The long awaited visit with the endocrinologist yesterday afternoon provided some medical answers at long last. It also reminded me that this is going to be a lengthy process from start to finish, whereby I have several more months of this. More testing. More doctor visits. More annoyance. I'll just have to be patient.
1. I have autoimmune thyroid disease. In it, the immune system attacks and damages the gland in question, causing it to swell. Eventually, the disease destroys enough of the thyroid that thyroid therapy, usually by way of medication, has to be started. However, that eventuality shouldn't happen for several more years, but it's still not a comforting notion. I'm not sure yet if the condition can be treated before it reaches that point.
2. I do have a tiny, benign, pituitary adenoma (tumor), but it's not secreting a hormone, nor damaging my body in any way. One less thing to worry about.
3. I still have an elevated level of estrodiol, which is a sex hormone that forms the basic building block of estrogen. This is in effect pulling down my testosterone level, which then causes other problems. It is likely that I will be prescribed a medication that is usually indicated for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Used quite successfully off label for hypogonadism, it suppresses estrodiol production, which boosts testosterone as a result.
4. I will still be injecting myself with testosterone for the foreseeable future. I will, however, vary the dosage slightly to see if I can reach a steady level. That has been a recent challenge.
5. I have some still-unexplained issue with insulin resistance. The problem mimics the symptoms of pre-diabetes. Tests will be run to determine if blood sugar is an issue.
To summarize, there's a lot here yet to be determined. Endocrine disorders are complex, intertwined, complicated creatures. Hormonal interaction is a convoluted, multifaceted process whereby the same basic chemical structure influences every organ or gland in radically different ways. I'm glad I know some things, but what I have to look forward to now is constant lab work, tests, and procedures. Each will slowly unravel a bit more of the larger puzzle. So until then, I'm just going to have to sit tight and make my way through this.