For those who’ve been paying attention it’s about 15 months since I first staggered into the doctor’s surgery, barely able to drag one foot in front of the other, to hear the results of my blood test. ‘How are you feeling?’ he asked.
‘Very tired,’ I whispered.
‘I’m not surprised.’ He went on to show me my results and explain very thoroughly what happens with an underactive thyroid and how they remedy its effects. I left the surgery clutching a prescription for 3 months’ worth of 50mg thyroxine tablets and began taking them immediately.
In retrospect it was no surprise: my father had an underactive thyroid and I have memories of him being lethargic and gaining weight because he wasn’t taking enough of the good stuff. And even though things have moved on since then, it still seems to be hard to get the dose right. I was on 50 mg for about six months, after which tests showed that I needed more. The doc gave me a choice of ‘blitzing it’ or taking it up gradually; by that point I was so fed up with fatigue that I said ‘blitz please’ and started on 100 mg. All was great for a while; however my most recent blood test showed that was too much, so I’m back down to 75. All was well until a week or so ago, when I started once more to get tired; and when I couldn’t stay awake for several days on the trot, rather than go back to the doc just before Xmas, I took a unilateral decision and tried a 100mg tablet. This seems to have worked – for now, at least.
I realise this type of self-medication is frowned upon, and ordinarily I would have gone back to the doc, but my chances of getting an appointment on the last opening day before Christmas are slim, to say the least. So I shall get through Christmas by mixing and matching, and then afterwards I shall go back to the doc; before which I shall have to spend some time on the lower dose which presumably means I shall be exhausted again.
I never would have believed it could take so long to get this right. Someone told me months ago that it ‘should have’ settled down by now: well mate, I don’t know about ‘should have’ – all I know is that it ain’t. And I’m getting sick of it.
I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without the tablets, though. I’d probably never get out of bed…