Posts Tagged ‘RT3’

Heading Up the Thyroid Highway

Over the last two weeks I have learned things are never as they seem. There is no mold we all fit in, no normal, no one size fits all. I will be the first to admit my journey along Thyroid Highway has been bumpy this last 9 months. I have tried to fit in to a normal classification and met with more than a little resistance. My valuable lesson this week is with the T3 only protocol there is no normal there are just possibilities.

While on vacation in February I had many sleepless nights. Those nights were not all bad as I was staying on the ocean and could hear the almost hypnotizing drum of the water on rock outside my window. However, sitting inside in the middle of the night with a racing pulse and a heavy heartbeat is not comforting or restoring and doesn’t even qualify as “biphasic sleep“. After more than one night of sleeplessness I knew I needed to lower my dose of T3. It went against everything I understood to be true of taking Cynomel (T3) but I finally, painfully lowered my already low dose of T3 and to my amazement I slept, my temperatures went up and my energy seemed normal. My daily dose was now 62.50 mcg of T3 and “most” people do better on 75-125 mcg of T3 or so they say.

A week ago we flew home from Oregon and the next day I returned to the shaky, hyper person I am at home and I was dismayed but plowed along. Monday night was not a good one, Tuesday night I slept. Wednesday night found me wide awake from 12:30 to 3:30 with a racing pulse. Thursday night I slept, so along comes Friday.

Friday I went to sleep right away but after several little electrically charged wake up calls from my heart I got up an hour later. I took my pulse and found  it was beating 103 times a minute and seemed weak, so I drank two glasses of water each with 1/2 teaspoons of Celtic Grey Salt mixed in. Halfway through the second glass of water I was freezing. I had been sitting in a t-shirt in our Arctic cool livingroom (well that was how if felt an hour later, it is generally 59 degrees on a winter night) and I determined if I did nothing else I was going back to my warm bed and lay next to a warm body. Never mind that as soon as I got back to bed the warm body next to me got up as now he couldn’t sleep. It bothered me not, I now slept with a calm heart.

Saturday I felt my disrupted night’s sleep like I had been up for hour upon hour not just a mere hour. I felt jittery tired, God I hate jittery tired. My pulse was still racing at times and my temps had not been good all week. One day that week my average was 97.8. My basal temperature one morning was 97.3. Late on Saturday afternoon I took all this in to account and knew the T3 was still stressing my adrenals so I decided to lower my dose of T3 yet again and lower the Isocort I was taking from 5 to 3 to see how my body reacted. That night I bravely took my bedtime dose of T3 (something I haven’t been able to do for weeks) and laid down and slept. It was the kind of  sleep that is often elusive for me, that blessed, all night kind of sleep. My dose was now 56.25 mcg of T3.

If you are not familiar with the RT3 and T3-Only Protocol this all means nothing to you and you think I am rambling and a bit flaky. I know the look on your face because I see it often when I try to talk to the SU about thyroid disease, so stop now and spare yourself total boredom. However, if you are familiar with T3-only you will be interested to know that despite the “normals” people talk about there appear to be those of us who need less, or better said, can tolerate much less and we don’t die, in fact we feel better for the low dose.

When I talk about reducing my dose, the reader needs to keep in mind that each grain of Armour Natural Dessicated Thyroid has about 9 mcg of T3 in it, so I am still taking the equivalent of 6 grains of Armour Thyroid. If you have to lower your dosage try to keep in mind just how much T3 you are still taking. I am reminded suddenly of the advice I give my dental patients when they hate flossing. If they only floss once every week it is still 52 times a year, double that and you have whopping 104 times, so every little bit helps. Perspective is really important when dealing with your very human body.

I have now been in touch with two thyroid friends ( You ask what is a thyroid friend? A friendship or kinship that occurs when people share similar health problems.) who are taking low doses of T3. One person is on 30 mcg, another friend is at 37.50 mcg and all three of us feel good at these “low” doses. We all have taken more T3 in the past to clear the T4 out but after trial and error our doses have been lowered to a level our bodies can tolerate. The person on 30 mcg had a thyroid panel run recently and her TSH is a bit high at 2.3 and her FT3 was around 3, so she may look hypo on paper but she feels great, has energy that she hasn’t had in years. The person on 37.50 mcg lowered on the same day I did to the 37.50 mcg and her fibro pain was improved the next morning  and she slept peacefully that night for the first time in some while.

I have no doubt that I will once again raise my dose of T3 but my message for those who are treating with T3-only is don’t be afraid to lower your dose to a level that is “sub-optimal” if things are not going well. If your temperatures suddenly show signs of stress, as mine did when they plummeted, try reducing your dose and see if they come up again. If they don’t, obviously the problem wasn’t adrenal stress and you can try raising the dose after 5 days or so and then look for other causes of your intolerance. It is misleading if you are of the mindset that says everyone is from the same cookie cutter. The way you react to your environment, to things you ingest and to life makes you unique. With time and experience you might be able to treat thyroid disease by how you feel because what is most important is having good energy, healthy hair and skin, ideal weight, and if you go by my experience a really good night’s sleep.

Here is to traveling the tortuous route with friends,



Ah! Those Bygone Days.

Some weeks you revel in life and some weeks you see how easily things could crumble and fall apart. This past week was one of those crumbling, difficult weeks. I think in retrospect the good thing about tough weeks is once they are over everything in your future seems rosy by comparison. Those bygone days are just that, previous days that frankly I would not care to repeat but I did learn a plethora of useful information from the experience, so all is not lost, and, in fact, much is gained.

For weeks now I have been trembling, shaking, oscillating, fluttering whatever you want to call it my body was ever moving. The feeling was not unlike something I experienced as a child when my parents would take us on our summer hols. I suppose we would stay in clean but inexpensive motels while on the road to this house or that as we were not a family of ostentatiousness. Clean (hopefully) but inexpensive hotels often had these beds with a bedside box that you put a quarter in (if you were really lucky your parents would provide the quarter)  and their would be this audible “click” and the whole bed would start to vibrate. I have absolutely no idea what that vibrating bed was supposed to accomplish and I don’t even want to know but it made your whole body jiggle and quiver and when it was done the vibration ran through your body as if you had just stood in the vortex of an electrical storm. That is pretty much how I have felt for two to three weeks.

Last Monday I finally went in for a blood draw and to my astonishment on Tuesday my results were in (bravo Econolabs), my FT3 was over the top and there was a dire warning of the dangers of my situation. I knew that being on T3 only my FT3 results should be at the high end of the range but to be beyond the accepted high reading of 4.4 (I was 6.9) jolted me a bit. Already being a bit electrified it was hard to notice the upset this caused but it did spur me in to action.

Off to my forum I went and asked advice of the group and the answers were varied and a bit confusing (brain fog) but everyone was terribly helpful and better yet sympathetic. Some felt I should stop T3, some advised just decreasing my T3 a tiny bit, others advised taking some Isocort for a few days and on and on. I decided to take some fairly stringent steps to lower my FT3, but by no means the most drastic, and I had my reasons.

I am, as you know, a dental hygienist and this past week was tortuous for me because my inner vibration was not so internal anymore and my hands were showing visible signs of unsteadiness. When you reach for an instrument and your hand shakes it is bad enough but when you go to scale a person’s teeth and the instrument is vibrating it is most disconcerting. I had to resort to holding my hand or bracing my fingers on the patients face to avoid exposure of my issue and to my good fortune no one noticed.

I should say I hope no one noticed. I did finally ask one patient who was otherwise sleeping in my chair. I had reached the point that day that I thought I should just cancel patients and go home before someone got up and left. I excused myself from the room and my patient and went and spoke to our office manager explaining my situation and perhaps the need to cancel patients before someone noticed.

As it happened the person in my chair at that moment was a hard working, well respected physician and wisely my office manager said to ask her as she would understand. I returned to the room planning my strategy as you wouldn’t want to just blurt out a question like that and then proceeded to just blurt out my question. “Can you tell my hand is shaking?” I said, with some great strategy. However, strategic or not once the question is out there it cannot be taken back, so I waited seconds that seemed like hours for her reply. She opened her eyes and looked at me with sincerity and understanding and said “No, I hadn’t noticed” and went on to tell me her story.

She is often in the delivery room when babies are born and does circumcisions on baby boys in the OR. When she reaches out to the baby boy on the table to perform this delicate procedure of foreskin removal her hands, for reasons unknown, shake. I was astounded by her admission but it had the effect of immediately calming me. I admit that the thought still floats around in my inner files that if she slipped it could be a real “whoops!” but I am most grateful to this honest woman for knowing the right thing to say at that moment.

That day was the nadir of the last couple of months and forced me to take action. Coupled with the fact that I was constantly in the bathroom (an issue that I had blamed every food and supplement on the planet for causing), was suffering from a certain degree of brain fog, blurry vision and profound achiness you can see that I found myself in trouble but it really didn’t click that it was associated with my thyroid and/or adrenals. It was so bad that at one point the random thought flitted through my brain that it might be pancreatitis or worse pancreatic cancer but never that hyperthyroidism or adrenal stress could be the cause. I guess I can only blame the brain fog as I should know better by now.

Thanks to the powers that be we can move forward three days and after lots of correspondence with the forum participants, who have experienced it all, life seems serene, almost normal. I am almost euphoric but a bit hypothyroid as our moderator had predicted would happen if  I took the drastic step of stopping T3 for a day. When I resumed the T3 I cut my dose from 125 mcg to 75 mcg and added 2.5 mg of hydrocortisone three times a day. These changes have normalized my bowels, stopped the tremors inside and out, the brain fog is lifting, and my lower back does not ache constantly.

The real question is had I finally gone hyper? Did my adrenals finally crash after putting them through too much in the last four months? Was I experiencing “pooling”? Pooling is a condition where you have too much T3 outside the cells and for various reasons, two of which are low iron and adrenal fatigue, it cannot penetrate the receptors and get into the cells where it is needed. No one seems to know for sure and unfortunately what I learned most of all this week (week 17 of T3 only) is many conditions  have identical symptoms and diagnosing the symptoms correctly is a huge challenge.

It really is little wonder that allopathic doctors fail so miserably when treating sick patients. These doctors are given 15 minutes or less by their management to listen to their patient, then miraculously diagnose and correctly treat. More and more I understand why an HMO doctor might just get out their prescription pad, take one minute to write down that Rx for the magic pill thus leading said patient down a merry path deep into a pharmaceutical jungle where the snare awaits. I do realize that for me things got a bit out of control but the problem was easily rectified and it was all a good reminder to me that we really do need other people in our lives both for perspective and reassurance.

Here is to every week getting better,