My Experience with Hyperparathyroidism
Hyperparathyrodism – Hyper-para-what?
That was my reaction when my Doctor told me at the end of last year I had Hyperparathyroidism – a parathyroid gland that was malfunctioning, had turned into a adenoma – (that’s a medical term for tumor – thankfully benign) and I’d needed to have it removed!
I thought it had something to do with my Thyroid and although they are classed as next door neighbours, parathyroids have their own unique jobs to do.
The parathyroids job is to monitor and regulate calcium levels by secreting a hormone called parathyroid hormone or PHT in our bones and blood. The parathyroid makes less or more PTH depending on the requirements of each gland. Mine currently makes 4 times more than I need.
We all have 4 parathyroids glands that sit behind the thyroid gland in our necks. Each one is the size of a grain of rice, unless it develops a tumor and grows to the size of a grape, olive or even the size of a walnut.
In turn the tumor creates excess PHT, pumping it into the bloodstream and then into healthy bones. The cells within the bones are activated and begin eating away at the bones causing bone pain, fractures and osteoporosis.
When the bones are undergoing this process the calcium is then released into the blood producing elevated calcium levels in patients that have a malfunctioning parathyroid caused by the tumor.
There are other health implications too, the excess calcium can build up in arteries (hardening of the arteries) and increases risks for high blood pressure and sometimes even stroke and heart attacks.
When a tumor is present in a parathyroid gland all sorts of symptoms appear, they include;
- extreme tiredness
- loss of energy – want to nap during the day
- don’t feel “normal”
- lose interest in things
- can’t concentrate
- aches in bones
- wake up in the middle of the night (like now writing this for me)
- forget simple things that used to be remembered easily
- thinning hair
- heart palpitations
- kidney stones
- frequent headaches
Hyperparathyroidism was initially described in the early 1920’s as ‘stones, groans, moans and bones with psychic overtones’
Apart from depression, headaches and kidney stones I have experience all these symptoms and have the initial stages of osteoporosis.
My research and fact-finding also found that gut problems are also common symptoms (I’ve been gluten intolerant and had a leaky gut for 3 years) and because of this symptom Vitamin D withdraws from the body because of the high levels of calcium. Typically low vitamin D levels are very common in people with a parathyroid tumor.
When my Doctor told me that a surgeon would make an incision in my neck and remove the malfunctioning parathyroid I kind of freaked out a little, OK maybe more than just a little!
My doctor told me I had 3 others and although they were probably lying dormant because of the rogue parathyroid, it didn’t seem to me like it was a good enough reason to rip it out!
There are two things I couldn’t find out – when the malfunction started and the tumor started and what was the cure? Answer – the medical industry doesn’t know. Nobody knows why it starts and the only known cure is to remove the tumor.
For those people that know me (not many of them even know about this), would know how I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than have anything removed from my body, be in hospital or even see a Doctor as I prefer Naturopaths and alternative treatments for any ailments. I’d prefer to treat naturally and as I rarely have any type of illness it suits me.
Sure I could do nothing and plod along managing the symptoms, however, I’d have a shorter life span, worse symptoms and less quality of life. No thanks I have quite a few things on my bucket list to do!
Pretty much from the time the parathyroid is removed and once the other 3 sleepyheads wake up, the good news is all the symptoms are completely reversible.
There had been some interesting (and trying) times during the past 6 or so months for me, however I have a secret weapon that has kept me going throughout.
Using My Mind
Yep you read that right, my mind. There wouldn’t have been one day that I spoken to that nagging little voice trying to tell me how bad I feel and how bad things are, could be, might be, yadda, yadda, yadda!
My mind has helped me through 2 divorces, bad business decisions and many other failures throughout my life so it was a natural progression for me to put it to work for me again. I really do believe strongly in what we think and say really makes us who we are and is reflected daily within the quality of our life.
It’s more than just positive thinking, it’s more to do with what we say and think about ourselves and our lives in general. It effects us directly and our lives and has really worked for me many, many times.
I’m guessing at this point you may have made the link between my belief and why I post all positive and encouraging posts on the Weight Loss Mother Facebook page.
Was each day a good day? No it wasn’t, however without my secret weapon I believe things could be a lot worse!
Some days I would exercise and some days I’d sleep instead. Some days I’d moan and groan and some days I’d be full of energy. I learnt just always look for the good in a situation and made it my number one priority to feel good within myself, with who I am and the rest would take care of itself.
The day for surgery is fast approaching. It is on Wednesday to be exact. I am hoping for just a short overnight stay (for the Doctors to monitor my calcium levels) and then I’ll be home.