I have decided to write this because I know there is something weird about my perception of time since I have had thyroid problems. I can think that I have felt better for quite a while and then I look at my diary and I see that only a couple of days ago I have written that I felt terrible. I can also have absolutely no recognition of something that happened only last year. Anyway I am hopeful now that I am on my journey of recovery and I thought it would be a good idea to write some of it down before it all gets lost in the mists of time - or the fog of my brain
I'm 49 years old, female, work full time. My history: have always been healthy and active until I gave up smoking in May 2011, I moved house in July 2011 and my son went away to uni in September 2011 and then I had a sort of crash. My memory and brain ability took a nose-dive and my anxiety levels increased. I was given anti-depressants (Citalopram 10mg) but I showed no sign of improvement. Went back to the doctor in April 2012 as I felt unable to cope with my job and life. I got diagnosed with hashimoto / under-active thyroid in May 2012 and started on Levothyroxine 50mcg. I had no other symptoms at that time. My blood test results were:
TSH 6.62 (ref range 0.34-5.60)
Anti TPO 59 (<9)
FT4 6.2 (7.8-17.0)
Nothing apart from my blood test results improved during the 9 months I was on Levothyroxine. Within 2 days of starting it my joints in my hands and toes felt swollen and stiff. They didn't look that different but my fingers felt like those big fat Wall's sausages. I developed lethargy; needed three hours to get ready for work! Spent lots of time staring into space, half my mind saying come on, come on you've got to get moving. In the first few months of taking LevoT my breasts grew by a cup size and were very tender. I became very sensitive to noise and bright light. I became jumpy and nervous and was a complete liability in the car, either slamming my brakes on as a complete over-reaction or blithely sailing accross a pedestrian crossing I hadn't seen. I had strange rashes and hot flushes and cold flushes. I haven't had a period since I started LevoT. I think I was flipping between being over-active and underactive as my body got used to the LevoT.
I felt worse and worse, but my blood results improved:
Jun 2012: TSH 2.25 (0.34-5.60), FT4 12.4 (7.8-17.0)
Sept 2012: TSH 0.66 (0.34-5.60), FT4 11.1 (7.8-17.0)
Nov 2012: TSH 0.43 (0.34-5.60), FT4 11.4 (7.8-17.0).
I had gradually increased the LevT from 50 to 75mcg and it certainly seems to have had the desired affect on my TSH and FT4 levels. However I felt so ill. I got so upset by the blank look on doctor's faces when I went to tell them I still wasn't well. There is one phrase I haven't heard from a doctor ever since I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid and that is "come back and see us if you don't improve" One doctor patted me on the knee reassuringly in response to me telling him that my brain won't function and I am unable to do my job. He said to me "if your brain is not working in two weeks time come back and see us and we will give you a new brain". I didn't find that funny, I din't think he would think it was funny if he felt the way I did. Oh I wish doctors could be given a pill to just feel the feeling of thyroid illness for just one day. But they can't and that is why I have I have decided to take my health into my own hands.
Thanks to people on this forum I have found a doctor who I believe understands this illness (Dr P) and is helping me to get well again. I will write more of my journey another day