Myxedema Coma

IMG_1917 (2)Another week has come and gone and as with all weeks there were ups and downs. I had the joy of meeting up with friends on not just one day but two with lots of healthy laughter and some moments of poignancy. My birds entertained me royally from my kitchen window and my garden produced a plethora of multicolored beans.

On the downside our own private Idaho seems to be surrounded by forest fires that are spreading precipitously every day thanks to high winds and no precipitation. Our cabin is small and on the side of a mountain, so we watch and worry about seeing it every morning when we check our webcams. My prayers go out to all those who live and work in the area of the fires as these fires threaten not just their mountain cabins; the mere lick of a wind-swept flame could put their families in harm’s way.

While not really a downside the more serious issue of my health was discussed with my homeopathic/MD doctor and we are now trying to decide what all my food sensitivities are. There is a blood test I could do for $750 (“Should you win the lottery, or somehow find yourself with some spare cash.”) or I can keep a food diary and see if I can figure out what causes my burning mouth syndrome. Suspects include rosemary (for the moment) but who knows I haven’t kept a food diary in a long time and while this issue has plagued me for several years I can never connect it to anything in particular.

Anyway I wonder how your week was, did you have any health revelations? Did you see friends and spend lots of time laughing and enjoying just a touch of civil disobedience? Whatever your week presented you with I hope it was a week not wasted with something learned every day and every moment experienced even if not always enjoyed. After all even the bad things in life are to be appreciated. When you conquer the “bad things” you feel such a sense of relief and contentment.

I forgot my T3

One of my “Oh No” moments this week was being contacted on Krisinsight by a group member/friend. Her note stated that she was flying out-of-town for the weekend and she forgot her T3. Would she be okay? At first I panicked for her because there is a good chance she wouldn’t be okay.

After I gathered my wits, which can often be scattered under stress, I had some suggestions. What I didn’t want to tell her was the possible consequences of not taking your T3, especially if your thyroid no longer makes its own hormones, so I avoided the bad stuff and just tried to think of possible solutions.

Myxedema Coma

One consequence of not taking your T3, in case you didn’t know by now, is a condition called myxedema coma (a decompensated thyroid). If your body isn’t getting T3 (whether from taking T3 or taking a natural desiccated thyroid product or Syncrap)  you suffer loss of brain function due to low levels, over an extended period of time, of thyroid hormone.

Symptoms are severe mental changes, hallucinations, edema, difficulty breathing, abnormally low body temperature (80 degrees is possible) pleural effusion, etc. Myxedema coma is more likely caused by the failure of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus to make the thyroid hormone it is capable of making or you are not supplying the hormone in the case of someone who is already being treated for hypothyroidism.

There are various triggers for myxedema coma. Triggers might include various drugs (especially narcotics, anesthesia), stroke, trauma, heart failure, internal bleeding and last but not least forgetting to take your thyroid hormones. Ultimately a person who suffers myxedema coma may die if not treated promptly and correctly. This was the news I did not want to relay to my friend.

What can you do?

Instead I told her the first thing that popped in to my head. Perhaps she could try to find someone in her host city that would have T3 she could use until she got home. This would necessitate contacting the RT3 group and crying out for help which may or may not be very productive but it was the first thing I thought of and relayed to her.

Another idea would be to look up a health food store (even Wholefoods) that carries thyroid gland supplements. Taking that will supply you with T1, T2, T3 and T4, so once you are home you might have to go through a clearance process but at least you would prevent an issue of myxedema coma.

As I thought about this more I realized the best thing to do is contact your doctor or pharmacist and see what they can do to help you. In her case, she contacted her compounding pharmacy on Saturday morning. She was able to find a compounding pharmacy that was open  near her hotel and they were able to fill her prescription. That is where she left me as I am sure she got busy with the business of a class reunion and hopefully attended all the functions with no repercussions nor lack of thyroid medication.

Krisinsight

Thankfully most of us reading this will never suffer from myxedema coma but I thought it was something everyone should be aware of in case, just in case. I always travel with medication in several different places (but never in checked baggage) just to be sure I don’t leave home without my T3. It is a worry because to forget your T3 at home can have serious ramifications especially for those of us on T3-only.

I wonder if another good practice would be to investigate possible sources of thyroid meds wherever you are going. Google health food stores in the area and perhaps even call or email them and ask if they carry thyroid gland supplements. Talking to your doctor before you leave might serve the purpose of letting them know, if they get a call from out-of-state, you might have to call in case of emergency. I know I could do this with my homeopathic/ MD because she is a one person practice and sooner or later she would respond. Can you think of any other possible solutions to what could be a deadly omission to your holiday plans?

Summer’s Bounty Recipe

IMG_2211 (2)

My garden continues to produce but it is being very parsimonious this year. To use the word “bounty” is generous but it sounds good to my ears. Any other word would just  sound pathetic. For instance this year I planted an entire long row (at least 6 feet long) of little round French carrots and got perhaps as many as 12 carrots. Each one being precious I have only tasted one or two but yesterday I pulled six of them, washed and polished them like precious gems, and roasted them for supper.

When I was done I had these gorgeous carrot tops resting on my kitchen counter and I couldn’t throw them away, so I got this great idea of making pesto with them and found a recipe to provide amounts and possible ingredients. Did you know that carrot greens are high in potassium? We thyroid types always need potassium, so what better way than eating carrot green basil pesto?

Carrot Green-Basil Pesto

  • 1 large handful of carrot leaves without stems
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 0r instead of seeds 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cup oil of your choice (I used 1/4 flax-seed oil and 1/2 cup olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • generous grinding of pepper

I put this all in my processor in the order as written and processed it until I had a smooth paste. It was pretty thick, so I added more oil but you could add the lemon juice the original recipe called for. Despite the fact that the article said carrot leaves can be bitter, the pesto is quite sweet and pleasant and I will use it as I would any pesto on gluten-free pasta, on sandwiches made with gluten-free bread or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Bon Appetito!

Santé,
Kris

 

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Josiah Page on 19:05 at Thursday, August 15, 2013

    I just got my copy of “Recovering With T3″ in the mail today and I look forward to studying it carefully. Thanks for recommending it.
    Josiah

    Reply

    • You are welcome. I really found it helpful (his methodology helped me raise my dose from 37.5 mcg to 50 mcg which is where I am at the present time), so I hope you find it helpful. He now has another book out that compliments and completes “Recovering with T3”. I will have to get it as he says it helps you fine tune your T3-only regimen but even having the first one has been tremendously helpful.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Josiah Page on 15:39 at Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Regarding Myxedema Coma, consider my case. I’m severely hypo because of a serious T4 conversion problem that results in very high RT3 and seriously low T3. I’m currently on no thyroid meds because I haven’t seen a doctor yet (I have an appointment). Once I do receive some cytomel and follow the clearing protocol and reach the condition that you (Kris) are currently in with almost no TSH and T4, would I then be vulnerable to Myxedema Coma if I suddenly stopped the cytomel? Wouldn’t my pituitary/thyroid react quickly enough to return me to my current severely hypo, low T3, high RT3 state. I think of physiological responses taking place in minutes and hours not days and weeks, but I guess I’m wrong about that,

    Josiah

    Reply

    • As I understand it (that is the T3-only protocol) we basically shut down the normal process of our thyroids when we take T3 only. That means we are very dependent on that dose of T3 and if we go too long without the T3 we will go into a coma-like state. Many people wear medical bracelets in case of emergency, so that if they end up in hospital the medical personnel will know to give them T3. That said, I had a thyroid friend who did take herself off all T3 (Cynomel) because she was feeling so poorly and she did not go into the myxedema state. I puzzled over this for a long time but I think the reason for this was she had never completely cleared the T4 out of her receptors and thus was still in the clearance process and her thyroid was still functioning on its own. Mind you she did not feel better by doing this but it was the only thing she could think to do at the time. I think Paul Robinson deals with this in his book “Recovering With T3” but I know the RT3 group addresses this issue. What I don’t know is if they have it in a file, say, one of Val’s files. She is the pioneer in that group and has studied every facet of RT3 thyroid problems and solutions. So that was a long way of saying, “yes” to your question. Once you are on T3-only at a dose that restores your health as long as you take T3 only you need to take it regularly or possibly have your body go in to the state of myxedema coma. For some taking it four times a day is necessary. I take mine three times a day right now and Dr. John Lowe (the T3 advocate and real pioneer of T3 only treatment) took all his T3 at bedtime and did very well for years and years (he died last year after a serious fall but it had nothing to do with his T3 only treatment for thyroid disease). Is that encouraging or discouraging? And if you hear differently from your medical care provider please share the information as I am always open to new information.

      Reply

  3. Posted by meyesblu@aol.com on 16:00 at Monday, August 12, 2013

    I learned a long time ago from a Natural Path Doctor that if you hold in your hand something that you think that you have allergys with and your hand goes down when someone else tries to push it down then you are allergic..if your hand stays still when trying to push it down then you are not allergic…I hated food journals..so this was a blessing for me…

    Reply

    • That is called muscle testing (or applied kinesiology) and thank you for the reminder because I hate food diaries as well. My homeopathic doctor actually did suggest it and I have a friend who would be more than happy to help me as she muscle tests everything. If you have a chance what foods did you find were bothering you the most?
      Today, everything was okay until I had a white coffee (coffee with cream), so now I wonder about it. I will muscle test it on Thursday when Chloe, my research assistant extraordinaire, is here. As Dr. Lane pointed out sometimes it takes two or three days for something to react, so muscle testing might be more indicative than what I just ate or smelled.
      There are ways to muscle test yourself but I have never gotten the hang of it. I could also use my pendulum but I find that works better when helping other people, so Thursday Chloe and I shall have some fun.

      Reply

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