Dear remaining parathyroid glands in my 58-year-old neck:
First, I’m sorry. I’m sorry about not realizing your two parathyroid co-workers acted like workaholics on amphetamines, long after you two recognized the body’s calcium needs had been met and exceeded.
Thank you for doing your job of shutting off when my calcium rose into an acceptable range.
But those rogue parathyroids kept going. There was a reason, although no proven cause.
You, mysterious glands, normally meet the measurements of a grain of rice. Although tiny, you parathyroids calibrate the calcium throughout the entire body: bones, teeth, blood, kidneys, heart, brain, and the muscular, digestive, and nervous systems.
This means your functions and responsibilities have been greatly underestimated by me and many others, even endocrinologists who diagnosed our condition: Primary Hyperparathyroidism (which has zero to do with the thyroid, other than location).
I didn’t even know you guys existed until about a year ago. Sometimes, we find something we’ve taken for granted is a critical component of a healthy system. You literally hold my life in your grain-of-sand-sized selves.
You can now wake up and return to work after your ridiculously long nap. Thank you for sleeping; it was the appropriate response.
It turns out, your coworkers were not on drugs. Also, it’s unlikely that the foods I fed or did not feed my body acted as an inciting factor to push your fellow coworkers into pumping calcium like they’d struck gold, then over-pumping parathyroid hormone (PTH), then calcium, on repeat.
As you know, with capable parathyroid glands, PTH and calcium work together like a seesaw.
But yes, your other two partners got wild and broke the damn seesaw!
I’m sorry that set you on the sideline, put you out of work, and left you inactive for years, maybe even a decade.
Those two had noncancerous tumors, adenomas. They were diseased. They swelled to the size of peas, although the size of the adenomas does not determine the severity of the disease.
Anyhow, because they were diseased, and because surgery is the only known cure for hyperparathyroidism, they were removed by one of the finest surgeons in the world and his stellar surgical team at Cleveland Clinic.
Now, after years of not knowing what was happening, suffering symptoms, and seeking help from doctors and healers, I finally know what was wrong. With the parathyroidectomy, the system has a 95% chance of returning to full health.
So, faithful remaining parathyroids, I write to you today with gratitude, apology, and a plea for you to wake up fully and completely to be the stellar parathyroid, right-sized team of rockstars you are. I ask you to return to work as you were designed and keep the PTH, calcium, and vitamin D calibrations intact.
You have the capacity. I will be patient as you return to work and get used to the new rhythm of regulating smoothly.
People say there’s no magic, but you, little gems are magic. You’re a too-well-kept secret to my health, the system regulators. Now, you’re given the assignment and opportunity to completely restore my bones and reverse my severe osteoporosis, according to my surgeon. Yes, you remaining parathyroids are powerhouses!
I love you for all you do, for the 58 years you’ve been doing your best to support and sustain me, and for the decade when your job was made so difficult by the others that you were pushed out of work.
I didn’t know! Like you, they were trying to do their job but their thermostats were broken due to the adenomas putting them in overdrive.
I assure you, as the doctors assured me. Those two diseased parathyroids are gone. It’s possible there’s a random fifth gland. Superior? Inferior? That’s the location, which I can’t recall. The doctors stand confident that if there’s a third remaining on the team, it’s healthy and will continue working with you in regulating the calcium and PTH.
Together, we’ll heal the body and my quality of life will feel more like sunshine and less like hail.
Thank you for staying, waking up, and expanding into your full capacity so I may wake up and fulfill my divine destiny, with energy, clarity, pain-free, and a whole lot less need to pee!
Faith, Hope & Love,
Your Para Warrior