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Post Surgical TSH Levels

Hello Everyone,

Thank you in advance for your time when reading my story.

I am a 28-year old female, who just had a baby in August.  I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1994 at the age of 14 (papillary carcinoma).  I had both my thyroid and parathyroid surgically removed in October of '94.  Post surgery, it was discovered that my cancer had metastasized to my lungs, and I underwent a series of radioactive iodine treatments.  After 5 clean years of scans, I was pronounced cured, and sent on my way with strict instructions to take my medication and come back every 6-months for follow-up testing.

I am currently taking 175mcg of Levoxyl, 800mg of calcium, a multivitamin, and birth control.  The last few months I have been feeling progressively worse.  I get in between 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and still can hardly drag myself out of bed in the morning.  I'm so tired I can't enjoy what little time I get to spend with my husband and my new son (we both work full-time, and the baby is in daycare during the day).  My marriage is beginning to suffer.  I have never been a skinny person, but I have begun watching my diet closely and get a decent amount of exercise (in addition to being on my feet all day at work - I walk around 2 miles a day at work alone), but not only can't lose weight, I just keep gaining it.  I'm more moody with each passing day (and I've never been a moody person) and just don't like the person I'm becoming.

For the last 15 years, I've been listening to doctors tell me that I don't have a thyroid, and I'm bound to get tired and have a hard time losing weight.  Now it's, "You have a new baby and you work full-time, of course you're tired."  But, he's been sleeping 10 hours a night for the last three months (we're really lucky) - it's not as if I'm not getting enough sleep!

I finally had enough, and went back to see the doctor (GP, I'm not currently seeing an Endo) on Friday and had some blood work done.  She only tested my TSH levels, and they came back at 4.24.  She said this was normal, and to keep taking the same dose of medicine.  She also wants to put me on anti-depressants, but I don't think I'm depressed.  I'm just tired!!!!

My question is regarding the TSH level.  Is this really normal?  I'm getting conflicting info from the web, and am wondering what is truly normal.  Shouldn't she have checked my T3 and T4 (taking into account my complaints) instead of just my TSH level?  Is it possible that I am not receiving an adequate amount of medication, even though my TSH level is "normal"?  What is everyone's position on Armour Thyroid (and/or other natural hormones)?  How do I go about finding a doctor who will listen to me, and help me start feeling better ASAP?

I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this.  There has got to be a better quality of life...there has got to be something more than merely existing.  I have so much to appreciate and look forward to...I just need to find the energy to do it.

Any and all answer/opinions you can offer are greatly appreciated.  And again, thanks for listening.
5 Responses
314892 tn?1264623903
A TSH of 2.24 is still too high for someone on replacement meds.  
After thyroid cancer, the TSH is supposed to be kept supressed ( below the reference range).
You aren't depressed, you just need more meds to bring down the TSH.

Start by finding an endocrinologist. Do not trust this to your PCP, especially in light of your history. This needs closer monitoring by a specialist.

A free t4 would also give more info. It will probably be in the low normal range and would increase to a higher, better level with a dose increase.
445835 tn?1205174300

TSH level of 4.24 may be in the normal range, but it may not be normal for you.  I leep my numbers at .10 and feel great.  When it climbs to 4.00 or higher I feel the same way you have discribed.  Find a ENDO who will treat you not your lab results.  Hang in there.

448414 tn?1205869564
My target tsh is .3-2.0 per my endo. I'm hypo with Hashimoto's. Have this checked if you haven't please. Also you may want to have a full hormone panel pulled. I went undiagnosed for 8 yrs only seeing a family physician. Now I see and endo for my synthyroid doseage and another doctor who specializes in hormone balancing. (the technology has greatly improved compared to years of horse urine hormones etc)- feel free to look up BHRT - Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. I have started a .5ml Progesterone, .5ml Testosterone (I have 0dl/ng in my body), and DHEA to off set my absence of Testosterone. I have gone from walking in a total fog and not being able to make it through a day without a nap to moving and shaking like I should for 36. Best of Luck! beach3281
168348 tn?1379357075
4.24 TSH for cancer supression!!!!! YIKES!!!!  That, in itself, is too high a # for a cancer survivor!!!!! ,.. I'm not a Dr., but the goal is TSH <1.0 depending on severity of the cancer, etc.  Mine is pushing it at 1.3 (I've been posting 1.5 but recently recalled it was 1.5 and now 1.3 the last test) ..I feel much more tired, etc around 2.8 (normal for me w/o synthroid) and much more jittery when below 1.0

What has your TSH been before the baby?  Any idea?  That # probably is not right for you ..... after the baby things may have changed around and maybe you were different # before prego and during prego and things shifted so now you don't feel yourelf and tired, etc.

Why won't they up the meds as a trial at the very least?  Is there a reason.

You need an Endo .. esp. in light of your history.

Cheryl (papillary microcancers 1/07)
Avatar universal
Hi All,

Thanks for all of your emails, suggestions, and support.

I have since found an Endocrinologist (I think I'm really going to like her) and had a full blood-workup done.  I am just waiting on the results (especially for Tg).  Am also scheduled for a soft tissue ultrasound today, and am just going to take it one day at a time until the results are back.

She agreed with all of you and said that my TSH level should be below a 1.0.  She's increased my dosage of Synthroid to 200 mcg and will retest in 6 weeks.

Of course I am terrified that the last three years of listening to my doctor say "You're normal" and having too high of a TSH level will have resulted in a reoccurance, but I guess there's not much to do about it except not worry until I have to, and making sure I get everything taken care of.

I'm obviously not feeling much better yet, but hopefully will soon.  I think I'm finally on the right track.  Thank you all for listening, and for reassuring me that I'm not crazy!

Best of luck to you all.

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