Vacation and Your Thyroid

Vacations are necessary to maintain good health and well being, right? I always thought so but now I see a complication, not altogether unexpected but a complication all the same. When you have thyroid disease and compromised adrenal health an overseas vacation sets you back and does not contribute to an overall increase in your health or well being. Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful holiday, great walks in the beautiful Scottish and northern England countryside, imbibed in some tasty food and best of all felt comforted by the company of cherished friends. My thyroid and adrenals are reporting a different story and as always I am fascinated.

Before we went on vacation I was well in to my T3 only regime and things were coming together quite nicely. My daytime temps were close to averaging 98.6 and my basal temperatures were 98.2 consistently. I still had this tremor in my hands (slightly hyperthyroid or not all the T3 was reaching the receptors) but everything else was improving markedly. While on vacation I had my trusty thermometer by my bedside and I duly took my temperature every morning before getting out of bed. My basal temperature maintained a very healthy 98.2, all systems were on full throttle.

Fast forward to our homecoming last Tuesday. We had a late afternoon flight from Heathrow, so our day of departure was a leisurely and comfortable day unlike most of our traveling days in the past. We took off at 14:25 and arrived in Minneapolis at 5:30. The flight was a non-event which is something for me to say as I am not a happy air traveler. We stayed up until 21:00 and I slept until about 2:30 which was about the time we were getting up in England and Scotland as it tended to be 7:30-8:30 in the morning when we would start the day. As it was so early I didn’t take my basal temperatures but I did check my daily temperatures on Wednesday and they were all over the board. I was low 97.6, I was high 99 and then low again. What?

The next day my basal temperature was a healthy 98.2 and as I was working all day temperatures were not possible. I actually felt quite good and we were almost back to our normal 9-5:30 sleeping schedule, although still waking around 2:30-3 but able to return to a deep sleep. My basals maintained 98.2 but during the weekend my daytime temps were too low as I never did get above 98.2 and mostly stayed around 97.8.

It is now Monday morning, almost a week post-holiday. My basal temperatures are 97.6 and so far my temperature is staying around 98 this morning. My daytime temperatures are no longer up and down and all over the place, so I am assuming my adrenal glands have recovered slightly but my poor thyroid is struggling to get out of the dump it is in. My doctor once told me not to have a blood test for several weeks after being overseas as it would not be accurate and now I know exactly what he meant. I have suddenly gone hypo again.

Now the question is, do I increase my T3? Should I have stress dosed some hydrocortisone when we got home? I am really in the dark on this but I am going to experiment as I always do, it is the only way to really learn how things affect your particular body. I am going to maintain my 100 mcg of T3, return to a healthier diet, get my sleep, exercise lightly and generally let everything heal. I would guess it might take 2 weeks to repair the damage done by overseas travel. In any case I will give it two weeks and then if the basal temperatures have not returned to a normal and healthy 98.2 and my daytime temperatures are below the normal average of 98.6 I will increase my T3 slightly (6.25 mcg). If the tremor in my hands resumes I may stress dose Hisone for a couple of weeks to see if that allows the random T3 that is not getting to the cell receptors to settle in and do its job.

Did I have a great vacation? I did. Would I do it again? I will, I love Great Britain, I love my friends and I can think of nowhere I would rather be. I am whole when I am in Great Britain, there is no missing link and I feel great. I am convinced that if one didn’t have to go through the time change and subsequent jet lag even my thyroid and adrenals would have post-holiday euphoria. For now I will have to settle for my happy memories and hope that next year I will be that little bit healthier.

Fabulous Britain 2010


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