Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Don't I Trust My Own Eyes?

October 16, 2007

I have watched Erin since July, when she had an elevated TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level in one of her blood labs. TSH isn't something we test very often, so we really didn't have much to compare it to. A consistently high TSH would indicate hypothyroidism (something that would need daily medication, so Erin could grow properly and have enough energy to do the things she wanted to do).

At the time I gave her doctor a "What?-Are-You-Crazy" look, because she knows as well as we all do, that Erin hits the ground running every single day and never shows signs of hypothyroidism (fatigue, sleepiness, weight gain, decreased concentration, etc.). That's when I learned of the condition called subclinical hypothyroidism. Subclinical means you show no clinical signs of disease. It happens when the thyroid may be damaged (How would a thyroid get damaged? Oh, use your imagination. . .perhaps by radiation to the throat, which happens when you have radiation to your total body), but it compensates for the damage by working overtime, putting even more stress on the endocrine system. People with subclinical hypothyroidism can solve most of their problems by taking medicine, but once they start, they usually have to take it for the rest of their lives.

I so didn't want Erin to have to add another set of daily meds to her kit. Frankly, I was prepared to keep her off the meds, unless the doctor made a very compelling case that she needed them. I mean, what's the point of having a beautiful, not over-stressed thyroid if you think you won't have ample opportunity to use it later in life? Her oncologist wasn't terribly worried last summer, but she did suggest scheduling an appointment with an endocrinologist when we came in for scans, just to have a specialist's view point.

So since July, I have watched Erin to see if I could see signs of a struggling thyroid, and since October 2 (after the endocrinology appointment), I've been waiting for the test results that would confirm a thyroid problem.

They came today:

T4,Free(Direct)                   1.12 ng/dL           0.82 - 1.58

TSH 4.415 uIU/mL 0.360 - 5.800

THYROXINE (T4) 6.9 ug/dL 4.5 - 12.0


What a relief! I thought of the punch line to the old joke: "Are you going to believe me, or them lying eyes of yours?

I think I'll stick to my lying eyes.

1 comment: