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.
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!
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!
17 Aug 2018
Sorry for the late update. It’s been a very busy summer so far.
Mom’s health has been in a steady decline since her falls last year. This summer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and had to be hospitalized for a couple of days to get her stabilized. At one point, they were considering putting in a stent to help with her circulation but after an echocardiogram was performed, they found that she was in no immediate risk and deferred on the procedure. Instead, she has been placed on Lasix (diuretic) and Entresto (ACE inhibitor) to mitigate her edema (that’s what sent her to the hospital), and later added Carvedilol (beta blocker) to further improve her heart function.
Over the last couple of weeks, her condition has dramatically improved. She’s back to her normal bodyweight (as of this week) and is even back on her feet again (she had pretty much become wheelchair bound for most activities and using a walker in and around the house). She still needs to be closely monitored and will require more frequent doctor visits, particularly with the cardiologist – not something she likes. Happy with her progress and hope it remains stable.
On the flip side of the coin, all of this has done nothing to reduce any stress in my journey and trying to achieve remission. My TSH remains stuck at a ridiculously low number (0.009 in July v 0.018 in April). T4 has returned to within a normal range where it was slightly elevated back in April (1.77 v 1.83). T3 was again not measured. I asked my new endocrinologist why not and he said that it was not as relevant for treating Graves. Still, I would like to know so when time comes from my next labs, I asked that they include it (hope they remember!).
Needless to say, remission remains out of reach for now. Hopefully, my situation will change when I finally pack it in after 30 years with EY and I retire at the end of the year. Too young to retire you say? Pfffgh – never too late to enjoy the rest of my life! 136 days to go!
10 May 2018
Where has the time gone? Apologies for being a month late reporting my last set of blood test results. It’s been a busy spring with work ramping up for a major deployment and caring for mom and her own set of health issues as she gets older. To further complicate matters, there was also a problem with the sample taken as it had clotted and the lab was not able to perform the standard panel as before. In any case, the only values that they were able to determine were my TSH and Free T4. The TSH number got worse, dropping to 0.018, and my Free T4 moved up and just out of the ‘normal’ range at 1.83. All things being equal, I have to believe that stress is contributing to my continued hyperthyroidism, at least from a numbers game. Regardless, I remain mostly sympton free but I am keeping an eye on my weight due to a slight drop and I am experiencing the occassional feeling of being overly warm (2 of 3 factors that lead to my Graves’ diagnosis, the final one would be the return of muscle tremors). I’m hoping the feeling of warmth is nothing more than the fine Florida weather and that the weight loss is due to my attempt at getting outside more. Keeping my fingers crossed for my next blood test in July.
10 Jan 2018
Hit a bump in the road to remission as my TSH levels dropped to 0.067. T4 and T3 are still within their respective ‘normal’ range. I have a new endocrinologist now that I’ve relocated to Florida and once again got the advice to either go with RAI or surgery, to which I declined again. I’m still on 2.5 mg of methimazole per day and so far not showing any signs of toxicity (knock wood).
The blood test results I received under my new doctors were more detailed than what I was receiving when I was in GA so I have additional values that I’m keeping an eye on:
Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobin: 497% (normal is 0-139)
Thyrotropin Receptor Ab: 6.53 IU/L (normal is 0.00-1.75)
Thyroid Peroxidase Ab: 92 IU//mL (normal is 0-34)
Thyrogolbulin Ab: <1.0 IU/mL (normal 0.0-0.9)
Even though my blood work is still showing signs for Graves’, I remain asymptomatic and am feeling good. I suspect the stress of moving may have caused some of my numbers to jump so we’ll see if it settles down again in another 3 months at my next lab visit.
10 Oct 2017
Just completed my latest check up yesterday and I’m happy to report that I’m still on the happy path towards remission. T3 is sitting at 114, T4 at 1.3, and TSH is now 3.23 – all within the ‘normal’ range. That makes 3 consecutive tests now and I finally got the go ahead to reduce my methimazole from 5 mg a day to 2.5 mg. Woo-hoo! Doc believes that I can probably remain on low dose indefinitely but I’m still pushing for zero.
Next challenge – finding an endocrinologist near my new home in FL with the same conservative mindset to treatment!
1 Aug 2017
Sorry for the late update but have been busy with life.
I had my follow-up blood test back on the 10th of July and received my results a few days later. They only measured my TSH levels and the results are good, assuming that my T3 and T4 are also continuing to be in the ‘normal’ range. My TSH numbers this time out was 2.6, smack in the middle of the 0.4 to 4.5 range. That’s an improvement from my April test where I had a reading of 0.7. I’m still on 5 mg of methimazole, which I hope I can get off in the near future. My next appointment with my endocrinologist will be in Oct. Fingers-crossed for reaching remission soon!
12 April 2017
My thyroid readings are finally all showing in the ‘normal’ range! For now, the doctor wants to keep me on the 5 mg of methimazole and repeat the blood test in another 3 months.
TSH 0.70 (0.40-4.50)
Free T4 1.3 (0.8-1.8)
Total T3 121 (76-181)
Smiling ear to ear!
6 March 2017
Where has the time gone? Long story short, making progress with 2 of 3 measures now testing within the normal range:
- T3 is at 139.1 ng/dL (range is 80-204)
- Free T4 is at 1.34 ng/dL(range is 0.8 – 1.8)
I’m still showing that I’m considerably hyperthyroidic from a numbers perspective with a TSH still measuring a very low 0.016 ulU/mL (range is 0.35 – 4.5). The big issue with this number is that we have no way of knowing what my reading was prior to being diagnosed as having Graves’ so all we are doing is managing around a low number in trying to get me to be in range without really knowing if my ‘normal’ range could already be a low number.
Overall, still doing well and we’ll see if numbers will further improve at my next check up in April.