Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Some Very Good News for Christmas

Friday was Chris's second post-radiation follow up. Last Tuesday he'd gone through the thyroid bed ultrasound and a full panel of blood tests. Earlier he'd gone through a radioactive scan to see where the radioactive iodine had picked up.

According to his endocrinologist Chris does not have any distant masses anywhere in his body, or any masses on the thyroid bed. He's been declared either cancer free, or close enough that more radiation can be put off. The tests will be run again in June. But nuking it from orbit seems to have stopped the progression of the cancer in its tracks and may have killed all but the tiniest little speckles off completely.

He's also extremely hypothyroid (which is an odd term for someone without a thyroid) and his adrenals and pituitary are still fairly messed up. Oddly enough this is a good sign, as that means there's not enough thyroid cells left to make enough hormone to even semi- keep up with him. The doc thinks the hypothyroid might be responsible for the messed up adrenals and pituitary so our highest priority is getting the thyroid hormone levels under control.

He'd been on 400 mcg of levothyroxine which should have been the absolute max for his body size but his TSH is at 6.06, well outside of the normal functioning range (anything over 5 is considered hypothyroid) and considerably too far over the goal of under 2 (in order to suppress any remaining cancer from multiplying). The doc has upped him to 600mcg, a quantity so high that insurance won't even cover it and the pharmacist checked with me to make sure there wasn't an extra 0. Thank God it's on the $4 list.

So while he is either cancer-free or out of danger, there's still much to be fixed. He's experiencing all of the normal hypothyroid symptoms plus some of the less well-known. His sleep schedule is non-existent and he's experiencing peripheral neuropathy from various hormone and vitamin deficiencies, as well as not losing the weight. We're working on that. Even now his TSH gap is much higher than the gap I'd experienced when first diagnosed with hypothyroidism 2 years ago and fixing my levels had a dramatic effect. We're hoping the same happens for him.

So why isn't Chris writing this? His symptoms are pretty severe today (peripheral neuropathy sucks) so he's been sleeping it off.

Which means, of course, that's he's actually SLEEPING, which is a huge improvement over the last few weeks and not something I'm keen to interfere with.

So there is our very good news for this Christmas.