Archive for the ‘Hypothyroidism’ Category

Blood Testing and the Results

IMG_1917 (2)As I stand at my computer the sun is shining on my back. I cannot tell you how good it feels to just see the sunshine after three days of low hanging clouds and on and off rain. I guess you could say I am solar-powered because I know my SU loves those low hanging cloudy days. He says they relax him and often he gets more done.

Speaking of getting things done, I had a little nudge this week from my homeopathic doctor to get a blood test done to check the status of my thyroid, so I finally went in and had a blood draw at LabCorp in Edina, MN.

If you haven’t heard me say it before I will say it again, I am a huge fan of LabCorp in Minnesota for several reasons. I find the staff are all consummate professionals. The facility is always clean and orderly. I have never been hurt by a blood draw nor ever left with a bruise or even so much as a sore spot. This doesn’t mean that you might not run in to a LabCorp that is not as good but if you are in the area, the office in Edina, MN has got to be one of the best.

The results are in

This year, as in years past, I ordered my thyroid panel from Life Extension when they had their blood panel sale in the spring. You do have to pay to have a membership at Life Extension but the blood panel sale alone makes it worthwhile. They also offer free consults with their medical staff and I have made use of that as well and it was professional and very helpful. If you aren’t a member the panels are still some of the most comprehensive blood tests offered, they will just cost you more. Also I will add if you follow (Like) them on Facebook they do offer free 6 month memberships once in a while and I have taken advantage of at least two of those offers as well.

I had my blood draw on Monday morning at 8 a.m. my results were in my e-box within two days. I think this is fantastic given how long it takes a doctor’s office to get results and then to let you know. The thyroid panel I chose cost me $56 and included TSH, FT3, FT4 and Thyroxine ( T4). My results were as follows:

  1. TSH- 0.084 range .450-4.5
  2. FT3-3.8 range 2.0-4.4
  3. FT4-0.06 range .82-1.77
  4. Thyroxine-0.5 range 4.5-12.0

How do you read these results?

Given conventional wisdom and the information your health providers have handed you, what do you think of my results? With a suppressed TSH can I sleep at night? Can a body survive with basically no T4? Is my FT3 too low? Were any of my results flagged as out of the normal range?

The answer

The answer to all the above questions is “yes”. First, I am sleeping quite well although my nights have been interspersed with nightmares of a sort. The sort that wake me up with a rapidly beating heart because I was either doing something physical or something upsetting in my dream. They don’t keep me awake for long and I can settle my heartbeat immediately. I know from experience that this means I am on a slightly too high dose of T3 but by slightly I mean only a fraction of a 25 mcg tablet and I think my body will adjust over time.

Current CT3M dose

I am currently taking a 25 mcg dose of T3 around 2 in the morning according to the CT3M method as described by Paul Robinson. Many of my dreams occur before 2 a.m. and once I take that 25 mcg dose my sleep improves and I sleep long and hard until 5-5:30. I am not absolutely certain what that means but I intend to find out with further research. My general feeling is I really need to take more T3 but I don’t think my adrenals are up to it yet and I need to obtain a diurnal cortisol test the next time I feel like spending $109 on tests.

Second answer; same as the first

Second, if you are on T3 only your FT4 and Thyroxine should be almost null. Your thyroid needs T3 to run smoothly and any T4 is actually converted to T3 before your thyroid can use it. For someone like me, with thyroid resistance, the T4 was actually blocking my cell receptors and interfering with my thyroid’s ability to get enough T3. The fact that I have basically no T4 is a little scary (to me) because it means my thyroid is dependent on the T3 I take and there is no T4 to convert to T3 but it is a good thing to see when you take T3-only and have a RT3 issue. Also bear in mind I hadn’t had any T3 for 13 hours when this blood draw was done, so the T3 is circulating for a long time.

Third; FT3

Third, my FT3 is a bit low. Now according to my functional medicine guy he liked my FT3 in the middle of the range, so he would have said this was almost borderline too high. However, when a patient is on T3-only your FT3 should be in the upper end of the range or perhaps slightly over. I feel pretty good with my FT3 at 3.8, so I think I will leave things as they are for now but I do like knowing that there is room for improvement.

Flags and other warnings

As for any flagging that was done, my TSH was flagged as “Low”. My FT4 was flagged as “Low” and my Thyroxine was flagged with the dreaded “ALERT”. If you are going to consider the path I have taken for treating your thyroid disease you really must educate yourself and have good, scientifically proven information for your guide. I would never do this on my own (I had a group of patients who had gone through the same thing and researched the subject thoroughly as my guide) nor as an uninformed novice because results like these are, to say the least, disturbing if you don’t know what they mean.

Krisinsight

I don’t know about my readers but I like knowing that things are okay because I know they aren’t perfect. My skin is still scaly especially if I bathe too regularly but it is summer and it has been hot (but isn’t at the moment). My sleep has its ups and downs and my dreams have been graphic lately (someone suggested no fermented food at bedtime and I have been drinking kefir every night, so no more of that). I have many nights when I ache especially my bum hip aches when laid on too long and my head has felt a bit muzzy lately. I keep trying to decide if all these things are part of aging or part of my disease.

I keep thinking that perhaps if I can eventually take 75 mcg of T3 or find that right remedy with the help of my homeopathic doctor things will be perfect. However, I am a human being, we, by nature, are not perfect. Is it so bad that my energy lags some days? I tend to think not, especially when most days my energy is good. As long as I can keep up with my two-year-old grandson hopping and skipping over cracks in the sidewalk and carrying him when he asks “Carry me?” Well I just feel blessed.  If sleep alludes me now and then that won’t kill me. As for aches and pains, if you increase your activity with muscles, tendons and ligaments that aren’t used to such activity you are going to ache a bit, so what do I expect?

I ask my readers, in all seriousness, what should I expect? Should I expect to be Suzanne Somers and be out there tooting my horn about my fabulous sex life and my 20-year-old body? Or should I be running a business where I work 24/7? I do neither of those but it makes me wonder. What is your energy like? How many aches and pains do you have? And to what do you attribute these good or bad things in your life?

Don’t be put off by the “S” word in the previous paragraph I just always wonder if she is on drugs or has had surgery, so Suzanne Somers is the first person who comes to mind when I feel a bit on the 50-ish side of life and start wondering if that is normal. That little detail cleared up, before I close I wanted to share a quick recipe for a blueberry elixir because blueberries are plentiful right now and it is the perfect time to make some of this to enjoy in the autumn. This recipe is from a book called Wild Medicinal Plants and it can be found on page 76.

Father Kneipp’s Elixir

  • 2 cups of Brandy (500 ml) do not get brandy with flavors added as they contain gluten sometimes
  • 7 ounces (200 g) organic blueberries, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves

Combine all the ingredients and macerate for 1 month away from any light. Stir from time to time. Strain after one month.

Drink one ounce (25 ml), pure or diluted, in the case of diabetes, gastritis, enteritis, colic, and intestinal gas, or poor night vision, or simply as a full-bodied and delicious digestive.

I made this a few years ago and it is so pleasant you will enjoy every drop but drink with reserve, it does contain alcohol and I can’t really think of any other way to make an elixir. If you can’t have alcohol then just enjoy some blueberries in whatever form you enjoy.

Santé,

Kris

 

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Heat, Rapid Heartbeats and Me

IMG_1917 (2)I wasn’t going to post anything this week because I am at my mountain retreat, or as one of my dentists called it, my compound. It’s no compound but it is a retreat, a small dollhouse cabin with a blue tin roof  in the middle of the National Forest in Fairfield, Idaho. When we hike around our land and look back at our tiny footprint of a house in the middle of this gigantic  mountain it always leaves me in wonder.

That said, this time it is hotter than I remember it ever being. It is a scorcher everywhere in the west, southwest. I read today that planes aren’t taking off from LAX because of the extreme heat. It seems planes can’t get aloft as easily when it is hot and must either take a much smaller load or not fly at all. I think I must be related to airplanes because this heat is grounding me.

The thyroid person and debauchery

Ever since I started the CT3M my oral temperatures have been coming up nicely but I am now always warm. I really don’t know if this means I am slightly hyper or if this is just the way people feel when their body temperature at the end of the day is 99. What I do know is even though I am better medicated I am still not as “normal” as I want to be nor able to handle what seems like normal activity to everyone else.

The past day we were really warm for a mountain location and by bedtime last night I was just miserable. During the day we went to an altitude of 9100 feet which may have had some effect. We took a two-hour hike early in the day and that left me feeling slightly drained. While we were at 9100 feet I had two drinks containing alcohol (gin and tonic to be exact) because they just seemed refreshing at the time but they may have had an effect.

When we got home (back to 6000 feet) from our day of play at a slightly higher altitude in Ketchum, Idaho we had another icy drink and that may have had some effect. Whatever the cause I think the effect is a bit of a storm for my body and it isn’t up to the upset. I knew it when I went to bed and  I know it now at midnight as I write this blog entry heat, debauchery, high altitude and thyroid disease do not make for a happy body.

What I do when I wake up with a rapid heartbeat

My main issue as I write is that I am up at midnight with an elevated heart beat. When I was eating gluten and not being particularly careful I would wake up with this horrible rapid heartbeat, a pounding head and the overwhelming feeling of sweatiness. In the past few months, after swearing off gluten entirely (not even in lotions or potions) I have managed to avoid these episodes.

What I have now is not that miserable. When I awoke I was sweaty and my heart beat was elevated but the pounding head wasn’t an issue and the rapid beat was only mildly elevated; perhaps as in a hot flash. I was having rather vivid dreams but nothing disturbing and when I finally got up I realized I had been dreaming the book I had read until I turned off the light, as in I was dreaming every word and every action of the pages I had been reading. I also needed to go to the bathroom and I won’t bore you with details but this type of evacuation is not abnormal when my heart is beating fast.

Anyway the only thing I can do when this happens is get up, drink 1 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt in water and wait to get tired again. Now, as I always do when I am awake and it seems the rest of the world is sleeping,  I wonder if anyone else has experienced this reaction and what they do when it happens.

Krisinsight

There isn’t much insight from me at midnight on a too warm, too still night. I am guessing this bit of a storm my body is experiencing is a combination of factors, no one of which would be a problem but combined they add up to a sleepless night. Everyone has a sleepless night now and then and as my mother-in-law told my SU when he was a sleepless little boy, no one ever died of not sleeping one night.

Before I close (and hopefully go back to bed) I did want to share a snack idea with you that I think is really tasty and good for your thyroid.

Toasted Chips of Coconut

Heat your oven to 350°. Once the oven is hot place the coconut oil in a 9×13 pan and melt it in the oven. Add the coconut chips and toss well to coat the chips with coconut oil. If you are a thyroid person, salt liberally and toss again. If your adrenals don’t need salt, salt less liberally. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Watch carefully as the chips will brown very quickly. As soon as they are lightly golden remove from the oven and toss again, adding more salt if you want. Let cool in the pan and then store in an airtight container.

The taste is salty/sweet and satisfies that need for a snack such as chips or popcorn in a slightly more healthful way.

On that note, she says with a yawn, I think I will leave my garage (where we cook and have our computers) and head back to the dollhouse. Night, night.

Santé,

Kris

 

Is There a Healthy Vegetarian/Thyroid Diet?

IMG_1917 (2)June, the month of long daylight hours and ever warmer temperatures. June in Minnesota is the month when gardens really get going and you might even be able to pick your first harvest of young greens. June for us is a harbinger of warmer, muggier days, so it behooves one to sit back and just enjoy.

June is also often the month when we spend some time in the great state of Idaho and this June was no exception. We have a small dollhouse size cabin that perches on the mountainside at 6000 feet and from there we can see frolicking elk and watchful deer. We can hear the plaintive yips of coyotes and the long slow howl of wolves.

When we open the windows at night the scurrying of a mother quail and her brood entertain us and sometimes I get a small shiver down my spine at the sound of flitting bats scooping bugs out of the air enjoying their nocturnal dining. I know, I know bats are very useful critters but when the toilet is outside and the urge to use it calls in the middle of the night I don’t want them in my hair nor anywhere near me.

Always and for reasons I cannot explain both my hubby and I feel a  sense of joy when once again we overhear the mating call of the bullfrog. I have never seen him (or her) but much to our delight when we overhear their mating harumphs rumble up towards us  from deep in the wooded areas that surround our springs we look at each other and smile. Some things never change and for those things we are grateful.

What can I eat?

I was recently contacted by a reader (thanks for the question Lilly) and asked to please list vegetarian foods that thyroid types can eat and thrive on. In my opinion, a healthy thyroid diet really isn’t vegan nor vegetarian friendly but that isn’t to say there aren’t foods that you can eat and do well eating. Mostly, you need to limit certain foods and perhaps increase your consumption of other healthier foods (By healthy I don’t mean foods that health experts praise endlessly or recommend for their cancer preventing properties. I mean foods you can eat that will make you feel better.)

The first food I can think of that would be healthy and a vegetarian could eat is the fabulous and amazing egg. It is an almost complete protein in and of itself and contains almost everything you need to thrive. You should try to buy eggs from pastured and organically fed chickens but mostly try to buy the freshest eggs possible from a local source. Many farmers are feeding with soy free feeds and these are ideal for our purpose but I find these eggs are often prohibitively expensive for the average household. If you can’t afford the elite soy free eggs just go for fresh and local eggs from chickens who get to romp around in an open field.

Cheese, especially raw milk cheese is a nutritious food that most vegetarians can eat. If you buy raw milk cheese that comes from grass-fed cows you are getting Vitamin D from sunshine and chlorophyll from the grass and all kinds of healthy and health inducing nutrients and even some protein. When I say cheese I am not referring to vegan cheese or any other kind of Frankencheese products that are sold as “cheese” I mean a block of real cheese from milk be it cow, goat, sheep, yak, water buffalo or camel.

Dairy products in general are okay on a vegetarian/thyroid diet (obviously not a vegan diet) and one can make kefir and yogurt from fresh milk or pasteurized. Not only will you get your probiotics you are able to consume protein and again the goodness of pastured animals. Dairy allergies may make this impossible but I understand that fermenting milk often makes it digestible even for those who think they were lactose intolerant.

Healthy fats. Coconut oil is a fabulous source of calories for a thyroid type and even a vegan would deem it an okay food. Butter from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold is from grass-fed cows) is an excellent and health source of calories. Olive oil (if it is pure olive oil and not mixed with canola, rape or other seed oils) and extra virgin red palm oil add good nutritious calories that will not punish your thyroid.

Vegetables, hmm, what vegetables can we eat? Mixed baby greens (romaine for instance) are a healthy vegetable  for anyone and celery adds crunch and satisfaction. Garlic and onion can be very nice additions to anyone’s diet. Green beans are good for us as are some root vegetables like carrots and parsnips and even organic potatoes. Colorful peppers add a rainbow to your plate and lots of nutrition. Fennel, raw or cooked is one of my favorites and we eat a lot of spinach, mostly cooked but raw as well and always organic (I love combining spinach with sautéed onions and adding sheep’s milk feta cheese).

Nuts, namely almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts are a good food for a vegetarian thyroid type. Seeds like pumpkin are high in magnesium and selenium. Sunflower seeds make a tasty seed butter and a healthy alternative to peanut butter which being a legume really isn’t the best choice (doesn’t mean I don’t love it).

Fruit, avocados are a good fruit and for many of us they are about as close to the fruit section as we should get. Berries are okay especially the more sour brightly colored berries, like raspberries, sour cherries, blueberries, etc.

Okay now lets talk about the limited or prohibited foods

Okay so you have some foods that are good and vegetarian but let us review some foods that are particularly harmful for thyroid types. For example and this is the most mentioned “bad” one, soy. Soy is often used to replace meat and soy is soy, soy bad for you if you have an under functioning thyroid. Unfermented soy in particular is just not a good food to eat when you have thyroid disease (really not at all thanks to GMO issues with soy).

My vegetarian friends use soy meat substitutes and they are bad in so many ways I cannot even tell you. Soy meat substitutes are often seasoned with hydrolyzed soy protein (MSG) not to mention, and I repeat, they are soy and soy interferes with proper thyroid functioning. (As an aside, some people I know are developing allergies to soy in any form and when they start looking for places that soy might exist it is ubiquitous. It is in shampoos, food items like mayonnaise, bread, etc. and even in their skin care products) So no soy, period.

Goitrogens are a food that should be limited. Can we eat them? Yes, and I do. I wrote a blog article some time ago about goitrogens and I was pretty condemning of them. I have since gotten my thyroid meds more regulated and all the “problems” that I thought might be related to goitrogenic properties of certain foods have disappeared. That said goitrogenic foods are not a great food for us to eat and the list of goitrogenic foods in a vegetarian or vegan diet are numerous. Three servings a week is often what is recommended (but I exceed that amount). I do try to steam those veggies that are known to be a problem and strictly limit the number of raw goitrogenic veggies I eat.

Another big issue with vegetables and fruit  is their sugar content and if, as some thyroid types do, you have blood sugar issues you have to be very selective about your vegetables and fruit. Root vegetables are high in sugar and they may or may not increase your fasting blood glucose (FBG), so check your FBG and see what effect vegetables are having on your levels.

Nuts and seeds can be a great food but some are high in phytic acid and others are full of oxalates. Nuts should always be soaked and dehydrated  to remove phytic acid. Vegetables high in oxalates may be good for blood glucose issues but bad for pain, so you need to listen to your body and pay attention to its reaction to the food you eat. For instance,  red peppers are good if you have blood glucose issues but if oxalates are an issue peppers, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and some summer squash are all nightshade vegetables and they can increase pain for those who have an issue with it.

Can you subsist on a few root vegetables, nut butters, cheese and good fat?

I think you can but I personally wouldn’t choose to and honestly I love meat and seafood too much. However, if your body tells you that a food isn’t agreeing with you, listen and follow its directions. Ignoring your body is the worst choice you can make. I was vegetarian for years and got fat and listless on the diet. I love beans and other vegetarian foods but my body was telling me something important which I ignored and I think it contributed to my problems now. If I seem down on vegetarian diets and vegan diets it is as everything is on Krisinsight, my personal experience and no one else’s. Listen to your inner voice and if it says a vegetarian diet suits you it probably does.

Suzy Cohen, a pharmacist who is on Facebook, posted a diet for people with autoimmune disease this week and I will post a link to it just so those who have questions about their diet and thyroid disease , especially autoimmune thyroiditis, can look it over and see if you could make the changes:

http://www.dearpharmacist.com/2013/05/21/the-best-diet-for-people-with-autoimmune-disease/

Krisinsight recipe

I am including a recipe this month that I created because I love savory items like cornbread or even better jalapeno/cheese cornbread but I want higher protein and less carbs and no gluten. This “bread” is made with almond flour, so not at all appropriate if you have oxalate issues. If you have issues with pain skip this section and visit again next month.

Gluten Free Grain Free Savory Zucchini Bread

IMG_20732 cups blanched almond flour

½  teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

¼ cup arrowroot powder

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1 medium zucchini or two small zucchini, grated

¼ sun-dried tomato pieces, rehydrated

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

½ cup shredded Italian cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Combine egg and oil and add to dry ingredients. Grate the zucchini in a small bowl and to it add the spices and tomato bits. Add to dry ingredients and stir in grated cheese well. Dump into prepared pan and smooth the top slightly.

Bake for 40 minutes and remove from pan to cool. Cut up into small squares and enjoy.

Santé,

Kris

IMG_1469

 

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

How Do You Know When to Increase?

I am writing this post on the day before Mother’s Day because I get the honor of having my daughter, her husband and my grandson with me tomorrow, Mother’s Day. What a great gift she is giving me as I know my daughter hates getting in the car and traveling across town but she is doing it to honor me and that makes me feel very humbled and grateful.

On bold moves

This week I made the bold move of increasing my T3 dosage. To many that may seem like no news. For someone like me who went through an entire year of incremental increases of T3 gradually exceeding the dose my body could tolerate it is a bold move indeed.

I will try to provide a short timeline for those who are interested otherwise skip down to “Along came T3”. I started my T3 only in April 2010. I decided to try T3 only because nothing was helping an irregular heartbeat I had suffered with for about a year prior to starting T3-only.

When I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 15 years ago I was prescribed what I now call Syncrap, T4-only. Then around 2005 I got tired of always needing to increase my thyroid meds and stopped taking them. Just for the record, that was not a good idea. This in turn eventually caused my adrenals to burn out, a.k.a. adrenal fatigue. Finally in about 2007 I started seeing Dr. Robert Bruley in Linden Hills, MN. He put me on compounded T3 and T4 adjusting the T4 according to my symptoms but keeping the T3 very low.

I stayed on T3/T4 for a year or two but my heart continued to give me troubles. I knew from my symptoms that this was not a weak heart or blocked arteries. It would come on at certain times of day and certain times of day it would be non-existent. Exercise didn’t bring it on, stress didn’t bring it on but when it came on it was so severe it would make me cough as if I had asthma.

Finally in late 2009, I convinced Dr. Bruley to let me try Armour. I felt a drug that supplied me with T1, T2, T3 and T4 was superior to one that was mostly T4 with a tiny bit of T3. I was probably correct but it still didn’t solve the problem. My palps were disturbing but thankfully not life threatening.

Along came T3

Then in April of 2010 I took a really bold step and started T3-only. I did so without Dr. Bruley but with the wonderfully helpful people on a thyroid forum who looked at my RT3 blood test and told me I had thyroid resistance and needed T3-only to clear the T4 that was blocking the all important T3 from entering my cells. These folks had all been under treated by allopathic doctors and some had come very close to dying as a result of T4-only thyroid drugs. They had found help in taking T3-only but first they had to clear the T4 out of the thyroid cell receptors and that my friends is the bit of Hell I mentioned earlier.

It took me 9 months to finally feel normal again after starting T3. That was about 4 months of checking my temperature three times a day. 5 months of hand tremors. 6 months of horrible sleepless nights. All that but my heart was beating quite regularly at this point, not all the time but more and more it was not beating irregularly and no more coughing, none. Finally at 9 months came a realization that I had to dramatically decrease my T3 dosage. I couldn’t take the sleepless nights nor shaking hands. I gradually dropped my dose to 37.50 mcg at dose where I felt comfortable and my heart still beat normally.

At that point I felt good and decided I just couldn’t keep concentrating on the negative. I needed to be well. I quit taking my temperature three times a day and got on with my life. I knew 37.5 mcg wasn’t enough but it was okay for a while. About 7 months ago I increased gradually to 50 mcg and have been at that dose ever since.

At 50 mcg I had almost normal energy, my hair loss decreased, my sleep was reasonably good. I even slept on my left side at night (on your left side you can hear your heartbeat and when it is irregular that is disturbing). However, I knew I should wake up feeling more aware and sharp than I was. Even when I started my B12 shots, instead of feeling much better I felt only marginally better and, as time passed I felt even more lethargic than I had been feeling.

The good news

I think this makes a short blog a long one and I am sorry for the verbosity but we now move onward. This week I finally took a basal temperature and when it read 97.3 I knew it was time to increase my T3 and I felt certain my body could handle an increase. On Tuesday I added 6.25 mcg to my 11 a.m. dose. The first day I felt no change whatsoever. The second day I could tell my pulse was slightly higher and my sleep was better.

So far things are working rather well. My temperatures were up on the second day but now four days later they are down again.  My blood pressure is closer to normal (109/70). My pulse is normal (70). I don’t feel so muzzy headed when I get up in the morning. With my temperatures hovering around 98 during the day I know I am not done. I need more T3 and will aim for 75 mcg as that is the level that most people need to feel really good but if at anytime the tremors return or I feel hyper the dose will change. That is the beauty of T3-only, you can lower it and see quick improvement.

Kris Insight

Here is why I think it is working this time. It is only a theory mind you but I think taking the B12 shots and increasing my cellular levels of B12 has contributed to allowing what T3 I take to actually get in to the cells. When the T3 is finally allowed in to the cells you go quite hypo (slight weight gain, sluggishness) because you are using it all and need more.

I also think my inadequate levels of selenium, zinc, CoQ10 and Inositol were possibly keeping my cells from clearing all the T4 out and/or allowing all the T3 in to the receptors. I am now taking therapeutic doses of all those nutrients to get my cellular levels up where they belong.

I could be wrong so don’t take me to task about my insight. I am not a doctor, I am a dental hygienist who has successfully treated her thyroid resistance with the help of the “village”. With that said, if you are still having troubles with getting your T3-only treatment to work for you (or any thyroid treatment for that matter) may I make a suggestion? Get a Spectracell Nutrient test. It is clear to me that we really must test everything we can at the cellular level not just a normal blood test.

If you want more information on the trials and tribulations of going it alone just go here. I have pages and pages of experience you can read through. Obviously I am still learning and I need to keep an open mind and an informed one but for today increasing a minute amount has made a difference and I feel good.

Santé,

Kris

Got Greens?

It has been a dark and gloomy week in Minnesota with intermittent spring-like thunderstorms and warmer temperatures. If barometric pressure bothers you this has been a bad week and many are complaining of renewed pain and restless nights.

Personally I have an ache in my head that is constantly there above my eyes and in the occipital portion of my skull, aka sinus/allergy headache, and I wish it would abate. I take comfort in knowing, this too shall pass like the waxing and waning cloud cover and the budding and blooming trees and shrubs.

Speaking of budding and blooming trees, allergies and headaches, reminds me of the color green. The color green reminds me that I wanted to tell you that I may have finally found a green powder that doesn’t turn my world inside out. A green food that doesn’t wreak havoc but has all the benefits of a super green powder.

Why think green?

My interest in greens started a few years ago when Mercola extolled their virtues and recommended juicing lots of green vegetables as a breast cancer preventive measure (of particular interest having lost a sister-in-law to breast cancer and another sister-in-law having had a double mastectomy). Most of dis-ease is a result of uncontrolled inflammation and greens reduce inflammation.

They have visibly reduced inflammatory responses in my body. What do I mean by visible change in my body? When I started with Boku Superfood years ago there was a large cyst on my right ring finger that was impinging on the growth of my fingernail and causing a deformed nail. One doctor suggested a trip to a surgeon to have it removed but I resisted.

I tried numerous experiments to get rid of the cyst (thinking it might be a ganglion cyst I hit it hard several times to no avail) and then I started on Boku Superfood, a nutrient dense powder with lots of greens, and over time the cyst disappeared along with one that was on a toe and a small one on my left hand. In my opinion, these cysts were inflammatory in nature and as inflammation decreased they were resorbed.

The only trouble was Boku Superfood caused some major tummy upsets. I just didn’t know it was Boku at the time, I thought it was something else. I also ignored the heavy reliance on brassicas in Boku but eventually I had to admit to myself and now to you my reader that the powder was messing with my delicate innards. I just hadn’t quite figured out what ingredient was responsible.

So when do you admit defeat?

Actually I admitted defeat for reasons other than my upset tummy. My endocrine system got really messed up about 7 years ago when I took myself off my thyroid meds and unbeknownst to me this eventually caused adrenal fatigue and an irregular heartbeat that was, let’s just say, bothersome.

I looked for every reason under the sun for that erratic, unpredictable and  irritating heartbeat as many of you may know. Thanks to all my research I am more knowledgeable than I was but in the process I did come to some erroneous (but potentially correct) conclusions. One was that the brassica vegetables were causing my thyroid to be under productive (check out this blog post) and that Boku Superfood was ultimately responsible because it was largely composed of the dreaded brassica veggies. Don’t get me wrong, brassica vegetables are a problem for those with hypothyroidism but I now know green powder was not the culprit responsible for my irregular heartbeat.

Long story, short, for various and sundry reasons I quit drinking Boku Superfood and my tummy aches got better. I hated to give up my anti-inflammatory drink but I had  to admit defeat and move on.

On refusing to take chemicals

If you think green drinks are bad for your digestion and your thyroid what can you do for inflammation? Take ibuprofen? Acetaminophen? Aspirin? Ah, no. Not me anyway. I was determined to find a green powder that I could use, so my quest began. I would carefully scrutinize the ingredients and choose powders low in brassicas but the upset tummy persisted and the rumbling gas and loss of nutrients to diarrhea seemed to plague me.

I was and have been suspicious of flax-seed, particularly flax-seed meal, for some time. Flax and flax meal are both supposedly “so good for you” that I just couldn’t accept that flax was the offending ingredient. As time passed the light slowly dawned, if I took just Chlorella or Spirulina I didn’t have an upset tummy. I even tried E3Live and never had a moment of discord in the nether regions. As soon as I tried Garden of Life’s Perfect Food Super Greens I was running to the bathroom with that all too familiar discomfort again.

That did it, I ran in to the kitchen and tore the container out of the pantry, put on my reading glasses (yes, you read that right, reading glasses) and scrutinized the list of ingredients. There it was. I had failed to see it in the online list of ingredients: flax-seed. Another green powder bites the dust.

Kris Insight

At last I know I need a green powder that has no flax and is filled with greens from every green source and not a preponderance of brassica veggies. I don’t like fillers nor sweeteners in my green powder. I would prefer it blended easily in to water with a spoon but if it will blend with a whisk I am fine with that. Taste and texture are unimportant when compared with diarrhea and gaseous bloating.

Midori Greens seems to be the best answer for me. Midori Greens are sold at http://www.iHerb.com (WordPress won’t even allow a simple link to iHerb, urgh!). Admittedly, it seems expensive for the size of the container but one small scoop seems adequate, so the cost comes down. If you want more and don’t mind the cost, have several scoops a day.

The powder will whisk in to water easily and the taste, while not fabulous, is not bad. It tastes green and unadulterated and could easily be added to apple juice or juiced vegetables. There is a little residue at the bottom of the glass if I mix it with filtered water but if you add it to a smoothie it disappears and is undetectable.

For me the best part is I am getting my greens, my inflammation has not returned and wait for it……I’m not flatulent. Hurrah! Every day without bloating and gas is a great day. By the way, I thought you should know the sinus headache  that I spoke of in the beginning is a distant memory. I wonder if the barometer is finally rising?

Santé,

Kris