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After chemo cholesterol thyroid

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mainsailset View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 25 2010 at 10:36pm

I've put this up before but now it's been lost in the shuffle. It is worth noting that after one finishes chemo, and yes during chemo, your body is under attack. It is busy fending off all kinds of things and will show the strain in unexpected ways.

I noticed that while using the Sutent a FDA warning came out that they were seeing patients with elevated/hyperthyroidism. My doc didn't get the memo and I only stumbled upon this after the fact. But there it was and during chemo one of the few medicines I took was for a hypothyroid condition. Sure as shootin I looked back at my blood tests and my thyroid changed dramatically about 5 weeks in. After all the chemo was finished my next bloodwork, a month after last treatment, showed that my thyroid was flip flopping toward very low despite taking meds.
 
As the thyroid went more and more into the direction of the hypothyroidism my cholesterol levels simultaneously began to get really screwy. I found this article which links a low thyroid with a high cholesterol level   http://thyroid.about.com/cs/symptomsproblems/a/cholesterol.htm
 
My oncologist wanted me to treat the high cholesteral but as my cholesterol had always been fine before chemo I wanted instead to try treating the thyroid first. Well, now, a year later, with lots of stuffing left to tell in the story, I can report that the thyroid is finally coming back to where it should be and the cholesterol is gradually coming down as well.
 
These things take time and it's terribly important to get the doctor's to help you monitor things they might normally do. Many oncologists want you to return to your PCG and get tested through him or her, but I'm bullheaded enough to think that I'd rather consolidate my medical records with as few as possible doctors.
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123Donna View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 25 2010 at 10:40pm
Mainy,

Good advice.  It's just one more thing we should monitor after treatment ends.  We need to be our own advocate for our health and ask for the tests and monitoring we need.


DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 28 2010 at 12:34pm
I agree Mainy, I too am working towards having everyone in the same system so that they all have access to my records, scans, etc..
 
Interesting about the cholesterol and thyroid.  I hadn't given that any thought but since last chemo treatment have had lumps appear on both sides of thyroid, one side removed, letting the other side sit and grow/watch,now on Synthroid.
Doc says my cholesterol too high, on meds for that, never had these problems before. 
Don't know whether to blame chemo or not but was recently trying to find a thyroid/tnbc connection.


Edited by trip2 - Aug 28 2010 at 12:35pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote overwhelmed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 4:44pm
I don't know why but my onc has never done or recommended a cholesterol test. I am three years past treatment, and my LDL level is very high. It is scary high. My HDL and triglyceride levels are both good. My family has a history of high cholesterol, so some may be genetic. My diet isn't perfect, but it isn't terrible. In fact, when I look at foods to avoid, I do avoid those foods much of the time. I am wondering if anyone has found their cholesterol level is higher after chemo.

I googled high LDL and chemo and found this post from Mainy. I am now wondering if my thyroid is out of whack. I do have some of those symptoms including fatigue, joint pain in feet and hands, memory issues, can't lose weight, etc. I have had minor chest pains for a couple of years which I've attributed to all the surgeries to that area of my body. Now I am wondering if I have pain because of issues associated with the high LDL level.

Has anyone else had higher cholesterol levels after treatment? Have you had issues with your thyroid? I know I need to exercise more, and I could eat better than I do. But, I do make good choices most of the time. I just want to be armed with some information when I go to see the internist. I will do better, but I want them to take my medical history into account before they decide the only possible answer is that my diet is bad, and I don't exercise enough.

Thanks, everyone. I hope you all enjoyed the Holidays!
Lori

Edited by overwhelmed - Jan 02 2014 at 5:02pm
DX ILC TNBC 3/10 at 50, Stage IIb; Grade 3; 5.1 to 7 cm,SNB neg;TC-6 rnds, 30 rads, Avastin-18 rnds, BRAC 1&2-
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NG555 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 6:35pm
The first time I had BC (95) I had a small hypothyroidism....it freaked out after my treatments and they had to more than double my synthroid. 18-1/2 yrs later, I finally got on the right dose. It was adjusted up at first, then back down, then up again, etc, etc.

As for the cholesterol. Mine was fine after the first treatment...no issues there.

As I started treatments again, I know to keep an eye out for ALL things being effected by the chemo. Afterall, chemo affects all cells in the body to a degree.

For the thyroid portion of it, I think this often gets overlooked because (in the case of hypothyroid) isn't like chemo...you are soooo tired. So, when you come off of chemo, you might not realize that your energy isn't quite as much as it was...but yet...better than on chemo. Hence, its easy to miss. Since its an easy blood test, its something you might want to ask your doctor about.

Remember that the thyroid makes hormones that regulates the body's metabolism. Metabolism is basically the usage of energy.

So, hypothyroid (too slow) or hyperthyroid (too fast) can happen at anytime. But, to me, it certainly makes sense that mine went whacko during/after chemo.

See your primary care physician and/or ask when you have to get bloodwork to have the thyroid checked if you are concerned or wondering....its always a GREAT idea to be proactive about your own health!!!

:-)
NG555
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 6:54pm
Lori,

You've brought up some good points that we all should be regularly tested for cholesterol, thryoid and vitamin d.  Thanks for the reminder!  If our primary doctors aren't testing us yearly, we need to ask for these tests.  I think chemo and radiation can wreak havoc on our bodies!  I know it did mine.  About a year after finishing chemo and radiation for my recurrence I just wasn't feeling the same.  I had my thyroid tested right after treatment ended and it was still in the normal range.  Well about a year later it was very high and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  I've been on synthroid and it's getting better, but I still have many of the symptoms:  tired, thinning hair, eyebrows, weight gain, etc.  I made an appointment with an endocrinologist next month and hopefully he will monitor me better than my primary doctor.  For me I blame the radiation mostly on my thyroid problems.  I had all the regional nodes radiated and they hit my clavicle, supraclavicle neck area pretty good.  I imagine it fried my thyroid.

Donna
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote overwhelmed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 6:57pm
Thanks so much. You are right, it isn't easy to know if you are back to normal after chemo. I've also attributed loss of memory, fatigue, difficulty losing weight to being post menopausal. I quickly went though menopause while on chemo. One month of chemo took care of it. I will have to see if my thyroid is okay. I probably wouldn't have thought twice about the possibility had I not read this article.

Thanks again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote overwhelmed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 7:11pm
Donna ,
You are right. We need to be tested to be sure these levels are normal. I am really beginning to wonder about my thyroid. I have felt like I have a lump in my throat since the end of chemo. Little of my eyebrows remain. I am always tired and I have some brain fog. I can't seem to lose weight anymore, despite not overeating. In fact a few pounds seem to creep on every year. But, I figured it was all part of being menopausal, which it could well be. I am just hoping there is a reason for the higher LDL level since high cholesterol does run in my family. I know I can decreases he level by exercising and doing better with my diet, but if it is genetic that might not completely take care of the issue. I really don't want to end up on a cholesterol medication like so many in my family.

Time to get some more blood tests done.

Lori
DX ILC TNBC 3/10 at 50, Stage IIb; Grade 3; 5.1 to 7 cm,SNB neg;TC-6 rnds, 30 rads, Avastin-18 rnds, BRAC 1&2-
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 02 2014 at 7:51pm
Lori,

I'm still waiting to feel normal again!  Between the surgeries, chemo, chemo induced menopause, more chemo, radiation, hysterectomy, weight gain, thyroid problems, osteopenia, memory issues- ugh.  It's no wonder we never feel the same after treatment.
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 03 2014 at 12:53am
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NG555 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 03 2014 at 11:45am
Here is something that some of you might find interesting that I forgot to mention. Besides the tired issues and weight issues for hypothyroid some other symptoms I had were hair thinning/not growing and the memory issues. Of course, many of these we get use to with the chemo. Quite frankly, the tired issues I always called "having the energy of a slug" and the memory issues, for me, were different than the chemo memory issues. The chemo brain stuff normally goes away. Plus we are all are under stress during the process - which often overloads our memory (my opinion). In my case, I had different treatments than what is around now and they extended them...so I still have trouble spitting out a friend's name, especially if they are old friends from before. The plus is that they all know I have issues with it and it is NOT uncomfortable for anyone. Most of the time, I notice that I'm having trouble and am self conscious about it.

As for feeling the same after chemo....I ended up feeling like my old self after quite awhile. Now, with being 'newly re-diagnosed' I find myself thinking..."been there, done that, same ol' thing as before so I'll just get through it again".

Being aware of how our body 'adjusts' to the treatments is half the battle as far as I'm concerned.   I think our bloodwork is a key to seeing things that we can and sometimes can not feel (ie: the lack of energy - or too much).

Funny thing though...when they hiked up my synthroid too much, they made me hyperthyroid (too fast) which was shown on the bloodwork. Not something that you want either because it can have negative affects on the body...but I had the energy of a ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!! My house was NEVER so darn clean!!!! (Neither were the homes of my friends and family...LOL!!!!!)

Hang in there, give yourself a break - you've/we've been through a lot, but get the added blood tests if you suspect. Its an easy fix - just a little pill, but sometimes it takes awhile for them to fine-tune it and sometimes the body will change and it needs another fine-tuning. These fine tunings are sometimes the result of chemo, surgery (any type), and sometimes just from an illness or 'just because' it changed. Either way, a thyroid disorder is something that can be monitored and I find its easy to live with.

NG555

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