Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test Results - New Diagnosis

Graves Disease was Confirmed
Hyperthyroid symptoms went crazy
during Radioactive Iodine Uptake test!

The Radioactive Iodine Uptake test was no picnic.

Although the nuclear medicine technician who gave me the iodine capsules assured me that the capsules didn't have enough iodine in them to produce any side effects, that didn't turn out to be true.

The iodine definitely increased my hyperthyroid symptoms -- drastically.

I'm guessing that ordinarily, you might not notice the upswing in symptoms if you were not looking for them because it would just be more of the same, especially in those whose thyroid is putting out a whopping amount of hormones already. 

In my case, the test was quite uncomfortable.

I had to try to hold still for 20 minutes, and then again for another 4 minutes, as the technicians measured the amount of radiation the thyroid was putting out and the amount of iodine the thyroid had taken up.

I also had to go back again the following morning for another iodine reading at exactly 24 hours.

What Were They Looking For?

With thyroid nodules, what they are initially looking at is whether or not the nodules are making thyroid hormone independently from the thyroid itself.

This is what toxic nodule/multi-nodule goiter is.

Finally, A Diagnosis!

When I went back to the Endocrinologist a week later to discuss the results of the Radioactive Iodine Uptake test -- a REAL Endocrinologist this time -- my diagnosis had completely changed.

I do not have Toxic Multi-nodular Goiter because the nodules are not functioning on their own.

Instead, the entire thyroid is overreacting.

I have Grave's Disease even though I don't have elevated antibodies.

So the official diagnosis is now: Grave's Disease with Multiple Nodules.

This makes the problem autoimmune, which is what I initially thought it might be. For some reason, the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland, and the thyroid gland is defending itself by overreacting.

The Endocrinologist says that the nodules are probably nothing to worry about. A 12 cm nodule is quite small (hubby says it's about 1/4-inch in diameter), and in his experience, most of the time when someone has Grave's Disease, the nodules are not cancerous.

When cancer is suspected, the thyroid doesn't soak up iodine properly. However, he might decide to biopsy it anyway, just be sure.

In the meantime:

He is treating the anxiety first. I am back on anti-thyroid meds to cool down the hyperactivity and anxiety, and I have heart medication to control the heart palpitations and pain.

I will then go back to see him for an evaluation in about 6 weeks. At that time, he will decide whether to biopsy the largest nodule or just watch it for a while.

He took more blood work last Wednesday. Even with the increase in iodine, my Total T3 was still within normal range, so I'm going to beef up the protein and start working on getting my strength back.

UPDATE: On February 14th of that year, hubby got laid off from his job, and by the end of the month, we had no health insurance, so I could not go back to the doctor for this. Luckily, he had given me a prescription for 6 months worth of pills, so we paid for them ourselves.

I winged myself off the pills slowly, and didn't have any more problems. We still do not have health insurance because hubby's job has a contract with Avenue H and their cheapest health plan for a couple our age is $1150 a month, with a $5,000 deductible -- each.