I've had several people ask me how I became aware that I had problems with my Thyroid. In short, there were several "warning signs" that I should have noticed (Fatigue, Muscle Weakness, Difficulty Concentrating, Cognition Problems), but the thing that really clued me in was the golf-ball sized knot on my neck. The picture above is not me, but the girl's neck looks very similar to the way that mine did.
As the knot began to grow, it started to hurt, and I knew I had to get it checked out. Long story short, My blood tests showed that my TSH #'s were so low that they barely registered (0.02), an ultrasound verified the existance of several large nodules, a Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy ruled out cancer (thank goodness!), and I underwent Radioactive Iodine Therapy to "kill" the nodules.
The hope was that the majority of the iodine would be "sucked up" by the nodule which was in overdrive mode, and that it would leave my Thyroid alone, but I was told that it was possible that my thyroid would absorb some of it, and as a result, it would reduce the ability of my Thyroid to function properly. Unfortunately, it appears as though this is what happened.
Fast Forward 6 months and I have gone from having "Hyperthyroidism" to having "Hypothyroidism". This has NOT been a fun roller coaster ride! It has significantly affected:
- My emotions - think crazy mood swings and unexplainable sobbing episodes for no discernable reason whatsoever
- My ability to concentrate -I feel like a teenager who desperately needs a ritalin prescription much of the time
- My cognition - I feel just plain dumb a lot of the time lately - I'm having a hard time absorbing new information, and this is NOT like me at all - I'm usually a pretty smart cookie - really!
- My Athletic Performance - My strength and endurance have both decreased significantly over the last several months, at an even faster rate than they were decreasing when I was "Hyper"
- My Energy Levels - Some days it takes everything I have just to get out of bed, even after 8-9 hours of sleep. It doesn't make any logical sense and it's been very frustrating!
Sooo, when my Doc called me on Monday to tell me that my most recent blood tests showed
that my TSH levels have risen to 4.8 and I was officially "Hypo", I was not at all suprised, and actually rather relieved to have a firm scientific reason for the way I had been feeling (You mean I'm not really going crazy - that's GREAT news!).
According to some scales, a TSH level of 4.8 is just barely outside of the normal range, but by the way I've been feeling, I could tell that something was waaayyyy off. Thank goodness, I have a great Endocronologist who confirmed that we should be trying to get my TSH levels down below 3, and preferably in the 1-2 range, and a friend of mine who has been through a similar situation assured me that the symptoms that I've been experiencing are perfectly normal for someone w/ my TSH levels. (More affirmation that I'm not really going crazy is always a good thing!! - THANK YOU - you know who you are)
So I started a Syntroid dose on Monday and have hopes that I will soon notice a difference. We'll be checking my TSH levels monthly and adjusting my dosage accordingly until we've got me in the TSH "sweet spot" :) I'm already starting to notice little differences - my ability to concentrate seems to have improved dramatically already, and I couldn't be happier about that. I'll take every little improvement I can get!