Archive for the ‘Hypothyroidism’ Category

When Asked, Do Your Research!

???????????????????????????????It is a gorgeous late summer day in Minnesota, one of a handful we get each year, but last night was a harbinger of colder days to come. I awoke to frost and, of course, the end to the fragile vegetables that grow in my garden.

I had plenty of warning of this impending rime of ice, so yesterday, with some reluctance I picked every tomato, ripe or not. Every pepper was plucked and the yellow summer squash was gently removed from the vines that would soon be dead. With a lot of reluctance I left my garden a mere shadow of its summer self.

I am always sad to see the seasons change and my once burgeoning garden die but, just like we humans must change, the seasons must morph from summer to autumn, autumn to winter, winter to spring and back to summer again. It’s the cycle of life.

 

Iodine or not?

Speaking of change helps me segue to my next topic. I had an interesting experience this week that has caused me to change my mind. I was asked to be a moderator on a thyroid group, to try to help people who have this perplexing disease. That is what Krisinsight is all about, so at first I jumped at the chance to help even more people but then turned it down.

Why you ask have I turned down this opportunity? It seems I turned it down because I am not up-to-date with the latest thinking on iodine. I had said I would help out but then decided I should make sure I agreed with the recommendations the group makes. In asking some questions I discovered that they recommend iodine supplementation. I am not a supporter of iodine supplementation and that did it for me, I turned them down.

You see, 4 years ago my mentor was a “no iodine if you have Hashimoto’s” kind of gal. Her thinking, which is still correct, was based on the fact that iodine supplementation can cause flare-ups of Hashimoto’s and believe me flare-ups are not pleasant. She used to tell all of us that our thyroid medication filled all of our iodine needs and any further iodine would just make us sick.

I have adhered to this philosophy pretty stringently and it has worked for me. However, I have done many things that have improved my health including taking T3-only and healing my adrenals with Paul Robinson’s Circadian method of taking T3. I got my electrolytes normalized by taking slow release potassium and Celtic sea salt. I regularly take selenium and two years ago I went completely gluten-free which was one of the best things I ever did.

It is really hard to pinpoint that one thing that has made the difference but the hard truth is I may be healthy enough now to start supplementing iodine.

My Iodine history

I have a good reason for being wary of iodine despite the fact that it helps our bodies fight disease. I did take iodine about four years ago and I took 50 mg of Iodoral upon recommendation of another thyroid site dealing with iodine and Dr. David Brownstein. The idea is you detox bad things and the iodine feeds your thyroid and you get healthy with no other intervention. (Keep in mind that is a very simplistic and succinct statement it is far more complicated.)

At the time I took iodine my TSH went up to 13 which has never been the case not even when I was first diagnosed with thyroid problems umpteen years ago. That scared me and I lowered my dose but did not stop taking it. Once I started following advice on the RT3 Yahoo group I gave up additional iodine completely.

On changing one’s mind

Fast forward to my thinking as of today, my mentor’s advice is still sound when dealing with really sick and fragile people but there has been good patient feedback, according to Janie Bowthorpe, with healthy people taking small doses of iodine (as little as 3 mg of iodine and up to 12.5 mg of iodine).

My mentor was also correct we do get iodine in our thyroid medication but the amount of iodine in thyroid medications like Cynomel/Cytomel and NDT is measured in mcg and is inadequate to provide enough for your body as “the body is made up of about 1500 mg of iodine in all our tissues”. With the constant bombardment of fluoride and bromide (we need iodine to push the fluoride and bromide out of our thyroid receptors) it is reasonable to think that we need more iodine (measured in mg) than our thyroid medication (measured in mcg) is providing.

Krisinsight

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to me to start supplementing with iodine but in very small doses. I am going to start with capsules by Pure Encapsulations (If you would like to order from iHerb you can use my coupon code YAN884 and get a discount on your first order) that only provide mcg of additional iodine. I already supplement 200 mcg  of selenium which is a must (start with selenium and then add iodine if you want to try it). I am going to add additional B1 and B2 because iodine works synergistically with those co-factors and also Vitamin K (which is also needed to utilize Vitamin D).

My thinking, and no one else’s, is if a small dose has no ill-effect on me I will raise my dose and eventually take 6.25 mg but no more. High dose supplementation as recommended by Dr. Brownstein and others just did not work well for me and I do not care to repeat my experience.

I have always really respected Dr. Joe Mercola and his ability to rethink his advice. Over the years he has changed his recommendation on the amount of water one needs to drink, how much protein your body requires and even the type of exercise that is the most efficient. I think we really need to be willing to change. If patient’s are being helped with some iodine supplementation and not experiencing an autoimmune flare-up, my time has come.

Santé,

Kris

P.S. My recent Vitamin D test result was lower than February’s result yet again. In March my result was 74 ng/ml August’s results were 61 ng/ml. Every summer it is the same, my result is lower than the winter result when I am using my Mercola Sunsplash D-lites. This has now been true for 5 years.

 

 

Advertisements

Back On The Tundra

IMG_1663Phew! At last I am back on target for my June post. I am overjoyed that June has arrived and with it warmer weather and the ability to be outside.

I am sorry for the delay in posting (you may or may not have noticed I didn’t post anything last month). Sometimes life just gets in the way but let’s get right to what’s been happening to fill my days.

Winter Blues take their toll

Life getting in the way, started as I shared with you last time, sometime late winter when we decided we were tired of Minnesota. Tired of Minnesota winter. Tired of the traffic in the Twin Cities. Tired of the big city, period.

When we left Idaho 8 and a half years ago we left more than a little bit of our hearts there, so we decided to check out Boise, Idaho as a possible place to live. Our hope was that Boise, being smaller might provide us with the big city advantages without the BIG city challenges.

Here are a few reasons for considering Boise, Idaho:

  • The climate. I actually like winter but not for 6 months. Winters exist in Boise but they are much shorter. Winters are cold but not as cold as Minnesota. Summers are hotter in Boise but it is a dry arid heat and is fairly short-lived. Spring, ah blessed spring, it is much longer in Boise as winter is mostly over by the end of February.
  • Proximity to our land and cabin. Boise is an easy two-hour drive from Fairfield, Idaho. Our isolated cabin is approximately 10 miles out of Fairfield, so we would have better access to our cabin without living in the mountains.
  • The people. The people in Boise seem really happy to be there. They are friendly and welcoming with the laid back attitude that is much more prevalent in the western United States.
  • Access to easy air travel. Boise airport is small and easy to use. There is a direct flight to Minneapolis at least twice a day.
  • Access to all of the western United States. There are a multitude of National parks within hours of Boise. The ocean is only 8-9 hours away and the ability to stay active and fit is amazing.

To be honest, we loved Boise. We were shown the town by a really nice realtor, Eric DeBord. Between Eric and a friend and co-worker of my husband’s we were introduced to every corner of the area and we fell in love with it all. We came within seconds of making an offer on a really nice house near Boise in a town called Emmett and then…….

What is really important in your life?

Suddenly yours truly had to evaluate what she really valued in her life. I think the SU already knew that winter was not the evil thing I had conjured up during one of the worst winters I have encountered in my 60 years. Family, friends and even where we live near Stillwater, Minnesota were all things we love. They were all things we valued, so at the last-minute, (and thanks to Eric being rather busy and not getting right on it) we did not make an offer on the house we liked.

I have to admit that the biggest reason I could not leave Minnesota was my bond with my grandsons. We had a two-week trip to Scotland in the midst of all this decision-making. Two weeks of thinking, considering and contemplating our lives.

When we got home, the first thing we did was see our boys and I have never, ever experienced the heart wrenching feeling of holding them in my arms after two weeks of thinking I was going to move away from them. My oldest grandson, who is now 3, had a meltdown when his mommy had to get home after being with us most of the day. That caused this Nonna to meltdown and in a flood of tears my decision was made.

So now what?

We could not tear up our roots in Minnesota and replant them in Boise no matter how much we loved the city and surrounds, not now anyway. I knew my friends would visit and I knew from asking them that we would stay in touch no matter where I lived. I knew leaving my house was not an issue. A house is just that, a box that houses a family.

The family is the soul that gives a house life and as long as I had my family with me I could live anywhere. My daughter and her family have no interest in leaving Minnesota, so I knew I needed my soul much more than a box.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds but for the sake of keeping this post somewhat succinct let’s just say that over the course of two months other decisions were made that have now been undone. We are busily making our house more comfortable for us. I am getting my long-awaited spa (I will report on this later) which I am hopeful will allow more outdoor time during the long, cold winter months. We are going to make life here in Minnesota comfortable but whilst we are doing that we will enjoy the closeness of our family and friends.

Other news

As I also mentioned in my last post, in the midst of all this palaver of moving away I took my first level of Reiki healing. Now that I understand Reiki and its healing abilities it has changed things for me. My Reiki training was the best thing I could have done during this time of upheaval.

I find Reiki has helped me deal with life and its ups and downs. My sleep has improved more than I can tell you and one reason is if I wake early in the morning I say my Reiki mantra and perform Reiki on all my chakras. Before I know it I am back to sleep, and it is a deep restorative sleep.

I am also more meditative either through meditation or just Reiki self-treatment. I have found an inner calm that I have never possessed before. I am even doing yoga and signed up for Yoga classes at the nearby Pure Yoga studio.

I feel like a new person and I believe I owe much of this inner peace to the calm that Reiki instills. I look forward to my second level of Reiki training this summer. It seems that the more I know about Reiki, the more I want to know, so now I am even considering becoming a Reiki Master. Aside from an increased knowledge of Reiki, and its history, the master level would allow me to teach others this fabulous healing modality.

Krisinsight

I have already shared much of my insight with you in the words above. I mentioned last time that I am much healthier than I was which is still true. I think just as a reminder that I still have things to share there have been some ups and downs with my thyroid in the last month. I will be brief but hopefully enlighten those who share my dis-ease.

Since my last post I have increased my dose of T3 from 50 mcg. to 62.5 mcg. Now I cannot seem to stabilize my temperatures. One day they are close to 99, the  next day at the same time they are 97.8 (as they are right now at 2:30 in the afternoon and I just took a 12.5 dose of T3). I am concluding that it is possible that my dose of T3 is actually too high and my adrenals cannot support it but there are many things to be considered.

My reasons for increasing my T3 a few weeks ago were my basal temperatures were incredibly low (one morning my basal was 97.3). I increased by 6.25 mcg but my basals did not come up to a normal range of 97.8-98, so after a few weeks I increased my dose to 62.5 mcg. After about 10 days my basal temperatures are now closer to normal but my daytime temperatures are much too varied and, to me, that is indicative of too much stress on my adrenals.

For those of us who ride this roller coaster we know the ins and outs and ups and downs of thyroid dis-ease. There are many reasons that things can suddenly change, adrenal fatigue is only one possible cause, so I have to consider all things.

For instance, I know that it takes 6 weeks after making an overseas trip (one in which you cross several time zones) to get some semblance of normalcy. I have not been home from Scotland for 6 weeks yet, so perhaps that is causing some of my issues.

Another reason for possible variation is that the Cynomel could be from a bad batch or a new formulation. I did inquire about this possibility and was told the pharmacy was unaware that there were any other complaints and/or changes. By the way, for those on ERFA NDT, I did recently read that people are having hypo symptoms and the thought is the maker changed the formulation. Knowing that this happens all the time and no one is informed of the change, it is possible that something changed with Cynomel.

I also know that for me, and for many others, if we take too much T3 it can lower our temperatures, so the one way that most people can tell if they need more thyroid medication, our body temperature, becomes invalid. Paul Robinson’s book on Recovering With T3 deals with this subject very well and I know what I need to do is some testing and then consultation with Paul or the RT3 group to rule out any of those reasons.

First, with a blood test, I need to see where my FT3 is and if it is not in the upper range I know I actually do need more T3. If it is in the upper range and my temperatures continue to vacillate then I need to test my adrenal health with a diurnal cortisol test through Canary Club.

To this end, I recently took advantage of Life Extension’s blood panel sale getting a very complete blood panel including all my sex hormones, CMP, CBC, cortisol, insulin, A1C, FT3 and TSH for $97.50. Now I need to get to Labcorp in Edina, MN for my blood draw and I will have more information at my fingertips to help me and/or the group figure out what is happening on this exciting ride.

The good news, because there is always good news, is my energy is good. My sleep is great. My mood is happy and upbeat. Overall, most people with hypothyroidism would be happy to be where  I am at the moment but I know this body temperature issue is not right. I can tell when my temps are falling, as they are right now, because my toes and fingers start feeling very cold, so as always the quest continues. Where it takes me only next month will tell.

As for next month, I think I will stay on track for what Krisinsight currently entails, a pursuit of optimum health. I feel I have survived a crisis of small proportion. Perhaps turning 60 was more upsetting than I understood and having dealt with all the possibilities for change I learned that life as it is, is really quite good. So thank-you for bearing with me and I look forward to sharing more insight in the coming months.

SANTÉ,

Kris

 

Wind in My Sails

IMG_1917 (2)I have just arrived home after a whirlwind trip to northern Minnesota. It was one of those last-minute decisions that worked out perfectly, something that often doesn’t happen with those bees up-the-rear-end- type of events.

It was not a happy occasion but a necessary one. Our aunt died in October and left no children just nephews and nieces (by marriage) who loved her and cared what happened to her. My SU was ultimately responsible for her estate, so he and I spent all day Saturday emptying a house of Janet. We had moments when we laughed and moments when we cried. We had some difficult moments when something precious just had to go in the dumpster but others when we could think of a place for something else that will always remind us of her life.

In the end, I have to question the acquisition of things.  I keep thinking if someone came to my house today to empty it of “me” where would all of “me” go? Unfortunately, I know all too well after this weekend. I am trying to find solace in knowing that our life’s accumulation might help someone, somewhere, furnish a home. I know Janet would, but still, I think I will be more careful about adding things to my life in the future.

Updates galore

Or perhaps just, updates, would be more accurate. I have had a rough month now. It started as a rough week when Janet died, and then other things fell apart but it just keeps coming at me, so now I will call it a rough month. This on top of a trip abroad in September, which I love, but it always takes its toll. Have you noticed that you don’t recover as well from time change holidays? I sure do. First it takes me a week to get back on my time. Secondly, my adrenals get shaky and that’s not a good thing for someone whose endocrine system is already challenged.

By the end of October, I was feeling pretty good but there were blips. One blip was my irregular heartbeat. Everything was pretty stable in the morning but by afternoon and my second dose of T3 at noon my heart races at the slightest provocation and then it blips every so often. I hate that, I really do and it was happening frequently by the third week of October. My sleep was pretty good but the daylight hours from 1-3 p.m. were often marred by an occasional bur-blip, bur-blip and a cough. It varies by the day and by the stress in my day.

Here is what I noticed, warm hands and feet, something that is abnormal for me, so I randomly checked my temperatures. They were running really normal and slightly above. Hurrah! Perhaps I was slightly hyper but in any case things were better than average. My sleep was fair to good, also a good measure of thyroid output. My aches and pains were lessening.

What to do when it seems your world is falling apart

In general, I think things were/are pretty good despite the heart blips (sometimes called arrhythmia). Then just when you think things are going right with your world again something comes along to shake your foundation. Within the last week a family member informed me that I was difficult to be around and we needed a “break”. This is beyond upsetting to me and I wouldn’t normally share such goings on with the world but I think it is important for thyroid folks to know that family arguments, like deaths of loved ones, are very destructive and you need time to recover. The recovery will not happen overnight.

For two days my limbs visibly shook if I faced any tense moments (getting behind schedule at work for instance). I heard from this person via email and just reading the email caused me to shake and feel weak all over. As I read through the email I found that some of what was said was very true (I do comment on thyroid health a lot. I do try to be sympathetic to this person’s family situation.) Some statements were patently untrue and the untruths undid me even more. By the time the day ended I had that “wired but tired” feeling that I had when I had taken myself off all my thyroid medication (By the way, not something I ever recommend. I have been recovering for about 8 years now).

My nights were and are restless. I am waking early in the morning (around 3:30). As soon as my brain is awake it is recalling all the things I might have said and/or done and I get up and start my day. There is always a positive side to our ups and downs and my early morning schedule worked really well this weekend as we started both Saturday and Sunday around 4 a.m. We accomplished in one and a half days what would have taken much longer had things been normal.

What the……..?

So I would say my world kind of went topsy-turvy, wouldn’t you? You want to know something interesting? My heart has quit acting up, The breathless feeling I was getting walking upstairs or chasing dogs has gone. The heartbeat that wanted to race at the least amount of exertion has all but gone.

Krisinsight

In summary, it is obvious my adrenal health is not perfect. I think my adrenals are still a problem and that causes this roller coaster when presented with day-to-day stresses or worse, family issues. I know I need a cortisol test so that I can adjust my CT3M dose of T3 and heal them completely but I am still trying to catch up from my September holiday and subsequent unexpected days off due to the death in our family. In other words, it will be awhile.

I have not scheduled any other blood tests but I did schedule an appointment with my Homeopath/MD. My energy feels more positive after a few days of mulling over my course of action and getting back in charge of my emotions but I feel Dr. Lane will help me right now more than a blood test. She can help me work through my emotions and connect with the deeply buried hurt that now exists and is draining my endocrine system.

I also have not been taking my slow release potassium regularly. I forgot to take it at all last week. I was feeling an acute need this weekend, so I did eat bananas (something I normally don’t do) because I had forgotten to bring my potassium tabs along for the trip. In addition to my adrenal short comings I am sure my electrolytes are off and that always affects my heartbeat

Over the course of the past month my aches and pains have decreased.  I rode all morning today in a Ford F-250 and when I got out of the vehicle for a rest stop I could walk without stalling while my joints got in gear. Up until now I have had to stand for a few minutes to get my body to work properly and propel myself forward. This would also point to a more optimally treated thyroid. If you are hypothyroid everything gets stiff with inflammation and aches. That is one reason there is a general feeling that many fibromyalgia cases have their roots in under-treated thyroid disease.

The facts stated, now comes my latest experiment and my insight. The decrease in pain and the feeling of being optimal started when I started taking two capsules of Vital Choice Curcumin every day approximately two weeks ago. It is known that curcumin reduces inflammation but finding the right formula to optimize the effects of the turmeric is difficult. I looked at various formulas and decided this one was right for me as it’s base is Alaskan salmon oil. In subsequent blog entries I will try to update you on how the old aches and pains are doing.

The current turbulence in my life continues.  Just when I think I am in calm winds a gust of wind speeds me along my way and then the wind changes  and knocks the wind out of my sails. Believe me the wind will fill my sails again and things will be on an even keel again very soon but this only happens when you take charge of your life.  One thing this disease has proven to me is I am the captain of my ship and what happens is ultimately up to me.

See you the first Monday of December.

Santé,

Kris

P.S. I have edited this because I felt it was necessary. This gives me the opportunity to tell my readers that I had a really good night’s sleep last night. I went to bed at 8:30 and basically slept until 5:30, my normal time to get up. My mind did not race nor did it seem troubled BUT I did have an Epsom salts (3 pounds because we have a big Jacuzzi style tub) soak last night with 2 cups of baking soda and I wore some detox foot pads to bed. Did that make the difference? I don’t know but it sure felt great.

Magnesium Stearate, Maltodextrin and More

IMG_1917 (2)What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, my writing day, was as beautiful a day as one could special order if that were possible. Today it is pouring rain and if you look closely, distressing as that is to do, you can see some white crystalline objects mixed in. Urgh! Oh well, I shall not complain. I have a new kitchen faucet being installed and the workman (aka Spousal Unit) does not need to be tempted out-of-doors by an Indian Summer day.

I can report that THE project has only just begun and already he feels like he is in the midst of a “reality show where you are working against a time clock” because some thingamajig is leaking constantly and he needs to be done asap. The sighs are audible and frequent and I predict a slight meltdown at some point.

Yup, I think this weather is just the ticket and by the end of the day I will have a new faucet installed that hopefully will work.

This week on Facebook

As you undoubtedly know by now I have a Facebook page called, what else, Krisinsight. This week a friend of mine asked me about supplements I take and had I ever thought about the supplements working against each other? Another member of Krisinsight had the correct answer “Yes, of course.” I have tried many supplements over the years and I worry or wonder about each and every one. I was comforted long ago by my then functional medicine doctor, Robert Bruley. I told him I had a pantry full of supplements and he confided that he and his wife did too.

While that seems like a lot what also made me feel better was he and his wife had their blood tested all the time to check the effects of these supplements and they basically saw good results or they quit taking them. Some lowered homocysteine levels or CRP levels and others showed positive results in lowering liver enzymes. All in all, the supplements they took showed positive results and, to me, that was comforting and reassuring.

Spectracell results

Dr. Bruley was a big proponent of Life Extension formulas and I started taking several of their supplements at that time (2007 or thereabouts). I also took some others like Dibencozide and methylcobalamin all of which had fillers and additives but were recommended by my thyroid group.

Around this same time I heard a discussion between Dr. Mercola and a Dr. Klinghardt regarding a micro-film that might form from using supplements with stearates. Also Russell Blaylock wrote a book called “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” and I read it around the same time. One common filler is maltodextrin, an excitotoxin due to the way it is manufactured. Then going gluten-free  added new challenges to anything with additives and fillers. Even additives listed as “natural flavors” could contain gluten. Crikey! It was all becoming too, too difficult.

Then the coup d’grâce for the use of additives and fillers was my Spectracell test I had done in late 2011. Until this time I had taken the above listed supplements and one called “Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants” in addition to others that contained a full spectrum of antioxidants, CoQ10, selenium and zinc, not to mention up to 10,000 mcg of B12 sublingually every day.

In my blog from that time I wrote the following:

Vitamin B12, Selenium, Inositol, Zinc,  CoQ10 and my Spectrox (comprehensive antioxidants) were all listed as deficient. Why is this troublesome? B12 is often noted to be low in people who have dementia and a B12 deficiency actually mimics Alzheimer’s Disease.Selenium deficiencies are rare (the SU says he already knew I was weird) but can contribute to hypothyroidism. Inositol levels must be optimum to assure healthy brain function and even healthy hair growth. Zinc is a common deficiency and most often noted by white spots appearing in the nail bed but it also can lead to excess hair loss. CoQ10 is essential for healthy breasts and heart. As for antioxidants they are our life blood as necessary as the air we breathe.

What would you conclude?

Knowing you were taking all the nutrients that you have just tested low in what would you do? Also knowing that you, or, in this case, I, have a history of dementia in the family as well as heart disease, what would you surmise from these results? The facts were I was already taking more antioxidants and vitamins than the lab recommended in their prescription to improve my levels that were below acceptable levels. My overall low antioxidant level was really distressing to me given the supplements I was taking. Even though Dr. Bruley told me he was quite impressed with how many nutrients (like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, etc.)  were at or above average levels the things that were below average bothered me considerably.

With some enlightenment thanks to my Spectracell test,  I started looking very carefully at supplements that have fillers and additives as the words of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Klinghardt (Klinghardt as been somewhat discredited at the time this is posted in his Lyme Disease work and Chris Kresser just posted this article) rang in my head.

That doesn’t mean I never take a supplement that has stearates or rice powder but it does mean I don’t like them and would prefer no additives or fillers. I don’t see the reason for them and I have contacted a number of companies about adding them unnecessarily only to be rebuffed.

Ignore me and thousands of others if you want but the fact remains additives  and fillers are really not necessary they aid in the manufacturing process and they make supplements unnecessarily large (only a problem if you have a dry mouth as so many thyroid patients do).

Krisinsight

In answer to my friend’s question, I think about the supplements I take and when they don’t work I quit taking them. I have been particularly fond of the formulas that Life Extension puts together but I don’t like their use of rice powder, maltodextrin and stearates. Also if you take a formula of assorted nutrients how do you know what is working and what isn’t? What if one thing actually would make you feel better but mixing it with other things is making you sick? Thus, I try to take single ingredient supplements until I know the effect each ingredient will have but again don’t hold me to these words as I can think of several formulations I take right now.

I, as you know, use very few scientific studies to prove my unique observations. My personal experience is what Krisinsight is all about. You can take it for what it is, one person’s experience with her health and use it accordingly. My experience has taught me that taking supplements with additives and fillers apparently did disrupt the absorption of these nutrients.

This poor absorption issue may have something to do with my hypothyroidism as a person afflicted with hypothyroidism may tend to have absorption issues, aka leaky gut. Especially for others, like me, who might have absorption issues avoiding fillers and additives may be something to consider. For instance, if you are low in B12, it might be a good idea to talk to your physician about methylcobalamin injections as even sublingual B12 may not be helping you increase your levels.

As for the aforementioned faucet project. I can happily report that my faucet has been installed and long before I have finished writing. Yea! I guess the profane words stayed firmly stuck inside the installer’s brain because I heard nothing other than the original “reality show” comment and several sighs. I asked him about this and he told me sometimes thinking them makes you feel just as good as voicing them. I am married to a truly gentle man and I am grateful. The new faucet is lovely and nary a drip falls after two years of a faucet that was “fixed” but dripped profusely. Now if the weather would quit dripping all would be well.

Santé,

Kris

Food Sensitivities

IMG_1917 (2)This has been a week dominated by fire watching from afar. We have watched fire consume acres of land around our private bit of Idaho ravishing livestock and wildlife as it raged through. For the last few days we have watched as hungry flames quite literally eat the landscape around Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley but for now our cabin and land remain untouched.

We, my SU and I, watch our computer monitors with mouths agape as fire fighting helicopters wrestle with what they are calling “Fire-nadoes”. These are virtual whirlwinds made entirely of fire fueled by summer dried trees and sagebrush. Fire fighters on the ground are filthy with soot but keep doing their job of saving lives and structures.

They have done their job very well indeed, as few structures have been lost and no humans have perished thus far. Even the animal shelter near Hailey, Idaho was protected so well you can see the burn came right down to the structures but nothing was touched, it wasn’t even licked by flame and that, my friends, is fire fighting at its best. Just so you know, all the animals (including some bomb sniffing dogs) were safely removed and re-housed in other locations until the fire danger passed.

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota it is dry and warm. It is mostly stereotypically August although we often are much warmer than we have been. I don’t hear anyone complaining (with possible exception of those who own boats who shall remain nameless). Today, smoke from the western fires will waft over us but mostly it will be a Sunday like many others, me writing my blog for publication tomorrow morning bright and early and John catching up with unfinished business from Friday.

Food sensitivities

MSG

I have talked about food sensitivities on this site many times and it is still a subject of some curiosity for me. You all know about my burning mouth syndrome and irregular heartbeat issues. I explored numerous food issues from MSG (excitotoxins) to gluten in the past. Through very unscientific research I concluded that MSG wasn’t causing my irregular heartbeat but excitotoxins (as described by Dr. Russ Blaylock) are not good for us whether or not we have obvious reactions and I avoid them if at all possible.

Bioactive Amines, Salicylates,Nightshades and others

I found this great article titled “Natural Food Toxins” in my research this week. Chloe, research assistant and friend, and I were talking this week about aches and pains and causes of said A&Ps. She brought up nightshade vegetables and the fact that eating potatoes makes her feel quite upset. Nightshades are notorious for reacting this way on people and sure enough they are included in the article “Natural Food Toxins”.

You all know about my Burning Mouth Syndrome and I remain perplexed by the causes but I am starting to narrow down some of the culprits. I am not sure of their connection, if any to each other, but coffee is a definite culprit. Ground peppercorns on my eggs this morning caught my mouth on fire. I believe that supplements with rosemary extract ignite the issue as well. Any kind of mint be it peppermint, spearmint or wintergreen will make my mouth burn for days. What do all of these things have in common? Yup, you guessed it, they are all natural food toxins.

This is a broad category of foods including some dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. The article at Healthknot.com is well worth reading and the link is there if you click on the first mention of “Natural Food Toxins”.

Gluten

Gluten free has become the new buzzword for food sensitivities and allergies. For some, the mere hint of gluten in their food can cause their throats to tighten and swallowing impossible.  Others are more intolerant than allergic. For me it is a culprit behind many negative health issues including ensuing malaise and seemingly irregular heartbeat. I cannot tell you, the reader, how or why gluten affects my heart but I think and have had it confirmed by others in the thyroid groups that being “glutened” can and does cause autoimmune attacks and since my heart is prone to irregularity an autoimmune attack seems to be a trigger.

Lactose

Lactose intolerance is the number one food people have trouble with. Whether it is a true allergy or an intolerance doesn’t really matter to the person who is having issues with a food. My friend Chloe totally eliminated dairy from her diet to see if it was a culprit in her fibromyalgia and found, perhaps to her delight, it really didn’t seem to make any difference. Nothing changed and she was true to no dairy for months. I can’t see that dairy affects me negatively. I never ache after consuming dairy products. My heart never bothers me (no change in pulse even). I cannot see that dairy is a negative for me in any way other than calorie content. That is not true for others and for them lactose causes too much distress to make consuming it worthwhile.

Krisinsight

Consuming gluten causes me to ache all over, have autoimmune issues within weeks of consumption and my heart reacts negatively within hours of consumption. The odd thing (at least it seems odd to me) is for most Celiac patients coffee has a similarly negative effect. They cannot tolerate coffee and this week after two episodes of achy joints I connected the dots.  I don’t have coffee very often but I do have it as a treat once in a while particularly on weekends and at my daughter’s house.

Last Saturday, we had coffee and that night I had a ruined night’s sleep as I tossed and turned with aches and pains in my knees like you wouldn’t believe. Sunday night was okay and I slept well but then I didn’t have coffee on Sunday. Monday I had coffee at my daughters and unbelievably I hurt all night long again. My knees ached and my hip ached. I got up during the night and I could barely walk my ankles were so stiff (I thought this was from running barefoot on my driveway at the time). I was starting to feel very old for 59. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the nights this week were full of good sleep with no achiness. Of course, I have avoided coffee ever since Monday.

I mentioned that my ankles were stiff and they were and I did blame the running but it suddenly went away with no residual soreness or stiffness once I had the coffee at least 48 hours out of my system. I have since run barefoot all over my driveway and yard with no issues. Yesterday, I even did lunges across our backyard in addition to jogging. This did affect my left hip-joint last night but nothing else ached, so I conclude coffee is as bad for me as gluten.

I don’t know about you but I keep wondering what will be next and why. Do people with autoimmune issues just have more aches and pains? Or, as I tend to think, do we know that this is not normal? Do we just not accept? I know that aches and pains are not a normal part of aging, that they represent a problem. The problem is inflammation. That inflammation is a result of some thing that your body is missing, is reacting to and/or to which your body just wants you to pay attention.

I think it is important to pay attention to these aches and pains before you need a hip replacement, before your fingers are crooked with arthritis. Pay attention before your cells go crazy and multiply and some doctor tells you that in order to live you need chemotherapy and radiation. Hello Kristin!!!! Are you paying attention now? I sure hope I am. I am going to try really hard to do as I say and stop doing as I have been doing and get rid of these aches and pains.

Santé,

Kris

 

 

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

 

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