August 15th, 2013


Thyroid Excitement #1

So as some of you may recall, a few months ago my mother called up to say “Hey! Hypothyroidism! All the women in your family have it! Get that looked at.”

I got the blood test last week, which may or may not have been the comprehensive panel—I don’t understand all the gory details, but this one measured the level of TSH(?) or whatever the pituitary gland spits out demanding that the body make more thyroid hormones.

Anyway, it was borderline. Given the family history, my doctor shrugged and said “Well, if you’ve got symptoms, we could put you on meds. You’ve been borderline on and off for awhile. We check this every year…yeah, in 2009 you were borderline…2010 was fine…2011 was borderline…”

I explained that my feet were cold, I owned the largest handwarmer collection in North America, and I slept twelve hours a day. She was rather more concerned about whether my hair was falling out, (Iit isn’t. Got more oily, though.) but said “Sure, given the family history, we can put you on the lowest dose and see what happens.”

(And now I am torn between “Yay! Thank you for making it no big deal!” and “This was borderline FOUR YEARS AGO and no one ever mentioned that there were meds? Or even asked me about symptoms? And you’re a generally GREAT doctor! You saved my bacon when I was depressed! How the hell does anyone ever get this crap diagnosed?”)

So I’m now on Synthroid, 50 micrograms. (And again, great doctor, because she had a long thing about generics and how the doses are so damn fiddly with this that if I go on a generic, she needs to titrate it just to make sure the dose is consistent—apparently the FDA allows +/- 20 micrograms in a generic, and with something this small a dose, that’s most of the way to the next dose up. And pharmacies will switch your generics willy-nilly, so if I go on one, it has to be the SAME generic all along.)

So we’ll see what happens. My mother has been singing the praises of this stuff, because she suddenly can get out of bed in the morning without a struggle and weight loss became feasible instead of Sisyphean, so hopefully I will have similar luck.

Me, I figured after I spent all spring moving multiple tons of stone and mulch and gained eight pounds that weight loss was just never going to happen again, but god, I’d kill for more energy. Just in the last few years I’ve been getting more and more tired all the damn time, and while I figured that part of that was the fact that I put out two heavily illustrated books a year, plus sundry other projects, it would be nice not to need a two hour nap to recover from going out for coffee and a trip to the farmers market.  I tell myself “Yeah, but you’re really really productive” which is true, but still…imagine what I could accomplish if I could stay away for more than six hours at a go without feeling like I’ve been pounded with hammers! I used to be able to paint rooms on a whim! I wanted to make art even when I didn’t HAVE to! What would that be like?

I’ll keep y’all posted. I’m avoiding reading too much about this because you can scare yourself stupid reading medical crap on the internet, but it does seem that the thyroid more or less rules the body, so maybe I’ll be lucky. They say it takes a minimum of two weeks to notice any effect (more like six to eight for real help) and that you have to be madly consistent when you take it and not put it opposite calcium or vitamins, so I guess I get to wait half an hour for coffee in the morning…

NOTE: This is not the place to comment and tell me how modern medicine will kill me and this is poison and I need to be taking homeopathic bee penis supplements or how you switched to an all-raw-cucumber diet and everything was better. Because there is no world where I will do either of those things, so it would be a shame to waste the effort of typing all that out. I am also not equipped to diagnose anyone with anything and cannot offer medical advice, consult a professional, etc.

And also, if your cousin’s roommate’s uncle’s babysitter went on this stuff and THEN THEIR EYEBALLS EXPLODED AND THEY GAINED NINE HUNDRED POUNDS AND WERE EATEN BY THYROID BUTTERFLIES…err…okay, that might be a good story, but please, keep less fascinating horror stories to a minimum.

(As for why I do these—it’s because other people who are less prone to oversharing sometimes find themselves in these situations too and it’s less scary if you can go “Oh! That’s that thing that one blogger has! And she hasn’t been eaten by thyroid butterflies hardly at all!” Public service and all that. Also, dude, thyroid butterflies.)

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.