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Friday, July 22, 2011

Diary of a thyroid: the misadventures continue!

It's been awhile since I've blogged/blabbed about this and wanted to update everyone on how things were progressing and what I've learned since. That, and perhaps while helping others it'll also serve as a journal of my symptoms, in a way.

May: I started on 25 mcg of Synthroid. Almost immediately I felt awesome, like I had a caffeine infusion all day long that everyone jokes about wishing they had. It was scary how awesome I felt. I noticed I had more energy all day long, even as I was getting ready for bed. My motivation to work on things increased, probably in combination with the good weather and having more time because husband and kids were not in school and we had fewer obligations to go places, etc. My overall mood seemed to improve, and aside from the usual PMS symptoms around my period, my irritation at things seemed to subside.

May 30: We traveled to visit family for a few days. I noticed how I was waking early in the mornings, not being able to fall back to sleep. I noticed overall how I needed less sleep and felt great in the morning, like I didn't even need coffee. Before Synthroid, I was sluggish in the morning, sometimes even after coffee, and felt like it was an impossible task just to wake up in the morning. Now it was like the crack high I'd never experienced.

June 20: Gradually I noticed being more tired in the evenings and definitely ready for bed, sleeping well and being near exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around. I figured I was so tired at night because I had done so much during the day, or felt like a ball of energy that finally gave way at the end of the day. We had gone to an area state park and hiked, and I felt like I could hike more easily without getting too tired or experiencing shortness of breath, something I'd felt (even while doing nothing) before the Synthroid was started.

Mid July: I am definitely noticing a tapering off of effectiveness with the medication. I won't say the meds have stopped working, but I definitely need to be re-evaluated. I still have energy, but am finding it harder to wake up in the mornings again. Earlier I had decreased my food intake and lost a few pounds, and while my diet isn't perfect, I've managed to gain some weight back as time has progressed, unfortunately, even while attempting to eat less. I'm wondering how much of that is fluid. One day I decided to take 1 1/2 pills instead and had enough energy to hike and do a more strenuous workout at the pool - it was like feeling like I could move a barge. However, I was exhausted that night but still had trouble 'coming down' from the medication to fall asleep.

July 18: I had bloodwork and visited the doctor. I explained my symptoms and how they were recurring; he thinks the shortness of breath is from 'anxiety.' I have no anxiety. All I know is that it disappeared after I started Synthroid in the beginning and is now returning. I am also extremely irritable about almost everything. He upped my dose - after telling me that my still-within-normal-range TSH levels are decreasing - and after four days on the meds, I feel no better. On Friday I requested that they order a Reverse T3 test - which determines if I have trouble converting the inactive hormone to the active, 'energy' hormone - and he said nothing about those results, so I'm going to have them faxed to me instead. I've still been exercising and eating less, but don't feel any different - although I know it's only been about 10 days I'm getting discouraged. It's miserably hot here and I wonder if the heat and humidity are making me feel so sluggish.

He also wrote a script for more bloodwork (to be done later) and an ultrasound of my neck, which should be interesting.

I'm not sure what my next course of action should be - if I need T3 in addition to T4, I do not want to be on two expensive meds; I'd rather take Armour, which is cheaper and has both in it. The next step would be finding someone willing to prescribe it, which will probably not be an easy task.


TracyKM said...

The book "What your Doctor Might Not Tell You About: Hypothyroidism" has a lot of great info about this common issue of feeling great on the T4 med at the start and then it tapers off, and how they found a ratio of T4 to T3 that works very well. There's also another book "Fat, Fuzzy and Frazzled" which goes into a more holistic approach to the three hormonal systems. Both books also offer great resources on finding a doctor, etc.
Of course, I'm still dealing with "it's in the normal range" with my doctor.
How is your vit. D, B12, and iron levels? I found out I was very anemic, so I'm working on that first, and it's helped, but there's still more to go!

Quantmlife said...

Thanks for keeping us updated on this, really. Keep the good info coming. Which test did they finally do to determine that you had Hashimoto's? Or is that one of those "rule out" everything else diseases? Thanks again.

The Deranged Housewife said...

My vitamin D levels were low - my gastro doc has actually been the most proactive about staying on top of labs but only did a TSH in the past. At least she was *thinking* about it, though. :/

I had my antibodies checked and they were high - a large portion of people with Hashimoto's have elevated antibodies, so that's sort of how we guessed.

If you click on the tag "thyroid disorder" you'll see the other articles I've written and sort of the 'back story' so far... thanks for your book suggestions (I"m reading one by Mark Starr right now) and words of encouragement!

befind said...

I wish I knew why Hashimoto's and other autoimmune diseases were so common.

Armour has worked out very well for me. My doctors never minded prescribing it, but for a while it was hard to find the actual medication in a pharmacy. Good luck!

sara r. said...

That sounds like how I felt when my thyroid was overactive 6 months pp. I couldn't sleep, was very irritable and hot all of the time, etc. Fortunately mine resolved on it's own.

Have you looking into cutting out foods that harm the thyroid (ie. soy) and adding foods that boost it (coconut oil)? Also, to boost Vit D, I highly recommend Green Pastures Fermented Cod liver oil. It's the best fish oil on the market.

Well-Rounded Mama said...

Please have your ferritin levels checked. The shortness of breath can be from iron-deficiency anemia, which can be associated with hypothyroidism.

H&H (hemoglobin and hematocrit) can be normal, even as you have iron-deficiency anemia. This happened to me last year. My H&H were both normal....low normal, but normal.....but when we checked me ferritin, it was absolutely in the toilet. REALLY awful. No WONDER I was feeling so out of breath!

It's a slow process to bring up ferritin levels (stored iron, basically) but herbal tinctures worked best for me (more than iron pills). My levels are still not quite normal but they are much closer now. And no more shortness of breath.

Part of it is getting your thyroid levels adequately treated. I too found Armour vastly superior to Synthroid. In the end, straight Armour raised my T3 levels too high, while Synthroid only didn't work well at all. I personally do best on a combo of both, and found that worth paying for. YMMV.

Rose said...

I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or low thyroid for years and yes memory problems do seem to be an issue. I'm glad there is desiccated bovine thyroid to support me.