Oh Happy Day!

Today was my two week follow-up appointment my endocrinologist. You know, this was only the 2nd time we’d met and it was like we’d known each other forever. Her personality is so warm and she’s so easy to talk to…so much so that we got off topic and were showing each other videos of our kids. LOL That’s a good doctor-patient relationship!

Anyhow, this past Friday I had to have a blood test (nice bruise on my arm thanks to a badly trained phlebotomist) so we could check my levels with the current dosage of methimazole (thyroid medicine). My thyroid is in the normal range now! Yay! She’s taking me off the beta blocker (heart medicine) and cutting the methimazole dosage in half. This is great news!

Going forward, I have three options for long-term treatment:

  1. Medicine: anti-thyroid medicine to be exact. I’d just keep taking the methimazole. There is a slight chance that my thyroid could go into remission and I could get off the medicine all together, but that’s unlikely. No need to get my hopes up.
  2. Radioactive Iodine: oral treatment with a radioactive iodine pill that gradually destroys part of the thyroid. It can go as far as to destroy it…causing my thyroid to become hypoactive (slow) requiring different medicine. This is a very common form of treatment with a very common side effect. I expressed my concern about this treatment for two reasons:
    1. The treatment would  involve me being unable to be in contact (touching, hugging etc.) Jacob or Joe for 3-7 days. NO way is Jacob going to go for that at his age. The doctor agreed (she has a one year old) and said we could always come back to this option later.
    2. Risk of cancer because of my BRCA1+ gene mutation. (Listen, you may poo poo this thought, and that is your right, but keep it to yourself, please. I have come too far to risk my health so I’m entertaining all possibilities and this is one that concerns me.) The doctor is not concerned that this will occur.
  3. Surgery: thyroidectomy – removal of some or all of the thyroid gland. The doctor feels that this is an extreme option given my current state. I agree.

I chose Option 1 (clearly the least bothersome option) for now. We’ll be checking my blood again in 6-8 weeks and then I’ll have a follow-up visit in 6 months. We think my symptoms are gone but can’t say for sure with regard to the exhaustion. I mean hey, I’m also a parent to a toddler! Though I think I’m good. Now if only my hair would grow back overnight. Where is my fairy godmother?

Patience…(If you have any to spare, please send some my way. thanks.)

Turning A Corner

People have asked me a lot over the past week if I’ve noticed any changes since starting the thyroid medicine. Unfortunately, most of those symptoms I’ve experienced are also side effects of getting older, being a parent and menopause…except the extreme hair thinning (lots over a 3 week period). I think I’ve turned a corner…and it’s a good one!

Today I noticed, while taking a shower and drying my hair, that the thinning has slowed down to a normal pace. I’m so happy! I don’t know when it will start growing back, or if it will, but I am glad that, for today, it is better. I’m crossing my fingers that this really is the beginning of the positive changes.

I’m also happy to report that my weight is continuing to decrease at a healthy rate. Sometimes (daily…) it’s a pain tracking everything I eat and making sure I get enough exercise and/or movement throughout the day but it’s paying off. Now that it’s spring I’ve also started taking Jacob (and sometimes Joe…depending on his extra curricular activities) for walks in the evening. The warmer weather, the fresh air, the constant motion with a toddler…all good things!

We Have A Plan!

Good morning! I’m so happy right now because I just heard from my Endocrinologist about my blood test results and, as suspected, my thyroid is hyperactive. She’s putting me on 10 mg of Methimazole and 25 mg of a beta blocker (I can’t remember what it’s called). I was immediately concerned about the beta blocker because I’d read that it can cause weight gain but the doctor said it shouldn’t be an issue because I’ll be on a low dose. She feels that I can easily control my weight, and continue to lose weight, with my current diet and exercise program.

I asked her how long she expects me to be on the medicines and she said that the Methimazole is likely a long-term medicine but the beta blocker should be temporary. As for my symptoms, she said I can expect to see changes in 3-5 weeks but she can’t guarantee that my hair loss will be affected (stopped/reversed) by the medicine. I told her that I know we can’t know with 100% certaintly but my hair loss only started about 3 weeks ago so I’m confident that it is related to the thyroid. She said she agrees that it’s probably related.

In the next two weeks I’ll be taking another blood test and visiting the doctor for a follow up. This will give her a chance to see how I’m doing on the medicine and adjust the levels if necessary. After that I’ll see her again in about 6 weeks.

Whew! I’m actually really looking forward to taking this medicine and feeling more lively. Fatigue sucks! Hair loss sucks!

We have a plan!

We have a plan!

Onward and upward! Have great weekend!

Hurry Up And Wait…

Today was my first appointment with the Endocrinologist. She was very warm and easy to talk to, both qualities I prefer in a doctor. We spent the first part of the appointment talking about my symptoms and family history before she competed a physical exam. She said that the thyroid does feel enlarged but it’s not big enough to cause her much concern. She thinks my thyroid could be off due to my recent illness, and likely temporarily out of whack, or it could be something that will need to be treated with medicine. She wasn’t convinced that my hair thinning is related to the thyroid so I asked her what else could be causing it and she came up with 2 additional options:

  1. Postpartum (Yes, still possible 2 years later)
  2. Menopause (argh!!! [shaking fists!])

Both options offer no quick reverse for the hair thinning issue. Ugh! Now I’m really hoping that my thyroid is off.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to start treating the thyroid today because she wants new blood tests, and an ultrasound, since I was sick during the last set. Luckily I was able to get both done and the test results will be back in a day or two. The doctor said she call as soon as she know more and then we can discuss next steps. Until then it’s a waiting game.

Thankfully I had acupuncture today so I’m pretty calm…


Hello everyone! You may be wondering why so much time has gone by since my last blog post and I have a fairly simple answer: I ran out of things to say…until now. Anyhow, here goes!

My acupuncturist and I had a breakthrough back in December. Sometime during the fall we decided to stop treating my low libido and, instead, shifted our focus to reducing stress (menopausal stress). The theory was that if we could reduce the stress, the libido would come back on its own. A few months went by and I realized that nothing was changing. I was easily irritated and sometimes shrill. Of course this caused me MORE stress. I hated the way I was acting. It reminded me of my Mother when she went through menopause. Unpleasant!

Around October, (after I told off some idiot [who parked horribly] in a Starbucks parking lot [not my best moment]) I started paying attention to when I was most irritable and realized that it was generally within the first 24-48 hours after acupuncture. I told my acupuncturist about this pattern and she tried a new (for me) procedure that tapped into the “internal dragon”. The procedure helps release stress that is being housed in your internal dragon. I can tell you that the effects were immediate and fantastic. A few minutes into the session I started to feel a heaviness creep over me, starting with my toes and moving over my entire body. It literally felt like a weight was holding me still. When the session was over I felt tingling everywhere (akin to when your foot is asleep) and a calmness that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Things that would normally set me off didn’t have the same negative effect anymore. I felt like a normal person. I felt like ME again.

Now I got to acupuncture once a month instead of weekly. The treatment is similar but not always the same exact procedure. I can definitely say it works for me and, for that, I am thankful. I’m continuing to take Chinese herbs for my dry eyes, libido, hot flashes (really just warmth) and mood. She also has me taking magnesium because I was becoming warm in the middle of the night. All of it seems to be working well but I have to say that I am tired of taking medicine!


Ok so that was the good news, now for some slightly unpleasant developments. A few weeks ago I noticed that my hair was shedding in the shower more than usual, like it did during post partum. I also realized that when I pulled my hair into a ponytail the front hairline, where a center part might reside, was thinner and showing more of my scalp. Immediately alarmed by this development I went to see my dermatologist. At the same time I had an annual physical coming up so my plan was to have my primary care physician test for issues too. Well, the short version of the story is that the menopause has caused Hyperthyroidism. I have no idea how long this has been going on but I figure a few months because of the side effects I’ve been experiencing.

I’m scheduled for a consultation with an endocrinologist on April 9th (the first available appointment) so that’s a positive. In the meantime, my dermatologist prescribed a topical solution called Fluocinonide (to be used for at least 2 months, daily) which is supposed to stimulate my scalp to allow the hair to regrow naturally. He also told me to take Biotin (5,000 mcg daily) to slow the hair loss and strengthen the existing hair, skin and nails. Coincidentally, I was already taking it because my nails were suffering.

I asked my primary care physician if I should/could use Rogaine for Women and she said it wouldn’t work because this isn’t a hereditary issue or Alopecia. She assures me that my hair thinning will stop, and eventually reverse, once my thyroid is treated. For now I am just trying to not let this stress me out because stress can escalate the issue. Everyone I’ve talked to has told me that they can’t see the hair is thinning so that’s a relief.

Well, there you have it! The good, the bad and the ugly. Seriously though, none of this is all that terrible. Yes, it’s scary to have thinning hair (definitely as a woman, most likely as a man too) but at least we know the cause and the treatment.

I’ll update more when I have news from the endocrinologist. Until then, I leave you with a piece of advice: Pay attention to your body, it’s always talking to you.