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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at




 Thyroid Disorder Can Be a Pain in the Neck

Some readers have asked about the results of my recent medical tests, so here goes:

A memorial service will be held one of these days for Mike’s thyroid function, which went on the fritz sometime over the last few months. It was 58, which was a real surprise, seeing as how Mike is only 52. Survivors include the rest of the endocrine system.

There you have it. After two ultrasounds and a couple of gallons’ worth of blood tests, and it has been determined that I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. And as far as I’m concerned, Hashimoto can have it back.

Actually, from what I’ve read, if you’re going to have a thyroid problem, Hashimoto’s is the one to get. It’s the most common form of thyroiditis (loosely translated: itis of the thyroid). It occurs when autoantibodies, those little devils, start wreaking havoc with your thyroid gland. Why? Nobody knows and the autoantibodies aren’t talking.

The gland fights back by getting larger. The autobusybodies laugh and keep right on going. The gland gives up, the big quitter, and you go into hypothyroidism (also known as the slows). Then you spend the next several weeks arguing with the insurance company over whether this is a preexisting condition.

The interesting news is that it doesn’t happen to a lot of men. I found this out for myself the first time I went to a Hashimoto’s disease chat room (boy, the things people can find to talk about on the Internet) and found myself up to the Adam’s apple in a discussion concerning the outward signs of the disease.

“Do you have dry hair?” I was asked.

“You bet,” I answered. “I’m going through a half-bottle of conditioner every time I shampoo and I still look like I’m wearing an electrocuted lemur for a hat.”

“Nails brittle?”

“Only when I – ouch – type.”

“Are you crampy, listless and tired?”

“Yes. Or were you referring three of the Seven Dwarves?”

“Now, pardon me if this is personal, but have you gone through menopause?”

“Excuse me?”

I quickly determined that the reason I was up to the Adam’s apple in this discussion was because I was the only person there who HAD an Adam’s apple.

That’s also about the time I decided to ask the doctor if he was certain of his diagnosis. He was. I just happen to be one of the eight percent of men my age who get the disease (as opposed to about twice that many women).

So now what? I take a synthetic thyroid hormone pill every day. I’ll get my thyroid function checked regularly from now on. And I will always thank my lucky stars that what I have is nothing, a mere trifle, compared to friends I know with far more serious endocrine disorders, up to and including cancer.

And I feel sheepish about being such a nervous Norvis while waiting for the test results to come back. Sorry about that. But hey, my thyroid will get a nice memorial out of this. I’m thinking a party in the backyard, maybe a few hamburgers on the grill, nice cold root beers and a big cake decorated like a Synthroid tablet.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions -- preferably cash, in small-but-not-too-small denominations -- may be sent directly to me. Or to my insurance company, at least until I cover the deductible.




© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.