Throughout 2015 I was being monitored for progressively increasing levels of calcium (blood/urine), and enlarging thyroid nodules (ultrasounds, blood tests). I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroid disease in 2015. But the calcium issue had to do with a completely different set of glands: The Parathyroids: named this because they are merely near or at one side or behind the thyroid, not a part of it. The thyroid and parathyroids glands have different functions, and are not the same gland.
"What are the effects of high PTH levels (parathyroid hormone): High PTH levels trigger the bones to release increased amounts of calcium into the blood, causing blood calcium levels to rise above normal. The loss of calcium from bones may weaken bones. Also, the small intestine may absorb more calcium from food, adding excess calcium in the blood. In response, kidneys excrete more calcium into the urine, leading to kidney stones. It can contribute to other issues: heart disease, high blood pressure, concentration problems... more research is being done to understand how hyperparathyroidism affects cardiovascular health (heart and vessels), and the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
After the Hashimoto's thyroid diagnosis, I was then diagnosed with Primary hyperparathyroidism, secondary to 4-gland hyperplasia (all four of my parathyroids were enlarged). On October 20, 2015, three of my four parathyroids were surgically removed by an excellent doctor, Michael Starks, MD., and his assistant, Tracy Bennett, PA-C of St. Joseph General Surgery, in Bangor, Maine. The surgery took place at the wonderful St. Joseph Hospital (Conducted by the Felician Sisters). I can speak highly of my experience with all involved from front desk to recovery room. I need to add that all of Dr. Starks staff from the main desk inward were kind, sensitive and upbeat. I feel very fortunate to have had my surgery experience with all of the above.
Calcium was being pulled from all parts of my body. This was not good. I had many symptoms associated with hyperparathyroidism, and will be forever grateful to Pam Koenig of Eastport Health Care; and endocrinologist Dr. Mark Henderson of Bangor for discovering these serious issues firsthand, and for following through with me. Calcium is not just about bone and teeth health, it is a balance that is critical for all muscles (heart muscle) contracting and for helping nerves transmit signals.
Here is a useful link: www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov. It is a National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. If the link does not work, type it in or Google it to learn facts. I promise, I will not turn this in to an anatomy and physiology paper. So please check the internet for excellent material. Other links: www.hormone.org; www.endo-society.org; www.endocrinesurgery.org.
The photos below will show a healing progression of my scar over a three month period, starting from October 20, 2015, the day of the surgery, to January 16, 2016, three months after surgery. After 3 of 4 enlarged parathyroid were removed, my outer scar was sealed with surgical glue. Showers were allowed, but the scar could not be directly washed for about a week. The one parathyroid remaining on the right inferior side, will hopefully do what all four used to do. I will need periodic blood tests to monitor calcium levels, which at this time requires me to take a supplement of calcium 600mg/Vitamin D400mg. I am feeling healthier with each passing month.