I had a visit with the doctor today to review my thyroid ultrasound results. Quick recap:
- Hospitalized in December for some stupid virus... no need to recap all of that fun.
- Decided in January that it would be really smart to have a PCP (Primary Care Physician)
- Found a reputable doctor via Angie's List, had a blood test
- TSH levels came back high. "Normal" range is either 0.4-4.5 or 0.3-3.5 (old norms versus proposed new norms). My TSH level was 5.9. Via either norms, it's considered high.
- Had an ultrasound on my neck to determine if there is any damage to said thyroid.
Okay, now we're caught up on my recap, here's your short and sweet overview of the thyroid:
Your thyroid is a large component of your endocrine system, and plays a major part in your metabolism. One of the tests your doctor can run to check on your thyroid is to check your TSH levels. TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone, is the hormone that stimulates your thyroid to do it's thing. If your thyroid is not responsive enough, your body creates more TSH to nudge it along. Thus, high TSH levels indicate an under-active thyroid, yielding a slower metabolism (fatigue, depression, weight gain without trying, and other side effects). This condition is known as hypothyroidism. I find it funny that I don't feel like I have any of the symptoms. Maybe every once in a while, but I figured it was normal tiredness, or normal feeling cold... not often enough or bad enough to even think about.
Thyroid issues run in my family, so no surprise there. But because the body is not simple, there are many different issues that could be the cause of or caused by hypothyroidism. So the next step was to do the ultrasound.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your lower neck.
Pretty, right? Apparently mine has 3 large nodules, or growths.My doctor explained them as a form of damage incurred by my thyroid. It's not reversible, so these nodules will forever be with me (welcome to my body, little nodules). I have two on my right lobe and one on my left. The doc described them, in size, as "one M&M and two Tic-Tacs." (Love the mental image... candy floating around on my thyroid.)
Nodules are growths. But fortunately, 95% of nodules are benign. And when multiple exist, the incidence of cancer is even lower. So we've ruled out cancer (although the "C" word in conversation did jolt me a little).
I'm going for a new blood test on Wednesday. This one will retest my TSH levels, as well as test T3, T4, and antithyroglobulin anti-bodies. T3 and T4 are the hormones that the thyroid produces, and if there is a presence of antithyroglobulin, then I suspect the doctor will diagnose me with Hashimoto's disease. Per my research (Google, I love you)... doctors generally test for antithyroglobulin if they suspect Hashimoto's (hypothyroid disease), Grave's (hyperthyroid disease), or if they are tracking thyroid cancer.
Hashimoto's is an auto-immune disease, which would mean that my body is attacking my thyroid (thus, the reason for the damage to the thyroid). But that is as far as I will speculate for now. Fortunately, thyroid diseases have a good prognosis -- nothing to worry about. The biggest downfall, in my opinion, is that my doctor would want to put me on a supplement. I am not cool with medication. I want none of it in my body. But I'll cross that bridge if/when I get there. If that's the case, my research about natural remedies/options for hypothyroidism will be my new hobby :)
Okay, enough rambling about my bow-tie looking gland.
Food diary time!
Slow-cooked stew (chicken, Brussels sprouts, squash, celery, garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper)
Banana, carrot muffin, almond butter (I snacked a little extra after the doctor)
Haven't had it just yet. We're thinking about making a smoothie of some sort (Paleo friendly, don't you worry your pretty little head!)