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TSH

I’m sorry to report that mom’s progress has stalled a bit…not in terms of the cancer (that we know of), but she’s still stuck with nausea and low energy.  She said her doctors had an issue with miscommunication regarding her blood thinner over the weekend, but hopefully that’s working itself out, and she’s starting a new nausea medication tomorrow.

Mom and I both have a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune disease where the body basically eats the thyroid, or at least that’s how I’ve always heard it explained.  Mom’s mom had it, too.  It’s something I’ve lived with since I was three, and I rarely have any symptoms.  Sometimes I feel extremely tired and have trouble getting up and staying awake all day, and then I know it’s time to have my blood work done…it always reads that my TSH is high, which means I need more of the T4 hormone.  “Normal” TSH ranges vary from doctor to doctor.  Most people say 1-3 is good, but from all of the research I’ve done, I’ve learned that Hashimoto’s patients should say on the lower end of the range…supposedly it slows down the deterioration of the thyroid.  At any rate, through life experience, I know that when I feel very tired, my TSH is usually around 2.  Some folks would call that “normal,” but I feel great when my TSH is between .2-1.  (There’s a danger of it harming you if it drops below .01.)

ANYway, the point of all that was to tell you that something finally clicked in mom’s head, and she thought that maybe her low energy was related to her thyroid.  Turns out her TSH is 10.4!!  Her docs think the radiation might have knocked her thyroid off kilter.  I tell you what, if I can hardly get out of bed when my TSH is at 2, I can’t imagine how mom’s feeling!  I give her props for even getting out of bed at all, much less carrying on with something of a normal routine!

So now the problem is that it’s very, very difficult to get appointments with endocrinologists, especially as a new patient.  It usually takes me about three months, minimum.  I was hoping that someone could talk their way into an appointment sooner, but it appears that mom’s liaisons at Duke haven’t yet been able to pull any strings.  I really liked my endo in Raleigh, and she’s located directly behind all of mom’s other docs at the Duke Raleigh location, so it would be great.  But they’re saying the soonest they can see her is in September!  Yikes!

I’m hoping she gets some better news.  She’s already upped her medication, but it takes a while to kick in…Synthroid (levothyroxine), which is T4, takes a while to turn into T3, which is what the body needs.  They do make synthetic T3 (Cytomel), which is like an espresso shot, but I took it for a little while and it permanently messed up my heart so now I can’t imbibe caffeine at all without heart palpitations.  And there’s Armour, which is a T4/T3 mix made from pig thyroid, but I felt bad about that since I don’t eat pig to begin with.  The point is that there are a lot of options that general docs don’t always know about, and I think she’d do well to speak with an endo.

Sending positive thoughts!!

(PS:  Happy Birthday to the greatest dad in the world!!  Love you, daddy!)

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