Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surprising, but welcome news from my doc

This is the culprit. Why I can't stay awake past 10 pm, but can't stay asleep past 3:30 a.m. Why I have no appetite. Why my hairbrush had decidedly too much hair stuck on it lately. Why I have this anxious feeling in my gut ALL THE TIME. Why I wake up sweaty almost every night. Even why my periods have nearly disappeared.

This tiny blue pill that I have no choice but to take every single day for the rest of my life has turned my life upside down. Those of you who blamed my symptoms on IF - and you know who you are - guess what? You were right .... kind of.

So, what is this little blue pill, you ask? Synthroid.

The Back Story

On Good Friday, 1999, I was given the cheery news that I had Papillary Carcinoma of the thyroid gland.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this butterfly-shaped organ, the thyroid gland is a small gland, normally weighing less than one ounce, located in the front of the neck. It is made up of two halves, called lobes, that lie along the windpipe (trachea) and are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue, known as the isthmus.

The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.

Since my thryoid gland was clearly not going to be doing me any favors, they removed it. And, since as noted above in bright red bold type, thyroid hormones are kind of important, I have to take a man-made version.

Enter SYNTHROID® a synthetic T4 replacement that is identical to the hormone produced in the human thyroid gland (pictured top).

I've been taking the same dose - a suppressive dose of 150 mcg - since the surgery in 1999. They amped up the dosage to ensure there is no further thryoid tissue activity of any kind anywhere in my body to prevent any recurrence of the cancer if any cells escaped the great excavation of my neck.

Anyway, in 12 years, even though I gained a few pounds here and lost a few there, my labs were always nearly identical - until today.

Compared to my last blood tests done in July of 2010, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) has been beaten beyond the point of submission and my T4 levels have traveled to a land never before seen in my body and are well above the high of the normal range.

Comparisons of my blood tests in July 2010 and Feb 2010 - with the only difference in my life being my intermittant fasting program (and the ensuing 12-lb weight loss) - here is where I stand:

TSH: Then: less than 0.068 / Now: less than 0.006

(Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is what they want to keep quite low, but not this low)

Antithyroglobulin AB: Then:92 / Now: 96 - slightly elevated today

T4, Free (Direct): Then: 1.69 / Now: 2.12 - quite elevated today

Basically, what these numbers mean is that I'm now hyperthyroid. Hence the symptoms outlined above. So, to correct the situation and prevent worsening symptoms such as heart palpitations and bone loss, the doctor has lowered my dose to 137 mcg for two months and said he may have to lower it again depending on my test results at that time.

What I find the most interesting is that it would seem, as illustrated clearly in my labs, that my IF lifestyle has made my body more sensitive to the Synthroid, thus increasing the uptake. Therefore, I now need less medication to achieve the desired result of a suppressed TSH.

And less of any kind of medication can't be a bad thing.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know in a week or two if my insomnia and other symptoms are improving.


Rock Cruz said...

Bad that you have it. Glad that you are kinda better now than then.
Keep on movin girl.

James said...

Wow, interesting info on thyroid. Glad you figured it out.

So how is your progress going? Lets see some pictures of your progress.

Have a great day