Those of you familiar with my more recent blog posts will be aware that I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in the summer. This has been both incentive for me to explore the relationship between diet and autoimmune disorders and, at times, a source of frustration.
I started on medication at the end of August with the knowledge that I would get monthly lab tests done to see how the meds are working and make decisions about appropriate doses. My late-September results had concerned me (liver and white blood cells counts were off, which can be a side effect of the medication), so I sat down with my doctor to discuss whether I should make changes.
Being the nerd that I am, I had read some scientific journals prior to meeting with her. This sounds extreme to some, but I wanted to be familiar with the clinical applications of the medication and understand the process. This may also sound like I am a doctor’s worst nightmare, but the intention was to be prepared to have a discussion with my doctor about my treatment plan. The research was useful as it did calm me down – I found out my liver and white blood cell numbers, though off, were not a cause of concern.
My doctor’s visit was positive, and I was pleased with the treatment plan: I would stay the course with my current dose for another 4 weeks, and if the October thyroid results were the same or improved, I could half my dose – no need to call for approval.
My results came in this week and are significantly better. Liver enzymes and blood cell counts are all in range (including one that had always been ever-so-slightly out of range since the Spring), and my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is finally improving after being suppressed and non-existent for 6 months. I still have thyroid antibodies (the autoimmune aspect of the disease) higher than desired, but not a concerning amount.
All in all, I am very pleased with my lab results. And, I’m eager to see how I fare on a reduced dose. Eventually, the goal is to reduce to a very low level then come off the meds and the thyroid levels stay normal, achieving what’s called a Euthyroid state.