If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nuked...

UCH - Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion
 UCH - Main
 The view from the endocrinology department - showing a mere fraction of the buildings on the enormous campus
 Souvenir container

For the last couple months, as you may have noticed, there has been diminished evidence of Happy Trailing in these parts.  Kathleen's overall health had been slowly fading over the last quarter of 2011, most likely a combination of the Graves Disease and the cumulative effect of the anti-thyroid drugs she was taking for the past year.  Since early December, we have been consulting with specialists at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver (this is a huge hospital - almost a small city in itself) to look at options for a more permanent treatment for Graves.  It had become apparent that the AT meds were not going to provide a shot at any period of remission for Kathleen like we had originally hoped for. 

While there is no cure for the auto-immune component of the disease, disabling the majority of the thyroid's functionality can provide a huge relief in the symptomatic effects of Graves, since the thyroid is the main target of the antibodies.  Most often, unless there are extenuating circumstances, the chosen method for diminishing thyroid function is through the use of radioactive iodine (I-131 for you physicists out there).  The iodine is taken up by the thyroid, then over the course of 3 to 6 weeks, a large portion of the thyroid dies and the overall function of the organ is greatly decreased.  Once this occurs, most patients require synthetic hormone replacement therapy, which is a simple pill taken daily. 

So today we started the day early at UCH with blood drawings, then several tests leading up to some pictures and scans of the thyroid.  The docs then determined the ideal dosage for Kathleen, ordered a custom pill from the nuclear pharmacy (do you know where your neighborhood nuclear pharmacist is???), and at 5:15 pm she swallowed a pill that we hope will be the start of getting the major hassle of this disease behind us.  Since it takes a while for all this to occur, it is still a waiting game, but at least now we have some better sense of direction.  If everything comes to fruition, summer may be the start of Kathleen feeling normal again...for the first time in a long while.  We're hopeful...
Jill helped brighten the day!!!

It helped Kathleen out a bunch having a mid-day visit from Jill, who drove way out of her way to the 'not so hot' part of town to hang out and have coffee (& tea) with us.  By the middle of the day, the anxiety was building a bit on Kathleen so being able to relax and muse about getting back to running hard was a great way to break that tension - it was a huge lift!  Thanks Jill!

So, over the next few months, there may be some longer periods of down time on the blog, not because of inactivity, but more because of the need to get back to normal - been a while, so we might not recognize it at first!  Don't worry, we're not going anywhere!  Happy Trails...on the comeback trail soon!

23 comments:

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I hope you start feeling better very soon, Kathleen! Glad Jill had the chance to visit! Thanks for the update with pics, Steve! Looking forward to summer posts on Happy Trails!

Jill said...

It was so nice to sit and talk to two of my favorite people about one of our favorite passions ... and make plans for Kathleen's comeback this summer. What a grand time that will be!

Kathleen, your words to me over the past year with all my foot (and thus mental - haha) problems have been instrumental in helping me heal (I have all emails saved and read them frequently!), You are so strong...this little hiccup in life isn't going to stop you from enjoying your passions. Rest well and recover quickly, K!!

Now, I'm off to go find out where my nearest nuclear pharmacy is...

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Neighborhood nuclear pharmacy. Now that's not a phrase you hear every day. I really hope this treatment works for you and you feel like yourself again soon, Kathleen. Hang in there. I'll say a prayer for you.

mtnrunner2 said...

Dear antibodies: "Hello, useful tissue here, pick on something else!". :\ Sheesh.

Kathleen, I hope you get some relief out of this, and get back to normal strength, it sounds promising!

Johann said...

Thanks for the update! Kathleen, this is the start of the way back. My thoughts are with you guys. Remember, I'm coming to check up on you in August. All the best and take care.

Knuckledragger said...

I was always of the opinion that my neighborhood nuclear pharmacy was a Starbucks.
Hoping the treatment really works and the best side-effect is an even greater desire and ability to get out and run the Trails we are fortunate to live nearby to.
Craig

njschout said...

Kathleen,we hope that the treatment will be successful and that you will have a return of your health and energy. My mother had a nuclear treatment for an overactive thyroid which was very successful and she never needed any medication. All the best, Nell

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

this will kick it and you will all be back running soon! all our best and prayers.

Jim P. said...

My wife had Graves disease (had surgery to remove her thyroid 10+ years ago). If K ever wants to chat about life on Synthroid, I'm sure she'd be happy to talk.

ajh said...

Thanks for filling us in. Sorry to hear this. Can't wait to be reading about your comeback. Thoughts are with both of you. Take care of yourselves.

Wouldn't a new running skirt for future running be a good start to improving your spirits, Kathleen?

Pinkcorker (Renee) said...

Kathleen,
Well, that time has come, hasn't it? I was hoping that your body would rally around, but it seemed to have other plans...

My thoughts have been with you so much and I just want you to know that I am sending loving thoughts your way. I wish I were there to support you! I don't know why we have to go through some of the things we do, but I do know that the ride is made so much better by the people in our lives that love us.

Thank you for sharing your life and your journey with this. I'm so glad I know you! I'll be rooting for your health and happiness.

ajh said...

I hope you went ahead since you commented on my post and ordered that skirt!

GZ said...

Jill - awesome of you to be there for a friend. You rock.

Kathleen - glad you are on the next step toward getting through this. All the best.

Nuke pharma ... wow.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

that Jill is so sweet!
great pic of you two

recovery begins now. Happy Trails is on the mend. :)

good things ahead, I just feel it.

J.P. Patrick said...

Sending you two tons of positive thoughts!

Terzah said...

Wow! Sending lots of hope your way--be strong, Kathleen! I look forward to following your comeback.

And I love Jill. She's the best.

Christi said...

Kathleen I wish you the best! Please let me know if you need anything. Im not far away and I have alot of free time.

Johann said...

Just want to say I'm thinking of you.

Ace said...

Praying to our Lord for a complete recovery and quick return to "normalcy".

God Bless You friends.

Leslie said...

Good grief, that's a load to manage. Happy thoughts your way friends, for future happy trails. I personally, will go out and do a happy dance in the snow tomorrow for both of you. Good thoughts your way.

Leslie and Keith

Kathy said...

Been wondering how everything is going! The big step is past you - onward!!! You WILL be back on track and hitting the trails soon!

Jennifer said...

Keep up those brave faces! I am thinking and praying for both of you! Love from Mississippi!

Tara said...

I understand the need to step back every once in awhile and resume life outside the blog. Update us when you can, we are all thinking about you!

Thoughts and prayers to you both. Hang in there Kathleen, I just know you'll be making a comeback soon!
Hugs.

PS-Jill always brightens my day too.

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