A few weeks ago, I promised to do a post regarding my immune issues. Since we are staring up another round of IComLeavWe and might have a few guests visiting the blog, I thought this would be a grand opportunity to give the rundown and a bit of history.
It all started many, many, many years ago when I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder (hypothyroidism). It wasn’t a huge surprise as several of my female relatives also have thyroid issues. After many years of trying to regulate my thyroid, I seem to have found the trick. Though again, this was years of blood draws, trying different medications, different dosages, moving to Germany and being put on the local stuff (nightmare), all mixed in with a few health care providers trying to save me a dime and ordering the generic. Trust me, spend the extra money for brand name, thyroid meds. Your body will thank you.
Jump ahead and the thyroid is FINALLY sorted out. We arrived in Minsk, Belarus in 2007, already knowing that we had a fertility issue (three years of perfect, NFP charts tend to clue one in to these things) and decided to have some testing done.
The initial blood work was as close to perfect as could be, with one exception, that darn thyroid. Even though my TSH was spot on at around 1, the Anti-TireoPeroxidase was 550.80, with a reference range of 0-34. This immediately clued everyone in that this was very likely an auto-immune thyroid issue and got me sent to the endocrinologist for a thyroid ultrasound. Once again, I was not at all surprised by hearing “auto-immune disorder” because well, my relatives have a ton of those, too. The ultrasound showed that my thyroid is 67% of the normal size and will continue to shrink. Definitely auto-immune, commonly called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
So there we were, quite a bit of time trying by this point, a diagnosed auto-immune issue, a lot of blood work, an HSG, a semen analysis, and a handful of REs (both in Minsk and consulted in the U.S.) telling us that IVF was our best bet, actually our only bet.
Researcher by nature with a medical background, I read medical journals, studies, books, consulted with the experts, etc. etc.. My goal was to have the first IVF supplemented with baby aspirin, steroids, and heparin. Unfortunately my RE in Belarus was uncomfortable using heparin injections until I had experienced three losses. Disappointed is an understatement, but what could I do. Anyway, we did the first IVF with the standards meds, baby aspirin, and a steroid called Medrol. I did conceive triplets, but we lost them fairly early. We went on to do a FET (frozen embryo transfer), but those two never even implanted. And then we had the great political fiasco of 2008 and left the country.
Enter Dublin. I found a great clinic, great doctor, and had a great consultation. After reviewing all of my paperwork he firmly believes that I lost the triplets due to immune issues and my system attacking/ killing them, so I was referred for additional immune testing, first to France, then to Chicago.
Those tests indicated that I have Anti-Thyroid Antibodies, Anti-Nuclear Antibodies, elevated CD 19+5 cytokines, and the Natural Killer Assay numbers dropped considerably when IVIG was introduced.
So the new protocol was set for the standard IVF meds, baby aspirin, prednisone,heparin injections twice a day, and intralipid infusions.
And now you know more about my medical history than you EVER wanted to. There is still a long way to go, but I am now a firm believer in reproductive immunology and the use of intralipid therapy in patients with identified immune issues. I’ll continue to update the blog with resources on this topic that you might find helpful.
More information about intralipids.