More Boring Medical Crap
…or, why I might hit 8 feet tall…

Okay, so I’m not a biological scientist. I don’t pretend to understand exactly how everything in the human body works, but I’m learning more than I ever intended to. This week's lesson has been on Human Growth Hormone.

Yep, HGH. The thing that helped you reach your full height potential. It’s produced by the pituitary gland, and evidently, it’s produced in the same area of the gland that produces Vasopressin (your body’s natural anti-diuretic hormone, without which you’d pee your freaking brains out all day and night), and the area that sends out chemical signals to the rest of your body about producing estrogen. I’ve figured this much out because my body doesn’t make Vasopressin any longer (hence, the diabetes insipidus), and since some things are still missing (ahem… estrogen related), and recent blood tests show my HGH level is really low. Really really low.

Now (wake up! there will be a test later), even as adults you use HGH. Without sufficient amounts, your ratio of body fat to lean body mass can shift, and you don’t recover as well from insult to your muscles (meaning, you don’t repair those little micro-tears you get in your muscles from every day movement as well). I have Fibromyalgia and have had chronic body pain for 6 years; there has even been a study on FMS & HGH deficiency that showed some promise in using HGH replacement therapy to treat FMS.

But… chances are the low growth hormone levels are related to the pituitary tumor I had removed last summer. Still, replacing the HGH might make a big difference in how I feel, and may make it easier for me to put on some lean muscle mass. We already know what my HGH level is (very low), but in order for the endocrinologist I’m seeing to justify the expense of HGH replacement, there’s one more test to be run.

Next week I go in, have a couple of IVs put in place, have some blood drawn, and then they’re going to inject me with insulin to drive my blood sugar way down. When the blood sugar is down, the body releases HGH; theoretically, if my pituitary is producing any, it will then. They’ll draw more blood, then either feed me or push sugar water through an IV to bring my blood sugar level back up.

I’ve been warned that this won’t be a fun morning. The IVs aside, when your blood sugar level is that low, you tend to feel really sick.

Oh joy.

Why am I putting myself through it? Because I have high hopes that the test will show that I really don’t produce enough HGH, and can then go on replacement therapy. It may make all the difference in the world for me—in terms of overall body pain, loss of body fat, increase in muscle mass… It might mean that for the first time in 6 years, I’ll start to feel good. I feel okay most of the time, but I miss feeling really, really good.

So here’s to hoping I flunk the test.
I hope you took notes.
Your test will be next Friday.

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