Data Science-ing my life

In case it hasn’t been obvious, in my non-baby-related life, I’m quite technical. A huge component of my work is data analysis and building computational tools. Enough years of this and it completely colors the way I look at the world. I like knowing the numbers behind each measurement and treatment.

One consequence is that I’ve started keeping better track at some of my vitals. And by vitals, I really mean hormones because those are the most useful measures for me.

Some caveats: I have no training in medicine. I might like data but my interpretation below could very well be faulty.

One struggle I faced during this process was getting my TSH levels under control. I went through several dose levels and sometimes it looked like it was responding and then it would go back up. The image is a plot of my TSH levels over the last year or so along with my synthroid doses.

tsh_overtime_2016on_nostress

A few things that I’ve observed over time:

  • Both my endocrinologist and RE told me that TSH is a very slow moving hormone. Hence the 6 week wait after starting synthroid to see if it worked properly. But.. that’s not what I saw. During a 2 week period in November it doubled.
  • Lab and/or time of day makes a huge difference. Aforementioned doubling seemed so bizarre that I insisted on getting it retested because it looked like a lab error. Within 24 hours, I got measures of 5.44, 4.9 and 4.8 (each from a different lab). The 4.x measures were taken in the afternoon, 5.44 was from the morning. Does it really change by 20% within that short a time period??
  • I’m not convinced that synthroid is doing much for me. Even after starting, my levels have been fluctuating quite a bit and they were super stable in the year before starting these treatments.

Honestly, after writing this, it feels like this is a useless post. So far I haven’t learnt much from this other than TSH levels are much more unstable than I’ve read/doctors have said. I suppose that in and of itself is a useful observation. And perhaps I’m not correlating it well enough to life events. The last increase could have been due to the pregnancy. The doubling could have been due to major stress (had a bunch of deadlines in super quick succession in Oct/Nov) though my endocrinologist assures me otherwise.

Still, I find it interesting to track this. I’m doing something similar with my HCG levels to see how it fluctuates/decreases with the ectopic pregnancy. Does it have an exponential decrease? Linear? Plateaus and then linear decrease?

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