January 28, 2014 by Lauren Grider
I had a restful weekend. That should have an exclamation point after it because of how rare that is. I had a restful weekend! I wrote, read, relaxed, watched Will & Grace and Modern Family, and spent some quality time with my mom. I didn’t have any veterinary cases haunting me (knock on wood). I just did whatever.
The Whole Life Challenge is shifting its focus from water drinking to sleep for the next two weeks. As such, I thought it would be
interesting fun to talk about my sleep issues. I go to a sleep clinic in Birmingham. I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. This all happened about 8 months ago. I was feeling so run down, exhausted. My hair was falling out at an unprecedented level. I was having chronic hives. I begged my reproductive endocrinologist to check my thyroid autoantibodies, since my mom has Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) and these are common symptoms. The nurse told me many times over the years that my thyroid was just fine. Turns out, they weren’t checking my antibody levels at all. When I finally got a copy of my test results, guess what was missing? Yep. When I called the office to figure out what was going on, the nurse told me that I shouldn’t worry because of several important (and completely false) points: #1 Hashimoto’s is not inherited (it is strongly heritable). #2 If I had Hashimoto’s disease, we would know because my T4 would be the first thing to change (autoantibody levels usually increase first). #3 I don’t have a thyroid problem because my TSH is “normal” (never mind that endocrinologists have a hard time deciding what a “normal” TSH level is, mine was high-normal, a red flag). #4 Ladies with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) don’t have an increased incidence of Hashimoto’s disease (this is just flat wrong). Of course, I couldn’t talk to the doctor. I am a freakin’ doctor, and I couldn’t speak with the doctor. For the record, I always call my clients with results in person unless the results are 100% normal or I am handling an emergency.
Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about sleep. I’m getting there. Fast forward- my OBGYN sees me for my annual visit, says “damn, girl, you look like you have thyroid disease,” and puts me on supplementation. This makes ReproEndo irritated, but I feel so much better. So, I went looking for someone who has a special interest in thyroid disease, and I found him in Birmingham. He palpated a thyroid nodule. I have a goiter. I also have elevated thyroid autoantibodies. No %#!@, really? Now, I feel much better! I am on Armour thyroid, and I have hair! It turns out, he is a sleep disorders physician, and that’s how I ended up at a sleep study. Whew.
I am trying to get compliant with my CPAP so I can keep it, but it is hard to get used to sleeping with something attached to your face. I have tried several masks. Anyway, the latest thing I’m doing is completely taking the mask off and turning the machine off in the middle of the night without realizing it. When I explained this, there was concern. I really don’t remember a thing? Nope. Do I have trouble waking up completely (oh, daily) or do I ever sleep walk (once that I know of). I have to set 6 alarms over the course of an hour in order to get out of the bed in the morning, and I have to rotate alarm sounds because when I get used to one, my brain puts it into the ignore bin, and I’ll sleep right through it. I also have insanely vivid dreams. They are now worried I have something called sleep inertia. I have to keep a sleep diary, including dreams. Here is a sampling of the first 3 days: #1 I was living in my college apartment, and coming home to let myself into the front door, when I was attacked by wasps. When I finally got inside, my family was there and they had a huge Driver’s Bakery (a childhood favorite) cake for me for my birthday (can you tell I’ve been cutting carbs, dreaming about cake?). #2 Searching through a pine forest for a stuffed (as in taxidermy, not cuddly toy) squirrel. #3 Physically attacking and beating the crap out of an assailant.
They might as well crack open a few beers and make popcorn to go through my sleep journal.
Homemade Ranch Dressing
This one is easy. Take that delicious homemade paleo mayo you’ve made and add the seasonings to taste. Yep, that’s it. I put in two pinches of House Seasoning, 4 shakes of dill, and 3 shakes of dried chives in about 1/4 cup of the mayo. Add seasonings and taste as you go. Make it chipotle ranch by adding some Frank’s Original hot sauce!