I’ve been so occupied and self-absorbed and plain busy since our Christmas season began. I was looking forward to getting back to writing, but couldn’t find the time. It is lovely to be here again, my poor, neglected, processing place of peace.
Thyroid Health: I finished my first titration with Synthroid (7 weeks) and had my doctor’s appointment follow-up. It was frustrating. A little good. Mostly just frustrating though. My TSH when I was first diagnosed Hypothyroid was 5.26. (The lab stat for normal is .20 – 4.00) After my first titration, my TSH is 3.47. Even though it is below 4, I still have symptoms. Every hormonal peak results in me thinking I’m going crazy and I end up talking myself through it to the other side. When I explained this to my GP, he suggested trying a herbal treatment for PMS, (which I have no problem trying, it’s just that it is more likely due to the synthetic T4 or not getting enough or something thyroid / hormone related). The crazier-than-usual PMS is just one symptom of many.
I mentioned to him that there are 3 American organizations who have made changes to the TSH recommended numbers, with them agreeing on 2.5 being the maximum TSH (and best practice from some professionals as well as the American Thyroid Association suggest being between .05 – 2.0 mU/L when being treated ), but he was determined to stick with the lab recommended levels. I was surprised, as he practiced in the USA for 20 years, I thought that he would be more open to their research and recommendations. But no.
So, I am continuing on the lowest Synthroid dose possible (25 mcg).
I found one medical information website (Drugs.com) that mentioned how to calculate the amount of TSH for a patient according to body weight. (not that this wouldn’t be without its problems as it does need to be calculated with blood work and paying attention to patient symptoms and whatever else is necessary that I know nothing of yet.) Based on the formula, I would be getting 187.2 mcg/day; a far cry from the 25 mcg I am at now.
I requested my lab results and he printed them off for me right away and went over my TSH results. I so appreciated that this was easy as the first time I had requested results from him, he seemed a bit put-off, as if it wasn’t my right. I also appreciated that he *thinks* he is doing his best for me. He truly wants to help me. It’s just that he is ‘old-school’ about sticking with the lab recommendations rather than researching and working with me. I should have known that he would be… the first time I saw him, I wondered if I was hypothyroid; he sent me for bloodwork to check, but as it came back within the ‘normal’ levels (despite my symptoms), he dismissed it as a possibility. I wonder what my TSH was then. A few years later, when I saw a different doctor at the clinic and she sent me for bloodwork, something was triggered in my bloodwork related to the thyroid and she sent me for a further test, but nothing came of it. I wish that I had the opportunity to see her again, but she has moved on from our area clinic.
In addition to my TSH level frustration, my ALT (liver enzymes) are still classified as high; as they have been since at least the first labs I had with my doctor several years ago. Back then, he said, “Your labs are showing that you have liver damage. How much alcohol do you drink?” I told him that I drink about 6-12 times a year – not very often at all, and only 1-2 drinks max./time. He said that this level of damage was often seen with alcoholics; so then he asked me about my use of Tylenol. I told him that I had developed extremely painful periods as a teen and had taken lots of Tylenol from 14-18. That made perfect sense to him as to the reason why I had liver damage. He told me that if I needed to take something, “No moreTylenol – take Advil instead”.
After that appointment, I began researching more about the liver and its connection to the thyroid, and thought that if I could heal my liver, perhaps my thyroid would also recover. I began to take some health supplements for the liver but had no way of knowing if they were doing anything helpful.
The liver is responsible for transforming the T4 into T3, which is what your body uses. Synthroid is T4, so my permanently damaged liver still has to convert it into T3. (This medical jargon packed article is full of good information. If you like that sort of thing. And this link takes you to a brief, much easier to understand, bit of info about the vital relationship between thyroid and liver.
I hate leaving this unfinished but am going to post it anyway and try to get back to talk about what I’m doing with all of this information and research…. next time.