My Thyroid Journey Continues: Finding an Endocrinologist

It seems as though I have been living my life through increments of 6 week periods of time.  That's how long it takes between thyroid medication dosage blood tests to see if it is working well.  Since March I have absolutely been on a roller coaster ride with my TSH levels swinging up and down along with my dosages of Synthroid and that is what made me finally decided to see an endocrinologist.

It has been 4 years since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  I say diagnosed because this was when a blood test found I had this condition.  I suspect, however, that I most likely had it for a good while before then.  I have attempted to let my general practitioners take care of my medication but it became clear to me that something was going on with me that couldn't be fixed with a normal dosage.
In March, right about the time Olivia was being born I began experiencing hyper symptoms.  Let me interject here that being hyper from over medication is just as miserable and sometimes worse than hypo if you can imagine that.  I started having hear palpitations, tremors, insomnia,  anxiety, all the symptoms common with hyperthyroidism.  I took myself down for a blood test and I was right.  My Synthroid dosage was lowered from 62.5 mcg to 50 mcg.  Soon I began to feel better.

By the end of May, around the time of my trip to Miami and LasVegas (Yes, I always associate these flare-ups with certain events; just a habit), I was still feeling OK but pretty tired.  I chalked it up to jet lag.  However, when I went for a blood test in June I found that my TSH had jumped to 17!  This freaked me out a bit because it had never been this high, even when I was first diagnosed.  I immediately made an appointment with an endocrinologist and was glad that I had.  It was going to take them 3 months to get me in but I had an appointment and felt a bit more hopeful at that prospect.

When the TSH jumped to 17 my doctor once again changed my medication back to 62.5 and I had another blood test at 3 weeks just to see if it was beginning to come down.  It was down to 8; at least I knew the new medication dosage was doing its job.  At 6 week (the optimal time to check) my levels were down to 3.7.  The range that physicians like to see a TSH level is 0.3-3.  So, I was right there at the threshold of normal.  Every time in the past that I had attempted to move up to 75 mcg I went hyper.  I sure didn't want to be hyper for our Disney World trip.  I questioned this dosage but decided to just take it since I would be going to my endo appointment soon after we returned from vacation.

Now...how did I decide on an endocrinologist?  Well, my husband got online and found out that UT Dallas had a great endocrinology department and we contacted them.  So, after waiting for my appointment for 3 months and moving up and down from hyper to hypo,  I felt drained but ready to find something out by the time I arrived.  As I sat in the examination room waiting for the doctor to see me I began to  experience a little anxiety.  On the one hand I was ready to get relief from my symptoms but on the other hand I was afraid of what they might find.  I sat there for quiet a while and as I did my nerves began to calm and that's about the time the first doctor came in to question me.

After going over everything with the first doctor (who I found out was doing a fellowship in endocrinology), the main doctor came in.  She had gone over all of my information and asked me to sit on the table for an examination.  The first thing she did was to check the reflexes in my arms and knees.  WOW!  I thought I might kick myself in the face they were so overly sensitive.  The next thing she did was to feel my neck where the thyroid is located.  She had me swallow several times and then gave me a glass of water to drink as she felt me swallowing it.  I was told there did not appear to be any growths on my thyroid; this was a relief.  As she touched me she said, "You feel warm; are you hot?"  Well, define hot, I thought.  I started to say that I really didn't think I felt hot when Hubby began shaking his head in the affirmative.  Poor guy, I've been sleeping with the air conditioner set on 68 degrees (Yikes!).   I was then asked to hold my hands out in front of me while she looked at them.  Then she gave me a Styrofoam cup and had me hold it.  My hands definitely had tremors.  Then she told my to just hold it with two fingers and I was really shaky.  This confirmed that I was over medicated again as I had suspected (sigh...).

The findings were that I am apparently very sensitive to the thyroid medication, therefore, my dosage has been changed to this:  Monday-Friday I will take 62.5 mcg of Synthroid and Saturday and Sunday I will take 75 mcg.  I will have follow-up blood tests in 6 weeks to see how that is working and I will actually go back to UT the first week of December.  Until then I have an online portal with my doctor where I can ask and have questions answered or am able to call and speak to them.

I'm still living in 6 week increments of time but I am hopeful now.  I feel like this condition has taken enough from me and by seeking out a specialist I am taking control of it and being proactive.  And on this journey I am learning things.  Things about me, about life, about making the most of each day and being thankful.  I'm sharing my journey with you because along the way I have met many, many women who are suffering from thyroid symptoms just as I have and I want to offer hope and solutions to you.  Hang in there.  Keep seeking answers.  Live in the moment and do not let your thyroid problems define who you are!

***For symptoms of hypothyroidism click HERE.  For symptoms of hyperthyroidism click HERE.
      For symptoms of thyroid over medication click HERE***

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