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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Do I have to take Synthroid?

The thyroid story: When I was 19, I woke up one morning with a lump as big as a golf ball on my neck. It hadn't been there the night before - I know, because I'd worn a tight choker-style necklace and it fit just fine, but wouldn't meet around my neck the next morning. Boom, lump overnight. I'd actually never been to a doctor except for stitches at this point, but I took this seriously and had a fine needle aspiration and radioactive uptake scan. I was home from college for the summer and returned to school before I got the results, and because of an error by the receptionist (she pulled the wrong file when I called to get the results: this was before the days of HIPAA and you could still get results over the phone!) I thought I had a benign goiter that would go away with some iodine.
Well, a few months later I ended up in surgery, having a 55 mm encapsulated tumor removed, along with most of my thyroid. I recovered well, and took levothyroxine for about a year. One day I read about thyroid regeneration in the young and decided to quit taking my levothyroxine. I did, and my next blood test results were in the normal range, although my TSH was significantly higher than the last test. Nonetheless, I stayed off levothyroxine for years.
Look at that brachydactyl thumb!
I thought so. Unfortunately it looks like I'm back on the stuff. I returned to my doctor a few weeks ago after my hubby urged me to because he was sick of cleaning up hair balls all over the floor. My steady hair loss plus dermatological changes made me think my thyroid was hypoactive, and after I got my blood work back I found out that it is. Am I disappointed? Well, yes. I don't like taking medications at all. I'm bad at it: I forget, I eat right afterwards, and I forget to get my refills. Of course I'd rather not need to take anything because I'd rather be naturally healthy! But I'm going to take it. Hopefully it will combat the symptoms mentioned above, along with the I-don't-want-to-get-up lethargy.
How about you - have you ever had to take medication but you didn't want to?
Are you good about taking a daily dose? As a pharmacist, I should be, but I'm not. I need to hear your view to give me better insight to my patients!


  1. That sucks about your thyroid.

    I am horrible at taking medicine. I'd be better off with a patch.

  2. I soooo feel for you.
    My sister has thyroid issues & I know how bad it sucks.

    I'm not a big lover of meds. I hate antibiotics with a passion.

  3. I take mine at night right before bed. Somehow that makes it easier to remember, I am horrible about remembering things in the am.

  4. I avoided allergy meds for 25 yrs because I didn't want to take a daily pill... I went on them last yr because I thought it might help with my skin issues (that I've had my whole life also but flared up in 2008 and continue to get worse.. It sucks). So, I know what you mean. Sucks that you had to go back on :-/

    I think it's cool that youre a pharm who DOESN'T think pills are the answer. I mean yes, sometimes they are, but it seems like the medical professionals just push pills. It's cool that you are open to non-pill/natural solutions if possible. I wish my pharm would offer alternatives/chat with customers. They don't seem sincere about "any questions for the pharm", if they even offer the question.

  5. I wish I had something helpful to add, but the only pills I have taken are pain pills, and you usually don't forget to take those! Oh, and birth control, which I was REALLY bad at! So, no I am not good at remembering. Or bringing them with me.

    Is there anything natural you could take? Not that that would solve the forgetting to take them problem, but at least it would be better for you.

    Good luck!