I’ve just been told I have hypothyroidism.  It’s nothing like what I imagined.  Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve always thought low thyroid was a trivial thing that gave people something to complain about.

To complicate matters, I’m also a cancer patient.  I blamed my cancer for my current severe fatigue. What drove me to schedule an appointment with my hematologist was some serious fatigue.  I believed I was feeling tired at the cellular level.  I could hardly move!

My oncologist asked if simple things like brushing my hair was causing muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue! That’s what it’s called! Yes, I replied. I described how even chewing wore my jaw muscles out.  After typing a few minutes on my keyboard, my fingers can hardly move anymore. Talking is a chore.

He didn’t believe that my cancer was responsible for my latest misery, and though it could be hypothyroidism, or a condition in which the thyroid stops producing enough (or any) of the hormones that help to regulate many important functions.  He ordered a simple test called TSH.  The normal range for this test at the lab used by my doctor is .3 – 3.0 0.60 – 3.30 u[iU]/mL, and my value was 98. “Pretty impressive,” he remarked.

I was relieved that, while it is slowly progressing, my cancer was not responsible for my fatigue. Hypothyroidism is something that is treatable. I’ve already begun taking a daily pill called levothyroxine. Do I feel better yet?  I’m hoping it’s not just the power of suggestion, but I believe that I do. The doctor told me to expect to feel better in a few weeks. In a few months, I’ll have a blood test to measure its effects.

If you think you’ve been more tired than usual, ask your doctor about testing your thyroid function.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism