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Biology: It’s All Greek to Me

I consider myself lucky that my BFF is a midwife and my husband is a scientist because I have no idea how bodies function. Take thyroids, for instance — or maybe it’s just thyroid, no plural — mine was wacky, then not wacky, then really wacky twice, then totally normal.

I have no explanation for it. Six months ago my TSH was high, which actually means thyroid function is low. On a repeat blood test, it was normal. Recently I had another blood draw — the psychiatrist I saw suggested that maybe my depression was related to anemia or low thyroid — and once again it was that high-that-means-low on the test.

Confused (Flickr: CollegeDegrees360)

I did some research and learned the following: thyroids are important; thyroids are small; 10% of women take thyroid medication; diet changes can help; diet changes do nothing; the medication has side effects; the medication is really helpful; you have to take the medication for life; take the medication; don’t take the medication; doctors don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to thyroid.

The last part kind of made me mad; my cousin just left for medical school and he’s got the smart genes, dammit!

Meanwhile, all the thyroid drama ended when the doctor tested me again — I’d been gluten-free for a week at that time — and my thyroid was completely normal.

What does this mean? I haven’t a clue. All I know is that my body wants me to pay my 20% coinsurance every week, only to be told I’m FINE.

The labs also showed iron deficient anemia. I have this thalassemia trait — understanding it makes even less sense to me than the whole thyroid thing — and the doctor wants me to give a poo sample to prove I’m not bleeding from my ass. Which, I still am, from the surgery with Dr. Assropractor. But not enough to cause anemia!

Blood (Flickr: bedrocan)

I keep insisting that if I were having blood poo, I WOULD KNOW IT. He insists I’d be blissfully ignorant; calling it occult blood. Oh my gawd, this is totally how zombies are made, isn’t it?

But before we get to the zombie-poo debate, I need iron infusions to get my ferritin and hemoglobin and hematocrit up to normal. I’m seeing a hematologist/oncologist today and hope to start infusions soon.

I will fight zombie poop! (Flickr: Jem Yoshioka)

3 Responses

  1. Ask to test for thyroid antibodies (there’s 2, I think). If they are elevated, they might be a reason why your levels are fluctuating randomly. Also, TSH is a good indicator of thyroid problems, but more accurate are free T3 and free T4 (which are the real thryoid levels, not the high means low ones). Gluten free is suggested to help, though a weeks fast to see a difference, not sure. Also, most docs don’t consider TSH hypo until >5 but many endocrinologists want to see it much lower, <2.5 (depending on the doc). Thyroids can also go wacky postpartum, temporarily — but I think its normally in the first year. And, sorry to hear that your iron says you're dead.

  2. My thyroid has been wacky too but I would say that taking my meds help me. Before meds I couldn’t stay awake for more then about 8 hours a day. Now I am back to being able to live normally.

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