Tag Archives: Weight Gain

Pig Thyroid and The New Normal

5 Nov
 

I am coming up on my 3 month surgery anniversary. Every time I start to complain, I force myself to count my blessings. I have a fabulous family. I have an awesome new job. I had cancer surgery this year, and I am functioning at 90%.

Am I awful for reaching for that last 10%? I fully acknowledge that I am blessed and I don’t have it as bad as I could…but I just can’t forget about my life before my thyroid cancer. “New normal” isn’t acceptable to me! What do I have to do to get to “old normal?”

For those of you who didn’t catch my update on Facebook, I had a follow-up with Dr. E, my U of M endocrinologist, had some bloodwork done, and got some news.

    1. My Tg level (cancer tumor marker) is UNDETECTABLE. Not even there.
    2. I will still need a whole-body scan (WBS), but I can put it off until Thyrogen injections are available. The Thyrogen will allow me to “fake” hormone depletion instead of actually going off of medication for 6 weeks. That would be a nightmare! Unfortunately, there’s a medication shortage, so I am on a waiting list. The undetectable Tg gives us all peace of mind that I have plenty of time to wait.
    3. My labs show crazy hyperthyroidism. Normal TSH is 0.3-3. When you have thyroid cancer, they want you to be a little on the hyper side…like 0.1-0.3. My TSH was less than 0.01.
    4. You would think that with numbers like that, I’d be losing weight like crazy, having heart palpitations and sweating to death. Nope. Just the opposite. I’ve put on another 5 pounds (grand total = 7) and I feel like I am walking through water all day. I self-medicated with my old supplements for a pick-me-up. I know, I know…it’s so bad. But I start every day on the scale, and I freak out when that number starts to creep. The supplements probably skewed my TSH results, and they didn’t help my symptoms much, so I put them away for good.
 
  1. Dr. E suggested I switch from 125 mcg Synthroid to 90 mg Armour Thyroid to see if I feel any better. Armour is dessicated pig thyroid. Yuck! But everything I have read suggests that many patients do better on Armour because it contains T1, T2, T3, T4 and calcitonin. Synthroid is only synthetic T4. T4 is the active thyroid hormone, and it supposedly converts to T3 in your body. But it seems logical to me that without a thyroid, I need to replace the whole spectrum of hormones. Armour Thyroid is very controversial, especially for thyroid cancer patients, because it is “natural” and less “stable” than Synthroid. I was surprised that an endocrinologist from a teaching institution would recommend it, but based on my personal research, I think it’s the best option. Who knows? Maybe a pig’s thyroid is just what my body was missing…?

 
 
I am on Day 6 on Armour, and so far, no difference. Every morning I wake up hoping for old normal. Andy reminds me that I have never in my life greeted my alarm clock with a smile, but it’d be nice not to feel like I drank two bottles of wine the night before. I’ll keep you posted.