Why the butterfly in my neck? The thyroid gland kind of looks like a little butterfly as it sits on your larynx. The butterfly is also the symbol of thyroid cancer survivors as well (no, I don’t have cancer, but I like the transformational inspiration associated with the butterfly).
As you know, in addition to POI, I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Monday I had yet another followup appointment with my doctor. After my latest round of bloodwork, and for the first time in just over a year (by 2 weeks!) my TSH values would appear to be normalized and in optimal range. Triumph! I’ve made some definite progress since my last thyroid checkup in April. My numbers have come back the best ever, and not just my thyroid results.
My TSH is currently at 1.0. Free T3 is chillin’ at 2.95, and free T4 is looking good at 1.17. These are all rather good numbers. The 137mcg of Levoxyl seems to be doing the trick, even while I’m on the pill. I thought for sure we’d have to double the dosage (the steroidal estrogen in the pill binds to the thyroid hormone in my medicine, zeroing out the actual amount of thyroid hormone I receive) but apparently the jump from 125mcg to 137mcg was enough to do the job. Symptomatically, I feel the best I have in a year. The brain fog is basically gone and I’m not walking around like a zombie. I still get fatigue, but I imagine it’s likelier the result of diet, going to bed at 1am every night, and stress. My doc mentioned something about iron deficiency, so he’s having my iron levels tested.
The numbers that surprised me the most were my lipid panel. My total cholesterol went down from 222 in January to 194 in June! No medication, no exercise… all just changes to my diet. (Speaking of- given the recent loss of my grandmother, we might have fallen off the good eating wagon a little hard.) My LDL and HDL numbers look good too; they’ve also decreased since January. I fully credit Dr. Organic with this progress. My triglycerides were high at 196; more indicative of insulin resistance than anything else. The doc recommends sticking with lifestyle change at this point, because it’s clearly working, and triglycerides can be managed by lifestyle.
The only bad numbers I had were my vitamin D levels. I’m a bit low. Not in the “gonna get rickets” range, but I seriously need to start taking the supplements that my doc prescribed and I never got filled… oops.
These are the first positive set of numbers I’ve had all year, and I’ve got symptoms (or lack thereof) to back them up, which is vital to proper thyroid management. I just need to keep an eye out for my adrenal function. Basically, Hashi’s is an autoimmune thyroid disease where my body just kind of eats my thyroid until it stops working. As my anti-thyroid antibodies are so high (over 1000), my POI is most likely caused by autoimmune disfunction as well. It is very possible that I could develop polyglandular autoimmune disorder where the next thing my body goes after is the adrenal gland. That would not be good at all, so I need to be on the lookout. The doc ordered that blood test as well.
Speaking of blood tests… It took one hour, three phlebotomists, and six- yes six attempts to draw just one vial of blood from me. I have awful, awful veins, and the two I can count on refused to cooperate Monday. I tried hydrating, hot compresses, pumping my fist, letting my arm hang down – you name it, I did it. I may look a wee bit like a junkie with bruises all over the insides of both arms and the back of my right hand.
Other testing: I’m getting a mammogram on Saturday. Not too thrilled about that; less upset about the discomfort and more about the fact that I’m 28 and now have to start regular mammograms. My doc wants this as a baseline but recommends that I have them done annually since I’m now on HRT. The test itself doesn’t unnerve me, but the implications for what it could detect does. Cancer does run in my family (mostly bladder, colon, and skin) so yanno, in my paranoid mind I’m quietly freaking out. Oh, and I got my annual gyno exam and pap smear. Love the boob massage- I mean breast exam, hate the “wham bam thank you ma’am” tone of the pelvic exam.
Assuming my iron levels and anti-adrenal antibody tests come back normal, I don’t need to see the good doctor for six months. It feels a little weird, I won’t lie; I’ve been at his office every six weeks like clockwork and now to have this stretch into potentially the end of the year… Sometimes it’s hard to let the idea that I’m actually getting better sink into my brain.
Other medical news: my back is doing leaps and bounds better. My x-rays revealed that yes, I have degenerative arthritis in my lower spine (AWESOME) and that it could flare up again. One (hopefully) last chiropractor appointment on Friday. I can now sleep through the night sans pillows around my legs and back and don’t need to ice it as frequently. I’ve also stopped taking Advil like it’s going out of fashion, so that’s good. My stomach lining and liver are appreciative, I’m sure.
The healing that I’ve worked so hard on in my mind is finally starting to make an appearance in my physical body.
The butterfly has transformed.