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Old 08-11-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

My story:

I go to an NP for a routine physical and she calls me a day later with a prescription and says I'm hypothyroid. I was/am floored. I'm a tired stay at home Mom of 3, but other than that I am symptom free.

I'm hoping for some starter advice.

Should I see an endocrinologist right away? I hear from my nurse friends that endos are awful and have the worst bedside manner and I'm better off letting the NP treat it with medication.

If I have these bad TSH results and little symptoms, is it only just a matter or time before I do? Should I just wait until then? Can I do myself harm by not taking the meds?

Thanks so much.

 
Old 08-11-2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

yes, and you'll hear here that endos are not well-favored.

it would be nice to know why you have hypothyroidism. is it post-partum (which can be temporary), does it run in your family, etc. your NP should be testing you for anti-thyroid antibodies, which, if positive, will show you have hashimotos which is the autoimmune hypothyroidism.

the general thyroid blood tests to show you the better picture of the state of your thyroid includes not only TSH but Free t3 and Free t4. Lots of folks here will say that TSH is not enough, and since you have no symptoms other than being tired (and what stay-at-home mom of 3 wouldn't be?) i'd hold off on diagnosing you and prescribing meds until i got in the free t's testing results.

i detest endos, but your NP might not be educated enough in this condition which is apparently so hard for the medical community to treat effectively. already i feel the lack of free t's testing is a strike against your NP.

in any event, i dont think you should wait to see if things get worse. perhaps seek out more info from your NP, get educated yourself on thyroid disease, and get a second opinion from another medical professional.

Last edited by scoot; 08-11-2008 at 07:12 PM.

 
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:26 PM   #3
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Thank you for your reply. I have a crazy question:

I just quit smoking 4 months ago, could that in any way have triggered this change in my body? I just read a couple other posts where the other people had quit close to their diagnosis as well. Strange !!!

 
Old 08-12-2008, 06:29 AM   #4
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Cool Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Hi stephanie WELCOME!
Sorry I don't know the answer to your question about smoking and hypo-thy.
Quote:
I'm a tired stay at home Mom of 3
Agree with Scoot. EDUCATE yourself about Hypo-thy because I'd be willing to bet that you have more than just the one symptom. My opinion is that you'll only get WORSE & more symptomatic by not taking your meds. If you let it go long enough - you could DIE. The thyroid controls something like 4 MAJOR body functions.

I'm 30+ months into my surgery induced (one lobe removed) Hypo-thy journey. I've seen primecare, Internal Med, D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Med, not bone Dr) and Endo type Doctors. The main thing is finding one that LISTENS to how yo FEEL while leveling your thyroid meds. About to start with my 5th Doc, another Internal Med. Currently I'm UNDERmedicated on Armour, (I've tried EVERYTHING else } If she isn't willing to continue with it, then I'll pay out-of-pocket for Armour prescribing Endo in my town.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 07:33 AM   #5
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

My Endo is great and very thorough. Don't judge them all by a few. Of course, mine is a woman which may make the difference. She listens, and when symptoms persisted after being put on Synthroid, she tested further. Good luck with your search. Personally, I believe the thyroid is part of the endocrine system so why not see the specialist for that.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 09:00 AM   #6
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Dallasgrl... I think you're seeing "one of the few". I saw a female endo, and she was no better than the majority other endos. Prescribed only Synthroid, which I couldn't take, so she told me to wait until I got sicker and could "tolerate" it.
So I would advise you, Stephanie, to avoid endos except as a very last resort.. like if all the other MDs have fallen off the face of the earth.

Quitting smoking often leads to a hypothyroid diagnosis. The smoking byproducts suppress TSH, so when you quit, the TSH rises. For many people, smoking gives a false sense of energy and masks the fatigue of hypoT.

Even if you don't have lots of symptoms now, if you have the thyroid antibodies that Scoot mentioned, it will be only a matter of time before the symptoms appear.

I would recommend having another TSH test to make sure the high result wasn't a lab error. Have the other tests done with the same blood draw - free T4, free T3, and TPO and Tg antibodies. If the TSH is still high, there are antibodies, and the free Ts are low-normal, it would be better to start treatment now. If you wait to treat until there are lots of bad symptoms, the treatment will be harder to adjust to. But if the free Ts are above their median ranges, it would be safe to wait on treatment until they start to trend downward.

I recommend you get a copy of Thyroid for Dummies from your library or bookstore. It explains the basics in easy-to-understand format.
Good luck to you.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 10:26 AM   #7
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Here are my symptoms. Most of which I always attributed to being a stay at home mom (3 yr old twins and 7 yr old) and now a recent non-smoker. The smoking relationship to the thyroid is so interesting.

slight fatigue
irritability
foggy head
itchy scalp unless I wash every day and even then by the end of the first day, it is oily and itchy (this one I just read is a hypo symptom)
loss of sex drive
recent weight gain (I thought due to smoking cessation)
cold feet
sweaty and have always felt that deodorant never "worked" on me

I guess I had classic symptoms and just didn't really know any better. The thing that baffles me is none of these symptoms were ever bad enough for me to seek out medical help with, they were/are just annoying.

I will definitely seek out a more thorough blood test. I'll buy that book too and get educated, for sure. Thank you!

 
Old 08-12-2008, 12:00 PM   #8
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Isn't it interesting how we as women tend to believe that it's "normal" for the positive blessing of children to make us feel like death warmed over... or worse, that we should accept it? LOL

Oh honey, yes... You have lots of the classic signs. Just take that prescription and run with it to the drugstore. Once you are getting enough of it, your life will become so much better!

 
Old 08-12-2008, 04:06 PM   #9
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

I wish I felt that way about the meds, I really do. I've always been fearful of doctors and medicine, so getting this bombshell of "you get to take meds and see doctors regularly for the rest of your life" is really upsetting me. I'm one of those people that won't even take cold medicine until I'm flat out miserable. I know I should be thankful that it's not worse, but I'm scared of this thing.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 10:14 PM   #10
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

No one likes to think they have a chronic disease for which there is no cure, only lifelong treatment. On the upside, at least it isn't an immediately fatal disease for which there is no treatment. It could be fatal in the long term, however, and you'll suffer horribly with it until that long term arrives.

The other upside is that prescription thyroid medicine is not at all the same as most prescription meds. It doesn't alter the way your body is supposed to work in the way that statins, allergy meds, BP meds, or antidepressants do. Thyroid med is an exact duplicate of the hormone your gland is supposed to be making but can't. It's not a "drug", but a hormone. That's about as natural a medicine as it can be. Just about the only side effects it should have are those that come from the wrong dosage.

I feel much the same way as you about medicine. I hate doctors - don't trust them as far as I can boost one - so I never even had one until I self-diagnosed my hypothyroidism at age 52. I had treated myself for all minor infections and illnesses... saw myself through menopause without any aid from Big Pharma. But hypoT can't be self-treated. It needs prescription medicine to be overcome. So I set about finding the right MD to treat mine. It took 3 tries, but I finally found my Dr. Right and am well today because of my persistence to be treated.

Once you get your dosage adjusted to the right level, and you've said good-bye to those nagging symptoms, you won't think twice about having to pop that little pill once a day. It'll just be another habit to get used to, like brushing your teeth and combing your hair.

You can do this, Stephanie. You owe it to your children to be the healthiest mother you can be for them. You mention "foggy head" as a symptom. I had that, too, and it was the absolute worst symptom I had. Trust me when I tell you that untreated, it will eventually get so bad you will forget to do things that your children depend on you to do. Your irritibility will cause you to say spiteful things to them that you can't take back. Accept the hormone for both yourself and your children.

The board is a great place to vent when things get tough during the rough times of early treatment. Most people have lots of ups and downs during the first few months, but please... If they happen to you, don't let them make you quit. Let us know what we can do to help. We're always here.

Good luck to you!

 
Old 08-13-2008, 06:38 AM   #11
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Smile Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie37 View Post
I wish I felt that way about the meds, I really do. I've always been fearful of doctors and medicine, so getting this bombshell of "you get to take meds and see doctors regularly for the rest of your life" is really upsetting me. I'm one of those people that won't even take cold medicine until I'm flat out miserable. I know I should be thankful that it's not worse, but I'm scared of this thing.
I realize this is a major adjustment in thinking for you. I think osteo made some very good points about the treatment of your hypoT. I have recently went on levothyroxine for hypoT due to a having half of my thyroid surgically removed. I too was not looking forward to taking meds but I can tell you that I feel so much better after starting the meds...it will be 4 weeks tomorrow. I couldn't even think straight and felt so bad before I started meds. At this point I am thinking my dose will need to be adjusted again but that is the game I will need to play until I am balanced.

Chin up...we don't ask to have issues with our bodies. But thankfully there is medical help available for those of us who need it. Yes, it is an adjustment to take meds but it is a small price to pay for feeling better. If you can't take the thyroid med for yourself, do it for your children they will be so happy to have a balanced mommy!!
Take care and lots of warm thoughts sent your way!!
Rhonda

 
Old 08-13-2008, 09:43 AM   #12
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

What are some of the symptoms when you first start the hormone replacement? Thanks to all of you for your kind words.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 01:59 PM   #13
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Re: TSH of 8.9, just diagnosed

When I first started treatment, I had relatively minor symptoms. But once I started taking the med, the symptoms I had got worse for a while. As I increased my dose over the next months, I would at first feel no difference, then I'd feel better for a few weeks, then I'd feel just awful again until the next dose increase. That pattern would repeat at every dose increase, and lasted 9 months. I've talked with a couple of women here who experienced nearly the same thing. It can be a trying time, but it's so worth it toward the end of the process... when the lows become less low, and the good periods stretch longer... till eventually, all those nasty symptoms are gone.

This may not happen to you at all. You may go straight to feeling better right away. I just want you to know what might happen so that you're prepared. And if it does happen, just know that it will end.

 
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