons that will shortly become clear. But: singing! My new university has a great music department and I want to audition for one of the choral groups, come autumn. Singing is so much fun.
I had originally planned to attend Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management program in 2014, because I love both animals and training, but then I realized I am allergic to dust, and animals, and trees, and weeds, and probably America's Teaching Zoo is not the right place for me. Last September was a rather sad month as I came to grips with that.
In October I realized I was having weird headaches, nausea, and mood swings that did not correlate with my blood sugar levels. I did a restricted allergen-limited diet to pinpoint the cause. It turns out that I am allergic to soy.* Do you know what soy is in?
It is in everything.
Soup. Salad dressing. Baked goods. Spices. Anything with the words "lecithin," "vegetable protein," or "natural flavor" in the ingredient list. I am the most paranoid grocery shopper in the universe now. On the other hand, I no longer have random bouts of dizziness, grouchiness, or heart palpitations. Also my mother and grandmother appreciate understanding why I was such a fussy, vomit-prone baby (most baby formula contains soy).
At the end of October I had my first appointment with my endocrinologist, who is incredibly good and thoroughly strange. I would not be surprised if I walked in one day and he were talking to a pair of Men In Black agents checking his interstellar visa. But, like I said: a very good endocrinologist.
I told him about my reactive hypoglycemia, and my family history of hypothyroidism. He ordered enough lab panels that they drew seven vials of my blood. That was pretty impressive to see stacked up. When the results came back, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. What this means is that my own immune system is attacking and destroying my thyroid.
My immune system is, you might have noticed, a consistent problem. But as my sister's endocrinologist said, if you're going to have an autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto's is the best of the lot. (My sister, upon my diagnosis, went to her doctors and tested positive for the same thing.)
So my endo started me on Synthroid, a thyroid-hormone-replacement medication. Things went swimmingly through November: I stopped feeling cold all the time! My blood sugar issues improved! My...skin broke out in tiny red dots everywhere?
With dark suspicion, I inspected Synthroid's ingredients. One of the inactive ones was acacia. My old foe tree-pollen allergy had crept up on me. I'm not allergic to acacia, but apparently it's close enough to the trees I am allergic to that I had cross-reactivity. My obliging endocrinologist inspected my dot-speckled visage in fascination, and agreed to my petition for a special filler-free thyroid medication called Tirosint.
So far I am not allergic to the new thyroid medication. I am not letting my guard down any time soon, however. I don't trust my immune system farther than I can throw a hippo.
In December, while reading about Hashimoto's, I found out that it shares a genetic link with celiac disease and Type I diabetes. Many Hashi patients can't eat gluten because it further inflames their immune system.
I took a grim look at my already-limited diet, then stopped eating bread and anything else with gluten. Four days of panic attacks, streaming eyes and nose, and depression later, I suddenly felt great. The years-old ache in my joints went away.
For those keeping track, the Things Sparky Can't Eat are: sugar, soy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten.
One unexpected thing I can eat: coconut palm sugar! It's very low on the glycemic index, and diabetic-safe, and tastes like sugar. And I CAN EAT IT. A world of lemonade and hot cocoa and crustless pumpkin pie is opened to me. I never thought I'd drink lemonade again.
In this period I also read what seemed like 200 books, which I will catalogue in a different post. This one's getting long enough.
So: that is the State of Sparky. I'm pretty excited for 2014. I will continue singing! I will prepare to go back to university! I will start writing a new novel! I will drink lemonade!
Exciting times, y'all. Exciting times.
*Technically it is not an IgE-mediated allergy, as my allergist's scratch test demonstrated, but a soy intolerance. However, when eating the smallest trace of something makes me get dizzy, fall over, and have trouble swallowing through an itchy throat, I'm going to call it an allergy.