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  • Anonymous
      Post count: 93172

      I was just diagnosed on 2/18/97 and have been told I have to
      decide on treatment by 2/24/97! I have a problem with my eyes
      and fear the radioiodine may make my eyes worse. I’m leaning toward
      surgery but feel scared and rushed. My pulse is very high and I think
      that’s why the doctor is pushing. What should I do?

        Post count: 93172


        I was faced with a similar decision ~5 years ago. My doctor recommended
        radioiodine therapy because of the risks associated with any surgery
        (we all know about those) and those associated with thyroid surgery
        (your vocal cord accidently getting cut, etc.). I chose to get “nuked,”
        and although I had to get “nuked” twice and it has taken some time to get
        my thyroid level properly adjusted, I’m still glad I took the
        opportunity to avoid the surgical risks. On the other hand, both
        my mother and my husband have had thyroid surgery with no complications.

        My initial symptoms were a highly increased heartrate, and my doctor put
        me on a beta blocker to control it while I received further testing
        (stress test, sonograms of the heart and thyroid, etc.) and while we
        decided the best course of action. My eye doctor was able to give me
        prescription eye drops to handle the problems with my eyes until I got
        the thyroid stuff taken care of. Both problems went away once I got
        “nuked” and my thyroid level began to get stablized. Now I’m beta
        blocker- and eye drop-free, although one of my eyes is slightly

        Most of my care was provided by my internist, and while he was very
        competent and helpful, his associate, who is a thyroid specialist,
        was able to give me a much better explanation of Graves Disease,
        especially regarding the eye problem. By the way, he did confirm and
        agree with my all of my internist’s actions.

        The folks who administer the radioiodine therapy try to “kill off”
        your thyroid so that enough remains to give you some natural thyroid
        functioning – they proceeded a little too cautiously with me, and that’s
        why I had to get it done twice. Which was ok with me; I appreciate
        their attempt.

        You didn’t really explain your situation, but the urgency with which
        you are being asked to make a decision concerns me. Unless there’s
        some overriding reason you need to take emergency action, for example,
        if you are experiencing thyroid “storms,” I’d recommend seeing
        an internist or thyroid specialist who can help you work with your
        symptoms until you feel really ready to proceed, or, if you haven’t
        already, at least getting a second opinion.

        The length of my experience was frustrating, I have to admit — enough
        so that my internist suggested I take an anti-depressent for a while
        to help me handle my agitation. It did help, alot, and I only needed
        it for about 6 months. However, according to the December 1996 issue
        of Self magazine, Prozac and Zoloft produce a severe reduction in
        sexual desire for 30-40 percent of users; Wellbutrin and Serzone
        have fewer sexual side effects. Also, the article says that
        approaches like taking the antidepressant Sunday noon through
        Thursday noon and not taking it in between can help minimize
        this side effect, except with Prozac.

        Another “challenge” for me while we were figuring out the right
        synthyroid dosage was recognizing that the mood swings,
        tiredness, and PMS-type symptoms (I had periods every two weeks for
        a while) I experienced were due to my synthyroid level being off.

        I’m sorry the information I’m giving you is so disjointed, but
        I wanted to share my experiences with you, with the hope that it
        gives you more information so you can make the right decision for

        My thoughts will be with you this weekend. Good luck!

          Post count: 93172

          I presume you mean a partial thyroidectomy and not eye surgery. That is
          rarer in USA tha RAI. I had two surgeries ten years apart. It is instantly
          effective, no waiting for results. However, it is inconvenient, expensive, and
          involves some pain and a scar.
          In certain situations, surgery is preferred such as very large goiter,
          pregnancy, childhood GD.
          This info is on a tape by Dr. Volpe from our first nantional conference
          at Berkeley.
          Hope this helps you make a decision.

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