Two consecutive ‘normal’ levels!


Ecstatic that my thyroid labs came back with results in the ‘normal’ range for the second time since this summer. Vitals also remains good with BP of 127/71, pulse of 55 and weight stable at 156.4 . And no excitement with Covid or pneumonia this year, thank goodness!

Here are the numbers:

The only other item of note was that my white blood cell count is still below the reference range pf between 3.4 and 10.8 at 3.1, same as the last test. My doctors aren’t concerned over this so I’m not going to worry over it anymore either. And with 2 consecutive ‘normal’ reads, I did ask my endocrinologist to stop taking the methimazole (2.5mg daily) and then see how I do at my next visit in July. Fingers crossed that all stays good!

As I close in on my 60th trip around the sun this spring, who would have guessed that my health would be as good as it has been. I owe a lot of that to my retirement in The Villages, FL and the active lifestyle I’m leading (can you say pickleball?) and the abundance of friends I’ve made here.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Pulled Pork! 2023-01-14

Standing Rib Roast! 2023-01-14

The upside of 2022


It’s been an interesting year so far, starting with catching Covid and followed by getting pneumonia, what else can 2022 bring?

Better news, that’s what!

For the first time in years, all 3 primary thyroid reads from my latest blood work are in the ‘normal’ range! That was a bit of welcomed news, especially since the morning of my labs a week ago, I became a little concerned as one of my signals (muscle tremors) for a possible thyroid storm presented itself while playing pickleball and forcing me to withdraw. After reviewing, it’s probably due to not resting enough (I was on the court 1.5 hrs straight, warming other players up) prior to league play starting. Thanks to a good friend, I was able to settle myself down by soaking in their spa that afternoon.

On to the numbers:

TSH: 0.859 (v <0.005 previously), within the 0.450-4.500 reference interval

Free T4: 1.32 (v 2.03), and a 0.82-1.77 reference interval

T3: 99 (v 217), and a reference interval of 71-180 (yes, this interval is back to these numbers from 55-170, inconsequential since I’m squarely in the range)

BP was 130/73 (after coming from playing pickleball that morning), pulse 60, and O2 saturation at 99% (temp was not taken). Lastly, my weight seems to have stabilized around the 155 lb range ever since catching Covid. The only other thing worth noting was that my white blood cell count came out below the reference range of 3.4-10.8 at 3.1. The doctor doesn’t think it’s of any concern (only marginally below) and may just be a side effect of changing my dose of methimazole (2.5 mg) from every other day to daily.

In any case, I’m feeling as healthy as I ever have, maybe better than at any other point in my life. I’m now playing pickleball 7 days a week (on average, around 4-6 hrs a day), and enjoying lots of good food, good drinks and good times with friends.

Cheers, and, as another new friend would say, make good choices!

Challenging start to 2022


What a start to 2022. Got hit by Covid at the very start of the year, probably from my pickleball group as 3 other people whom I played with also got sick. Fortunately, it was very mild with only a couple of days of a sore throat and body aches. Unfortunately, I probably didn’t take it easy as much as I should have and was back to playing pickleball a week later, and I developed a dry cough. Well, that turned into a little bit of congestion and ultimately diagnosed as pneumonia, discovered during my annual physical. That was probably lucky for me as I would have typically ignored something so minor. This whole episode also resulted in a loss of 8 lbs alone this month (low of 158, now back up a bit at 161, looking to stay around 165).

Due to that weight loss, I did make a decision to go from my super low 2.5 mg of methimazole every other day to 2.5 mg daily. My thyroid levels showed improvements for serum T3 at 152 v 217; free T3 at 3.6 v 6.8; free T4 at 2.03 v 2.49; and TSH constant at <0.005 from last time. The T3 levels are actually now in the “normal” range (55-170 and 2.0-4.4, respectively). T4 is getting closer (0.82-1.77) and don’t know if I will ever see TSH within 0.45-4.5. Strange that the reference interval for serum T3 changed from 71-180 to 55-170, which is also a point of contention of what is normal for me v the population at large. Lastly, my vitals were BP of 128/73, pulse 58, temp 98F and cholesterol at 122 (how is that possible with all the smoked meat I eat?!).

In any case, I have one more day of antibiotics for the pneumonia to get through and am looking forward to resume playing pickleball. I have to work out a balance of that plus golfing and bicycling, both of which have been relegated to occasional activities since I have gotten more serious with pickleball. I’m playing 5 days a week, with most days of at least 4 hrs of play, one day of 6 or more, plus I’ve joined a league. Crazy but I’m having fun.

Stay well, everyone!

Midyear 2021 update


Just completed another half year check up for my Graves’ disease and my thyroid levels continue to show hyperactivity but I’m still not seeing the danger signals from my initial diagnosis. My TSH is still at less than 0.005, same as my last test (ref int 0.450-4.500); Free T4 at 2.49, better than my last 2.75 (ref int 0.82-1.77); and T3 at 217, again better than my last 269 (ref int 71-180). I also got a read for my Free T3, which wasn’t measured previously, at 6.8, higher than the reference interval of 2.0-4.4.

My retiring endocrinologist made one last plea for me to increase my medication or perform some version of thyroidectomy but I once again declined (no, me declining treatment advice was not the cause of his retirement). I’ve selected another New Yorker for my next endocrinologist so we’ll see how that works out.

I’m feeling great! I’m riding my bike 2-3 times a week for 25-40 miles per ride. My speed has improved from 12.5 mph to averaging 13.5-14.5 mph. I’m playing pickleball 3 times a week and trying to golf at least once a week. And as of this past week, I’ve added swimming, if you can call it that, to my activity list.

My vitals were BP of 117/68 (left arm) and 117/69 (right arm), resting pulse at 64, and temp of 97.9F. And while not measured in the current blood work, I did score a cholesterol reading of 164 when I gave blood back in June. I don’t think my stats have been better since the late 1990’s when I took up running.


Thyroid levels still not improving

Jan 21, 2021

My thyroid levels are still way off (TSH: <0.005; T4: 2.75; and T3: 269) and are worse than the readings from last summer. The only thing positive is that I am still not experiencing any negative impacts and, begrudgingly, my endocrinologist is allowing me to continue with my current prescription of 1/2 of a 5 mg tab every other day – a super low dosage. I am acutely aware of my condition and unless my symptoms (radical weight loss, muscle tremors, and constantly feeling warm) reappear, I will stay the course for what I’m doing to stay well. Onward!

One step forward, two steps back


Or at least, that’s how it seems with my labs. Back in January, my thyroid levels were as follows:

TSH: 0.431 (just below the normal range); T3: 123 (normal); T4: not measured

The labs from July 10 were:

TSH: < 0.005 (very low); T3: 164 (normal); T4: 2.39 (very high)

My vitals remain great with a weight of 181.4 (w/ clothes, down from 192); bp of 122/77, pulse of 54, and oxygen saturation of 98% (with a mask).

I remain asymptomatic but the doctor is, of course, concerned with regards to my TSH falling back to a super low level. He prefers I either go through one of the procedures to remove my thyroid but I again declined since I remain asymptomatic. Absent that, he wanted me to increase my dosage of methimazole but I didn’t agree to that either as taking that med is one of the reasons it was difficult for me to drop any weight.

I showed him my stats from my bike rides as he was also concerned about heart palpitations and I assured him that rapid heart rate hasn’t ever been a problem (from my last ride, I did reach a heart rate of 183 on a sprint) and how many people at my age can claim a resting pulse of 54?

I am distinctly aware of the warning signs for my particular set of symptoms from Graves. The most specific signs are muscle tremors and extreme weight loss, neither of which have expressed themselves since the initial diagnosis.

But due to his concern, and me being resistant to more aggressive treatment, he wants to check on my bone mass as bone loss is a possible symptom that is hard to observe physically so I will have a x-ray scan performed early next month and see whether that is the case. More to follow….

Continuing trend on my Graves’ disease

17 Jan 2020

Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone! As for my mom and myself, age related issues continue to play themselves out for mom and her recent recovery from a broken right hip.

Her surgery itself was a success but this has left her right leg a couple of inches shorter than before, exasperating her already bad balance issues. Being a shuffler (v a walker) ruled her out as a candidate for orthotics. And as for her age related dementia, I’ll just say it is continuing to progress and we’ll have to come to a decision about placing her into memory care in the near future.

Now as for my own health, my annual physical went well but they do note that my cholesterol as being elevated – I blame it on the recent roast duck and pig I had prior to the blood work being performed. Nevertheless, they performed a risk assessment, taking into consideration my other stats and indicated that I wasn’t a risk for heart disease (yet! – BP 123/77, pulse 62, weight 192 – ok, I know, I could stand to lose a few pounds but considering it’s about 5 lbs less than last year, I call it a win, plus most people guess I am less).

My TSH levels also showed further improvements from the last test (0.431), it’s still considered to less than the low normal standard of 0.45. T3 remains in the normal range at 123 and T4 was not measured. In any case, my doctor agreed to let me reduce my methimazole to 2.5 mg every other day and we’ll review my blood test again in another 6 months. I think he is letting me do so as I remain asymptomatic and I am always monitoring for signs of my Graves.


Midyear update

18 Jul 2019

First thing first, mom had her final follow-up with her orthopaedic doctor and her break has healed up nicely and no further follow-ups needed (including any therapy) and the final prescription of ‘no more broken bones, please.’ She is actually walking a little better now than before breaking her leg. Knock on wood.

Now as for my Graves, the latest blood test looks better but still shows one thyroid hormone indicating mild hyperactivity: my TSH is 0.325, still below the low normal of 0.45. That is a marked improvement from the last reading at the beginning of the year of 0.022. T3 and Free T4 are still in the normal range at 118 and 1.34, respectively.

The big question for me is whether or not stay the course with my medication, reduce the dose, or stop completely and see where my thyroid hormone levels will be in another 6 months time. I want to stop but given I’m so close to reaching what is considered to be normal, I think I’ll stay the course for another half year and hope that the TSH reading will finally be within range.

Otherwise, retirement has been good with many trips to the area attractions and more free time in general to spend outdoors. And with the increase in outdoors time, I’ve lost about 6 lbs (now 192) and about an inch off my waist. My doctor would like to see me at 180. I don’t know as I feel great and to reach 180 will probably require dietary changes that I’m happy not to make.

Cheers for now!

It’s a new year and the start of a new chapter

07 Jan 2019

One week into the new year and it’s the start of a new chapter in my life. As some of you may know, I retired at the end of 2018 and I fully intend to enjoy the fruits of my last 30 years of labor. And with that, I look to renew my efforts to send my Graves’ Disease into remission. To that end, my blood test result is still showing me as being hyper, but not as bad (low) from my previous results this past summer.

T3: 134 (ref 71-180)

TSH: 0.022 (0.45-4.5) – much better than last summer’s 0.009 but still a ways to go

Free T4: 1.57 (0.82-1.77)

So how am I spending my time now that I don’t have work to occupy me? That’s still being worked out. For now, more frequent and longer walks, starting to learn pickleball, trying to find time to start golfing again, and catching up with friends and family, local and afar. All this is with mom in tow, which creates its own set of challenges. But as the saying goes, a bad day out still beats a good day in the office :-). Decompress, decompress, decompress!

Cheers to 2019!