Archive for the ‘T3 only’ Category

Reading for Thyroid Health

???????????????????????????????It is officially autumn everywhere in the northern hemisphere. In south central Minnesota this morning, the long grass has a heavy coat of rime and mittens warmed my hands on the morning dog walk.

This, my friends, is the time of year when I break out Rosamunde Pilcher’s last book, Winter Solstice. Somehow her words help me adjust from the outdoor life of summer to the cozy, indoor life of winter with nary a whimper.

Suddenly a warming cup of tea seems so much more appealing or a morning coffee inside a cozy coffee shop in nearby Stillwater, Minnesota sounds heavenly. Cloudy, gray days become days of reading by the fire. Rainy days can even seem appealing when you read. This power of words on a page is remarkable and it reminded me that there is healing power in books as well. With the influence of words on my mind I thought I would share some thyroid resources with my readers.

Isabella Wenz

I actually have not read Isabella Wenz’ book but from reading the reviews I can tell that she has helped people immeasurably with her self-published book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.

She is a pharmacist with Hashimoto’s Disease. When she was diagnosed she made it her mission to find all the root causes of the disease and her research is invaluable to those of us with thyroid dis-ease.

I signed up for her newsletter and received her free first chapter and nutrient dense gluten-free recipes. In reading for exactly 5 minutes I have already learned something that is worthwhile. I eat out very seldom but when I do there is a good chance of cross contamination because I know very few restaurant kitchens have dedicated areas for preparing gluten-free foods.

There is a supplement that I am going to order that can help if I am exposed to gluten. Pure Encapsulations has a product called Gluten/Dairy Digest. As she says it doesn’t mean you can eat gluten again; it simply helps with cross contamination issues and I need that help if I want to enjoy an occasional meal out with friends.

Janie Bowthorpe

My favorite thyroid book and one I always recommend is Stop the Thyroid Madness. If you suspect you have thyroid issues or have been recently diagnosed with thyroid issues buy this book. It is also the best book to purchase if you have been on T4-only drugs (Synthroid, Levothyroxine) for years and really haven’t improved. This book has now been revised and in the second edition she has added information from patient experience and all the latest research.

In her book, Janie has compiled a list of “good docs” because honestly there are so many ill-informed doctors that one needs to know where to start. Every state should have at least one good doctor to help you finally get better. Unfortunately, Minnesota is rather lacking and I do not understand why.

Another issue that Janie’s book helps with are the questions that you as a patient need to ask your doctor. If you take your questions to your doctor and they laugh or are rude about their superior position and these silly questions, as she says, “fire” your doctor and find someone who doesn’t laugh at you or find your questions objectionable.

Thanks to books like STTM, doctors are no longer considered gods, they have been exposed for what they are. They are humans, just like you and me, with a certain set of skills (some with very little skill when it comes to healing a thyroid issue).

Finding a good doctor could be likened to finding good friends, some are more compatible than others and if you have thyroid problems you need a “good doc” to assist you on your path to wellness.

Paul Robinson

Paul’s book Recovering With T3 is the book to turn to if your adrenals become a hindrance to your healing journey. He also has a new book published The CT3M Handbook that goes into more detail on how to treat fatigued and worn out adrenals by dosing your T3 in a circadian rhythm.

His method has helped me a great deal. After being on T3 for two years I was still having issues taking enough T3 to eliminate symptoms. After I read Paul’s first book I started taking a dose of T3 at a time between 1-3 in the morning. After doing this for a while I was able to increase my dose to 50 mcg and with slight seasonal adjustments that dose has kept me pretty healthy for two years now.

I have never followed his method to the letter but my altered method has worked for me. For one, I couldn’t set an alarm clock to wake me up at an exact time every morning. If I did that I would just be up for the rest of the night. I am a restless sleeper at the best of times, so I awake many times to turn over or adjust my covers.

Since I am awake to turn over or adjust my body on the bed at 1, or 2, or 3 (not necessarily at all three times but at least at one time or the other) I just take my 25 mcg of T3 whenever I wake up to turn. That does mean that some days there are barely 4 hours between taking my dose and being up for the day but it hasn’t affected me negatively and I have only seen improvements. I advise anyone who asks what they should do about their adrenals to try Paul Robinson’s method as it is so much better than taking yet another drug.

Krisinsight

Those are only three books on the subject of treating thyroid disease but they are three of the most useful in my opinion. If you seek other voices on the subject there are many and they are all qualified in their own way. Researchers, doctors, and other people with thyroid issues like Mary Shomon, Broda Barnes, Mark Starr and  Datis Kharrazian. Any of their books will enrich your life and improve your health.

I love to read and I read daily, several different times of day no matter the season. Often books on health be it thyroid, diet, exercise, Reiki, chakras, and even meditation are my books to read when I want a break from housework. My Kindle is loaded with all of them. I get a task done and turn on my Kindle or my Kindle app on my iPad. I am presented with a plethora of books from which to learn something, anything.

That getting a task done to be able to read was a great idea I got from my sister-in-law, Jody. She gave me that very sage advice and I follow it to this day. She is an avid reader and in order to read as much as she wants she makes sure she accomplishes a work task like cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the house, completing loads of laundry. When the task has been accomplished she makes a cup of tea and sits down to read.

Another bit of reader’s advice from a person who doesn’t sleep terribly well (me). I think t is important to read appropriately. I find feel good books (like Winter Solstice) are my bedtime books and mysteries (any book by Deborah Crombie for instance) are my get-me-out-of-bed books in the morning.

If you aren’t sleeping well and you love tension filled television shows before you go to bed or you must watch the horrible television news before you nod off, take a break, read one of the three books on healing your thyroid. You may just sleep a little bit better and, at the very least, if you don’t sleep well you can spend the night ruminating over the facts you have just discovered and put them to work for you the next day.

Santé,

Kris

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Cocoa Butter, Bodysound Chairs and Other Interesting Experiences

???????????????????????????????When I think of summer I always think of this Lovin’ Spoonful song from my youth, “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity. Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around people looking half dead. Walking on a sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”

To me that is quintessential summertime music and every time I hear it, or just conjure it up as I have this morning, I have a flash back. In my mind’s eye I clearly see the 16-year-old self. I am in my young skin, reclined in front of a fan in our family’s livingroom with my poodle Bridget by my side. I am barely dressed in short shorts and a tube top having just returned from our local lake, Baw Beese in Hillsdale, Michigan. I am tanned and fit as a young person often is but I also feel the agitation of youth that creates a certain unhappiness in many young girls.

44 years later I no longer dress so insufficiently. My house has central air and the angst of my youth is gone, replaced by a certain satisfaction that I am still alive. I take joy in dancing down the aisles of stores with my grandson. I sing at the top of my voice if I hear a song I love. I quickly become enchanted by a really good story yet can find comfort in the silence of my own company. By some standards I am old but age truly is only a number and in my heart I am still that sparsely dressed teenager who has found her soul.

My youth was an interesting experience that formed the foundation upon which I have grown up. My life continues to be a series of interesting experiences and this past month was no exception, so let’s talk about July.

Blood test results

I finally went in to LabCorp and had my blood draw for my “Weight Loss Panel” from Life Extension’s yearly sale. This was a very complete panel that cost me $97. You can click here to see everything it included. I really didn’t know what to expect but overall the results were positive and my doctor was impressed. However, I saw some things that were not ideal, so I will post those and explain why that isn’t ideal.

My FT3 was mid-range which is not ideal when you are on T3-only. Most people feel best when their FT3 is at the top of the range or slightly over range. Most doctors like the mid-range and that is a problem for those with thyroid disease because their doctor, like mine did, will tell them everything is really good yet they still feel bad.

I really don’t feel bad. My energy is okay. I probably don’t feel like running a marathon but I ran a 25K years ago and have never wanted to do it again. I sleep well most nights (but, not all. I add that caveat for the sake of good Karma). Here is what I notice, when I get up in the morning my eyes are very puffy. As I move around the fluid disperses and my eyes look more normal. I know this would improve if my FT3 were in the upper range.

While we are on the subject of thyroid results, some of you might be interested to know my TSH was .036. That caught my doctor’s eye and she told me to reduce my dose of T3 but I can honestly tell you a suppressed TSH is not unusual when on T3-only. I am not hyper and she knows that from observing me but her allopathic side immediately says reduce the dose of T3.

My total cholesterol was a wee bit high (226)  but my cholesterol ratio (2.5) and my CHD was <0 .5 . As always my HDL cholesterol was very high (90, anything over 30 is considered good), LDL was up but my VLDL was at a good level (20, anything over 40 is a problem). My Triglyceride level was good (98 with a range of 0-149). Overall my doctor looked at that report and said “great”. However, I know if my FT3 was in the top of the range my total cholesterol would come right down and everything else would look even better.

One more issue that may have something to do with taking T3-only (but not with being in the middle range of FT3). My fasting blood glucose continues to be high. However, my A1C was good and my fasting insulin was good. My doctor was not concerned but seriously it isn’t good to have a high (100) fasting glucose. I know my diet could and should be cleaner but even lowering my carb intake has little effect on my FBG. Many people who take T3-only have fasting glucose issues unless they follow a very low carb diet and that alone makes me want to try getting back on NDT at some point.

The itch of eczema

Yes, as I reported last month I still have eczema on my lower legs. I have tried various things to control it including having that blood test panel done because I feared my liver was the problem (it wasn’t, my liver numbers looked good). I followed the lecithin regime religiously for a month but the eczema came back as soon as my stress increased (when I found out my second poodle had a tumor and needed surgery).

I understand the need for the lecithin regime because eczema is a sign of inflammation in your body and increasing your levels of  phosphatidyl choline (lecithin is high in phosphatides) can lower inflammation in addition to a host of other positive effects on your body. However, it seems related to stress in my body and now I am working on releasing those pent-up emotions involved with an ailing furkid.

While I work on dealing with my furkid induced stress I have found that cocoa butter works as well as anything I have tried. It not only soaks into my dry skin nicely it smells dee-li-cious. I don’t itch as much (unless I shave my legs an event that has been reduced to once a week) and I walk around smelling like a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.

If you have an interest in a really nice quality raw cocoa butter I bought mine at Amazon.com. It is by Plant Guru and it is delivered in a HDPE food grade jar. You must warm it slightly to apply it to your skin but it is food grade, so you can cook with it. Yea! Stay tuned I have plans to try making my own chocolate.

Energy healing at Soul Source Connection

It really has been a month full of exciting  and new experiences. Have you ever had the opportunity to try a session in a Bodysound chair? Late last week I had such an opportunity  at the office of  Reverend Kathryn Niflis Johnson in Woodbury, MN (Kathy@SoulSourceConnection.com). It was, to say the least, an interesting healing experience. I know, I know, interesting is vastly overused but this truly was interesting. I have never before reclined in a comfy chaise in a healer’s office, been gently covered by a soft blanket, light obscured by an eye mask and then been totally surrounded by vibration and sound.

This chaise works its healing magic by using a “neurophysiological mechanism that creates profound states of relaxation and meditation” (I felt a certain suspension between reality and a dream like state). The “second mechanism of action relates to the electromagnetic stimulation of the human energy system”. “Bodysound consists of amplified layered music played through transducers that generate sound and vibration. Synchronized electromagnetic fields affect the central nervous system and the human energy system.”

Now in my own words, it quite literally sweeps you away, in and out of a wakeful state of mind. I would doze off, dream and awaken only to completely lose the thought I had just had. I felt profoundly relaxed and Kathryn’s office setting makes you feel secure and cozy, so dozing off is not in any way threatening nor frightening.

I have had this feeling before and it was during my first Reiki healing session. I liken these healing sessions to being put in an hypnotic state of mind but Kathryn might not approve of that comparison because you are not hypnotized you are just profoundly relaxed. As with Reiki healing, during my Bodysound 52-minute session I had fleeting dreams and thoughts that would go away as suddenly as they came. I experienced a color show in my mind’s eye of vibrant purples and yellow and whites. When the session was complete I felt relaxed, happy and pleased that I had the experience much like you might if you had just had 52 minutes of healing massage.

Unlike with my Reiki sessions I have not experienced a healing effect from this particular healing modality. I believe from what I have read that a person needs more than one session in the Bodysound chair to affect healing. I am told by those who have experienced healing with the Bodysound chair it occurs with at least weekly use of the chair.

If you have an interest in a healing session in the Bodysound chair or you already have experienced healing with a Bodysound chair and would like to purchase one for home use you can contact Kathryn online: Kathy@SoulSourceConnection.com. Personally, I think it is well worth trying, it will do you no harm and it may help you on your path to better health.

Krisinsight

I hope, as I always do, that you learn something interesting when you read Krisinsight but know that this is my insight and my unique experience I share. I am a certified Reiki practitioner but I am not giving you advice nor telling you what works for me will work for you. Each body is unique which is what I think makes humans so marvelous. I know I have been able to improve my health using the modalities I share. If you choose to try them and they work for you I would be overjoyed but do so with the guidance of your medical provider and your own intuition.

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

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

 

You Gotta Have Heart

IMG_1917 (2)I nearly finished another blog posting when I found out that today, the first of February, is “Women’s Healthy Heart” day and red is THE color, so I revamped my blog and my photo and February’s blog was born again.

January in Minnesota has left us all a bit stunned and hidden. There is nothing quite like below zero to cause even the hardiest of  America’s citizens to stay inside. We have just had several of those days and they weren’t just cold, they were blustery, brutally cold. Now, on the first day of February, the thermometer read -17F at 6 a.m. this morning and even the bunny that lives in my landscaping was stepping gingerly through the icy snow.

It may be cold here in Minnesota but my heart is warm and ticking along very well with only the occasional blip. It has not always been the case and I had to do a lot of information gathering to finally improve these critical issues. Now with today being dedicated to healthy hearts, I can get to the heart of what is on my mind and clarify and expound upon two issues that I have dealt with before on Krisinsight, goitrogenic foods and breast cancer.

Goitrogens, do we or don’t we?

Some of my readers may not be aware that the original impetus for starting my blog was an almost unbearable heart issue that plagued me for years and no one wanted to deal with the underlying cause, so I took it upon myself to find the missing piece of the puzzle. My endless research and experimentation led to sharing what I had learned along the way and how things worked for me.

I get several questions, several times a year about one issue I studied carefully for some time, goitrogens. Goitrogenic foods and other items have the potential to interfere with our thyroids and its ability to utilize the T4/T3 that is necessary to run properly. My blog posting “No Goitrogens Please” catches the eye of new readers in particular who are looking for an answer to their still under-treated thyroid disease.

Over the course of several years I have concluded that goitrogenic foods and supplements are not the real problem, we can eat them in moderation, take them in moderation and do just fine. The real problem for those of us who never quite get it right is improper treatment of our thyroid dis-ease. Very few medical personnel understand thyroid resistance and even fewer understand how to properly treat with T3-only. Most doctors will include some extra T3 to see if that improves our “condition” but in almost all cases if they include a T4 medication with T3 we will not resolve our issues.

If a doctor doesn’t understand the high-wire act of balancing our electrolytes and adrenal hormones we start to fumble and then we fall. When that occurs we start looking for anything and everything that might be wrong. I looked at excitotoxins, goitrogenic foods and a host of other culprits but, in the end, I had thyroid resistance, stage 2 adrenal fatigue and totally out of balance electrolytes and no one caught it until I self treated.

Now that I am treating my thyroid optimally (or almost optimally, it still needs some tweaking) and things are more normal I can eat a modicum of goitrogenic foods and take some supplements that also can have some goitrogenic effects.  I am going to repost a quote from “No Goitrogens Please” because the undisclosed person who wrote it said it best about goitrogens:

“People who have resilient health while eating these foods should continue to eat them with impunity. However, people who have thyroid problems or other problems associated with iodine deficiency or cyanide exposure should consider experimenting with the following dietary restrictions: 1) eliminate millet; 2) moderate soy and only consume it with additional sources of iodine; 3) limit crucifer intake to five servings per week, only eat more than this if it is boiled, and match one’s crucifer intake with extra iodine; 4)avoid foods with cyanogenic glycosides unless they are extensively boiled or crushed and leached in running water for several days, and match one’s cyanogen intake with extra iodine and vitamin B12-containing foods or supplements (but not cyanocobalamin). These foods are not inherently unhealthy but simply contain chemicals that have the capacity to harm the health of some people under some circumstances; this is true of all foods. Experience always trumps theory, so the individual should use this information as but one tool with which she or he can experiment to find the most appropriate diet for herself or himself.”

The cure

Although February is “Healthy Heart” month for women another issue that affects we thyroid types, especially if we have an autoimmune form of thyroid disease, is illness of all kinds. If undertreated or improperly treated our autoimmune issues can make us more vulnerable to diseases like cancer, breast cancer in particular and we need to be very proactive doing everything we can to prevent the cancer in the first place.

I am bringing this up because this past month I had a close friend who was considered “cured” by those who do the curing (chemotherapy and radiation that is). She had made it past the dreaded 5 year mark when suddenly an unusual spot showed up on her treated breast. At first, she thought it was nothing but she had it biopsied. She and her family went from thinking she was “cured” to wondering what was next in the matter of one phone call and they were heartbroken (in fact we are all heart-broken).

She was informed that she had a rare form of cancer that was directly caused by the radiation therapy (this is straight from the horse’s mouth at University of Wisconsin Hospital). She had her breast removed on Wednesday. She cannot have reconstructive surgery due to the virulence of this particular kind of cancer and they would not remove her other breast, so now she has one large breast on her right side.

My friend will go down in the books as another cancer victim who was “cured” by chemotherapy and radiation and it simply is not true. She was not cured, she was poisoned and they even gave her another more virulent form of cancer. I am angry, I admit, but the best I can do is inform my readers of this travesty and then share with you some preventive things you can do.

First talk to your physician about doing two tests that will help determine if you are prone to breast cancer. One is the ION test and the other is Estronex.

If you are found to have too much of the cancer promoting estrogen, you can:

  • Take Indolplex daily (I am bothered by additives in this product and the soy content but it is recommended).
  • Take Calcium D-Glucarate twice a day (Thorne makes an additive free version and it is available at iHerb and others. For money off first time orders remember to use my coupon code YAN884)
  • Take one capsule of Triple Action Cruciferous Vegetable Extract (iHerb carries this and you can get money off your first order by using my coupon code YAN884)
  • Make sure your food (and your makeup, lotions) is clean. No hormones, no chemicals like BPA and other endocrine disruptive chemicals.
  • Teresa Tapp has a fabulous DVD available for healthy breasts and skin brushing daily will clean lymph and keep it that way
  • Find a reputable brand of Poke root tincture and take it either daily or take it the first month of every season to clean the lymph.
  • Check your CoQ10 levels and get them optimal if they are deficient.
  • Check your Vitamin D levels and get them optimal. For those of us with autoimmune disease between 90-100 ng.ml is ideal

These things can’t guarantee you won’t get breast cancer but they are a way of doing everything possible. I strongly believe that if I do all I can to prevent I will be better able to fight it if something does occur. What you believe can make or break you, so, as Teresa Tapp likes to say “Yes, you can!” prevent this disease.

Krisinsight

I am making a real effort to not be so verbose these days but try as I might my blogs always seem to go on longer than they should. I guess I always have a lot to share and now that I have limited myself to one blog entry a month it is hard to not have  a certain amount of prolixity. Oh well, sigh.

I look forward to seeing you back here on the first Monday of  March. In the meantime take care of your heart and your breasts but most of all treat your thyroid disease optimally. Do not settle for low body temperatures, unusual weight gain, constant state of coldness, dry hair or hair that is falling out, irregular heartbeats or unexplained heart disease. Get a full thyroid panel and at least once get an antibody test to determine if you have an autoimmune issue. You can order it yourself at Life Extension Foundation  if you can’t get a doctor to assist you. Remember sometimes doctors have their own agenda and sad to say it isn’t necessarily your good health.

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