Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The State of the Thyroid

Who cares about the State of the Nation? I know you're really all waiting to hear about the State of the Thyroid.... Or maybe I'm just projecting my anxiousness onto all of you!

At any rate, I met with Dr. A, an endocrinologist, last week. I absolutely loved her. I mean, I realize that she's a specialist and that it's her job to know stuff, but then again, I've seen many doctors in the past who were supposed to know stuff and didn't, so this was entirely refreshing. She had reviewed all my medical records ahead of time and had all kinds of questions for me(One of which was, "Do you use street drugs?" Um... NO.) to help her figure out my case better.

In essence, what is hapening is that my thyroid is dying, as in, it will eventually be a dead organ in my body. But, in true Monty Python fashion, it's not dead yet. Dr. A. said that in a case like mine, the doctors really wish that it would just hurry up and die, because it is doing more harm than good. Sometimes it doesn't emit any hormones, sometimes it emits the right amount, and sometimes it WAY overcompensates by emitting too many. Thus why my levels have been all over the map.

The medication that I have been on for several years, syntheroid, is a substitute for T4, which is about 80% of what the thyroid should be producing. In most people, this does the trick. But in some freakish cases like mine, the T3 (about 20% of what the thryoid should be producing) is also a problem. So I am now also on cytomel, a T3 substitute. This is a very good thing. Basically, syntheroid is an extremely stable medication. It takes roughly a month for a change in dosage to kick in. This clearly isn't working for my body, since my thyroid apparently likes to do different things on a daily basis. Cytomel, on the other hand, is a very volatile drug, and its half-life is only about a day. I take it in the morning, it peaks 3-4 hours later, and it's out of my system by around bedtime. That means this is an easy prescription to adjust for whatever my funky thyroid is doing at the time.

I started the cytomel (and a yet again adjusted dosage of syntheroid) on Saturday, and I'm already feeling a bit better. Still clearly a long way to go, but it is SO encouraging to feel any progress at all after our months of frustration. Oh, and get this. Dr. A. says that while the whole thyroid does work together, it's really the T3 that primarily controls.... drumroll please.... levels of fatigue and weight gain. Sound familiar? Those are two of my primary complaints about what's wrong in me because of my thyroid! So I am very hopeful that I am getting on the right track. Thank you, everyone, for all your love, support, and prayers--keep them coming!


Andrea said...

I am so glad you are finally getting some good news about this issue! Yay!

Cathy said...

Ah Ha! That is wonderful news. She sounds Smart and Fabulous. Cool Points for doctors that can fix things!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there P!!!!! it's refreshing to hear of your NEW doctor and HER knowledge!!!! so many of them seem to have gotten their MD from the condensed version of an old reader's digest!!!!!!! She sounds like a keeper!!! Know you are in my thoughts and prayers while the MEDICINE is 'doing it's thing!!!! hugs, logan's grama

Krysten said...

This sounds fantastic. I know I commented yesterday about Oprah, but apparently this whole week is devoted to better health in 2009. I'm really not a big Oprah freak, I promise, but she has had some really good ideas. She's also doing a webcast next Tuesday night (January 13) at 9:30 pm (I think). You can sign up for her webcasts on her website. The doctors she has had on all have given some great advice about all sorts of different topics and there's a whole section on the website where she talks about her thyroid issues and there's also a big article in her magazine for this month. I'm all for finding as many answers for you as possible and since Oprah seems to be pretty good at getting answers and at getting what she wants, maybe she can help you too! :)

Jenn said...

I've been following your thyroid journey as it seems very similar to mine, but I've been waiting to see the endocrinologist for 3 months and still won't see her until the end of the month.

Hope it continues to get better for you!

Jill said...

Yay! I know getting real answers can be such a relief! I hope you keep feeling better and better each day!

Melissa said...

I am very interested (and worried) about the state of your thyroid. Such a relief that you've finally gotten a doctor who seems to know how to help. Sending lots of healing vibes your way!