Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blood Draws - How Things Change In A Blink!

Youngest daughter is the lucky recipient of two auto-immune diseases; type 1 diabetes AND Hashimotos Hypothyroid. 

You can read a little bit more about her experience with Hashimotos here.

For the most part, neither diagnosis holds her back from enjoying all that life has to offer.  There are though, the days when one or the other disease causes a little too much grief.  If we can't rule out high or low blood sugars as a culprit, we often will turn to a blood draw for some investigation on her hormone levels.

What is most interesting about her hypothyroid diagnosis is how often her thyroid hormone levels will fluctuate, causing discreet symptoms to flare and reappear.  This is not necessarily the case with many children that have Hashimotos.  In fact, one of our dear friends has children that rarely have dosage changes, so in that regard, it is very different from patient to patient.  I also find it interesting that my oldest daughter has perfect thyroid levels and even three years post diagnosis continues to be in range at every check.  Like type 1 diabetes does not necessarily develop in every person with a genetic connection, neither does Hashimotos.

Youngest daughter's chief complaint is, and always has been, leg pain.  As a mother, nothing is worse than seeing your child tear up from feeling aches and having absolutely no way to make them go away, even with warm baths, ibuprofen and other miscellaneous attempts to calm her.  The only true way to discover what is going on is through labwork where her TSH, T3, T4 and Free T3, T4 are carefully reviewed.  For as much as our youngest daughter hates blood work, when she is feeling her leg pain, she will practically volunteer for the poke. 

Can I just say how sad that is for a nine-year old?  Sigh.

Once again at our recent pediatric endocrinologist appointment, both youngest daughter and I mentioned a few of the random symptoms that she had been feeling.  Headaches and leg pain topped the list - with youngest daughter sharing that during her dance class, the pain was so strong that she couldn't even stand on one leg during the barre exercises. 

Hearing a child talk so openly and candidly about her situation is certainly a compelling reason to head into the nearest lab to check TSH levels.  Which we did, immediately upon receiving our blood draw script.

And sure enough... TSH had elevated just a tiny bit from 3.00 to 3.50.  This small jump is enough to cause symptoms to flare in many individuals.  It also completely validated youngest daughter's worries as with her symptoms, you can not actually see anything with the naked eye - except maybe an enlarged gland (goiter) but that would be from very high levels of TSH.  A tiny bit of an increase in her Levothyroxin will eventually, (as it does take about six weeks to build up in her system) help decrease her symptoms.  Not to mention that if we waited, with all of her impending growth, we could find ourselves dealing with a much bigger problem in 3 more months - and a much unhappier child. 

Like I have mentioned before, this is just one pill a day.  That's all that is required for her to continue being a happy kid.

While I wish she didn't have 'one more thing', I am so glad that we can help her to to solve this and I am also so glad that she will be back to feeling like any other healthy 9-year old should! 

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