One Year Hashimoto’s Update

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in August/September of 2019. So, it’s officially been one year. I thought I’d share my progress and go a little more into detail about my actual hormone levels (I’ve done a previous post about the hormone levels and what it all means. You can read that here).

Back in 2019 when I originally did my blood work, these were my levels:

  • TSH: 6.46, standard range is .4-4.2
  • T3 Total 1.1, standard range is .8-2.0
  • T4: 1.3, standard range is .8-1.8

(Standard ranges can be slightly different depending on where you are tested)

Just a note that I was originally tested for T3 Total, but all my tests after are for T3 Free, which has a different standard range.

Obviously, my TSH was very high, and after some research, I learned that meant that I had sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Then, I had the antibody test and my results were off the charts… 537 when the normal range is 9 and below. Yes, you read that right… 537.

Since then, I have been on levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone.

I was tested again in November 2019 and my T3 and T4 levels were still in normal range and my TSH went down to 3.14, which was awesome. So the medication was working.

I was supposed to get tested in May 2020, but with COVID and lockdown, I decided to wait it out. I checked with my endocrinologist and it was fine to wait. I ended up getting my blood work done in July 2020.

This time, my results came back mixed. While my antibodies were down to 353, my TSH had gone up to 4.47. My T3 and T4 were still in normal range. Looking at the results myself, I knew that I was going to need a higher dose of levothyroxine. I made an appointment to my endocrinologist. I went in to the appointment thinking that I would be waiting for the doctor longer than the actual appointment would be, but I was pleasantly surprised. While my assumption was correct and results were not great, it was a really productive and positive appointment. Other than my raised TSH, my T3 was also a little high for my doctor’s liking, another reason to increase my dosage.

My thyroid is also still a bit enlarged, but because my last ultrasound was clean, we’re not worrying about it for now. I just have a pudgy, lazy thyroid. It’s fine.

Now let me just give you an example of the perks of a good doctor. First, she made sure to explain the differences between taking a generic versus brand name medication. She gave me a prescription for a brand name and told me to make sure that the pharmacy did not switch it for the generic, as they do sometimes. She also gave me a two week sample of the medication and a coupon that would make it even cheaper than the generic! Get a good doctor, folks.

She also made another suggestion that I was honestly very surprised about. She suggested that I may want to try going gluten free.

Huh?

While I have heard that some people (including my aunt) with Hashimoto’s go gluten free, I never really believed it or found anything to support it in my research. But hearing it from my doctor was a different story. She told me that gluten can ‘poke’ at autoimmune conditions, basically acting like an annoying younger sibling, which in turn aggravates the condition. Going gluten free could help, theoretically, lower my antibodies. She said the lower the antibodies are, the better I would feel. The problem with that is that I feel fine! I’ve felt fine the entire time! I felt fine before I was diagnosed! Regardless, I took the advice to heart. I ate gluten for the rest of the day, and I mean the entire day and the next day I quit, cold turkey (I have a post about going gluten free coming up).

So that brings me to now. While everything seemed to be going well, I did hit a little snafu… that brand name medication I was telling you about? Well, it’s back ordered from the manufacturer and no one has it. I’ll probably be back on the generic levothyroxine until it comes into stock, but that’s fine. We’ll deal with it.

Otherwise, I haven’t found being gluten free too difficult, but I also haven’t encountered pizza yet… that will be a challenge. But I’m feeling positive and curious to see if it will make any kind of difference in the long run. My aunt was excited that I’ve joined her on the dark side, so there’s that.

So what happens next? Well, I have blood work to do in November to check my TSH, T3 and T4, to see if the increased dosage is helping. Then I’ll probably have my antibody test around May 2021. I’ll do another update after the November round of results, until then… let them eat gluten free cake!

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