Got Calcium?

I've had low calcium issues since my thyroid surgeries. It's not uncommon - the parathyroid glands are responsible for regulating calcium levels in the blood, they're tiny (think grain of rice) and they're located directly behind the thyroid. It's unusual for someone who has a total thyroidectomy to come through it with their four parathyroid glands unscathed is what I'm saying. I have one and a half(ish) left.

I have had my calcium tested every six weeks for the last two years. At best, it hovered directly above the red zone. At its worst, I was kept in the hospital for four days following my second surgery to have daily 6-hour calcium infusions.

I have a medical team. I have different doctors who are responsible for different aspects of my care. My low calcium issue fell under my endocrinologist's purview. Her solution was for me to increase the number of calcium supplements I took every day. So for the last two years, I've swallowed more and more calcium supplements, creating a calcium supplement schedule (because your body can't absorb more than 500-600mg of calcium at a time so you have to space your calcium supplements out over the course of the day. I take thyroid hormones twice every day and calcium has to be taken four hours away from them. And I take iron once a day and calcium has to be spaced apart from that too. Oh and the iron has to be taken four hours away from the thyroid hormones. It was stressful is what I'm saying.)

But my calcium level stayed low. Not go-to-the-hospital-immediately-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 low. But low enough. Low calcium is not fun. Calcium is responsible for healthy bones and teeth (I had to have $1,000-worth of dental work last year after my teeth started crumbling around old fillings and I have bone pain to various degrees almost every night) but it's also responsible for normal muscle and nerve function (meaning my muscles twitch and sometimes I get horrible muscle cramps and I have almost constant pins and needles in my feet and fingers.) None of these symptoms are life threatening (severely low calcium can be very dangerous but my levels never fell to that range) but they affect my daily life. They're a drag. They weigh on me heavily at times because they're constant.   

Last December my GP (who is seriously awesome) asked me if I wanted to see a new endocrinologist. I didn't even know that was an option. I thought you got your medical team and you sent a little thank you up to the Free Canadian Healthcare gods and you listened to your doctors. But my GP said if I felt I wasn't being heard by my endocrinologist I had every right to find a new one.

My new endocrinologist switched up my supplements after she uncovered a Vitamin D deficiency (among others) that was affecting my body's ability to absorb all that calcium I was taking.  I had blood work done yesterday and my results show increased calcium levels despite me taking fewer calcium supplements. I am doing my happy dance. I take more Vitamin D now than I was before but Vitamin D is so easy to take. I don't have to take it separately from my other pills. I can take one mega dose every day and not worry about spacing it out to increase absorption. Vitamin D is easy peasy.

I feel like I've been fighting my body for two years. It's a relief to feel like things are finally getting figured out. I feel almost hopeful that this is the year I'll start to feel normal again.