Thyroid UK
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Taking time off work

Hiya all. I have been off work ill with hypothyroidism symptoms for the past month- extreme fatigue, muscles aching, brain fog, inability to do the smallest task without being worn out. My tsh is 9.2 and TPO is 1,300. I have an Endo appointment at the end of Jan. I am due back at work next week. I am struggling as although I don't feel capable of going back to work, I feel like a right let down being off. (We are a small team). Just wondered if anyone else had similar experiences and how you dealt with it? Thanksxx

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Why has your GP not started you on levothyroxine? It's not you letting your employers down, it's the health system. You're clearly hypothyroid, even without the lab ranges listed here, TSH of 9.2 is too high and will give you symptoms.

You also need to have all your vitamin levels tested, B12, folate, ferritin and Vitamin D. It's likely they are all deficient and will help to explain your symptoms to your employers. Ask your GP to test them.

Could you get a telephone appointment with your GP and tell him/her your situation is critical and you need treatment urgently as your job is at risk and you need vitamin levels testing.

Hypothyroidism and vitamin deficiencies together makes it very difficult to function.

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I'm on 75 levo currently. My gp doesn't want to blood test or up levo until I've seen endo. In all honesty I don't feel like they understand the debilitating symptoms- some gps write a sick note , others I feel I have to practically beg. I feel so stuck as to whether to go back to work and try or wait until I feel better enough. X

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Have you got a coexisting condition? If you're already on levothyrxoxine your GP should ensure you are on the correct dose. Clearly you are not on the correct dose if TSH is that high. Is the doctor being cautious for a reason and if so, what reason did he/she give?

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I was diagnosed a few months ago and started on 50 levo, they upped it to 75 now and they said it will need to be upped again x

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Yes, you need a dose increase. You don't need to wait to see the Endo to get a dose increase. Contact your GP by telephone as a matter of urgency and ask for a dose increase by another 25 mcg and then retest in 6 weeks time and increase again and so on until your TSH reaches 1 or a little lower which is where most people feel well. When you start levothyroxine you should have blood tests every 6 weeks and adjust dose until you are optimally dosed.

Make sure you take your levothyroixne on an empty stomach with a full glass of water and leave an hour before eating or drinking anythning. Leave 4 hours until taking other medicines or supplements.

When you have your blood tests, wait until after the test to take levothyrxoine and ensure you get the earliest test in the morning.

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Hi Whitney2017

I'm sorry you're feeling so unwell, I and many more members on here know just what you mean.

Unfortunatly feeling better can take time-it can't be rushed and you mustn't feel bad about being off work- its not your fault.

I was unable to work for many months, then I was make redundant which was a relief really as I didn't have to try and get well enough to go back.

There is a lot of stress with being off work. Tell your Gp how you feel- when my Gp suggested trying a few hours at work I told her I didn't even have strength to change a duvet cover so there was no way i could manage at work!! She signed me off after that. However I have cousins who hardly needed any time off so everyone is different and you may not need as much time as me.

The main thing I learned was to listen to my body, and not to try and push myself as it just made me feel worse and upset and frustrated.

For me, getting the correct dose of medication and also supplementing my B vitamin deficiencies made a huge difference, so check your folate, ferritin, B12 and Vitamin D levels if you haven't already (medichecks or blue horizon if Gp won't) then follow advice on here regarding supplements.

And of course keep reading this forum, the advice on here is what really made me feel like me again. Good luck and best wishes :)

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Thank you so much x Its a lot to get your head around at first. I'm taking selenium and trying gluten free, as well as managing lactose intolerance x

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Hi Whitney 2017

Sorry you are feeling so poorly. Unfortunately you are definitely not alone.

Have you spoken to your work about maybe reducing hours temporarily? I know it’s difficult and It’s a hard thing to do but it may be for best. My employers were horrible when we decided I should go part time temporarily as I had been calling in sick alot. Even now I am full time again they make me feel like a liability.

But none of this matters your health is far more important. The quicker you try and address it hopefully the quicker you can manage it and live a more active life like others do. Pushing yourself may do more damage.

I’m 27 years old and actually quit my job to go part time as I can't cope with 5 days anymore. Yes we can view ourselves as being a let down but I see this as a wake up call to look after ourselves More.

Best of luck x

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You're right x thank you. I literally feel like a car with no petrol x

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Hi Whitney

I have been in a similar position to you. I refused to go off sick when my symptoms first became unbearable. It then led to them getting worse, my performance at work declined, and I became stressed, which made the whole cycle worse.

I then went off for 1 month. Came back on phased return for 2 weeks, but was not ready to come back, and then went off again for another month. I was fortunately to have another period of phased return, which was helpful. Unfortunately my persistence to not go off work initially/ stay off until I was well enough, has had significant impact on me, the confidence my manager and team have on me, and longer term performance.

Lesson learn't from this: Take as long as YOU need! Bolded YOU, because as much as its a small team and you want/ need to be back, you are not doing them or you good by going back less than 100%.

I hope this is helpful! Put YOU first. It will be worth it in the long run!

Good luck

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Thank you x before I went off I was making a lot of mistakes and colleagues were catching the balls I dropped knowing I was poorly but still trying to work. I was a liability. It's hard - people can see a broken leg or a scar from an operation but no one can see this x

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I completely understand! Going through the same thing.

I read this blog helpful

themighty.com/2016/09/what-...

It sheds some light on hypo and work. Might give you some help with what you are going through.

I found the key is having as open communication as possible.

Might I ask if you had a broken leg instead of hypo, and was told to be off for another month, would you feel as bad?

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Thank you I will read this x if I had a broken leg I would be milking the time off! Xx

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Hi there i have been off work for 5 months and still not ready to go back as my meds are not suited and i have more bad days than good, i was originally hyper and now hypo with hashimotos and celiac, work have been very good and occ health, occ health has stated thyroid disease can take many months to find the right meds and too feel well. I am exhausted most days, palpy, breathless, trembles etc and dire iron levels.

You need to rest and look after number one at present, work can wait, i also going back on a phase return a couple of hours a day for 4weeks and then going partime 3 days a week as 5 days can go to hell, someone also suggested applying for pip to help with income.

Put yourself first, anything to do with the thyroid is very slow moving and takes a long time to feel human again.xx

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