Our Shrinking Girl

I think Ray was a little envious of Dr. Mark Starr this past weekend. We’ve never met Dr. Starr, but I spent the whole weekend enthralled with his book, “Type 2 Hypothyroidism”. I learned so much, and I am a little hesistant to try to share it for fear that by distilling it down to bite-sized pieces I will not give you an accurate or complete picture. His book is less than $15 and I would encourage you heartily to read it.

It did explain much about Abbie however, particularly the fact that she was hypothyroidic before she was ever injured. Much differently than Type I hypothyroidism, Type II occurs not at the thyroid gland necessarily but in the mitochondria (energy factories) of each cell, and is most often passed down through maternal lines. As I learned about how this condition presents itself I could clearly trace the route it had taken from my grandmother, to my mother, through me to Abbie.

We have begun to see some of the hoped-for early effects of starting Abbie on Armour Thyroid and iodine. Her face has begun to thin out, as have her lips. She is losing bulk around her thighs, and today the nurse asked if she’d lost weight because it has become much easier to get her on-the-verge-of-being-outgrown size 6 diapers on her. As the mucin that has infiltrated her connective tissues starts to leave her body, I think we will see a new “lean, mean Abbie machine.” Another fantastic effect of the reduction of mucin has been much better breathing. It is not uncommon now for Abbie to be satting 100 on her own, even while on her tummy or asleep. That hasn’t happened in over a year. Her muscle tone continues to improve, and she is doing her neurodevelopmental exercises better than she has in a very long time.

Today we got some new foot orthotics at Shriner’s. While being fit for the right foot, Abbie did not like a certain way the orthotist moved her foot. She let us know loudly, with expression and first with crying then with a vocalizations — she really let us have it. Newt has been making “shoes” for Abbie since right after her injury, and was very impressed with how much she has changed lately, both in communication and muscle tone. I love hearing people say that!

Right now I am studying the book of Daniel, and having been gaining SO much from each minute I spend there. There’s so much I want to write, but I don’t want to babble or overwhelm. Let me just share one point that flashed like a billboard for me today. In the story of the fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego leave their fourth, divine companion in the blaze to emerge unburnished. I have known that story since preschool, but read with fresh eyes today that they did not even smell like smoke after their ordeal. Beth Moore (yes, her again…I bet that Houston girl doesn’t even know she has a part-time residence in Hawaii!) drew the parallel to the fires we have to walk through by saying that we do not have to, in fact we should not, have a smoky aroma lingering upon us afterward. By the promises given in Isaiah 43:1-3, no one should even have the slightest hint that we’ve walked (or stumbled or crawled) through the flames. So that is how I am checking my spirit, my countenance, my attitude…am I wearing “Eau de Smoke” to let the world know of my light and temporary suffering, or do I smell fresh and new to let them know of my powerful, eternal God?

“But now, thus says the Lord, your creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you,
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you
When you walk through the fire you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flames burn you.

For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior..”

–Isaiah 43:1-3a