Thyroid Disease is Finally Confirmed

Graves Disease: I Felt Upside Down
Everything was Now Upside-Down!

The additional tests that the nurse practitioner ran came back abnormal, but I didn't hear from her until after I chased her down a couple of weeks later. She was very confused about how the symptoms fit into the test results, so she was trying to figure it out on her own.

In the meantime, everything in my body was racing.

Although, the buzzy feeling had started several weeks before the physical, I now knew the adrenaline rushes were not connected to my blood sugar irregularities. Something else was wrong this time.



My metabolism was high, but I was in starvation mode, so I don't understand her personal need to figure it all out.

It had taken me a long time to reach this point. I don't really know how I feel about it all . . . just yet.

Since Cigna's insurance chart said our local Endocrinology clinic was not set up to take Cigna patients until January, I just wanted the nurse to run the blood work for me, so I could decide if it was worth the cost to pay for the doctor visit myself.

I wasn't sure if it was okay to wait until our new insurance became effective in January.

Hubby's company was dumping Cigna for a local health insurance company that year, so when I didn't hear back, I called the clinic and asked for a copy of my test results.

I planned to just set up an appointment with a specialist myself. Surprisingly, the nurse practitioner finally called me back that very day and talked to me for about an hour.

First Test Results


My Hashimoto's Disease antibodies were only 1.3, which meant I didn't have Hashimoto's Disease.

I thought it odd that it was the only antibody test she ran, especially since the lab results initially pointed to hyperthyroidism. She was stuck on the idea of me being hypo, I guess.

Most doctors don't really know very much about thyroid disease, which is why I wanted to go to a thyroid specialist instead of another nurse practitioner.


My Free T3 was high. It was above lab range. I think it was something like 5.6 with the top of the range being 4.2 or so.

Coupled with the TSH at less than .10, that meant some type of hyperthyroidism, but the nurse wasn't looking for me being hyper. The only questions she asked me before the tests were about hypothyroid symptoms.

Since I have struggled off-and-on with:
  • being cold
  • being extremely exhausted
  • insomnia
  • dry skin
  • tons of hair loss
for several years now, that is what I knew signaled thyroid issues. Plus, hypothyroid is not unheard of with a low-carb diet because it can interfere with T4 to T3 conversion in some people, especially long term.

The truth was, I didn't know what hyperthyroid symptoms even were.

Pituitary hormones showed some irregularities, but those were thought to simply be caused by menopause.

What disturbed her the most was my hypothyroid symptoms coupled with the hyperthyroid labs. If she'd only told me what hyperthyroid symptoms were, I could have saved both of us a lot of time.

The only symptoms I recognized was a problem with having an adrenaline rush in the mornings and late afternoons, and sometimes at night, but I'd been doing that for a very long time.

I had always thought it was just my wonky blood sugar. But apparently, it wasn't.

My Visit to an Endocrinologist


I was feeling so badly, that I was willing to pay for the visit to a specialist myself, but upon calling up the Endocrinology clinic in our area, they informed me that they take both Cigna and the new insurance we are moving to in January.

This was extremely helpful because I really needed to see someone soon.


My visit to an Endocrinologist appeared to go quite smoothly, at first. I had no clue that she was not a doctor. She appeared to be well informed about hyperthyroidism and Grave's Disease.

I handed her a list of all of my symptoms (I'd looked up hyperthyroidism online) and a history of my endocrine problems over the years, which she actually took the time to read. I also shared how a previous doctor had told me that my thyroid was enlarged but that thyroid tests at that time were 4.9, so he didn't treat me for it.

She asked me additional questions, and she physically checked my thyroid to see if it was enlarged. She said she could feel something, so she wanted to do a thyroid scan (sonogram), as well as have my blood work done over again.

I wasn't surprised at the additional blood work, since my previous tests were broken up: TSH and Free T4 on one day, and Free T3 two weeks later.

Plus, I hadn't been tested for Grave's Disease yet.

The nurse practitioner showed me a plaque with a model of a normal thyroid, what a thyroid with Grave's Disease looked like, and a list of symptoms, which included massive weight gain in 10 percent of Graves Disease patients.

I had every single symptom on the list except for infertility, which wasn't applicable any more. She was so sure that Graves Disease was what I had, that she ignored all of the symptoms that didn't fit into that scenario.

Oddly enough, although I'd been recommended to the clinic due to a suppressed TSH and high Free T3, this nurse wanted to look at my Total T3, as well as my TSH and Free T4. This was quite odd to me because Total thyroid hormone and Free thyroid hormone tests do not measure the same thing.

My Free T4 and Total T3 came back normal.

This wasn't surprising to me. My Free T4 was normal during the previous test. The problem I was having was high Free T3.


According to the Cleveland Clinic thyroid booklet I downloaded after-the-fact, a normal Total T3 is very common with hyperthyroidism because those with hyperthyroidism are malnourished. In other words, a normal Total T3 was a symptom of starvation.

If you don't have enough protein in the blood because your body is digesting muscle to keep up with the increased metabolic demand, your Total T3 test won't be accurate. There won't be enough protein for T3 to bind to.

This will make your total thyroid hormones look normal, even though the Free T3 is high.

The biggest surprise?

The Grave's Disease antibodies came back normal as well.

Thyroid Scan Results


After speaking to the nurse practitioner's nurse about my results, I was very frustrated. According to my blood tests, the initial diagnosis was only thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Thyroiditis is generally caused by a virus or after pregnancy, neither of which was applicable to me. According to the nurse practitioner, my problem was going to clear up on its own.

HUH?

I've been sick for years!

Whatever was going on with me, it was not going to clear up on its own!

But the nurse practitioner was willing to put me on a maintenance dose of anti-thyroid medication if I wanted it.

Of course I wanted it.

I was totally flabbergasted. Hyperthyroidism seriously raises your chances of having a heart attack! And currently, I could not hold still. I was shaking like crazy! I looked like a basket case.

I asked about the scheduled thyroid scan, if they still wanted me to have it, but the nurse practitioner's nurse didn't know anything about that. After thinking it over for a few minutes, I decided to keep the appointment, especially since the nurse practitioner had not run the correct test.

A scan would show if there was any physical abnormalities with the thyroid for sure.

Which it did!

What the nurse practitioner said I have is a Toxic Multi-Nodular Goiter.

My thyroid gland is enlarged, hence the term goiter. I have a 12 cm nodule on the right hand side of my thyroid, a 9 mm nodule on the left, and a multitude of small nodules scattered throughout the organ.

Anything larger than 2.5 cm will cause hyperthyroidism. So it's no wonder that I have all of the symptoms of Grave's Disease.

So Where Do We Go From Here?


The nurse practitioner showed my results to the doctor she worked under, who then recommended I have an iodine uptake test to check out my thyroid function. This test will reveal if one or both of the two large nodules are working independently of the thyroid gland.

It will also show how much damage my thyroid has sustained from all of those nodules.

The test was scheduled for January 8th the following year.

I had to stop the anti-thyroid meds by Christmas Eve in order for the iodine test to be accurate. Unlike the meds I'm currently taking, the iodine test can do some damage to the thyroid, but at this point, there is no getting around that.

Once that test is done, they are probably going to do a biopsy for cancer.

You can read about the Radioactive Iodine Uptake test here.

Comments

  1. Check out this response/comment by Registered Dietician Jeff Novick.
    . . . . . . . .
    If you were diagnosed with lung cancer would you

    a) start smoking thinking it may not matter, knowing there are no absolutes

    b) quite smoking if you were smoking,

    c) if you were smoking a pack or two a day, try to figure out how many cigarettes you could get away with, without quitting

    If you were a health care professional speaking to the above client, what would you recommend? What would be your moral and ethical obligation? Sure, you would have no absolute answer for either of the choices as everyone could always find an exception, but based on what was known, and the odds, which one would give your patient the best odds of survival?

    Which do you think the patient would want to know?

    Now, knowing that, lets adapt the 2 choices in relation to diet/health

    You are diagnosed with heart disease...


    ReplyDelete
  2. ... continued ...

    choice a

    go on a modified diet that asks you to reduce the intake of several things (fat, sat fat, cholesterol, sodium, salt, sugars, etc) but nothing too drastic and when you challenge any one of them, they say you don't have to do anything you don't want, because after all, we don't really know. They tell you they can probably lower your numbers and possible your risk around 5-10%. They also offer you medications and/or supplements that in addition to the minor changes in diet, can decrease the numbers/risks more but also have some serious side effects. They also tell you wine is good because of the French, and olive oil is good because of the Greek, and soy is good because of the Chinese and green tea and fish is good because of the Japanese and don't forget, coconut may also be good because of those in Polynesia, and cocoa may also help, so have a piece of chocolate every day also.

    When you ask which is the most important aspect to focus on or to remove, they say, we dont really know, so just try them all and if there is one your really like, don't worry about giving it up as we don't really know everything.

    Now, if your MD is really honest with you, he will tell you the only proven evidence is a lowered risk and, that in controlled studies, it only slowed down the progression of the disease, it didn't stop it, or reverse it.


    ReplyDelete
  3. .... okay, last one ....

    Choice B

    a very intensive aggressive program that asks you to dramatically remove and/or eliminate all oils, added fats, saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, cholesterol, etc and dramatically increase the amount of plant foods, and fiber. Add in daily exercise and rest. Avoid coffee, oils, chicken etc. You are told you can expect drops in numbers and risk around 20-30%.

    When you ask which is the most important aspect to focus on or to remove, they say, we dont really know, so just try them all EVEN if there is one your really like, because we don't really know everything and that one may be important, so lets just try it and see..

    Now, if your MD is really honest with you, he will tell you that while this may be more difficult at first, as it requires a bigger change, but it is the only proven way to reverse heart disease.

    Now, what would be the harm in trying choice b for 21 days, and doing it 100%, just for those 21 days?

    For 10 years, each Sunday evening, every week, I welcomed around 75 people to a program like choice B. It was a controlled environment where there was no option but they volunteered to be there. They had all the same arguments and debates/discussions as are discussed here on why there was no coffee, oil, caffeine, nuts, seeds, etc etc.

    I asked them one thing. Being you have nothing to lose, and you came here because of a major health concern, why not just try this for the next 14, to 21 days. 100%. when it is over, if you want your coffee, or oil, or nuts when you go home, no one will stop you. When will you ever have this chance again? what have you got to lose?

    Days 1-3 were pretty hard for most of them, irritable, cranky, miserable. Withdrawals, headaches, aches and pains, etc. Days 3-5 started to level off for most. By day 5-7, things changed, quickly and dramatically. Almost 100%, by days 5-7 or 7, they were running around saying they have never felt better and had more energy, clarity. And, their numbers plummeted, on average around 20-30% with many seeing drops of 50% or more. About 80% were off their medications, never to have to go on them again.

    Choice A can never offer this. Choice B can. It is a tougher choice and harder and yes, it may not always work 100%

    Now many health professionals believe that choice b is too hard and most people wont do it. So, they offer choice A.

    If you were a health professional and had a patient with heart disease, which would you offer? which would be your moral and ethical obligation?

    If you were a patient, knowing that yes, nothing is absolute and there are exceptions to everything, which would you choose?

    How would you feel, if they never told you about B or told you its not worth discussing because no one can really do it.

    But, my question is, what does anyone have to lose by trying it for 21 days, except maybe some old habits?

    In Health
    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here's something Jeff Novick wrote that pertains to type 2 diabetes.

    I spent 10 years at another center where I worked with over 15,000 patients, most of them with metabolic syndrome and/or diabetes. Most all felt exactly like you do, yet within 3 weeks, all saw significant improvement and 80% of them with Type 2 diabetes were off their oral medications and 40% of those with Type 2 no longer had to take inslulin and 5 year follow ups showed they stayed that way. In addition, in those with metabolic syndrome, within 2 weeks over half of them could no longer be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. All of this, is published in the leading medical journals.

    Diabetes and Carbohydrates

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm extremely confused here. What do these lengthy quotes about lung disease and type 2 diabetes have to do with thyroid disease?

    ReplyDelete

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