Please allow me to introduce myself as a new member. I've been reading this site for a few months in an attempt to educate myself about the thyroid. This seems like such a knowledgable group and I'd really appreciate some guidance. While it seems to me that my problems sound very similar to those discussed here, I'm repeatedly told everything is "normal". My dilemna is - do I finally give up the fight, or is it worth pursuing?
Just a little history. Both my sisters have thyroid problems. One recently had her's removed due to cancer. I have a ton of symptoms, of which I won't list them all, but most distressing are the inability to sleep, palpitations, anxiety and no libido. I have a history of multiple miscarriages (six) and basically just a lot of complaints of which all further testing comes back normal. I'm also perimenopausal and having difficulty with my female hormones.
Presently, I'm using an estrogen patch and taking multiple vitamins, including B complex, calcium, magnesium and selenium. I've had bloodwork through the years and a few other ultrasounds/scan during the last eight months.
TSH (Normal ranges 0.5 to 5.2)
December '98 2.17
March '00 1.79
December '02 2.25
June '03 2.56
August 03 1.99
August was the first time I've ever had Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroid antibody panel:
Free T3 was 3.1 (range 2.3 - 4.2)
Free T4 was 1.1 (range 0.8 - 1.8)
Peroxidase Ab less than 10 (range <=35)
Thyroglobulin Ab less than 20 (range <=40)
Eight months ago I had a thyroid ultrasound because my thyroid felt "large". The right lobe measured 4.5 x 1.2 x 1.4 cm and the left 3.3 x .08 x 1.2 cm. There was a question of a small hypoechoic nodule measuring 6.0 mm in the right upper pole.
This was followed up with a thyroid scan which could not verify or exclude the nodule. Findings determined the glad to be slightly enlared with mild prominence of the isthmus. Futher evaluation by ultrasound or FNA was advised.
A second ultrasound was completed this month and everything came back "unremarkable". No nodules were found and the lobes measured smaller at 3.4 x .9 x 1.5 cm for the right and 2.7 x 1.2 x 1.0 cm for the left. (Is this normal? Could it have been helped by the selenium that I have recently started taking?)
I'm so confused and concerned at the same time. My neck feels bigger. It looks bigger. I've had two people comment on it. Swallowing those larger vitamins seems different...I can feel them going down as my throat seems narrow. Another thing I've noticed (that I haven't seen here yet), is that I get, what I call "brain freeze of the neck" whenever I drink cold drinks. You know that feeling you get in your head when having a Slurpee? My neck feels that way with cold drinks..not even iced drinks.
These symptoms are very real and becoming debilitating. I don't know which way to turn anymore. Doctors have no anwers. I keep switching in hopes of finding *someone* who can help me. Test results are coming back normal, but the list of symptoms seems to be growing. I am not sleeping and really think my body is suffering terribly because of it. Could it be thyroid? Is it worth my pursuing this angle, or should I move along?
I think this post should be bumped, so that anyone who missed it will see it, and reply if they can. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/love1.gif
IMO I definitely think it is worth pursuing based on all the info you have provided here. Reading more posts you will see lot's of stories like yours, and hopefully will get some good feedback on your questions posted. Love-Pen
YES YOU DO PURSUE THIS! With your history,not to mention the enlarged thyroid,any doctor should know what you are dealing with.However,I sat in front of a GP for 20 minutes arguing my case before my husband said" will you just look at her neck, anyone can see the swelling!" He did do "the quick feel" and said I needed to see an endo http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/dizzy.gif Had ultrasound and biopsy suggested. November appt with 2nd endo. Now it is just wait and see! http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif
You say you felt like a freak? Boy are you in the right place! I think (my opinion only) most of us with thyroid problems have either felt like or have been made to feel like a freak at one time or another. Especially by doctors. You don't have to feel like that here. We may not always answer in a timely fashion but we ARE here and we DO care. http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif
"Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things".
Sylvie, I am the Mother of all Freaks, so don't think you're gonna come in here and take my crown from me! I've suffered many long and hard years to get this freaky and I stand out from the rest of my family. They're all normal - no problems whatsoever...it's just me that has the medical issues, so I guess I'm the BIG FREAK in this part of town!
I also had VERY VERY normal labs like you. With the normal labs though I had all of the classic hypothyroid symptoms. I found a doctor who agreed to give me a trial of armour, then cytomel. I am now on tons of meds but doing well.
The labs can never interpret what your cells are doing and how much thyroid hormone they are using. If your are thyroid hormone resistant.. as I am... you will have normal labs with terrible hypo symptoms. Due to the throid hormone resistance I require alot more medication than the typical hypo patient. I wouldn't give up if I were you.
Ticker... you can find a doctor that is open minded on keyword topdocs... or you can find a naturopathic doctor.. one that has the ability to write prescriptions, You can go on the Wilson's thyroid site and see their list of doctors... I don't know how much truth there is to the wilson's thyroid theory but, on that site are doctors who are willing to give it a go with t3 for their patients and I am certain that would also be the case for armour.
I found my docs (several of them) through the top docs list, one on the Wilson's site and my naturopath through Dr.Lowe.
I had several phone consultations with Dr. Lowe, Dr. Richard Shames and through these sources I was given expert advice and experience.
The ranges are not absolutes, but only suggested absolute minimums and maximums. Those ranges as specified aren't necessarily YOUR ranges (i.e. I feel best when my FT3 is at XX).
Doctors seem to stick to book learning and can't seem to think outside of that book learning and apply it. Basically that's what I'm doing here. Logically, you have hypothyroidism if you have hypothyroid symptoms - unfortunately the doctors go off the tests and call you normal and treat you for other symptoms or even worse call you "depressed" or "a hypocondriac".
If you indeed have hypothyroid symptoms, then you have hypothyroidism. It does not matter what the tests say - if you have the symptoms, you have the disease. Of course, the tests should only be used as a guide and not a chiseled in stone pronouncement.
In this sense, the ranges are treated as absolutes by the doctors with no clinical discretion. Lots of this has to do with the fear of malpractice lawsuits, but a lot of it too relates to the lack of teaching of clinical thought - basically teaching the doctors to be walking libraries and not true scientists.
As far as your thyroid hormones go, yes both tests are within the ranges provided, but we have to go farther than that. It's been suggested by many (including Toft, BMJ, Feb 2003 - I mention that one, because he's about as anti-patient as you can get, but he still grudingly admitted this) that "patients may feel better when titrated to the upper ranges of both FT3 and FT4" (basically put).
Looking directly at numbers and keeping the above statement in mind, I tend to pull out the calculator to be able to give a better perspective on the tests than can be provided generally by the doctors. You want your numbers to be as high as you can get them without having hyperthyroid symptoms.
In the scheme of things, both of these numbers could go higher, especially if you are still having symptoms.
Also, check into having your adrenals tested. All the thyroid hormone supplements indicate that adrenal problems should be checked and corrected BEFORE their thyroid hormone supplements should be used. Most doctors are negligent in doing this.
As far as selenium goes, yes this could very well help. Most good multi-vitamins will have about 200mcg of selenium in it, so you should be fine in just doing that.
Originally posted by SylvieGirl: Sky Eagle, you are the first to mention anything about my T3 and T4 being low. What exactly does that mean? Do you think the selenium will help?
------------------ I am not a medical professional but I am an informed patient. As I say, don't believe anybody wholeheartedly and research and check facts for yourself.
I am also new to this board. I have had a thryroid condition for 15 years. 5 of those years I was undiagnosed. I would be interested in knowing if you have had a weight gain or loss? What is your colesterol? What are your protien levels? If you are hypothyroid. Your body cannot matabolize foods. These are things that doctors seems to over look. Protien levels are a real indicator of not processing foods properly. But, thyroid or not, there is something wrong. There are a whole host of other endrocrine issues that this could be. The doctor that finally diagnosed me said, " All I have to do is look at you to know that you have an endrocrine problem, if it isn't thyroid then we will kept looking. The pituitary could be a problem and be producing tsh when it shouldn't. There is so much that they don't know about this. Like we don't need t3???? Yeah well, just because they don't understand exactly what t3 does, doesn't mean we don't need it. They told us that we didn't need our tonsils either, until they figured out what they were for. If my body has it in the first place, then I have to assume that I need it. So, don't stop. Tell your doctor that if all the tests are fine for the thyroid then he should keep testing your endrocrine system for everything. When no one could find out what was wrong with me, my best friend for years, came to me and said, you have to see someone. Like a shrink, you are seriously depressed. I replied with, " yes I am depressed, my whole body is depressed, but this isn't pshycological, it is physical!!! I knew it. I just couldn't prove it. Keep trying, it is how we all finally got to feeling like human beings again. It is like a war. A sad state of affairs. I just went on Armour, after a major battle with my doctor. I am still battling her. I have a tsh of 9.33 right now and feel better than I have in 10 years. She keeps inching me up. She considers 9.33 a little high. I even left her a print out of the American Association of Endo's new info on how a high for tsh should be 3 not 5.5. She said that is not proven. I am just using the meds that she gives me and raising my own dose appropriately. I am tired of fighting with doctors. I just want the proper meds and the proper dose. It is not too much to ask. Keep fighting. Tell your doctor to find out what is wrong with you, if it isn't thyroid.
Talking from a personal standpoint:
1) Yes I'm hypothyroid, I had a 125lb weight gain in a 1 1/2 year period until I had to gripe out the doctor to even TEST for it.
2) My cholesterol (triglycerides specifically) is super high. They went down by half when my inadequate dosage was increased to a more, yet still inadequate dosage..
3) My protein hasn't been tested, but I have recurring gout which seems linked to my thyroid levels.
What you say all makes sense. The other problem too with the pituitary is that it doesn't produce ENOUGH, which happens too. My TSH is 0.54 and my FT3 and FT4 are VERY LOW WITHIN THE RANGES.
And you are definitely right, this is a WAR against the doctors. Unfortunately we're all conscripted in it and are forced to fight the doctors, because the doctors wish it so. You need to find the will to keep fighting too, we don't know your FT3 and FT4 from your post here, but your TSH is definitely way too high. And that's the odd thing, the doctors are preying on those with the weakest ability to defend themselves and put up with this garbage.
Originally posted by pip48a: The pituitary could be a problem and be producing tsh when it shouldn't. There is so much that they don't know about this. Like we don't need t3???? Yeah well, just because they don't understand exactly what t3 does, doesn't mean we don't need it.I just went on Armour, after a major battle with my doctor. I am still battling her. I have a tsh of 9.33 right now and feel better than I have in 10 years. She keeps inching me up. She considers 9.33 a little high.
[This message has been edited by Sky_Eagle1 (edited 09-22-2003).]