Thursday, March 15, 2007

the great experiment

It's always interesting when the subject is yourself. The current experiment involves dropping the Cytomel (T3) from my drug regimen and seeing how I do on a straight T4 (Levoxyl) regimen. I have been on a combined T4/T3 dosage since 2002, because I believed that the T3 would help with all my auto-immune issues (Hashimoto's thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc).

To date, my RA has been remarkably mild and stable, for the most part. I have been flaring for the past 3 or 4 weeks, but I've also been under a lot of extra stress and I have also, sadly, fallen out of the habit of doing my daily exercises. The exercises make a huge difference, as does getting enough sleep. So even though I'm feeling rather crummy these days, RA-wise, I'm tending to blame it on lack of exercise and lack of sleep, rather than the disease advancing or anything like that.

So, after all these years on the T4/T3 combination, why am I doing this now? Well, the T3 costs me more than $800/year. If I can safely drop it, and still feel well, that's $800 (actually closer to $900) I don't have to spend on T3. I honestly don't know whether or not it's helping, and I won't know until I'm off for a while -- hence, the experiment. As a long-time champion of the combined T4/T3 regimen, I have a sense that I should feel guilty about going off the T3 -- but I don't. If I don't need it, why take it?

Today is day 2 off the T3. I'll go for bloodwork in about 6 weeks to see how all my thyroid hormone levels are doing; my T4 may need a little tweaking to make up for the absence of T3. That's OK -- I can get a year's supply of T4 for $60, including shipping charges.

Note that I'm doing this under my new endocrinologist's supervision -- it's a very bad idea for thyca patients to tinker with their meds without talking to their doctors, first. Happily, my last ultrasound came back unremarkable, and my Tg was OK, too. We'll gear up for another round of Thyrogen and a nuclear scan in August, just to keep an eye on things -- and if that one's clear, I'm hoping we can scale the testing back to every 2 or 3 years with periodic bloodwork monitoring.

It's quite a relief to have this feeling that I'm over the active phase of my cancer. Even if it's not true (the doubt still creeps in occasionally), it's still nice to feel like it's OK to get on with life and not worry so much all the time.

No comments: