Sunday, February 7, 2010

Joanne's Thyroid: The back story...

Upon re-reading my last post, I discovered that I had neglected to mention that I have been dealing with Thyroid disease for almost 20 years. I blame it on the constant fog my terribly-low thyroid has me in.

It all started when I was about 14. I had become a major pain-in-the-ass, and my Mom kept hauling me off to the doctor trying to get an explanation as to why I had turned into a ranging jerk all of a sudden. His diagnosis? Puberty.

Except what I was going through was like puberty
on crack. I was irritable, anxious, slept about 2 hours a night, my hands constantly shook, and I couldn't sit still. I remember feeling angry at the world, and like a was on the edge of losing control. This went on for about 6 months, until a colleague of my Dad's suggested I get my thyroid tested.

To every body's surprise my T4 level came back at over three times the normal level. I had something called Grave's Disease, which is a form of hyperthyroidism.

The first thing they did was refer me to an endocrinologist (which is what Elise sees for her diabetes) who put me on medication to suppress my thyroid function. I think I took about 6 pills a day and they were roughly the size of (but much thicker than) a dime.

The doctor decided to use radioactive iodine as a treatment. I'll never forget that day. I was sitting in a lab-like room in the hospital when a man wearing a spacesuit and holding the beaker containing the radioactive iodine with some tongs. I remember thinking, "seriously? You want me to drink that when you won't even touch it?"

But of course I did. The first dose wasn't enough, so I had to go back in for round two. The best part was I got my own bathroom for three days after each dose because I had to be "quarantined".

Since my thyroid ceased to function, my doc put me on Synthroid and that was that. At least until about 5 years ago, when I realized that I didn't feel as great as I should. Nothing I could put my finger on, but the symptoms were hypothyroid in nature. So I went to my doc, but all my levels came back okay. I kept going back about every 6 months, because I still felt off, and it wasn't until someone told my about a Physicians Assistant in the office that might be able to help me.

He introduced me to Armour Thyroid, and the effect was amazing! My body does not convert the T4 hormone into T3, so that is what my body was lacking. Synthroid is a T4 drug, so it didn't properly address the problem. Armour Thyroid has both T4 and T3, and has helped me to feel better than I ever did on Synthroid.

(I just want to interject that this isn't the same for ALL hypothyroid patients and of course you should see your doc to discuss any change in medication).

So that's my (probably very boring) thyroid story. I'm sorry I stuck your brain cells with all that unnecessary information!

As for my levels now, they are sloooowly coming down. They're still not why my thyroid decided to "freak out" like it did. I had missed a few doses of my medication about a month ago because life was a wee bit crazy, but they don't think that would have caused levels like the ones I had. My blood test last week showed my TSH at 42. My doc said it could take a month for me to start feeling okay again.

Thank you for all your comments and support, they've really meant a lot to me during all of this!


Meri said...

I hope and pray they found the right med for you to return to your sassy self. :)

Thinking of you! Kisses to Elise from Auntie Meri.

Liz Sobolik said...

Hi Jo, interesting thyroid journey...mine isn't quite so drastic. I hope you feel better soon. Is your mom feeling better now? Keep warm today and give Elise a hug from Yiz!

phonelady said...

I will continue to pray for you Joanne and pray that all will be okay dear . Please keep us updated as to the going ons .

Sophia Grace said...

Porcine thyroid supplements can take a little bit longer to be effective. Once they start to get in your you will instantly notice positive effects like fat loss, sudden bursts of energy and clear thinking.