Still Full of Ideas

‘Tis the season to draw blood. Yes, you read that right get your blood drawn but for less. If you are not aware of it, Life Extension Foundation (recommended by Suzanne Somers) is having their yearly sale on blood tests until June 6th. You have to join Life Extension for $75 and you will feel compelled to wade through their monthly magazine that I find to be mostly an advertisement for their multitude of supplements that they claim extend your life.

However there is a reward. Once a year they mark their blood panels down. These blood panels are very complete and a doctor’s order is not required. You do need to locate a LabCorp in your area for your blood draw but the price and scope of various panels is hard to beat. The knowledge you glean from your results is priceless.

This week I purchased the Female Weight Loss Panel for the sale price of $224.25. I was pleasantly surprised when the requisition form arrived in my email as on the site you are left feeling the requisition form will be mailed to you by no less than “snail mail”. I quickly printed off the order for the phlebotomist at the lab and headed off to the nearest LabCorp about 30 miles from my house. It is, fortunately for me,  near my daughter’s house and an opportunity to hold the sweetest baby.

It is not often one brags about a phlebotomist but the technicians at the LabCorp in Edina, MN are fantastic. I have never once been hurt by them. They are professional and very good at what they are trained to do, drawing your blood from a vein in to a portal that empties in to vial. Not only are the techs good the facility is clean and LabCorp does most drug testing for big companies in the Twin Cities. This is not a dank, dark lab hidden deep down some disreputable street it is an office on the 6th floor of the Fairview Professional Building next to one of the larger hospitals in the Twin Cities. The first time I went I was most fortunate that my daughter had just had her drug test for a new job, so she knew precisely where LabCorp was and told me it was totally professional. It put my mind to rest and now I can help you, LabCorp is a reputable company and most online labs use them for the blood draws.

I had my blood drawn on Monday morning at 8:00 and was on my way by 8:05. My test results were in my “inbox” on Thursday evening not weeks later as they would be if your doctor’s office orders the tests. I got home late Thursday night and questioned the intelligence of opening the results before I went to bed but decided no one was home and if I was up late there would be no repercussions.

I don’t know if you face test results with the same trepidation. Basically, I want to know but I don’t want to know, so test results are always a source of stress for me. This may come down to what I wrote about last week, that sort of base pessimism that I have, or just some bad memories of doctors looking at my results and saying “you will have a heart attack if you don’t lower your cholesterol”. I have since learned that cholesterol has very little predictive powers when it comes to your heart but it doesn’t stop those words from ringing in my head when looking at blood test results.

I will not bore you with too many numbers. I can tell you there were some pleasant surprises like my low CRP result and my uric acid reading was also very good. Disappointingly my sex hormones were still almost non-existent and I have increased the amount of almost all my bio-identical hormones. My FT3 was too low but my SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) was high indicating a good saturation level of T3 in my tissues. The high SHBG is the reason my hormone levels are so low and I will have to do my research to rectify that as it is binding all my sex hormones and not letting my body utilize them.

For my thyroid friends my TSH was suppressed at .034 but it should be on T3-only and my FT4 was negligible at .03, again perfectly normal with T3 only and indicative of having my RT3 under control. My low FT3 was 3.2 and should be closer to 6 when I am taking T3 only as there is no T4 to turn in to T3, so I will have to increase my T3 but not until my adrenals can take the load. I feel confident that I am no longer pooling any FT3 but my issue is that higher levels of T3 cause sleeplessness and exaggerated heart palps. My iron was good at 107, so my intolerance is not due to anemia.

Speaking of cholesterol as I was earlier I was unhappy about my increased LDL numbers as that has always been low but my ratio was still acceptable. My bilirubin numbers were slightly elevated and while I would like them lower they have been elevated for several years. Two puzzlers were high hemoglobin and high hematocrit. I could very well have been dehydrated and that will raise the level of both. I need to peruse Lab Tests Online to see what I can learn about elevated hemoglobin and hematocrit.

I feel like this has been a big week and for once blood test results have made me feel like I am full of ideas on how to improve the numbers I don’t like. In the past test results have seemed more like a harbinger of bad things to come and ideas on how to improve things have been out weighed by the negative news from my doctor. There is nothing like fear and trepidation to paralyze a person and when inertia sets in nothing gets done and Big Pharma becomes the victor. This time I am in charge of my health and I am ready for the challenge.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cleo on 11:21 at Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    My last FT3, almost a year ago, was 2.63 with a range of 2.77-5.27. That was a few months after I had started cytomel, and I was probably not up to my current dose yet. I do take melatonin, but about half a gram. I have insurance for any blood test my doctor agrees with. She has approved the homocysteine, but it’s not clear yet if the glutathione test is done by my provider’s lab. Still waiting to see, but I’m willing to pay for that privately if necessary. Does your friend know of Sue Jackson’s blog on CFS? It’s at: http://livewithcfs.blogspot.com/
    She does a fantastic job of explaining her own protocol and the current research being done for a cure.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kris on 14:36 at Tuesday, May 10, 2011

      I’ll have to ask my friend if she knows of that site but if she didn’t she will now as she usually checks my blog now and then. We both agree that people with hypothyroidism often have the same issues as CFS and even Fibromyalgia, so it might be a helpful site for me to explore as well. Thanks for the URL.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Cleo on 10:04 at Monday, May 9, 2011

    I’m not sure what the difference between homocysteine and CRP is, I’ll ask my doctor when I see her at the end of this month. I’ve had the homocysteine test done several years ago, and I’m going to have it again this week. From what I have read, it is the best test to determine your vascular health and some think, longevity. I also requested a glutathione and DHEA test. I have fatigue despite being on cytomel for Hashimotos so I continue to look for deficiencies that might explain it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kris on 11:27 at Monday, May 9, 2011

      Cleo, do you have insurance for blood tests? if not, LEF has homocysteine on sale until June 6th for about $27 (+or-), so I have put it on my list as that seems like a really good price.
      What was your latest FT3? I know mine is too low at 3.2 although it shows as being WNL on my test results. Any fatigue I have is explained away by that low FT3 but I can relate to fatigue being something you want an answer for. I love being able to sleep again but the feeling of morning fatigue I have right now is a little hard to cope with. I am taking melatonin at night and I am wondering if the 3 mg is too much and thus the morning fatigue but it is what I have and I am using it up (especially after confessing that I have quite a cache in my blog today). Do you take melatonin?
      Please keep me up to date on the fatigue. I have a friend who has CFS and I know she would like to know if something works.

      Kris

      Reply

  3. I’m finding all your explorations interesting as usual, and many of your health concerns overlap my own. Have you ever blogged about homocysteine, or had yours checked?

    I also have a high SHBG level, so I’m particularly interested in what you might find to lower that.

    Reply

    • Posted by Kris on 8:08 at Sunday, May 8, 2011

      Hi again,
      I wanted to get back to you on the question of homocysteine and SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). As far as I recollect I have never checked my homocysteine. This time I had the CRP and other markers checked for inflammation because that was included in the LEF Fat Loss Panel. I think before they end their blood panel sale I will order another one as they are good for several months and the price is right as long as you have already paid your membership dues. Perhaps I will check out homocysteine. have you checked yours? If so, did it show you anything that the CRP didn’t?
      As for SHBG the general response to my high levels was to take more BHRT. People have tried several methods to lower SHBG and as far as I can tell they haven’t had any success, in fact, as with all things whatever they did to lower SHBG messed up something else. Ann on the RT3 forum felt it was a good sign that I had T3 saturation in my tissues and didn’t seem at all concerned. For now I am increasing my estradiol and progesterone and trying to cycle my hormones but not to the level of T.S. Wiley or proponents of the Wiley Protocol.

      Reply

      • Some of the best cruciferous veealebtgs: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy. Some of the best leafy green veealebtgs: spinach, collard and mustard greens, kale and Swiss chard. Some of the best foods for anthocyanin: Berries (all varieties), cherries, black currents, eggplant, red, black, and purple grapes, plums, rhubarb, red onion, red apples, red/purple cabbage, and red beets. Some of the best foods for quercetin: Onions (red, yellow, white), kale, leeks, cherry tomato, broccoli, blueberries, black currants, elderberries, apricots, apple with skin (Red Delicious), and red, purple, and black grapes. Folic acid can also help your memory Folic acid (also known as folate) seems to have a direct effect on memory. A study conducted at Tufts University in Boston followed about 320 men for three years. Those who had high blood levels of homocysteine showed memory decline, but if the men ate foods rich in folic acid (folic acid directly lowers homocysteine levels), their memories were protected. Also, an Australian study found that eating plenty of foods rich in folic acid was associated with faster information processing and memory recall. After just five weeks of introducing adequate folic acid into their diets, women in the study showed overall improvements in memory. Some of the best foods for folic acid include fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, spinach, green peas, artichokes, broccoli, wheat germ, beets and oranges. Eating fish seems to help too! A study conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed more than 3,000 men and women for six years to see how diet affected memory. People who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower decline compared with those who did not eat fish, a difference that gave them the memory and thinking ability of a person three years younger. You can exercise your brain with hard riddles. Reading, anything that uses your brain!!

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