Not My Finest Week: Thyroid Issues (Mine) and Heartworm (My Dog)

Morning!  It’s a hot sunny day on Ambergris Caye.  The first of October, the first day of the 2021-2022 Conch Season and hopefully the end of my crap week!

I hope this doesn’t come off as a pity party.  Instead, I hope that this “open sharing” of what’s going on with me is helpful in some way.  Mostly because medical care in Belize can seem very mysterious to those who are considering moving down here – or to those who live here!  Like I’ve said before, you can’t just google “best endocrinologist in Belize” or “reviews for best pediatrician in San Pedro” or even “what veterinarians are open today in San Pedro” – that information just isn’t available.

Refer to:  Things I Took For Granted Until I Became an Expat in Belize

I’ve also found that this is a great way to crowd source information – especially people who have been thru JUST THIS.  In the States and in Belize.  I had no idea that thyroid issues were so prevalent – especially with women.  It’s SOOO helpful.

And since “My 49-Year Old Boyfriend Had a Heart Attack in Belize” is one of my most read posts of all time…I figure people are interested in more information.

Side note: My mother will be mortified.  I grew up in a household where you were not to share ANYTHING with those outside your house.  I’m not sure if it was a growing up in the 70s/80s thing or…just our thing.

Additional side note:  If you are not interested in the medical issues of a middle aged woman in Belize and her potlicker, I get it.  I JUST WANT PRETTY PICTURES!  Don’t worry – I TOO hope this isn’t a regular series!

Ode to  the Belizean Potlicker:  Mocha’s Dozen During the Pandemic.

Last Saturday morning, I went to the visiting radiologist in San Pedro at Dr. Dan Gonzalez’s Hope Clinic.   He has regularly visiting doctors, primarily from Belize City, that can help with issues/diagnoses/appointments that are not generally available on the island.

I had a 9am appointment for an ultrasound of my thyroid gland – two doctors that I had seen (one, a regular gyn appt in July and one, a friend, told me that my thyroid needed to be looked at)

I HAVE been feeling tired and very low energy for the last year, I’ve gained some weight…but I chocked it up to the pandemic and pandemic baking and my age.   But in the last few weeks, I’ve had a sore throat, particularly in the late afternoon, evening and my voice…I sound like a toad as the day gets later and later.

Apparently something else is going on.

Diagnosis from the ultrasound:  Acute inflamation on the thyroid – lymph nodes are inflamed too.  Probably Hashimoto’s.  Make an appointment with an internist for next steps

I got a recommendation for an internist at Belize Health Care Partners (from my GP), one of the private hospitals in Belize City, for Wednesday.  And got up early to catch a water taxi to the city.

Just about 200 feet down the road from our house, our golf cart stopped running…in the middle of the street.  I’d given myself extra time…our golf cart is old and very very cranky…but this was not good.  7am…8 miles north of town…there is not a ton of traffic going by.

I pushed the cart to the side of the street…and…a giant dump truck lumbered around the corner.  MY HERO!

Off to town…

I got to the boat in time…

I got to Belize City on time to take the short taxi ride over to Belize Healthcare Partners AND was in plenty of time for my 10:30am appointment.

I told the doctor my story and the issues, I showed him my Ultrasound pictures and he sent me for blood tests.  2 tests would be sent to Miami to test for antibodies that would signal an autoimmune disease – my immune system attacking my thyroid gland.

Here’s the bill.

I waited a few hours for the results that they would process here at the hospital.  Consulted the doctor again about those results and got 2 prescriptions.  And an order to make an appointment for 2 weeks from that day – so we could go over the Miami results together.

Prescriptions for Levothyroxine (thyroid hormone) and Deflazacourt (a steroid) – in total my prescription came to about $80bzd

Additional information that I learned:  There is no endocrinologist (a doctor trained in glands/organs that secret hormones – disorders like diabetes and gland disorders) in Belize.  Belize Healthcare Partners works with a private hospital in Cancun when/if I need to see an endocrinologist in the future.

Probably time to order one of these…ugh.

I’m going on and on…so I’m going to get to our dog!  Again to try to crowdsource some information!

I brought Mocha and Elsie to San Pedro Animal Hospital yesterday – Elsie has a growing mole on her toe (it’s getting BIG) and Mocha…well…Mocha.  She needed a follow-up stomach X-ray.  The day before she had broken into the pantry and eaten…5lbs of dog food?  And…anyway…

I got them both tested for heart worm since I have forgotten to give them heart worm meds for the last…4 – 6 months.

San Pedro Animal Hospital has a new owner and is completely re-done and modernized.  They have an X-ray machine onsite.  They have the ability to do blood work in house.  And they now have a visiting vet from Corozal.

Mocha has heart worm.  Ugh.  Ok,  I thought.  Not a huge deal.  We can fix this up.

But here’s the thing…after 30 days of Doxycycline (an antibiotic and anti-parasite medicine) but to get rid of Heart Worm completely…

It is two shots that cost $1500BZD!

Aye dios mio.

Okay maybe this is a pity party 🙂

Have a great weekend all – I’ll get right back to my regular programming.

And while I shouldn’t watch this tabloid-y “48 Hours” segment that will feature a recent crime/accident? in Belize – I’m sure I will.  On Saturday night.

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