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Posted: 12/10/2003 6:08:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/10/2003 6:51:39 PM EDT by Johnny_Reno]
For those of you who have been keeping score, I have an issue with hyperthyroidism. After further testing, it has just been finally diagnosed as Graves disease. Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that for some reason attacks the thyroid. In my case, it has caused my thyroid to jump into overdrive. For those who are unfamiliar with the thyroid (as I was), it basically acts as the “idle” on how your body runs. Now that my thyroid is overactive, it makes my heart rate jump dramatically (116-120 bpm untreated resting heart rate) as well as affecting other parts of your body. Besides the pending heart explosion, one of the nastier side effects of untreated Graves disease is that it can cause the tissue behind your eyes to swell forcing your eyes to bulge out of your head. Fortunately, Graves disease can be treated in a couple of different ways. The options are:


a) Killing the thyroid outright by swallowing a dose of radioactive iodine. For approximately three days after the treatment, it is recommended that I stay away from children and pregnant women. I would then begin taking a daily thyroid hormone supplement which replaces what the thyroid normally produces. The daily supplement would be required for the rest of my life.

The plus side of this treatment is that I will never have to deal with this problem again...which is good, because this problem has knocked me down hard and left me without the ability to do anything even slightly physically demanding. I also wouldn’t have to worry about carrying my eyes around in my pocket because they fell out of my head.

The negative side of this treatment is that I will be on meds for this a loooong time. I would have to figure out some way for stockpiling a supply of meds for a SHTF situation. The cost of medication is not an issue as I receive my meds free of charge as a Navy retiree. Thank you Mr and Mrs Taxpayer.


b) Treat via medication. I can take a medication that might knock the thyroid back to normal. If it does, it might be a life lasting treatment. Or, it could become hyperactive again right after treatment or 4-5 years down the line again. I have read where this treatment is 20-30% effective.

The plus side is that I could possibly still have a functioning thyroid.

The negative side is that I will start working again this summer and if there is a remission, I don’t know how an employer would react to one of their employees being near physical incapacitation for 2-3 months while it is being treated.

So, here is my dilemma that I present to the fine folks of this site. Should I kill it (radioactive iodine) or keep it (treat it with medication). I pretty much have already made my decision but thought I would present it here just in case someone has an idea or complication that I haven’t thought of yet.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:15:02 PM EDT
i am no way qualified to give an opinion either way, and the usual arfcom answer of 'get both!' doesn't seem like the best idea........good luck though in whatever you decide!
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:18:12 PM EDT
In my opinion you should make this decission on your own. It's not our lives on the line. I can understand the negative feeling over taking meds everyday for the rest of you life tho. I'm a type 1 diabetic.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:19:08 PM EDT
I think I'd go the medication route first, and if I had a recurrence, then unleash some neutrons on the thing. Really not an enviable position you're in, [b]Johnny_Reno[/b], but it's positive that you're at least getting some progressive management of your condition. Best of luck, pal.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:20:20 PM EDT
That's a tough one to call. If it were me, I'd try the medication route first, and if that failed, I'd kill it. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:20:30 PM EDT
my wife was born without a thyroid, no thyroid, at all. she has been on synthroid or the generic equivalent all of her life. no biggie, she has little bitty chewable pills she takes every night before bed. do whatever blows your skirt up, but the "kill it" solution is not all that bad. the only downside to that is that she has to have her thyroid levels checked every once in a while so they can adjust her dosage accordingly (this would be my downside since i hate going to the dr.)
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:20:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Synister1: I can understand the negative feeling over taking meds everyday for the rest of you life tho.
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Actually, the idea of taking the daily meds doesn't bother me so much. I already take a daily med for hypertension, so I would just be adding one to the mix.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:21:12 PM EDT
I have no idea what you should do.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:22:13 PM EDT
Nuke it bud. Sometimes they can preserve some thyroid function but to be honest it is tough to get that just right. Haven't been following your whole story so I'm not sure what you are doing now but I would recommend that you don't wait too long to get treatment.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:32:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By drjarhead: Nuke it bud. Sometimes they can preserve some thyroid function but to be honest it is tough to get that just right. Haven't been following your whole story so I'm not sure what you are doing now but I would recommend that you don't wait too long to get treatment.
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I'm on 400 mg of Lopressor daily and 20 mg of Methimazole. The Lopressor keeps the heart rate down and the Methimazole is what is used for the medication treatment and ironically, also the start of the radioactive iodine treatment.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:35:34 PM EDT
Count yourself lucky that you have a condition that is treatable, and by more than one avenue. It could be SO much worse than that! Remember that always. I'd try an avenue of treatment before I'd try something as drastic as killing a necessary organ. If it doesn't work for you, the other option DOES remain open. Less drastic treatment first. If it works, great. That's the best way. CJ
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:38:51 PM EDT
My father-in-law had his thyroid gland removed years ago. He takes a pill every day and gets along just fine.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:44:05 PM EDT
The wife had thyroid cancer about eight years ago. She takes synthroid. No big whoop. You decide what would work best for you.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 6:49:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson: Count yourself lucky that you have a condition that is treatable, and by more than one avenue. It could be SO much worse than that! Remember that always.
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I'm extremely lucky. If it was 1903, I'd probably be dead.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 7:03:41 PM EDT
Don't do anything and let your eyes pop out then post some pics on ARFCOM!.........j/k[;)] Not really sure what I would do but I tend to side with taking the meds first to see if it goes away. I would really hate to have to take pills the rest of my life and if there is no down side to trying that first (other than the job issue) it makes sense to me to give it a shot. Good luck with whatever you decide![:d]
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 7:09:37 PM EDT
Personally, I'd go with treatment first to see if it would work. If it didn't then you could go the more drastic route of killin' it off and taking meds once a day for life. You have a 30% chance of the meds working and things getting back to normal for life or at least for 4-5 years. I'd take the shot at a "normal" life first then if it doesn't work out get radical with it and that will be that. If you just start with the "kill it" deal you'll never know if it would have worked or not.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 7:14:45 PM EDT
My vote is keep your options open for now. Try the meds and if they don't work, go for option A.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 7:31:00 PM EDT
{disclaimer} I am not a medical doctor. {disclaimer} Have a relative with Graves, getting dressed was exhausting for her. The lack of energy and stamina from someone that was constantly active for years was shocking. She tried the meds and atkins diet and it works for her. after six months the meds are down from daily to every two days. she lost her job due to the economy last year and I convinced her to take the unemployment and recoup, after 4 months she went back to work. Prior to the diagnosis she would drag into work and go to bed when she got home. she has mostly good days, some days it's bedtime at 7pm, but I also have relatives on synthroid and they also have good/bad days. A cold or minor bug will hit them both hard. The radiation would be a second option.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 7:57:02 PM EDT
Find a teaching hospital affiliated with a University (UCLA, etc). Get a 2nd opinion and a 3rd, from specialists in the field. God bless, Gwen in L.A.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 8:06:11 PM EDT
Taking medication on a daily basis is no big deal as long as there arn't any big side effects. I would kill it for sure if the doctors told me that the medication would work almost as well as a good thyroid. Going through long periods of time terribly sick (I have been through it) sucks big time. I would think if you keep it you will have to still use medication regularly and I'll bet even if the medication to keep the puppy works you will go up and down at times. Kill It.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 8:07:47 PM EDT
I'm Hypothyroid, found out when I was 12. Have been on synthroid ever since and will be for the rest of m life. Now I have to get it removed because it is causing other problems. Now about your problem. Being hypothyroid I am overcome with extreme tiredness. It never goes away. Feeling lethargic most of the time leads to mild depression. I know two people who were in your situation and chose irradiation. They had know Idea. Even after a good nights sleep they would wake up and feel like they haven't slept at all. Its probably hard to get used to, Its all I know. I'm not saying this is going to happen to you, I dont' really know and I'm not a doctor. But it makes sense, you will be in the same situation I am in. Personally I think even if you do have these symptoms after irradiation you should be able to deal with them. The benefits of killing the gland outweigh the consequences in my opinion.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 8:38:46 PM EDT
I had cancer of the thyroid. Had it taken out in 77. I've been on medication (synthroid) since then. Without the meds, I would die. The only thing that concerns me is having to depend on the meds. It makes me feel dependant, and it makes me angry that I have to continually go to the doctor to have my levels checked before he'll write me a refill. On the other hand, I've never experienced any problem due to the meds. It's your decision, but having lived without a thyroid gland for 26 years, if I was in your position, I'd try to treat it and hope for a permanent fix. But if that fix 20% to 30% success rate didn't work, I'd have it killed.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 8:51:38 PM EDT
Another vote for treatment first, killing second. You can always kill it. Try to get it treated first. What do you lose? If it'll get back to normal great and if not send some radiation it's way... I'm no MD but personally I don't like eternal solutions. At least not as the first option. Best of luck. I hope that whatever way you choose will be sucessfull. LRdrvr
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 9:26:25 PM EDT
IMO, "killing it" should be an absolute last resort. Have you seen conclusive lab evidence that you have Graves disease, or does your doctor just suspect Graves disease because your Thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone? If you truly have Graves disease, then your Thyroid is functioning properly, but it's being overstimulated by antibodies produced from your immune system. So, your Thyroid is not the source of your problems and I can't see how destroying it is the best solution. Assuming you really do have Graves disease, the first approach I'd take would be finding out what substance my immune system is responding to. A simple change in your diet may be all that is required to calm your immune system and therefore, your Thyroid. The endocrine system is extremely delicate. Destroying something as important as your Thyroid and trying to manually regulate Thyroid Hormone is a solution I would only choose after I had exhausted ALL of the other options. And DO NOT depend on your doctor to inform you of all of the other options. Start reading, my friend. Here's a good starting point: The Hormone Solution : Stay Younger Longer with Natural Hormone and Nutrition Therapies By: Dr. Thierry Hertoghe It's a good overview of the endocrine system. After that, I'd look for more detailed information on your condition. I'm pretty sure you could cure your problems without a pill, or radiation. But it will take some research and experimentation on your part. Good Luck!
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 9:46:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sr15: ...Have you seen conclusive lab evidence that you have Graves disease, or does your doctor just suspect Graves disease because your Thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone? If you truly have Graves disease, then your Thyroid is functioning properly, but it's being overstimulated by antibodies produced from your immune system. So, your Thyroid is not the source of your problems and I can't see how destroying it is the best solution.
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Yes, I was first suspected of having a hyperactive thyroid after a visit to the ER. I was then sent for further bloodwork and a radioactive iodine thyroid scan. The Graves disease was diagnosed by an endocrinologist.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 9:50:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:
Originally Posted By sr15: ...Have you seen conclusive lab evidence that you have Graves disease, or does your doctor just suspect Graves disease because your Thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone? If you truly have Graves disease, then your Thyroid is functioning properly, but it's being overstimulated by antibodies produced from your immune system. So, your Thyroid is not the source of your problems and I can't see how destroying it is the best solution.
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Yes, I was first suspected of having a hyperactive thyroid after a visit to the ER. I was then sent for further bloodwork and a radioactive iodine thyroid scan. The Graves disease was diagnosed by an endocrinologist.
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Ok. Do you know what substance(s) your immune system is responding to?
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 10:05:18 PM EDT
Sounds like you have two more or less equally viable alternatives. I’d be inclined to take the less radical approach first, namely trying to save the thyroid. However, becoming dependant on drugs for the rest of your life is common for lots of older folks nowadays and is really no biggie. Also, as I get older I become less worried about surviving imaginary SHTF situations, and more worried about just living a better life here and now. None of us are going to be around forever anyway. Good luck!
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 10:05:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sr15: Ok. Do you know what substance(s) your immune system is responding to?
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No. I'm not sure I understand that it is being caused by a substance. My understanding is that it is a genetic disease. My grandmother had thyroid issues as well. Would they both then be related to the same substance? Why does it occur in females more often than males? Why does it take until generally the same age timeframe before it becomes recognizable? Finally, you seem to know something about this - what is your expertise?
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 10:37:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:
Originally Posted By sr15: Ok. Do you know what substance(s) your immune system is responding to?
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No. I'm not sure I understand that it is being caused by a substance. My understanding is that it is a genetic disease. My grandmother had thyroid issues as well. Would they both then be related to the same substance? Why does it occur in females more often than males? Why does it take until generally the same age timeframe before it becomes recognizable? Finally, you seem to know something about this - what is your expertise?
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Well, I guess I should have added this disclaimer at the beginning of all this. I'm not a doctor and this really isn't my area of expertise. I'm about to complete my PhD in Electrical Engineering, that's my area of expertise. But about 10 years ago, I started lifting weights and exercising regularly. In the past couple of years, I've become fascinated with the endocrine system and have read quit a bit about hormones and nutrition. I'm mostly interested in how diet effects hormones and how hormone manipulation can be used advantageously for general health and well being and body building. I've pretty much spilled all of my knowledge relating to your situation, which is why I pointed you to a book and suggested you start doing some research on your own. So, with that said, from what I understand about Graves disease, the Thyroid does in fact produce too much TH. But it's not because the Thyroid is malfunctioning, it's because it's responding to antibodies, as it should. These antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to some substance that it doesn't like. So, if you could identify that substance and rid your body of it, you would in turn eliminate the antibodies that stimulate TH production. At least that's the way I understand it. There's plenty of information out there. When I get back to work tomorrow, I'll try to dig up some journal articles or something a little more detailed.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 10:47:54 PM EDT
As fucked up as this will sound, and I'm not making light of your problem, I like the idea of killing something iside you. like an alien or parasite, plus it sounds cool. Example, "I had a bad thyroid gland and instead of dealing with the BS, I killed the fucker outright with a dose of radioactive Iodine." Seriously, I'd try the meds first.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 10:50:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sr15: ...So, with that said, from what I understand about Graves disease, the Thyroid does in fact produce too much TH. But it's not because the Thyroid is malfunctioning, it's because it's responding to antibodies, as it should.
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This part is understood, it's almost exactly as the endocrinologist explained.
These antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to some substance that it doesn't like.
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I'd be interested in seeing some evidence of this.
So, if you could identify that substance and rid your body of it, you would in turn eliminate the antibodies that stimulate TH production. At least that's the way I understand it.
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That part doesn't make sense to me. If it was simply a substance, why would it affect women at a great ratio than men? Why would it affect most people of a certain age group? I've researched the National Graves Disease Foundation website and it mentions nothing of that.
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 11:01:20 PM EDT
My friend had had "kill it" done but he[b] does get mood swings[/b] and has to have the dosage adjusted. [:)] [devil]
Link Posted: 12/10/2003 11:11:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno: I'd be interested in seeing some evidence of this. ... That part doesn't make sense to me. If it was simply a substance, why would it affect women at a great ratio than men? Why would it affect most people of a certain age group? I've researched the National Graves Disease Foundation website and it mentions nothing of that.
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I'll see what I can dig up when I get to work tomorrow.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:19:29 AM EDT
I'm not a doctor (I only play one on TV)[B)] For myself, I would try the meds first, and if I had a relapse, I'd kill it. Either way, Good luck J_R.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:34:08 AM EDT
My wife suffers from this malady. She finally found that Armour worked for her problem. Synthroid did not. It took a long time to get her back to normal. Good luck with your condition
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 4:41:05 AM EDT
Stay safe and keep it.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 5:14:27 AM EDT
Please get well soon. My thoughts are with you.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 5:58:01 AM EDT
I would investigate sr15's line of thinking. If there's nothing to it, kill the thyroid.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 6:02:09 AM EDT
Kill it, go on Thyroxine/Synthroid.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 6:48:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/11/2003 6:54:03 AM EDT by cmjohnson]
[img]http://www.humorlinks.com/humornet/cards/feldman.jpg[/img] [img]http://www.cmgww.com/stars/feldman/images/photo_1.jpg[/img] I felt a little humor was needed. CJ
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 7:05:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/11/2003 7:05:36 AM EDT by 223-Buckaroo]
I'd keep it and try the meds first. If that doesn't work, then "take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." [img]http://www.clangom.com/xmbForum/images/smilies/Overkill.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 7:36:03 AM EDT
My father has Grave's Disease(I think GHW Bush does a well) and has had it for the past 18 years. He chose not to remove or irradiate the thyroid and has been on medication this whole time with very few problems. The only real problem he has is weight control, the meds keep his weight higher than he would like. Other than the weight issue he has been healthy and active on meds alone. I would definitely try that method first. I have to admit to some trepidation about Grave's Disease because my father and uncle both have it. I have my thyroid chemistry done whenever I have a physical and I worry a little about it. Good luck and God Bless, 96Ag
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 8:08:16 AM EDT
try meds and prayer first, then if you have to go ahead and nuke it, it would be a hard choice for me also, good luck
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 9:54:19 AM EDT
Ok, here are a few articles I found while waiting on some computer simulations to run. [url]http://www.naturalhealth.org/articles/comparingconventional.htm[/url] [url]http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/4614/31674[/url] [url]http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/graves_disease/84000[/url] All of these articles pretty much agree with my way of thinking. Something caused an immune system response from your body. I have a hard time believing that it was your thyroid, even though that is what is under attack. Your thyroid has been with you for your entire life, so why is it under attack now? I think it's because something else in your body changed. Not because of some genetic anomaly that couldn't be avoided. The bottom line, to me anyway, is that Graves disease is an immune disorder, not a thyroid disorder. If I were you, I would concentrate on determining why my immune system is producing antibodies that are attacking my thyroid. Again, it's just my opinion, but I strongly believe that something other than your thyroid is causing your immune system response. By the way, here's the biography of the author of two of the articles above. Her book may be worth reading. I'm a medical technologist, MT (ASCP) with nearly 30 years experience working in hospital laboratories, primarily in toxicology and immunohematology. I'm also a freelance writer and Graves' disease patient. My book, "Living with Graves' Disease, Allopathic and Alternative Suggestions for Healing,"is being published by McFarland and Company, Incorporated and will be out in early 2001. For my own Graves' disease, I rushed into treatment despite having mild symptoms. This I regret, and my goal is to educate and empower Graves' disease patients. Patients need to learn about the natural course of autoimmune disease, the environmental triggers that exacerbate their condition, and they need to understand the pros and cons of all treatment options, both conventional and alternative. Gook Luck and I hope you get this problem solved soon.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 9:57:38 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno: as I receive my meds free of charge as a Navy retiree. Thank you Mr and Mrs Taxpayer.
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No. Thank YOU. At any rate I say Kill it. I only say that because that is what I would do. Totally your call.
Link Posted: 12/11/2003 10:01:03 AM EDT
Sounds like it will mean meds either way, I would go with the "known" results.
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