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Thyroid Levels/Blood Counts

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1098
Joined: Jan 2013

It was suggested I have my TSH levels checked. I logged onto my page at Johns Hopkins (why I didn't do it sooner....?) and found that my levels as of 6-7-13 were:

TSH       0.50-4.50 mcIU/mL       0.19

I also saw my red and white blood counts and hemoglobin were low as well.

RBC       4.50-5.90 M/cu mm       3.20
WBC      4.50-11.00 K/cu mm      3.14
Hemoglobin   13.9-16.3 g/dL       9.6

I've had a general lack of energy (fatigue), especially in the mornings and a feeling of cold even in the heat of the day. I have to wear a lined flannel shirt and sleep under extra blankets at night when Marcia is sweating. 

I have blood work scheduled for August 9th and see my MO the about an hour afterwards. I'll address this as well as the pain med issues then as well as with my RO on August 6th.

From your experience, would this account for the side effects I'm describing? 

"T"

robswife87's picture
robswife87
Posts: 175
Joined: Mar 2013

Your TSH shows Hyperthyroid. you would be sweating and have and intolerance to heat. So I don't think this is the reason you are cold.

We were told by the ENT they will not check Rob's thyroid 6 months past treatment as right now was too soon to tell if it was damaged.

Rob is also cold all the time. Not sure if it is just the general weight loss you suffered or just still recovery

Sandy

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3601
Joined: Mar 2012

and I think the reading is 5.something....hypothyroid....

Being tired and cold is so much a part of this disease and the after effects of treatment.  All the weight loss contributes, too.  RBC's and hemoglobin being low has a lot to do with being tired....fatigued....and probably cold, too. 

I'm still sleeping with extra blankets....and wear a sweater in the house all the time....

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 637
Joined: May 2013

Thank you!  No one has told me about these type of things that are part of the glorious gift of rads.  I am cold all the time!!  I'm wearing jeans to summer camp and taking a light jacket for being in the air conditioned office.  I usually wear shorts and a tank top and am sweating like crazy. I sleep with a fleece throw.  In July.  In the south!

 

Glad to know that it's not just me.  I also find myself sneaking in a nap when I can :)

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1098
Joined: Jan 2013

Well I'm definitely NOT hyper, that's for sure! ~lol~ Fatigue is still an issue from treatment. I've never been a morning person but now I'm worse! Marcia is the type that can open her eyes and go into detailed conversation while I basically grunt for a couple hours or until the coffee kicks in. 

The cold thing is different for me as I've always been a heater. I guess losing all that weight, fat and muscle has a lot to do with it along with low blood counts. She always cuddled up next to me during the cold weather and now I'm the one cuddling up for warmth. My feet are especially cold. I have some neuropathy in my toes and circulation issues from cardio vascular disease as well. My MO said the gout issue I have is due to the chemo and low blood counts. 

"T"

peggylulu's picture
peggylulu
Posts: 367
Joined: Dec 2012

and always being cold ! I live in South Texas and I've been sleeping with a blanket all Summer , and that's sure NEVER happened before ! Lol I've just been thinking it was due to losing almost 90 ponnds in a very sort period of time . Guess it's just our new "normal".

Peggy

 

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1232
Joined: Aug 2009

and I'm 4 yrs out. My thyroid is damaged as well and I take synthroid as you will most probably be prescribed. I still feel cold and lack energy at times although it is better since I started increasing the dose. (Been using the dogs synthroid as she takes a slightly larger dose than me) and a little more helps with the energy and heat/cold issues. It's a chore trying to find the right dosage with many blood tests in between. You and your doctor, and perhaps a vetenarian will figure it all out down the road. Part of the new normal. 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3601
Joined: Mar 2012

if it's cheaper for me to go the Vet?? Laughing 

p

Ladylacy
Posts: 457
Joined: Apr 2012

Another test you need is your iron level checked.  My husband was always very tired even after being put on thyroid medication.  They finally thought to check his iron levels which was very low, after his first round of treatment and surgery.  So they put him on liquid iron.  Has helped some.  His thyroid level after his second round of radiation and chemo went from hypo to hyper and they had to adjust his thyroid medication.  He is now, hypo again.  As far as cold, no he who is very skinny and is always hot now. 

Sharon

ellamenno's picture
ellamenno
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2010

Fishmanpa, if the number on the right are your actual TSH levels then you are Hypo-thyroid. Here are the symptoms of under-active thyroid.

 

Below are major symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight (despite reduced food intake)
  • Coarse, dry hair and dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido
  • Slowed speech (severe cases)
  • Jaundice (severe cases)
  • Increase in tongue size (severe cases)

You don't have to encounter every one of these symptoms to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Every patient's experience with the disorder is different. While you may notice that your skin and hair have become dry and rough, another patient may be plagued more by fatigue and depression.

The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level reflects the severity of the hypothyroidism. For example, if you have a mild form of hypothyroidism and a relatively lower TSH level, you may not notice—or even have—symptoms. That's because your hormone levels haven't decreased to the point where they have a major impact on your metabolism. The more hypothyroid you become, the more symptomatic you'll be.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism aren't always noticeable, but it's important that you understand what to look out for. Recognizing hypothyroidism early on will allow you to manage the disorder and prevent it from interfering with your life.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8053
Joined: Sep 2009

Actually I believe Leslie, your statements/thoughts are backwards...

Like mentioned above, below normal TSH levels, are due to a hyper (overactive) thyroid.... Hypo (under active) thyroid numbers like most of us that have had radiation are due to an under (not working) thyroid, above normal TSH numbers.

But that is just one indication of function... To get a better understanding, they also take your Free T-4 blood levels..

My TSH levels have ranged from 5.4 - 12.2 over the last four plus years, post rads.. But my Free T-4 has always remained in normal ranges, so to this point, not displaying any under active thyroid symptoms, I am not on any meds.

 

  • Check the measure of TSH hormone on your lab test results. If this number is less than 0.3, then you may suffer from hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. If it is higher than 3.3, then you may suffer from hypothyroidism, or a sluggish thyroid, although some doctors consider anything lower than 5.5 to be in the normal range. A high or low TSH number in itself may not be a conclusive indicator of thyroid concerns because the pituitary gland secretes this hormone in response to its measurement of thyroid function. Abnormal TSH levels may offer a clue to your pituitary health.

  • Check the T4 level on your thyroid lab test results. This number reflects the amount of thyroxine in your blood, which is a combination of the natural hormone that your thyroid produces and any synthetic hormones that you may be taking to supplement low natural levels. High levels of T4 can indicate hyperthyroidism, especially in conjunction with low TSH levels, and low levels of T4 can indicate hypothyroidism, especially in conjunction with high TSH levels.

JG

ellamenno's picture
ellamenno
Posts: 139
Joined: Aug 2010

You're right! I did get it backwards and I have hypothyroidism due to cancer treatment! I guess I should learn how to read my test results. My face is red Embarassed

 

Laurie

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8053
Joined: Sep 2009

Laurie,

No need to be blushing, LOL... It's just been something that has been monitored on my blood counts for a few years now...

Though I never knew or asked what they consider as high, LOL... Looking at Pat's post below, mine are not even close to that high.

LOL, I should be red faced also..., LOL. Just realized this morning I called you Leslie, I could have swore that's what I saw when replying.... Sorry.....

JG

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3601
Joined: Mar 2012

The higher reading is HYPOthyroid....if it is below .5 it is considered HYPERthyroid... Mine is 5."something", I can't remember.....so they consider me hypo, in need of Sinthroid.

p

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8053
Joined: Sep 2009

LOL, I couldn't have said it better.....

JG

Duggie88's picture
Duggie88
Posts: 519
Joined: Feb 2010

I was cold all the time and still am for the most part. My air conditioning is no longer below 70 whereas before cncer my wife had to sleep with her side of the electric blanket on because I had it set so low. I can say it will get better until you reach (you guessed it) your new abi-normal.

It took them a year to realize my  thyroid was fried so I am on synthroid for life. So life it is and I ain't complaining.

Good luck with the follow up and ..................heal on.

      Jeff

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1755
Joined: Mar 2010

The TSH is actually normal, and of no concern whatsoever.  The way this lab works is that they take 100 normals and plot their TSH along a bell shaped curve.  The lower limit is the 85% confidence level of normal, so yours is actually not that unusual.  What you were looking for was a high TSH anyway.  My thyroid failed before treatment was even firenished.  My TSH was 155.

OTOH, you are significantly anemic. This is the cause of all your symptoms.  It is not likely due to iron deficiency, as you really have no reason to be iron deficient.  You will need some more lab to sort this out, like Total serum iron  and IBC, retic count, ferritin levels, evaluation of peripheral smear (if not already done).  This will sort out pretty easily, but it is a great reason to ffeel punk at the moment.

 

Pat

Tim6003's picture
Tim6003
Posts: 1490
Joined: Nov 2011

I was going to say I have no idea bc I am not having any problems at the moment...but after Pat's post I can really say I have no idea!! LOL  :)

T, whispered a prayer it all get resolved. Pat....glad you are still here posting good stuff.

 

Tim

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1098
Joined: Jan 2013

Pat,

That jogged my memory a bit.... see... even my chemo brain works sometimes!

When I discussed my rad treatment with my RO and team, we talked about saving my voice. I recall seeing a map of the rads on his computer screen and they contoured the beam to spare my larynx and voice (still working on that). Since the thyroid gland is right there, perhaps it's been spared as well. It would make sense that it's within normal limits and what I'm feeling is a natural response to treatment and low blood counts along with a heck of a lot of weight loss. The neuropathy in my feet along with circulation issues would account for colder than normal piggies. 

"T"

yensid683
Posts: 222
Joined: Apr 2012

My thyroid levels have previously tested in the normal range, but I too am much more sensitive to the cold than I used to be.  I'm getting enough calories and maintaining my weight, and on an exercise program that sees me walking 4 miles a day but am still sensitive.

I have a friend and co-worker who was treated for prostate cancer with rads a couple of years ago and he too noted the sensitivity to cold.  Perhaps it is not just a thyroid issue, but an obnoxious continuing gift from rads. 

On the one hand, my AC bills aren't what they were last year, on the other I too sleep with blankets at night and the room is 78 degrees.  I used to sleep on top of the sheets and blanket while my wife snuggled in.  Now that she's experiencing the occasional hot flash and me being 13 months post rads, we've reversed our roles.  I'm all tucked in and she's on top of the blankets. 

Still the MO wants to do levels before my visit in two weeks, so we shall see.

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 837
Joined: Aug 2012

T,

Kreg's TSH a month after tx was .96 and 3 months after tx he was 1.16. It won't be checked again until later this month (6months). They told him this will take awhile to get into normal ranges just as the other blood work. He also suffered from the cold chills for the months of tx and few months out. Now at 6 months out, it seems to be more normal.

From January(a month after tx ended) to last month his WBC dropped from 5.3 to 3.1. This test was ran by his MD during some routine blood work he has done for his heart. His MD told him that he may have a slight infection or virus and they'd check it again in a month. Well a month later it is 4.3. It's not quite as high as it was in January, but he had just ended tx and I'm sure they gave him something to keep that WBC up (during tx). His RBC has remained 4.2 or very close to that.

I'm sure you are going to expect some flexuating or low counts for awhile. We are seeing improvements as the months go on.

~C

robswife87's picture
robswife87
Posts: 175
Joined: Mar 2013

although I am not the one with the cancer. 

I have been HYPO for years. And my meds have been upped then lowered, etc, etc. 

I know it is off the charts again. The wad of hair i lost in the shower scared the heck out me. My ponytail is thinning, gaining weight, can't get it off even if I starve myself, skin is dry and itchy. 

I wish they would just take the damn thing out and get the right meds and I would be thrilled. 

The ups and downs of thyroid problems can be very distressing. Thank GOD for science or I would be screwed. At one point 2 years ago my TSH went from normal to over 24 in less than 6 months.

 

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1098
Joined: Jan 2013

My kid's Mom (1st ex) is hypo as well. She's been on synthroid since childhood. I remember her docs taking her off all meds so they could check her thyroid function (she actually has none!). She was miserable and so was I when that was going on. Sorry you have to deal with that. 

"T"

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