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

Thursday, February 16, 2012


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!
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