A routine blood draw ordered by my hormone doctor showed I had an elevated calcium level. This led the doctor to test the level of my parathyroid hormone which also tested high. At this point, suspecting parathyroid issues, I was referred to a general surgeon and had a Sestamibi Scan to look for diseased parathyroid glands. Even after the scan I didn’t think I had enough information to justify having surgery so I didn’t do it right away. I have never had surgery before so I was scared.
Upon my hesitation, my cousin asked if I had seen a specialist. When she suggested I see a specialist I did some research and found that UCLA would be the best place to have parathyroid surgery if indeed I needed it. I found information about Dr. Yeh and made a phone call for an appointment. At is turned out, Dr. Yeh’s partner, Dr. Masha Livhits, was available sooner than Dr. Yeh, so I made the appointment with Dr. Livhits and after tests and consultation she did the surgery.
I did not want invasive surgery and I did not want to spend the night in the hospital. Dr. Livhits listened to me and supported my desires. I had never had surgery before and I had supported others through long hospital stays so I did not want to be overnight in the hospital. As it turned out, only one parathyroid gland was removed in surgery.
Post surgery the pain was not in my throat, but I had a terrible headache that lasted for about two days. By the third day I had no more pain, but I was exhausted. I now feel much better, but I do not have all my energy back yet. The end of the day tends to be more like 8:30 pm instead of 10 pm, but it’s getting better. I definitely feel physically stronger. Before surgery I could not lift what I used to be able to lift but now I can. I’ve also already run my first post surgery 10 K and it felt good. The surgery was sure worth it!
In hindsight I probably had all of the classic symptoms of hyperparathyroidism, but I didn’t recognize them at the time and it wasn’t until the elevated calcium and PTH hormone levels showed up in blood tests and I had surgery that I could really think back as to my aliments leading up to the diagnosis. I had had pain in my shoulders and writs for 3-4 years for which there was never a definitive diagnosis. That pain is now pretty much gone. I had a sluggish digestive system for about 15 years and that is no longer a problem. I suffered brain fog – I’d forget someone’s name, or a word in sentences. It’s pretty amazing for my brain to be less foggy. I have no aches and pains. Less hair is falling out. I had all the things – moans, bones, groans, and now thankfully I feel much better. I am so thankful to Dr. Livhits.
Tags: blood draw, blood tests, calcium level, Dr. Masha Livhits, Dr. Michael Yeh, elevated calcium level, endocrine, Endocrine, Endocrine Surgery, endocrine surgery, Endocrinology, hair loss, hormone, hormone doctor, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, invasive surgery, parathyroid, parathyroid glands, parathyroid hormone, patient stories, routine blood draw, sestamibi scan