Folks … we have a winner! No. Sorry. I did not win the New Jersey Lottery. I wish!!! But I have hit another jackpot—the diagnosis jackpot! Though I do believe it will be some time before I know if I will collect the prize. The prize being—feeling like I did before this all started.
About two weeks ago, I went back to my endocrinologist, Dr Smita Kargutkar. She looked at blood work I had done a week before and shook her head. “Mr Streno, I have good news and bad news. The good news is the anomaly we have seen in your testosterone results has been reproduced four times now. It’s a safe bet to say, you have a very rare hormonal defect—possibly genetic. You do not produce enough Dehydroepiandrosterone—DHEA. I have never seen this before. You are my first. But before we do anything else, I must do MORE blood work. There is no assay to test for this anomaly. So I must test everything else around this hormone to prove it is what it looks like.”
Fourteen vials of blood, and a ten day wait for my next appointment with Dr Kargutkar later … yes boys and girls … we do have a winner! For a fifth time, my total testosterone levels were normal, but my free testosterone (DHEA) levels were mega-low. This would certainly explain the lethargy, weight gain, and fuzzy brain I’ve been experiencing since before summer 2014.
As Dr Kargutkar explained to me, while showing me a hormone flow chart on her computer, I—for some unknown reason—do not produce enough of the hormone DHEA. Because of this my body has difficulty completing the full hormonal “chain of events”. And thusly, lethargy, weight gain, etc etc.
I was also told that my iodine level was low. So I will also be taking an iodine supplement once every three days to get to a normalized level. After that, I can just take a multivitamin with iodine and I should be fine.
The other even more shocking good news—my Sarcoid is now INACTIVE? WTF? In not more than a month, my 1,25 Dihydroxy-Vitamin D levels had returned to normal. Dr Kargutkar turns to me and says, “Mr Streno, I have never seen anyone’s blood work be so all over the place, in such a short time.” I turned to her and said, “welcome to my world!”
All my hand wringing, teeth gnashing and emotional turmoil about my Sarcoid being active … was for naught! Times like these I never know whether to laugh or cry! For now …. I’ll go for laugh!
So if all this was the GOOD news … what was the bad? Dr Kargutkar’s practice will no longer be taking my insurance. Though she will be able to see me through the St Barnabas clinic in Long Branch …. when I can get an appointment.
So there is light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not an oncoming train! There is an over the counter DHEA supplement I can take. As a matter of fact I just got my Amazon shipment today! Took my first pill this morning. Now it’s just a waiting game, to see how & if the DEHA supplement will have any effect. Like everything else—it’s a process. A process of investigation and elimination. It’s the nature of diagnosing an illness. Hell, it took TWO YEARS to diagnose my Sarcoid. Though even with all the blood data, this is still a “soft diagnosis”. It’s another path to walk down, another possibility to eliminate. Will the DHEA work? Who the fuck knows! The doctor doesn’t. I don’t. But I’m willing to try this tact, this path, and believe in the process.
With as much illness as I’ve had in this lifetime, I’ve HAD to believe in the process. I don’t believe in much more. I believe in myself, I believe in finding answers and finding the “well” me again! It’s worth the time and the circuitous route that I’ve been set upon. If I had more control of the Universe, things might be different. But I don’t! I never will! Control is an illusion! And with that, I must give myself up to the process, and believe that there is an answer at the end of it all. One that will work for me.
Maybe within a few weeks I really can say, “Folks … we have a winner!” … and actually feel like one again!