Posts Tagged ‘adrenals’

Summer and Other Things

IMG_1917 (2)Last week I was sitting on my canopied deck sipping my milky Keemun Congou tea when my ears were suddenly assailed with the chattering of birds. Not just any birds, no, not these birds, these are MY orioles, the Eastern and Orchard orioles. When they arrive in April and May they tell me their winter stories of joy and sorrow. Stories about their long flight north and who made it and who didn’t. They tell stories of their hunger and show their appreciation by gobbling bowl upon bowl of the purple goo that I lovingly put on my deck railing. After all they need the energy to start their nests and raise their broods and their time with me is brief. Within weeks of first hearing their songs they will nest and their visits will wane.

Then around this time of the summer (August) they return in profusion. Only this time they are accompanied by their young, their very demanding, very hungry offspring who have gone from infants to teenagers in a matter of weeks. They yell at their parents and flap their wings demanding more and more jelly be put in their mouths. At times I will look out at the crab tree they sit in and it will be aflutter with a dozen or more orioles and I just smile. These orange and black lovelies make my summer days complete (so I guess you could say they complete me).

Sometimes I am left heartbroken by their stories and it seems every year there is one heartbreaking tale to be told. One year it was a female oriole with a tumor on her beak. Every day she returned for more jelly and would often sit right by me and eat what she could get in her mouth and stare me in the eye. She struggled and I cried but every day she returned and every day we “talked”. One day she came and I could tell she was suffering; really just asking me for relief but coward that I am I knew Mother Nature would offer her solace soon enough and let her be but kept her fed as best I could. Then one day she didn’t come anymore and I knew her suffering was over. I still cry over her (I cry now telling her story).

My orioles will soon be migrating south to escape our brutal winter winds. They will bulk up for the next month on cheap, Target grape jelly because that is the jelly they have requested (believe me I have tried organic this and that and the bowls sit there and are emptied in to the trash) and as soon as Mother Nature alerts them they will leave for Florida and Mexico. I will miss their discussions and their bossy attitude about my deck but I know, as sure as I know winter will come in Minnesota, they will return and I will joyously welcome them home.

Little things can be important

For some my orioles are little unimportant things but to me they are a huge part of my summer joy, so it is with other things in life. Take a night of sleep for instance. For some people sleep is never a problem. For others, like my daughter, sleep is a precious commodity as her nights are still interrupted by the demands of a hungry, growing baby boy. For me, sleep continues to be one of those perplexing issues. I have nights when I sleep the sleep of kittens and then other nights I am fitful and restless all night long and morning simply cannot come soon enough.

This past week I finally took the bull by the horns because I had regularly been waking up all night long with horrible dreams and aches and pains. I decided I had to experiment a bit and suffer the consequences if need be. I have been doing the CT3M dosing for T3 for about two months I think (time does fly so it may be longer than that).

My normal dosing for some weeks has been to take 25 mcg of T3 sometime between 1 and 2 in the morning. My next dose of 12.5 mcg would be between 8-10 a.m. and my final dose around 5-6 in the evening. Almost every night I was waking at midnight in a real huff as the result of some horrible dreams (nightmares). I would settle back down but my sleep wouldn’t be good until I took that 1-2 a.m. dose of T3. After that dose I would sleep like a kitten again.

Think Kristin, think

This got me to thinking, if I am waking at midnight and only sleeping well after I take 25 mcg of T3 at 1 or 2 in the morning, I am not providing enough T3 at the midnight dump. When my demand for T3 is at its greatest (typically midnight) my T3 was mostly used up having not taken any since 5 p.m. Perhaps if I went back to taking T3 at bedtime, lights out, my sleep would improve and there wouldn’t be the shocking nightmares.

In the past week I started dosing my T3 more like this:

  • Bedtime (8:30-9:00 p.m.)- 12.5 mcg
  • 3 a.m. -25 mcg
  • 12 noon-12.5 mcg

Krisinsight

Here is what I think was happening. I am not saying I am right but it is what I think. At midnight I was running low on T3 after not taking any for 7 hours. If you don’t take enough T3 to feed your thyroid your adrenals will kick in some adrenaline to compensate. That mass-produced adrenaline startles you awake and even can produce nightmares. You heart will beat rapidly, your breathing will be elevated and you are  in a sweat, like a hot flash.

By taking a bedtime dose of T3 when my demands are their greatest I have T3 to offer my body and it uses every bit but I don’t wake up with a jolt, nor in a sweat. I have pleasant dreams as I did last night that I can’t quite remember. I was recalling with vividity my disturbing dreams during those weeks of taking my last dose at 5 p.m..

I knew my body was getting enough total T3 because of my recent blood test and that was really perplexing for me. I would go over and over all the possibilities and sometimes even feel somewhat hopeless. I mean, would I ever sleep normally again? Was it time to do a diurnal cortisol test (well, yes it is but money, money, money) and see how the old adrenals were faring?

I don’t know everything and every day I learn something new or I consider it a wasted day. That said, I know one thing for sure, there will be further tweaking. I know, as almost all thyroid resistance folks know, this thyroid stuff is a continual journey and I will not be put off by the need to make a change to improve my quality of life. That is my solemn promise to self.

Like my orioles come back every spring I will return next week. Until then have a great week and if you need help please feel free to ask. Ask me, ask your friends, ask your medical provider because by dealing with the crisis you will find an answer.

Santé,

Kris

Better Late Than Never

IMG_1917 (2)Phew! I can’t believe it is already March 10, 2013 but so be it. Last Monday blew by me in a puff of childish laughter and, if I dare say, infant tears and upset. I was so busy being Nonna for the grandsons there just wasn’t time to share but as always there is time to care, so this week I want to share some really interesting information.

Before I get started, I did want to let you know that my Vitamin D results came back this week. I have supplemented my Sunsplash Renew this 6 months because I want to take Vitamin K for my bones, so on average 4 days a week I take a Vitamin D/Vitamin K supplement that includes about 1000 iu’s of Vitamin D per dose. In August my Vitamin D was 91 ng/ml in February my levels were 84 ng/ml. I have been using the Sunsplash about three times a week 10 or 20 minutes at a time but there are times like right before I drew blood this time that I haven’t been in front of the lights for 7 days or more. I think 84 ng/ml isn’t too bad for the middle of a dreich winter.

Pain, searing pain!

Last Monday, along with the joy of grandchildren filling my life I had a doctor’s appointment with my homeopathic MD, Dr. Kim Lane. It was an appointment that was meant to be but almost wasn’t. The weather conspired against me, a bad back belonging to my son-in-law conspired against me but in the end it was an incident that occurred while caring for my almost two-year old grandson that scared me right in to her office.

On Saturday afternoon, Odin and his now 59-year-old Nonna were out frolicking in the snow. I love having Odin around because I find my inner child and that inner child was walking through calf high snow hauling my bundle of joy around on his sled. We slid down hills several times and walked back up them. When that got boring we took a trek through virgin snow to see the neigh-boring horses. By the time we got back to the house I was overheated and thirsty as heck.

I remembered I had a cold container of water sitting in a nearby car, so I got the container out and chugged icy cold water. It tasted so good and was so thirst quenching I probably inhaled about 10 ounces of water in the blink of an eyelid. Odin and I were going to feed the birds, aka Caw Caws, so as he watched me I bent over and started filling a pail with black sunflower seeds.

When I stood back up to reach for Odin’s hand I was nearly floored by a searing pain in my upper left quadrant. The paralyzing affliction occurred each time I inhaled and then each stab was followed by low, rumbling and horrible sounding belches. I belched and belched but tried to take slow shallow inhalations in between each agonizing stab. This level of intensity lasted for about 15 minutes but in the first few minutes I knew I needed to get Odin inside close to Grandpa just in case something happened to me. While keeping a brave face (I hope) and thus assuring Odin all was well we slowly, ever so slowly made our way inside the house, birdseed suddenly forgotten.

What the heck?

At moments like this I try to keep my cool but all I could imagine was that I was having a heart attack in front of a very impressionable two-year old and how that could affect his life from here on out. His life? Ha, how would it affect my life? How could I miss his growing up and going to his games, meeting his friends, etc? What if I never saw Arthur walk and talk? Gosh the awful places your brain goes when something like this occurs but deep down a pervasive thought was growing.

I have had this pain before and it wasn’t a heart attack but I never did figure out what it was. It actually originates from a very specific spot in my upper left quadrant, right under my left breast at the edge of my ribcage (I can touch the spot at the moment and it is still tender). As I belched and ached I made my way downstairs where the SU was exercising and tried to tell him I was in trouble (hard to do with ear phones securely attached to said head and person off in space somewhere). He basically blew me off but did keep an eye on Odin who was now semi-securely placed in his “Pack and Play (“semi” because he knows how to get out quite easily).

I then sat down and took my blood pressure. It was an astounding 129/98. My pulse was 112 and all this didn’t help settle my panic. My blood pressure is normally well within normal limits if not a bit low, so these numbers were, on their own, frightening. I could tell that the pain, while not subsiding, was not getting worse and as each jab was accompanied by a low rumble of escaping gas I now was convinced this was not a heart attack. Exertion did not bring it on but breathing did, great! Like that is somehow better.

Come Hell or high water

Within an hour all pain had subsided and my breathing was back to normal. In fact, after a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and a few more belches I returned to normal as if nothing had happened. I was physically and emotionally drained after a scare like that but there was no digestive upset, no pain in my upper left quadrant and my blood pressure had gone down to 98/65 (adrenal stress brought that baby right down) I was as normal as I get (which, depending on who you ask is not all that normal).

At this point I knew my appointment with Dr. Lane was fortuitous. It had not been planned but I needed some prescriptions (SR Potassium and T3) filled just in case ordering from overseas becomes impossible (the new health care bill tagged Obamacare wants to forbid overseas prescriptions from entering our borders). I actually got the appointment because friend Chloe had cancelled hers that afternoon to take a later one and I was offered her time. Hurrah! It was all meant to happen. I needed an answer or I needed guidance as to what to do next and I knew she could help me.

Dr. Lane

On Monday, after checking in I sat down in Dr. Lane’s new digs and started to pour out my story. She asked very pointed questions and did an exam of my chest, back and lower abdomen. I told her about the physical activity, the cold water, the stooping over, standing up and the resultant searing pains accompanied by loud heavy belching all coming from my upper left quadrant.

Her questions were as follows:

Did any pain occur during the physical activity? “No”

Was the water really cold? “Yes”

How long did it take for the pain to subside? “About an hour”

Where did it hurt? I showed her the exact spot the pain originated from and she palpated it later.

Diagnosis? Do you want to take some guesses before I tell you? I will answer below in Krisinsight just in case you want to try it out. I know I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion but her reasons were very sound and based on what doctors know about heart attacks in women.

Now for homeopathy

Dr. Lane is also a homeopathic doctor, so we discussed my latest remedy and the results. When I took my Aconite 200 about three weeks ago I screwed up everything I could possibly screw up. I put something in my mouth minutes after taking the first remedy. I did this despite knowing I needed to have a window of time when you have nothing 30 minutes prior to taking the remedy and nothing for 30 minutes after. The second time, exactly 12 hours later, I dropped almost all the pellets on the floor and had to pick them up and sort out 4-5 to take. Once the pellets are touched the energy of the remedy changes, so really even that dose was tainted.

My energy has been fine but my hands have been cold especially when keyboarding. My overall body temperature continues to run on the low side. My weight is probably stable but I remain on the heavy side of where I should be weight-wise. I think my sex hormones are more balanced than they were on bio-identical hormones and hot flashes while they do exist are minimal. Vaginal lubrication is better than it has been in years (I know, I know but for some this can be very important) and in general my interest in sex has increased and my fasting glucose numbers are always in the low 80’s.

The homeopathic prescription was to repeat the Aconite 200, 12 hours apart and wait about 6 weeks. I took it on Thursday March 6. That night I slept very poorly even though I was exhausted but the next day my morning temperatures were up. At 10:00 my thermometer read 98.4, higher than it has been in some while. Now it is a wait and see game, wait to see what effect the remedy has on my overall health.

Krisinsight

First, Dr. Lane’s insight or better said, her diagnosis: Esophageal Spasm It makes perfect sense to me now but I never would have concluded that on my own. When you expose your esophagus to radical temperatures changes you can cause a spasm. Until the spasm relaxes you might get belching with each contraction. You will get searing pain from each contraction and it will eventually relax and go away. The fact that the pain did not come on while I was exerting myself was quite indicative of spasm vs. heart attack. The increased blood pressure and pulse was my flight or fight response to a tense situation and my body did just what it was supposed to do. I have had this pain and belching before and was left in wonder as to what it was, what was happening. At the very least I will now know what it is and perhaps I will also avoid temperature extremes in my food and liquid intake.

As for my insight on homeopathy, I am intrigued. First, I really like Dr. Kim Lane. She is easy to talk to, very down to earth with a dry sense of humor. She is first and foremost a medical doctor but with her knowledge of the body she can make homeopathy work even better. We have had some real heart to heart discussions and many of them have left me in tears, drained of emotion. All these difficult questions are helping her assess the situation and prescribe the correct remedy. Since I started with her last autumn I have changed. Some things are better; some are the same but overall I have more confidence and I understand myself better than ever before. My sleep, while not perfect, is so much better I cannot describe how good that feels.

I don’t have blood labs to prove any organic change but when I do get my blood labs run I will report the results right here. My thinking is, at this point, I don’t really care what the labs say, I feel better. We have made it through the worst of the flu season with nary a sniffle between us (Did I really just say that? Oh dear!). I can climb through snow up to my thighs and while it leaves me breathless I can do it. I am still taking 37.5 mcg of T3 and with increasing temperatures I am going to hold the status quo. I take some K-Dur and I still take 2 teaspoons of sea salt in water every day, so some things stay the same but overall if you continue to fight for that next level of healthiness with your thyroid dis-ease I can safely recommend trying homeopathy. It may just heal your soul and, after all is said and done, every body needs to heal from the inside out.

Santé,

Kris

Using Up Spoons

I am sitting at my ‘puter this morning looking, when I am not looking at my screen, at a very cloudy morning. Last night was a very entertaining night if you like summer storms and sirens at 3:45. Personally I could do without either when I am trying to sleep and especially when I am sleep deprived and quickly using up my daily spoons.

Have you ever heard of the “Spoon Theory”? It is a term coined by Christine Miserandino on her site called But You Don’t Look Sick. I think it applies to lots of folks who have chronic illness and autoimmune disorders. Hashimoto’s falls under that category in my opinion.

What is the Spoon Theory?

To explain it very simply, and I repeat the word simply, it says for people like us (apparently sick people need only apply the “spoon theory”) there are only so many “spoons” that we can use up in a 24 hour period. Normal healthy folks have unlimited spoons and can handle whatever challenges they face. For “sick” people once you have used up all your spoons you will suddenly find yourself totally spent and on the couch or in bed for days.

So take a handful of spoons and call that your day. For each activity or stressful situation take away a spoon. Once your hand is devoid of spoons you have spent your days worth of spoons and you will either go to bed or find a place to collapse because it is inevitable. I feel like my hands are empty and I can’t even find a spare spoon in the house, anywhere.

How do you use spoons?

I don’t know how others do it but I had a most welcome guest for two and a half weeks. I loved every minute of my time with her BUT I could never get my sleep. We went to bed later than normal and I woke up every morning at the same time, somewhere between 5 and 5:30.

Since she has returned home I still can’t seem to get over my deficit. First it was a visit from my daughter and grandson, then it was a bad heart day and then it was the weather. I love, love, love having my daughter and her adorable son stay overnight but the bad heart day and weather I could do without. This morning after a storm that woke me at 3, too early for even the early riser that I am, I sit here feeling very sleep deprived with that all too familiar fog in my brain and flutter in my heart.

Once the spoons are on the floor….

I don’t really have an answer for any of us except to learn how to never exceed your handful of spoons but that means bypassing some really happy moments in life. I am simply not able to give up the smile days just to reserve spoons, so with that in mind I will tell you what I think happens to me when I use up my spoons. As with most things I share on Krisinsight it is just a theory, I have no proof.

I don’t get sick very often, so I never consider myself a “sick” person. What does seem to happen is my adrenals finally spin out of control and that releases unwanted adrenaline. The adrenaline is what keeps me moving and enjoying life but it is artificial energy and I pay a price for that expenditure, heart palps. The culmination of the two and half weeks of entertaining a visitor and then the overnight with the daughter and grandson and an accidental increase of T3 was an afternoon of a rapidly beating heart and general distress.

I actually felt sick and tired for most of the afternoon after my daughter left with her smiling baby but when it came time to go to bed I was electrified. My breathing was shallow. I jumped at the least bit of stimulation like a dog barking or spousal unit sneezing. When I took my pulse it was 98 my blood pressure was 122/83 which is high for me and I was feeling it. I think I had finally dumped all my spoons on the floor with a CRASH and now it was time to pick up the pieces.

How do spoons end up scattered on the floor?

What I almost did yesterday was lower my dose of T3 but yesterday I took my morning temperature and decided I wasn’t hyper when my temperature at 9 a.m. read 97.6. At 5 p.m. it was a perfect 98.6. I was right I wasn’t hyper but I had spent all my spoons. This morning my blood pressure is 97/65 and my pulse is 75 and that is after a cup of tea and my morning dose of T3.

I was thinking of lowering my T3 because why? Because I inadvertently increased it three days ago. I was divvying up my 56.25 mcg and dropped the extra 6.25 mcg chunk in the 10:00 a.m. slot, so the amount was actually 12 mcg. Those 6.25 mcg pieces are so small you can’t see them if the room is dark and you are presbyopic. I thought the other half had disappeared and would find it on the floor when it clinked in the vacuum cleaner.

The next day when I tipped 10 a.m. in to my hand and clumsily dumped the dose in my mouth my eye caught sight of the “missing” piece. I judiciously put it under my tongue anyway and let the gods take it from there. That day was fine, no side effects of the increased dose. The next day was the day from Hell but not until the afternoon and evening (when my cortisol tends to be high when tested) and that set me up for a rough night. Thankfully I experienced only one night of being shocked awake by adrenaline stimulation, last night it was a legitimate thunder and siren awakening.

Kris Insight

My guess is last week when I was hanging on for dear life to my last spoon the last thing I should have done is increase my T3. It quite literally broke the horse’s back and my heart is always the recipient of such stupidity. I know I need to be taking more T3 and I am gradually building my dose in the direction of 75 mcg but increases when you are feeling worn out and tired are not a good idea. It impacts your adrenals significantly and they react by producing more adrenaline and that causes heart palps and irregularity.

My advice to my readers with adrenal fatigue or just weak adrenals and on T3-only is do not increase your dose when you are spoonless. Even if all the signs are pointing at a need for an increase, low temperatures, low blood pressure and pulse DO NOT INCREASE YOUR DOSE. Nothing will happen if you wait a few days or a week or even a month. Increases should only be done when you are feeling well rested and up for the challenge.

I hope you will tune in August. At that time I will have my blood test results back and will share them with you. Life Extension had their yearly sale and I just can’t pass up the opportunity to see how the old bod is running. I really want to see how my FT3 is and find out how I am doing with inflammation and female hormones. Stay tuned and have a great and rejuvenating July.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

On Being Hypothyroid and Other Minutaie

Spring has sprung in Minnesota and as always I am reminded that with spring there is renewal and with that rebirth comes a certain amount of joy. Perhaps Anne Bradstreet said it best in Meditations Divine and Moral (1655)-“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome”.

I thought as this week brings with it the first official day of spring it might be timely to update my thyroid buddies on my current state of health. I will preempt everything by asking you to understand if I seem a bit sardonic. I admit to still being very superstitious about what I say and I know many hypothyroid people, and other “spoonies” will relate.

That said, here we go……..

T3 only and what works for me

I am still taking 50 mcg of T3. This dose seems to work pretty well for me even though by the dictates of the RT3 thyroid group it is not enough. My pulse is pretty normal and I am happy with my blood pressure. I generally have a pulse around 75-78 bpm and my blood pressure is pretty consistently at 116/69. After being outside and pulling weeds it is 122/74 with a heart rate of 81 bpm.

How I feed my adrenals

I still take 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every morning and every afternoon. I salt my food heavily and often take extra salt if I feel my pulse is too high or if I have reason to perspire more than normal. A hot bath, a FIR sauna or this warm summer-like winter weather increases my perspiration and thus my need for sea salt.

I can tell by how I feel if I suddenly stand up whether or not my adrenals need more support. If I get light-headed I know I need to increase my sodium intake. It seems my adrenals, while healthier than they used to be, still require plenty of salt to feed their “condition” . Reminds me of the old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” I feed them salt but hopefully starve them of nothing.

How to increase cellular deficiencies

Overall I think I am doing quite well but as you know my Spectracell test showed some deficiencies. I increased my Ubiquinol to 100 mg twice a day. I am taking 200 mcg of Selenium twice per day and  close to 64 mg of chelated Zinc per day. I was taking about 750 mg of Inositol per day but for some reason I didn’t feel any particular improvement and maybe felt worse.

Here is my new dog and pony trick. I finally got things straightened out between my doctor and a very helpful pharmacist at The Prescription Center in LaCrosse Wisconsin and my injectable B12 arrived post-haste. I will tell you more about injecting B12 next week after I have finally perfected the technique with Chloe’s assistance. I expect great things from an increased level of B12 and I hope not to be disappointed.

Exercise and FIR sauna resumed

I took several months off my normal frenetic exercise regimen around this time last year and I am finally getting back in to the swing of things. I am very careful not to overdo. In fact, I do something totally foreign to the before-adrenal-meltdown-me. I actually ask the SU if he will slow down when we walk together just to avoid taxing my system. I strongly believe that my heart palps were stimulated by an unnatural release of adrenalin and if just cooling it a bit avoids a reenactment I am content to be a wimp (yes, I have a problem with not pushing to the max).

Along with mild exercise (T-Tapp Basic, PACE walking, rebounder, Schwinn Airedyne) I have resumed some brief FIR sauna sessions. My basic routine is to exercise enough to sweat. While I am working out my sauna is warming up and as soon as I finish I hop in there for 15-20 minutes, salt water in hand. I have missed my sauna sessions but when you have adrenal stress the FIR sauna pushes you over the limits of what you can stand.

Kris Insight

Does all this mean I am as good as I can be? In one simple word, no. My heart still thumps occasionally, especially if I have too much caffeine or external stimulation. I have restless nights when I get up and sleep elsewhere so I don’t wake up the SU. I can only handle a tiny glass of wine unless I don’t mind being awakened by a pounding heartbeat that is in excess of 100 bpm. My mouth burns or tastes metallic most days and I occasionally have a hot flash that causes my face to flush (sex hormones are still not perfect).

Overall though, I feel fine. Not fine as in I don’t want to say anymore but the kind of fine that has a bit of cockiness and swagger. I saw this great quote on Facebook today that I strongly identify with,  “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…..it is about learning to dance in the rain”. I have learned to dance in the rain and I feel fine.

Santé,

Kris

December Thyroid News:The Hypothyroid Heartbeat

It is trite I know but I will say it anyway, I simply cannot believe how time passes us by. One day you are 10 without a care in the world and the next you are 57 with all the cares of the world on your shoulders. Being  a person with autoimmune dis-ease does not make it simpler but there are few if any dull moments and you constantly learn something new and unusual. With that in mind I thought an update on my thyroid health would be timely.

On Sleeping on Your Left Side

Many of my readers and fellow hypo’s will know that my hallmark of thyroid health is being able to lie on my left side and without further ado let me say, I am sleeping on my left side. Not all the time but when my right side is sore from use I can turn to my left side and even if I hear my heart beat it is not irregular and it is not pounding. Just for the sake of feeding my thyroid health superstitions I will add that it is not consistent, there are times when my heartbeat blips or pounds (read below for other reasons) but for the most part I can turn to my left side and fall back in to a relaxing, rejuvenating sleep without any particular upset.

A Brief on the Hypo’s Heartbeat

The above statement may be hard to comprehend if you have never experienced the hypothyroid heartbeat, so let me briefly tell you. When your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone to adequately feed the needs of your body your body produces unnatural amounts of adrenaline to compensate. This over compensation by your adrenal glands, in my opinion, not only causes adrenal fatigue it affects your heartbeat causing palpitations. This often ends with  you sitting in a cardiologist’s office, then being put through a myriad of tests only to be prescribed this and that medication and still suffering the palpitations.

Bear in mind, we “hypos” aren’t used to a normal heartbeat because our hearts often beat too slowly and too softly to be heard, so as we start medicating our thyroids adequately, either with a doctor’s assistance or on our own,  we suddenly hear a pounding heartbeat if we lay on our left side in particular. Add to this “pounding” (but probably normal) heartbeat any kind of irregularity and you have a person who never sleeps on their left side. Never, that is, when they are under-treated or incorrectly treated for thyroid resistance.

Life Changes

I hate to go so far as to say I live in fear of the irregular heartbeat but I have blogged on this subject ad nauseum, so I must dread it. A few weeks ago I found myself at my computer at midnight with a heartbeat in excess of 100 bpm. This always leads to researching online, first to my groups and then to other online comments or studies. This particular knowledge gleaning moment led me to a conclusion that was the end of my world as I knew it, after reading  a hundred entries or so on many different forums I realized what the problem was. I needed to cease my evening tipple.

Yes, you read that right and it pains me to say because I love my traditions (not addictions because I can give them up without bad side effects) many of which I learned while living in Europe, a time that is full of pleasant memories and custom. I love my English “tea ceremony” every morning and I thoroughly enjoyed two glasses of wine in the evening. What I didn’t realize is that my adrenal fatigue had reared its ugly head and adrenal fatigue and alcohol do not mix.

If you have adrenal fatigue alcohol acts as a stimulant akin to having caffeinated coffee or perhaps even Ephedra or other like stimulants (I have never taken Ephedra but I have read about its effects). I knew those were stimulants to avoid just like the nerve racking television which I avoid after 8 p.m. because the lights and noise stimulate me like a cup of coffee or worse.

What I didn’t seem to associate with my sleeplessness and racing heartbeat was the wine before supper that “relaxed” me. Seriously, how could it be a stimulant? It is specifically supposed to help me relax. I felt betrayed (not really) but clearly I needed to stop that long standing custom, so I did. If someone would have told me that putting that particularly bad nightmare scenario to bed was this simple I would have been all over it ages ago.

I know, I know, I can hear all the health conscious folks reading my soliloquy asking with wonder “Doesn’t she know alcohol is bad for her?” Mercola and many others preach and preach on the evils of alcohol but honestly I still don’t think a glass of wine is going to kill you but there is a time and place and I am not in either at the moment.

In Conclusion

With that admission behind me I feel like my shoulders are less rounded as if a weight has been lifted from them. I have to say that other than a few niggling issues I have been exceptionally well. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 which results in normal energy and slightly below normal basal temperatures. I have recently started taking Ashwaghanda again and I added 5-HTP to my repertoire of supplements to elevate my moods slightly and help me sleep even better.

There are things that still need attention and the one that plagues me at the moment is my dry eyes and mouth. It could be Sjogren’s as that often accompanies Hashimoto’s Disease but I have never had that diagnosis, so my quest for an answer to that problem continues. If you have successfully treated this issue please share your experience by leaving a comment.

I conclude that with almost everything in my life I have come to expect the unexpected and I glean from all I experience what I can. I am fascinated by the stories of the world and the challenges we all face. If you come across this blog while on your own midnight quest for knowledge I hope you find it comforting that you are not alone. We are truly in this together and we share the weight of the world’s health issues on collective shoulders.

To your good health,

Kris

Paradoxical Progesterone

Human as defined in one paragraph by Dictionary.com is “of, pertaining to, or having the nature of people: human frailty”. I can relate to that definition especially “human frailty” more days than I care to even acknowledge but when you take on “Heal Thyself” as your badge of identity you face those days with a sense of purpose.

There have been many of those frail human moments in the past few years since I took on my foe, Hashimoto’s Dis-ease. Why? You ask. Because to “heal thyself” is often a daunting task and you need lots of support from the medical community, friends and even strangers who become friends through one commonality: human frailty. Mine just happens to be a thyroid that resists normal treatment and time and again I find myself faced with something new and unusual to find an answer to.

If your thyroid doesn’t run on all pistons at all times it seems like one hormone or another is always in need of tweaking. This past weekend it seemed to be my sex hormones that were slightly wacky but that was not clear from the onset. It was only after some introspective time that the light finally dawned that what I have and did experience might be what Uzzi Reiss describes as a “paradoxical” response to taking bio-identical Progesterone.

The paradox, you see, is that Progesterone is supposed to be a calming hormone, one I often rightly or wrongly liken to Melatonin, but in some human females it can react in quite the opposite way leaving you feeling quite stimulated. If Uzzi Reiss is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, in some women who take Progesterone with bio-identical Estrogens the Progesterone actually affects the way your body absorbs and utilizes the Estrogen.

Youthful Aging Center has this to say about progesterone it “is the balancing act for all of the estrogens within the body. It is also very important for normal reproduction and for menstrual function. Bioequivalent progesterone influences the health of your bones, blood vessels, heart, brain, skin, and many other tissues and organs.

As a precursor, progesterone is used by the body to make all of the other steroid hormones, including DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. In addition, progesterone plays an important role in mood, blood sugar balance, libido and thyroid function, as well as in the health of your adrenal glands.”

Yes, progesterone is vital to the female body and our bodies need it to run efficiently and to avoid the pitfalls of the aging process BUT if you experience the paradoxically stimulating effects of progesterone it is most disturbing and perplexing. It is possible, no it is probable that balancing all your hormones may be necessary before you can successfully add progesterone, yet progesterone is often the first thing doctors prescribe even before testing your progesterone levels.

I think, based on personal experience and clinical studies, there truly are three paradoxical reactions to progesterone and three different reasons. Paradox #1 may be due to progesterone’s affect on your cortisol levels. Apparently the progesterone can convert to cortisol and if you already have high cortisol it is going to make things worse. Or you might  experience hot flashes and some depression, we will call this Paradox #2. It is due to the down regulation or overloading of estrogen receptor sites. Another negative reaction to progesterone when you aren’t used to it might be an increase in your appetite and subsequent weight gain, there you have it, Paradox #3.

If you suffer from the second paradoxical response this could be due to low estrogen levels. If you are menopausal and your doctor has foolishly put you on a low dose of  BHRT (aka E1 and E2) taking progesterone will clog the estrogen receptor sites and now with your low dose of estrogen you will have hot flashes like you haven’t had in years.

Take it from me it has happened. If your levels of E1(Estrone), E2 (Estradiol), and E3 (Estrone) are not correct optimizing your estrogen levels especially E1 and E2  may take care of the paradox and allow your body to react correctly to Progesterone.

I also believe I have experienced Paradox #1. I have challenged adrenals according to my ZRT saliva cortisol tests I have taken twice in the past year. I am not in full blown adrenal fatigue (not yet anyway) but I can see that my cortisol levels are affected negatively by any progesterone intake. So dramatic is this effect that I see a rise in my temperatures, both basal and daytime, within a day of progesterone intake or using it on my skin.

The temperatures are a remarkable indication of its power but the paradoxical effect is worse. I will awaken around midnight (but sometimes 3 or 4) with a racing heart. This is usually precipitated by a vivid and disturbing dream and when I awaken I am hot and sweaty and have a distinct need to get up.

At that point I have no choice but to lumber out to my cold (we turn the heat down to 55 at night) and dark kitchen and prepare my special elixir, filtered water and a full teaspoon of sea salt. It is the only thing that will calm my racing heart and thankfully it works every time. (I have this love/hate relationship with salted water. I need it but I hate it and I am tired of my unquenchable need for it but  that is off the topic.) The elixir cures what ails me but, more to the point, the entire episode is likely caused by an adrenaline surge because the progesterone is converting to cortisol and my nighttime cortisol is already high.

Dr. Reiss suggests a way to possibly cope with the paradox until you get everything in equilibrium. Apparently we absorb far less progesterone through the skin, so he suggests applying progesterone to the breasts, so that they get the benefit of progesterone. His dosing schedule is a bit difficult to decipher, so it might be better if you either worked with a knowledgeable physician (good luck with that one) or experimented on your own.

The answer to all three reactions is to either reduce or discontinue your intake of progesterone until things are in balance. If you need to lower your progesterone dosage trying an over the counter (OTC) cream might be just the trick.I have tried the Emerita brand because it has no parabens and other ingredients that I abhor. Also NOW brand has a fairly natural list of ingredients and they are both USP progesterone creams which are the only effective progesterone creams sold over the counter.

There are interesting discussions about the paradoxical effects of progesterone on several websites and I find the sharing of knowledge encouraging. You see it is only with the discussion that we learn, if we close ourselves off to the experiences of others we lose a very important resource. Some find the sharing of knowledge threatening, I find it invigorating and edifying.

I cannot tell you many times something has happened to me that seems totally out of the parameters of the “norm”. My reaction is to start researching and with that I find there are many souls like me out there. I hope if you glean nothing else from your time on KrisInsight you will find one morsel of tantalizing information that you never considered before. You don’t have to agree but if it sparks a thought that will make my day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you next Monday,

Kris

NA Brew and You

I was thinking as I pondered this week’s blog that featuring a bottle of beer might grab your interest. Now I ask you, did it? There is a medicinal purpose for this interest grabber but all the same most will not expect it of a blog that is mostly devoted to hypothyroidism. Well you will now expect the unexpected.

A few weeks ago I was fascinated by a news story I found on Twitter, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/nonalcoholic-beer-aids-marathon-recovery/. My piqued curiosity was primarily a result of my ongoing electrolyte issue, something in retrospect I think has been with me forever. I am sure no one else reading this article connected NA beer with electrolytes but leave it to me.

Decades ago I ran a half marathon. I did not enjoy the run and when we finished I was totally dehydrated, I didn’t know I was totally dehydrated but when the proffered drink, Coca Cola, was consumed with some voracious appetite for replenishing fluid, I was suddenly hit with stomach cramps of a humongous proportion. I spent the rest of the afternoon in a warm tub of water, writhing.

You see when running in those days, whether it was 5 miles or 10,  I avoided hydration because any fluid inside often had the negative affect of causing a stitch in my side. “Stitch” is an euphemism for paralyzing pain that stops you in your tracks and according to the site I looked at many think it has something to do with your liver. I suspect I was dehydrated, very low on minerals and high in inflammation when I finished the 15K race in the hot July sun. If strained ligaments that support your liver are the cause of such pain mine were in paroxysms of strain.

Fast forward a decade or two, and thanks to struggling adrenals my electrolytes are often on the edge of imbalance and a good long soak in a hot tub can put me over the edge and always has. For me the after effect of a long soak in a very hot tub of water is a racing heartbeat that nearly roars in my ear and awakens me from a sound sleep. I now know what to do (run to the kitchen and drink a large glass of very salty water) but I am always looking for help with this issue. Enter non-alcoholic beer, yes, you read that right, a non-alcoholic (NA) brew.

Last week after a nice hot tub evening we were going to have homemade pizza. What is perfect with pizza? Well, for some the only answer is beer. I am not a devotee but having read the article on how well marathon runners recover if they drink  non-alcoholic beer before and after a race I was looking for any excuse to give it a try. I am currently not gluten free, so I do not have to seek out gluten free non-alcoholic beer and the Beck’s NA that I found is actually very tasty, a slightly bitter German brew that is nicely hoppy with the perfect carbonation. I had no Beck’s NA before my bath but two afterwards plus a slice of salty pizza.

I did not count the carbs ( honestly I didn’t want to know) but I suspect the extra carbs are also helpful to marathon runners. My goal was an uninterrupted night of sleep and my goal was achieved. I did have Celtic Sea Salt throughout the day but I always do that and still have to get up and drink salt water. I also take Tri-Salts, a mixture of magnesium, calcium and potassium but again I always do that, so the NA beer was the only change and it made a difference, it really did. I got up but it was for reasons other than a need for salty water to calm my racing heart.

Talk about unscientific studies this one has no control subjects, no pre-bath data to compare to post-bath data but I will do it again and wanted to share the article and my experience with my readers. By the way, the article did state that drinking alcoholic beer probably negates any benefits of the polyphenols found in beer even though the alcoholic beer is even more loaded with polyphenols. Also, just for the sake of knowledge gleaned, unpasteurized beer is even more loaded with polyphenols, B vitamins, etc. but still alcohol negates most of the benefits.

Yes, you’ve got that right, there is no excuse for a bender this weekend. I take no responsibility for anyone drinking one to one and a half liters of strong beer in the name of lowering inflammation and possibly assisting electrolyte imbalances but, gosh, if you do, and it works, let me know.

Experimenting for your good health,

Kris

Almost Nirvana and Other Madness

This week’s blog is for my fellow thyroid sufferers and other “spoonies”. A thyroid friend contacted me the other day and asked how I was doing (Hi Olivia) that got me to thinking that I hadn’t reported recently on the status of my health. There isn’t really anything earth shattering to report, nothing fabulous or horrific but I feel after a year on T3 only, and hitting more than a few bumps in the road, things are nearly there, almost nirvana (but superstition keeps me from saying anything more).

I will do a quick rundown of the past year for those who might be unfamiliar. I have had hypothyroidism for 15 years give or take a year. In those years my dose of Syn-crap was constantly inadequate and being increased every time I had my blood drawn. I found a good doctor who would let me try Armour in 2010 but after about a year on Armour I was still having problems with an irregular heartbeat that began three years prior to trying Armour (things started out quite well on Armour but then Forest Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation and the irregularity came back with a vengeance).

I decided to go the “T3 only” route in April 2010 after reading Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and investigating various health forums that she introduced to my world. I had been battling this irregularity for more than three years now and despite what my doctor was telling me (you need to see a cardiologist) I knew  my heart was reacting to something akin to an improper release of adrenaline and that had to be caused by one thing, my improperly treated thyroid. I fit the description of a person with a Reverse T3 issue, basically an inability to get enough T3 to the thyroid receptors because they are blocked by T4. If the receptors are blocked by T4 the T4 is not converted to T3 as it needs to be for the thyroid to use it, so you are always under treated and have a resistance to any thyroid medication that has T4 in it.

Around this time last year, that is July Fourth and approximately 3 months on T3 only, I suddenly started having panic attacks, inability to sleep through the night, a feeling of not being able to swallow, diarrhea and a basal temperature of 98.2 -98.4. My daytime average wasn’t that high and other factors led many with whom I consulted to feel I was suffering intolerance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to intolerance issues, so I tested my adrenal health. The tests showed challenged adrenals, not full blown adrenal fatigue but low normal results especially midday, so I did try Isocort and then hydrocortisone but by and large those made me feel worse. [In retrospect, thanks to many talks with Nanci, I have concluded that my adrenals were weak but should never have been treated with anything containing hydrocortisone but hindsight is 20/20 as they say].

I “cleared” in July and had to drop my dose from 125 mcg to 68.75 mcg. I stayed on the Isocort (taking it like this 3-3-2-1) and gradually increased my dose of Cynomel according to my temperatures. Increasing according to my temperatures meant that I actually increased too much and too fast and eventually developed a bothersome tremor in my hands. It was so pronounced that it made my job (dental hygienist) difficult but the good news is I never had to quit working despite what I would call the rigors of clearing T4 from my receptors.

Last autumn was actually pretty miserable as I diligently climbed my way back to taking  125 mcg of T3. I was constantly taking my temperature three times a day and finding it sub normal over all, sometimes even my basal temperature was below 97.6, so I would up the dose despite the tremor and sleepless nights. Things weren’t great, I didn’t feel “normal”, my temperatures weren’t “normal” and I was getting discouraged.

Christmas was the nadir of my T3 only treatment. I had increased and decreased and now I was taking 118.75 mcg. It was Christmas Day and we were in Bayfield, Wisconsin with family an activity that usually brings me joy. That weekend I hardly slept, my heart was racing constantly. Basically, I was miserable, so I decreased again despite my temperatures  (which still weren’t normal) to 112.50 mcg. Nothing improved, nothing.

To make this now long introduction a little  shorter, after talking online for months with several helpful “thyroid friends” (to whom I am most grateful) this last winter, in February, I decreased dramatically to 50 mcg of T3. Miracles of miracles, almost overnight all of my objectionable symptoms disappeared, my temps didn’t come up but I finally felt human again after months of, gosh I hate to be dramatic, torture. I honestly couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I could go upstairs without feeling breathless, I was sleeping the sleep of normal people, my thinking was clear, my tremor completely disappeared and miracle of miracles my irregular heartbeat was better than it had been in years.

Enter Kris today. I am enjoying summer in Minnesota (yes, it finally has arrived), my new grandson and relatives visiting for the Fourth of July. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 spread out in four equal doses the last one being as I turn the light out at bedtime. My daily average temperature is sub-par but my basal is within normal limits (97.8) and as long as I feel “human” I am sticking to 50 mcg of T3.

I know my current regimen flies in the face of everything my gurus on the RT3 site recommend but my heart is as regular as it has been in years and the other night I actually found myself sleeping on my left side. That is a significant event only for those of us who have experienced the sound of a pounding irregular heartbeat. When you lay on your left side the sounds of your heartbeat are magnified and, needless to say, unbearable when those beats are irregular. When I awoke sleeping on my left side I knew I had passed a milestone in my treatment.

I have my daily supportive routines like taking at least 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every day, twice a day. I take one Thorne B #12, Thorne folocal if I take additional B12, Krill oil, antioxidants with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, and Bio-Astaxanthin every day. Other days I might add Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc Picolinate Plus, Super K, Chlorella and Spirulina.

Three times a week I put a scoop of  Boku Superfood in my morning smoothie which consists of some form of protein powder (SunWarrior or Mercola’s Whey). I am currently not following a gluten free diet but my carb intake is very low during the week and only on the weekend do I eat more carbs. I guess you could call it carb loading for a day or two which is sometimes recommended by exercise coaches.

All in all, I feel my health this summer is far better than last summer. My blood test panel showed improvements but certainly not perfection. My hormones are all low but my SHBG was very high, so that is the explanation for the low levels of my sex hormones. I know I need to compensate with higher doses of Estradiol and Progesterone but have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in treating with the Wiley Protocol. My gall bladder still troubles me but that has been ongoing for years and I now understand that a sluggish thyroid lends itself to a sluggish gall bladder, so I take the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as I can. I have a very dry burning mouth at times and my eyes feel dry, so I suspect Sjogren’s but there is no diagnosis of such a thing and with a diagnosis I am not sure anything would change. I use natural lubricant for my eyes and I have very good oral hygiene.

Does my heartbeat still trouble me? Sometimes I can feel it “skip a beat” but instead of panicking I take it in stride and soon things are normal again. It is never precipitated by exercise, so I am not fearful. My blood pressure is nearly perfect if on the low side. My energy is good but I am careful not to overdo as I feel my adrenal health is still compromised (indicated by my low temperatures of 98 degrees most afternoons that I check). My sleep is the best it has been in years and I often don’t wake at all or if I do it is only once and I go right back to sleep.

My wish for all the “thyroid friends” and “Spoonies” who read this is that you, too, can find your peace. Just know that some day you will turn the corner and find your self again. Even if it is fleeting, for that singular moment just enjoy the experience of  being you again.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

Is Your Life in Balance?

What a perplexing spring this has been so far. In Minnesota one is left in a quandry as to whether the air conditioning needs to be on high or turned off. Furnace on; furnace off. Fan on; fan off. Winter coats upstairs; winter coats downstairs. Boots, What? Puleeze no more winter boots. It is the 16th of May for goodness sake.

I wish that Mother Nature would just make up her mind and let us poor northerners enjoy a little of the fabulous season called spring before our hot and humid months begin and we all speak of “dog days” and other such maladies of summer.

(After duly complaining about our non spring I would like to say a small prayer for those southerners who live in the Mississippi River delta regions and ask that Mother Nature be gentle on them. They really have had enough.)

As I write I am left wondering if good ol’ Mother Nature (heretofore being referred to as Mother N) is in a hormone crisis and should be investing her time in studying bio-identical hormones instead of brewing up monster weather patterns that routinely devastate large swaths of our great country. Mother N reminds me of some women I know who have or are soon to enter menopause and they seem to leave a trail of discontent and unhappiness wherever they go, whatever they do.

If you will allow me to stay on this theme of Mother N being a female, and a human one at that, I have a suggestion for her.  Run, don’t walk, to the closest practicing medical person who is knowledgeable on cycling bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT). Ask this medical person to test your sex hormones, test your thyroid hormones and test adrenal hormones. Seriously whether you are Mother N or a human, female or male, and you find yourself consistently blowing up a big storm and devastating the lives or even just the moods of everyone around you it is time to run some blood tests and find the source of your angst. Hormone imbalance is a bitch to suffer with and honestly a bitch to live with.

Before making any appointments perhaps Mother N should read. I have made lots of suggestions in the past about books to read on the subject of BHRT like Suzanne Somer’s books Ageless, The Sexy Years and now I can add T.S. Wiley’s book titled Sex, Lies and Menopause. I have not finished the book but I can report that it is a book filled with interesting facts and reasons why you should at the very least consider BHRT and once you consider replacing your missing hormones then do your studying and perhaps consider doing it following the Wiley Protocol. Mother N would do well to enter her doctor’s office informed and able to discuss pros and cons of BHRT and the Wiley Protocol.

Personally, I find the idea of replacing my hormones based on the cycles of the moon somehow very comforting even if, and this is a huge IF, it brings back monthly periods. I have mulled this over and decided that I could handle it if bringing things in to balance will allow for a normal life span and more freedom from diseases that plague women of today (no one can really guarantee that but I have to tell myself that to get excited about a return of the shedding of endometrial lining every month).

Now the problem I face (and Mother N really doesn’t as she is everywhere at all times) is finding a practitioner who will prescribe the Wiley Protocol hormones. There are none in Minnesota or if there are they aren’t advertising on the Wiley Protocol site. The closest practitioner to me in the Twin Cities is in Des Moines, IA and I cannot justify traveling 245 miles, I just can’t. I am going to contact a physician who is listed on the Wiley Protocol site and see if I could arrange a phone consultation with blood test results sent to them but it seems unlikely that anyone will do it. I even follow a Wiley Protocol practitioner from California on Facebook and perhaps Shira Miller would consider phone consultations. I will keep you up-to-date on that one and if anyone has any experience with a Wiley practitioner please share your information by leaving a comment.

Oh before I close for this week, what should we do about Mother N? Today she is blessing south central Minnesota with sunshine but as if to remind us that she is still the bitch in charge the winds are whipping at gale force 4 and birds are crabbing to stay in the air. Gosh until she sees her doctor I wonder if a bit of chamomile tea would help or a tincture of Vitex or even Rosemary (rosemary tincture is good for everyone, right?). We need good weather restored to the center of the country and the restoration of peace and tranquility, so hurry up Mother N find your doctor and get those hormones in balance.

See you next week,

Kris

What Flute Are You Following?

You know the story of the Pied Piper, right? It struck me in talking to my friend this week that many of us follow our doctor’s advice like they are Pied Pipers. They say something, we follow it like some magical flute leading us along a wrong way path, often because we are given no choice in the matter.

I have talked to far too many people who, when they question a doctor’s diagnosis or ask about something their doctor said (or didn’t say), are put on the spot with some inane question like “I suppose you read that online” accompanied by a look that puts you in your place. For those folks, I thought I would share my friend’s recent experience. As usual I will most likely make a short story long but bear with me.

My friend, who shall remain nameless for privacy sake, receives medical care from, in my words, a functional medicine physician (or integrative is another term for the same type of medical practice) for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Functional medicine physicians as defined by me are MDs who ask more questions, incorporate all walks of medicine in their practice and generally think outside the box. I think they are far superior to the poor overworked GP who has been told by their practice managers that they have no more than 15 minutes per patient and sometimes, it has been noted, never take their hand off the doorknob. This is an important detail because she is being treated, let’s just say for the ease of it, in a rather elite fashion.

My friend and I have weekly discussions about health because we are both avid researchers and honestly, we are willing to experiment with alternative medical treatments. For example, I met my friend when I owned a FIR sauna business. She came in for FIR sauna treatments to help diminish her fibromyalgia pain. She was experimenting to see if the sauna would really help (To her doctor’s credit she had suggested the FIR sauna).

To exemplify my willingness to try alternative medical care, two years ago I bought a Mercola Sunsplash Renew because Joe Mercola claimed it could maintain healthy D levels with no supplementation. I felt having good D levels was of primary importance to the healthy functioning of a human body. I think this is another important detail because both my friend and I try to think outside the proverbial “box”.

We also try various treatment plans our doctors suggest and we try out things we have researched and then we spend time testing these things and discussing them. We have often discussed thyroid disease as that is my primary interest and my friend would tell me about symptoms she thought were typical of hypothyroidism. Practitioners like Dr. John Lowe feel that there is a connection between Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism, so I asked her long ago in one discussion if she had ever had a complete thyroid panel. In my opinion, everyone who has some symptoms should have a complete thyroid panel and if your doctor won’t test it then do it yourself.

At the time she told me “No, my doctor has only run a TSH. She always says I am fine.” Really? REALLY? My friend is cold all the time, she suffers from constipation, she can’t sleep, she has unremitting pain and rather more subjectively she feels her hair is falling out. What more do you need before you as a doctor run a complete thyroid panel?

On and on these discussions went and this year when she saw her integrative medical doctor for her yearly appointment my friend requested a complete thyroid panel be done. I will list below the thyroid tests plus the other tests that Janie Bowthorpe recommends to diagnose hypothyroidism properly:

      1-TSH – this lab is only for diagnosis of hypopituitary NOT to diagnose or dose your hypothyroidism
      2-Free T4 and Free T3 (note the word “free”–important since it measures what is unbound and available.)
      3-Reverse T3–to be done at the same time you do the Free T3. Then calculate your ratio with the results.
      4-Thyroid Antibodies (anti-TPO and TgAb. YOU NEED BOTH.)
      5-Ferritin and % Saturation, TIBC and serum iron (all iron related labs)
      6-Adrenal- Cortisol levels (make sure it is done with saliva tests, not the one time blood test your doctor will do.)
      7-B-12 and Folate
      8-RBC Magnesium and Potassium (rather than serum), plus Calcium, Sodium, Glucose (part of Metabolic panel, though you’ll need RBC for above)
      9-Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D lab test)

My friend had tested many of these things prior to this year’s appointment, so she only requested the thyroid tests and guess what, just guess? She has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, her FT3 was a little low and her FT4 was a little high and she had a RT3 ratio of 12 and it should be at least 20. She has hypothyroidism and a RT3 issue and no one, not even the best doctor in our area, had ever checked this out and it would have been so simple. If she hadn’t been diligent, irritatingly persistent and had a doctor willing to indulge her requests she would never have known that her thyroid needs attention.

Of course, now the question is where does she go with her new found knowledge. It is a serous question to ponder. She does not want to self treat, so she is researching the “good thyroid” docs in our area and finding there aren’t very many, sadly she isn’t sure there are any, and this is the “progressive” state of Minnesota. She could go to her integrative medicine doctor but she was already told by that doctor that she knew nothing of reading a thyroid panel like the one my friend requested. I would suggest my functional medicine guy but he totally overlooked my RT3 ratio and when my TSH was suppressed by Armour he immediately lowered my dose which was unnecessary (when on NDT your TSH should be suppressed) , so I hardly want to refer someone to him.

It is a conundrum we all will face eventually. The best thing for all of us would be a revamping of our medical education and elimination of insurance driven medical practices but neither of those will ever happen (I feel government control is no better than insurance companies). We can take things in to our own hands as much as possible as Joe Mercola advocates with his “take control of your health”. Dr. Teitelbaum at End Fatigue had an interesting article on what to do if given a “serious diagnosis” but knowing the right thing for you when things go wrong is difficult at best.

There are many things that can go wrong with the human body. In this case, I think it comes down to the “thyroid madness” that Janie Bowthorpe refers to on her site and in her book “Stop the Thyroid Madness”. No one, not even elite doctors take the issue seriously and we patients have to stop following like lemmings and think for ourselves, do our research and be our own best advocate. If my friend weren’t her own best advocate she would still be in the dark about a treatable condition. I see this as a serious dereliction of duty on the part of medical doctors who have promised to “do no harm”. It is happening too often to too many people out there with hypothyroid symptoms. They are quite literally being led astray by a magical flute played by a medical school graduate referred to respectfully as Doctor. Never mind the last name is Pied Piper.

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