However, I promised an update on the T3 situation so here it is. How things appear to stand, right now.
If you haven't read Part One then you probably need to, or this post won't make much sense.
As reported in Part One, on reducing my T3 meds initially I didn't really feel a difference. I was surprised and delighted. As the days went by I noted that really there seemed to be no change. I didn't feel 100% normal but I didn't feel worse than before the change. So far so good.
But over time I began to wonder if my brain had become a little more foggy..... I'm still wondering that.... but I don't know...it's hard to tell. I am learning that for me thyroid symptoms are subtle and changes take a long time to become apparent.
I have a belief that perhaps T3 medicine helps my brain function more clearly. Partly this is based on my memory of when I started taking T3 alongside thyroxine. I remember our first British Thyroid Foundation London event back in April 2011 which was a just a day after I started taking 20mcg daily of T3 (for almost a year prior to that I had been on 10mcg which I thought had helped me, but maybe not that much), I was thrilled at the time by how much more energetic and on the ball I felt during that event and yet I noticed that although I was able to stand up straight and talk coherently and manage the event effectively, my brain felt like total mush during Mark Vanderpump's presentation, I literally couldn't absorb information, nothing stuck, facts just bounced off me and it was like I was an untuned TV or something, kind of full of static!
|Here I am welcoming everyone to our first event in #April 2011, Judith Taylor and Mark Vanderpump seated on right|
But then when we did our next event, when I had been on the increased dose for a while, my brain was working fine, I could understand what was being said easily, as well as doing the stuff I needed to do to make the event go smoothly. I was so happy, I felt close to normal and people there commented that I seemed so much better.
Sadly I then had my thyroxine reduced (which seemed like a good idea at the time as I believed it was the T3 that was helping me and with a TSH of less than 0.05 it seemed reasonable to aim to get that up a bit, to avoid long term bone and heart problems) and slowly over the next few months I ended up seriously mushy brained again. Sigh.
Those events are not my only two frames of reference but for me they seem meaningful. Maybe they are, maybe they're not. The truth is an elusive animal. Evidence can be misleading. There is the whole Vit D scenario to consider, as outlined in previous posts. Writing this post has made me think it is worth reconsidering the timeline of events and symptom changes to consider whether there are other factors I should be more mindful of.
Anyway, back to 2012 and my new endo recommending we reduce the T3 and see how we go, on the proviso that if I feel worse I get to go back to the original dose. It's now more than 2 months since the initial reduction. I'm now concerned that I seem to be in a bit of a daze. I have been ultra slow responding to comments on this blog, I have been short of work yet not felt able to summon the mental focus to do much about looking for more. I've felt muddled and slow when doing the work I've had. I had a job interview and was very rambly and waffly in it (which seems like a sign my brain is foggy though could simply be I am out of practice since it was my first interview in 5 years). I feel I have been unbelievably slow and disorganised around my British Thyroid Foundation admin and communications. Housework and hairwashing have felt like major tasks.
Yet on the positive side, I have lost more than half a stone (this is likely due to dietary changes which I will write about separately) and I am taking regular exercise! Actual exercise!! I'm playing badminton once a week and also going to weekly yoga and tai chi classes. The badminton is quite a full on aerobic work out, but I am playing with ladies who are all older than me (it's a daytime club so most of my fellow players are retired and we are all women), so it's not as full on as it could be, but it is a proper work out. The yoga and tai chi are both super gentle, also mostly retired ladies in the classes, but the teachers are excellent and I can feel the benefits already. I actually feel quite confident that I am going to be able to increase my physical exercise and fitness levels over the coming weeks and months. Gently does it, pacing myself carefully. Avoiding the classic chronically ill person's pattern of doing too much as soon as I feel better and then knocking myself back.
So, to cut a long story short, am I better or worse??? I don't really know!!
I had more blood tests at the start of June and finally got the results this week (NOT impressed with that time delay thank you, Kent NHS). My new endo has now suggested that I cut out the T3 meds entirely until my next appointment with him in September. Basically the original dosage cut has not really impacted any of my numbers. TSH is still less than 0.05, T4 and T3 are still right at the upper end of the range, in fact they have both increased slightly. I have decided to follow his advice. Today is day four of thyroxine only. I don't feel worse, I don't feel better, but experience so far tells me that it will be a while before I can really assess the impact. Trusting that he will let me go back on it if I am worse when I see him next, or if I really feel worse in the meantime, watch this space.....wish me luck!
As always comments are positively encouraged, I'd particularly love to hear how other people have got on with T3 treatment, or just generally compare notes with other thyroid patients, or those suffering from other chronic illnesses
sendiing smiles :)