Monday, 7 January 2013

My Story So Far And How I Learned That I Am Hypo

For over a half year now I've been having some very common health related symptoms, which taken separately could mean nothing really, but once I started to look into a relation between them, it raised some serious red flags.

For example, I started to get dry skin, especially on my heels and toes. While the heels are always dry in summer due to walking barefoot and whatnot, this was getting a bit too much. I had really bad white patches on top of my big toes, which was quite ugly.

At about the same time I started to feel tired, sluggish, with a strong lack of energy for even the most mundane of things, and my memory seemed to sort of go away - especially when it comes to remembering names of actors, or words - and not once I found myself saying a completely different word that I actually wanted to say when talking with people. Just the wrong word would come out of my mouth and I was left wondering why would I even say that word. Or why I couldn't remember the name of a very famous actor that never failed me before.

Then at about the same time I started to have some real bad constipation issue. As I've been plagued by constipation all my life (started drinking coffee as a teen to help with it), at first I didn't think anything about it. But when I failed to have a bowel movement for close to 10 days in a row, I knew I'm in some serious trouble.

And added to all that, my hair started to fall, more than the regular amount that everyone loses every day.

So I got on the internet and began researching for any commonality between these seemingly quite banal, normal and innocent symptoms. It didn't take me long until I found a very strong common thread: a thyroid problem called hypothyroidism.

The more I read about it, the more I started to believe that it is exactly what was happening to me. I was becoming 'hypo'.

During one of my regular visits to a pulmonologist who was treating me for chronic cough, we decided to have a general blood test done, afterall I haven't had that done in over a year, so it was high time. Among the list of things to test for, he also added two particular tests related to endocrinology, TSH and FT4.

Once my blood results came back, from the two test above (TSH was rather high and FT4 was rather low), it became clear that I developed hypothyroidism indeed, just as I suspected for quite a few moths already.

He gave me the number of an endocrinologist to have further tests done. I went to this specialized doctor, and without a word he prescribed me T4 in the form of some pills called Euthyrox (a name of thyroxine found mostly in Europe) and he made me an ultrasound where he discovered some nodules (largest of 1.2mm ), which later on proved to be Hurthle cells based on the FNA (biopsy) that was quite painful to go through. But on this, another time, since it's an ongoing issue that I'm dealing with as well.

In the meantime I went to another endocrinologist for a second opinion, who also made an ultrasound for checking on the Hurthle cells, and while discussing the issue of the thyroid nodule, he also ordered me a second set of blood tests for the hypothyroidism, which have to be done around 6-8 weeks once a person is put on thyroxine pills.

This time he ordered for me for early February:

FT4
TSH
and thyroid antibodies, which I've later learned that is to check for Hashimoto's disease, a very common illness in people with hypothyroidism.

Fast forward 1 month. I'm on Euthyrox, nothing is getting better, I still have the hypothyroidism symptoms, constipation, hair falling, total lack of energy, along with feeling really cold pretty much all the time (another very specific hypothyroidism symptom) and some other lingering symptoms.

At this point I decided to learn more about hypothyroidism and what treatment options I have, a journey that I want to document here for myself to see how/whether I improve and what really helps, and for anyone else going through the same things - hopefully this walk towards becoming healthy again will give the push to start taking the matters in your own hands as well.

I will try to document how I feel and what I do day by day, or if there is nothing to report, then at least a couple of times a week.

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