Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is lithium destroying my thyroid?

I had thought that my chronic exhaustion and habitual crankiness were the inevitable result of my horrendous commute. I get up at 5:20 am and leave the house at 5:45, taking two subways and a bus to get to the clinic. I've been too tired to do much after work, even on weekends. I tend to watch a lot of TV and sleep. But Dr. R wanted to check that all my organs and glands were functioning, so I went to Dr. Cool and had some blood drawn.

I didn't think there would be any problems. My liver and kidneys survived my overdose in 2000 -- bounced back 100%. I asked Dr. Cool to check my folate and Vitamin D levels, too, since deficiencies in those can lead to mood disruptions.

I never expected my thyroid to be the laggard. But Dr. Cool says that the results were "borderline low." Potentially meaning hypothyroidism. According to NIH, symptoms include:
  1. Being more sensitive to cold
  2. Constipation
  3. Depression
  4. Fatigue or feeling slowed down
  5. Heavier menstrual periods
  6. Joint or muscle pain
  7. Paleness or dry skin
  8. Thin, brittle hair or fingernails
  9. Weakness
  10. Weight gain (unintentional)
1. Well, I definitely don't have this symptom, because I'm always hot. My temperature is usually about 97.2. (Probably a result of the lithium.)

2. Very rarely; I eat tons of fruit and vegetables. More fruit.

3. I always thought my depression was its own disorder, especially since I had it while my thyroid was still functioning normally.

4. See "commute," above.

5. Hard to say. I don't chart the volume.

6. Joint or muscle pain? Really only in my knees.

7. Paleness, yes, because I use sunscreen, but I'm not sallow or ashen.

8. Anyone who's seen my hair would laugh at this. My college roommate's mother once told me, "You have more hair than normal people." I've been noticing some thinning at my hairline, which my sister once told me was a sign of thyroid dysfunction. But I wasn't sure it was significant, and I was more peeved that the hair stylist I went to dyed my hair BLACK after I asked for dark brown.

9. Just thought I was tired after the commute. My job doesn't involve physical labor, so my strength isn't often tested.

10. I can't blame my weight gain on the thyroid. I eat too much junk, even with all the fruit, vegetables, and other healthy food I try to consume.

Lithium is one of the drugs listed as causing hypothyroidism. The thought of going off it terrifies me, because I've tried all other mood stabilizers and none of them worked. But my thyroid was never a problem -- until I was transferred to this clinic. I wonder if stress compromises thyroid functioning.

Fortunately, Dr. Cool is writing me a get-out-of-clinic-free letter. After I've put in one year, I'm going to try to transfer to another department in the hospital system. I will also start looking for other jobs.

In other news, some friends tried to set me up with a Turkish guy in Israel. I'm going to call him OY, because those are his initials, and that is what I thought when I saw his emails to me:

hi erev tov i am jewish 40 single live istanbul 2008 09 live in israel 2009 sept back istanbul cause my uncle was cancer 2010 he passed way i want build jewish family we can able know each other or you can able help to find jewish woman efsar ledaber msn skype we can able to talk msn or skype erev tov me istanbul בקבוצה שלנו ישנו בחור יהודי בשם Oy Vey Turki בן 40, גר בטורקיה ומאוד רוצה להכיר בחורה יהודיה למטרות רציניות בלבד הוא היה גר תקופה בישראל הוא מדבר עברית ואנגלית וישמח מאוד אם מישהי תרצה להכיר אותו, הוא מוכן לגור בארץ ולהקים משפחה יהודית כאן בארץ...מי מוכנה לנסות

i am jewish from istanbul turkey 
40 male single 
also i am israeli too 
lived 2008 09 in kfar saba telaviv area 
i want marriage with jewish woman of course age not important 
i use skype oyveyturki  email oyveyturki@aol.com

I realize that English is not his first, second, or third language, but this just scared me.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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