Hi. My name is Vicki and I am 37 y/o. I have no children and am in relatively good health. A year ago my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells) and we completely changed our diets to a more vegetarian style. At this point, I began to gain weight almost immediately. Once he had begun chemo, we joined a gym, so that he could start rebuilding strength, muscle and endurance by swimming. I would swim and work out.
Move forward one year. Despite having adjusted our diets to be healthy (wasn't horrible before, but wasn't the best it could have been) and working out, I continued to gain weight. My very first suspicion was the my thyroid was off. But, I also thought perhaps it was the drastic change in our diets or maybe I wasn't trying hard enough or the usual suspect---STRESS!!
Recently, a separate issue took me to the doctor and my weight gain was discussed as well. He ran a TSH test and it came back at 4.267, which he said was slightly elevated and then ran an additional TSH and a fT4 which came back at 3.058 and .81, respectively. He said that since the numbers were within range, I was fine.
I spent the weekend researching and finding that tho it is within 'range' it did not mean that it was optimal. I also noticed that I had several other symptoms (i.e. constipation, fatigue, premature grey hair, low libido, joint pain, irregular menstrual cycles, depression, irritability and low back pain). I wrote many of these off because I suspected many were due to stress (from my hubby's diagnosis). But, when the numbers came back a little off and subsequent research, I called the doctor back and made an appt.
I discussed with him my symptoms and concern that perhaps I was sub-clinical and whether I should start treatment for hypothyroidism. He said that despite the numbers being in range, my symptoms did suggest an issue and said that he had no problem starting me on a low dose of Synthroid (50mcg). Oh, he also felt my thyroid and said that it felt a little inflamed, but not a great deal and that he did not feel any nodules.
Since then (that was two days ago) I have been reading more and more. My first question is this:
If I have hypothyroidism, should I have subsequent testing to determine WHY? I.e. hashi's, cancer, etc?
If I do not have hypothyroidism, what can I expect from taking this medication? (He said it would be a little worse than taking an aspirin but not as harmful as damaging internal organs---somewhere in between). This is confusion to me, but perhaps I am just overly concerned.
How long should I give the Synthroid an opportunity before suggesting a different medication, if at all? I am scheduled for a follow-up blood test to determine whether my dosage needs adjusting in 6 weeks.
Should I also have my fT3, T3, T4 and antibodies tested?
Lastly, if it is not my thyroid, what other possibilities are there, that incorporate the majority of the symptoms I have listed?
If it is my thyroid, I am lucky to have a GP who is willing to listen to me and discuss my concerns as well as provide treatment. I'm 85% confident that we are on the correct path, but since I suggested it, I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing. I know there are some doctors who will treat what you want for fear of being sued, just as there are those who won't treat for fear of being sued.
I appreciate any feedback as well as any avenues for research. I am trying to find medical journals to read as well as clinical trial results so that I can balance the 'testimonials' with factual data. I am also ready to answer any other questions that I may not have touched on that may shed more light on the situation.