Posts Tagged ‘thyroid disease’

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

 

Awesome Autumn

IMG_1917 (2)Happy first full day of autumn. It is feeling very fall-like in Minnesota and thanks to a second half of summer drought our leaves are already turning. They change color not because of autumn but because they are struggling to survive. We started out the summer wet and cool but the second half left our landscape parched and thirsty. It is so sad to see about 20 trees dead or dying around our rural acreage but Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes.

Vacations and your health

I have just returned from two weeks abroad and while I am feeling good and not too tired, I have some acrimonious aches and pains that are immobilizing me at the moment. While hiking in the Borders of Scotland I tripped on a gnarly tree root that was slippery from morning rain and went right down on my chest as my hands were elsewhere, I guess. That fall knocked the wind right out of me and jarred an old injury to my ribs (caused by two poodles who whisked me off a porch in pursuit of a squirrel).

My right side is so sore sleep is, at best, restless and broken. Once home I spent as much time as possible with my fabulous grandsons and having picked up and cuddled two boys for two days I know that is “verboten” as well. I am unbelievably sad about not being able to pick up those boys and cuddle them but I can’t aggravate this injury anymore.

Barefoot running and Morton’s neuroma

Before my holiday, I was running barefoot on my paved driveway and had gotten up to a mile of barefoot running. Around the time we left my right foot was hurting and now I know I have a Morton’s neuroma that is alive and well. I have had a neuroma in my left foot for ages that came on after walking barefoot  or with my Vibram- 5- Fingers on the beach in Florida for a few days. That neuroma seems to have faded away with time but now has been replaced by this one which is causing me considerable pain and discomfort. I guess barefoot running is also a forbidden sport, at least for now.

Aches and pains be damned

So, aches and pains aside my holiday was lovely. The weather was very summer-like and the cottage we rented for the second year in a row was perfect for us again this year. This wee croft cottage is extremely private (if you don’t count the sheep, deer, otter, dolphins and passing boats as a crowd) and we can walk unimpeded by other humans for hours.

One day we lunched on the shoreline of a nearby private cove looking out to sea. As we watched shipping traffic in the faraway sea channel we saw a few black “things” jump from the water. Then we saw a few more and in the end probably 2 dozen dolphins in a pod. They were obviously following a school of fish but they entertained us for nearly an hour eventually coming up our inlet (Loch Feochan) and frolicking right in front of us.

I love our weeks in Great Britain. After living there in the 80’s we fully intended to live there again one day but Osama’s grand plan (otherwise known as 9/11) got in the way, so instead we rent a cottage here and there and live the good life for a week on our own. Our second week is very dear to both of us as we spend it visiting our long time friends (former neighbors and lifetime friends) who just plain make my heart happy.

On being gluten-free and on holiday

This year staying with friends was more difficult since I have gone gluten-free. I knew the one friend would be fine with it as she has a sister who is gluten-free. She kindly dedicated a corner counter to me in the kitchen. She scrubbed her toaster and made some gluten-free treats basically having us all eat gluten-free as much as possible. I didn’t ask her to do that but she did and I enjoyed and appreciated her efforts. Probably more than anything she didn’t make me feel bad about it; she just accepted it and made me feel okay about my change of diet.

My other friend really didn’t understand being gluten-free, so she struggled a bit.  At one point she even said to me, in a very gentle voice, “A little gluten won’t hurt you!”. The odd thing is this friend is a pescatarian (they say vegetarian but they do eat fish) and if meat even touches their food they won’t eat it, so I thought she might be more understanding but alas I don’t blame her for being irritated. Being gluten-free is not an easy thing for me either.

Some helpful gluten-free travel tips

Before we left I carefully updated my profile on Delta to say I needed gluten-free food. This, it turns out, was a useless endeavor. It simply was never recorded I guess, so I had to pick food that seemed the least touched by flours and grains. Meanwhile, because there was someone on both flights that had nut allergies the entire plane was warned and nuts were not available (but pretzels were). I don’t blame the people with nut allergies but I wish Delta Airlines would take gluten intolerance as seriously.

On the way home, by now somewhat chagrined by my experience with Delta, I asked the flight attendant why they didn’t know I needed gluten-free food and drink.  To her credit she relayed my question to someone who could answer it. What I was told was I needed to request gluten-free food for every flight I take. Apparently updating my profile did absolutely no good which is, needless to say, disappointing. My advice: Make sure to inform the airline on every flight you take where food is served, that you need gluten-free food.

Delta Airlines aside, I was amazed at all the gluten-free items available in England and Scotland, especially Tesco, Booth’s and Sainsbury’s. Restaurants are very careful to keep you safe if you tell them you are gluten-free. Also, if you are travelling in Britain, if it doesn’t say “Gluten Free” it probably isn’t. Sometimes even if it does say “Gluten Free” you might check the ingredients carefully. One bottle of Worcester Sauce (a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce) said it was gluten-free but in looking at the ingredients (I started having some heart irregularity) it contained malt vinegar which is not technically gluten-free. I know, picky, picky but this trip was so much better than any I have had in years I am convinced being gluten-free is right for me and sometimes you have to be “picky”.

One treat that perhaps I shouldn’t have indulged in, but did, is bread. If you like toast or sandwiches while on vacation in Britain most grocery stores sell the best gluten-free bread. It is the Genius brand. It is the same size as normal bread and has the same texture as other bagged breads. I came home thinking surely I could find a similar bread here, which I did. At least it was called Genius but it isn’t the same and I can tell you not to bother buying it. The Genius bread here isn’t even as good as Udi’s Gluten free bread and it is more expensive.

The proof is in the pudding, gluten free  pudding that is

In past years, I have “treated” myself to one or two weeks of gluten while on holiday. In fact, whenever I have gone on vacation I was eating gluten be it abroad or here in the States. At home I was gluten-free but I would throw caution to the wind when away from home thinking this was mentally good for me, basically a total break from the norm.

What was happening though was not good for me. Almost every night I was away from home I would wake up about an hour or two after going to bed with a pounding head and heart. My heart beat would be in excess of 100 bpm and the only thing that calmed it was “tincture of time” and a big glass of salt water. I would read for a couple of hours and then crawl back in bed and sleep until morning. Inevitably, I would lower my dose of T3 which did help but did not eliminate the problem. For some reason, it never occurred to me that gluten might be implicated until last winter.

Light bulb moments

It wasn’t a momentous occasion but I did have a regular wheat crust on a pizza right after Christmas 2012 and immediately had issues with the racing heart and a sleepless night. I hadn’t had any gluten at that time since September’s vacation, so the light suddenly and finally went on. I had a gluten problem. It wasn’t just that I shouldn’t eat gluten because Dr. Mercola condemns wheat and grains I actually have gluten intolerance and possibly Celiac’s Disease. Now even coffee seems to be off the “treat” list as my joints scream at me “No more coffee!” as soon as I indulge. Just so you know, if you have trouble with gluten you may have trouble with coffee.

Another light bulb moment for me was last autumn when I got shingles shortly after my autumn indulgence, aka vacation. What I finally remembered was that almost every autumn within weeks of returning from my gluten filled weeks I would get, not necessarily shingles, but a rash on my lower back that, according to my doctor, was most likely Dermatitis Herpetiformis. It was initially a burning pain on my back and within a day or two would break out in this ugly dark blistered rash. When I got shingles I assumed that rash had been shingles but in talking to Dr. Lane she said it was most likely Dermatitis Herpetiformis because of its location and the fact that it did cross a center-line of my body.

Krisinsight

I really didn’t intend this to be all about my gluten-free lifestyle but every thing seems important to mention just in case you have suffered similar effects after eating gluten or if you happen to have a holiday to Britain in the works and you are gluten-free. I hope you found the gluten-free information helpful but I really wanted to talk about my latest Vitamin D test.

This was my fourth year of testing because I started in August 2009 as part of a test group for the Vitamin D Council. At that time my D level was 64 ng/ml. That winter (March 2010) my D levels were 92 ng/ml. The next August they were 58 ng/ml. The following March they were 70 ng/ml. August 2011-56 ng/ml. February 2012-70 ng/ml. August 2012-91 ng/ml. March 2013-84 ng/ml.

This August my levels were 64 ng/ml. That is down from February’s 84 ng/ml but mostly typical of what my summertime results have been with the exception of August 2012. I really can’t say why my winter results are almost consistently higher than my summer results. I use my Sunsplash Renew more in the winter than the summer but I am outside in the summer and I do expose my body to sunlight at midday at least three times a week in the summer. I seldom take D supplementation relying solely on my Sunsplash Renew and the summer sun. I never wash after sunbathing (or using my D lights) always letting 24 hours pass before a shower and even then I only soap vitals areas (as per Dr. Mercola).

Suffice it to say, my levels are always within normal limits but I would prefer they stay closer to 90 ng/ml, so long as my sole source of Vitamin D is natural and not supplementation. I have one more year to be part of the study, so come February I will test my levels again. I am trying to spend 20 minutes three times a week in front of my Sunsplash Renew to see if that brings my levels up in February but now I wonder if what I need to do in the summer is take Vitamin D supplements to maintain a level that helps my compromised immune system since I do have Hashimoto’s.

Ah, in the end life it just one big experiment isn’t it?

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

December Thyroid News:The Hypothyroid Heartbeat

It is trite I know but I will say it anyway, I simply cannot believe how time passes us by. One day you are 10 without a care in the world and the next you are 57 with all the cares of the world on your shoulders. Being  a person with autoimmune dis-ease does not make it simpler but there are few if any dull moments and you constantly learn something new and unusual. With that in mind I thought an update on my thyroid health would be timely.

On Sleeping on Your Left Side

Many of my readers and fellow hypo’s will know that my hallmark of thyroid health is being able to lie on my left side and without further ado let me say, I am sleeping on my left side. Not all the time but when my right side is sore from use I can turn to my left side and even if I hear my heart beat it is not irregular and it is not pounding. Just for the sake of feeding my thyroid health superstitions I will add that it is not consistent, there are times when my heartbeat blips or pounds (read below for other reasons) but for the most part I can turn to my left side and fall back in to a relaxing, rejuvenating sleep without any particular upset.

A Brief on the Hypo’s Heartbeat

The above statement may be hard to comprehend if you have never experienced the hypothyroid heartbeat, so let me briefly tell you. When your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone to adequately feed the needs of your body your body produces unnatural amounts of adrenaline to compensate. This over compensation by your adrenal glands, in my opinion, not only causes adrenal fatigue it affects your heartbeat causing palpitations. This often ends with  you sitting in a cardiologist’s office, then being put through a myriad of tests only to be prescribed this and that medication and still suffering the palpitations.

Bear in mind, we “hypos” aren’t used to a normal heartbeat because our hearts often beat too slowly and too softly to be heard, so as we start medicating our thyroids adequately, either with a doctor’s assistance or on our own,  we suddenly hear a pounding heartbeat if we lay on our left side in particular. Add to this “pounding” (but probably normal) heartbeat any kind of irregularity and you have a person who never sleeps on their left side. Never, that is, when they are under-treated or incorrectly treated for thyroid resistance.

Life Changes

I hate to go so far as to say I live in fear of the irregular heartbeat but I have blogged on this subject ad nauseum, so I must dread it. A few weeks ago I found myself at my computer at midnight with a heartbeat in excess of 100 bpm. This always leads to researching online, first to my groups and then to other online comments or studies. This particular knowledge gleaning moment led me to a conclusion that was the end of my world as I knew it, after reading  a hundred entries or so on many different forums I realized what the problem was. I needed to cease my evening tipple.

Yes, you read that right and it pains me to say because I love my traditions (not addictions because I can give them up without bad side effects) many of which I learned while living in Europe, a time that is full of pleasant memories and custom. I love my English “tea ceremony” every morning and I thoroughly enjoyed two glasses of wine in the evening. What I didn’t realize is that my adrenal fatigue had reared its ugly head and adrenal fatigue and alcohol do not mix.

If you have adrenal fatigue alcohol acts as a stimulant akin to having caffeinated coffee or perhaps even Ephedra or other like stimulants (I have never taken Ephedra but I have read about its effects). I knew those were stimulants to avoid just like the nerve racking television which I avoid after 8 p.m. because the lights and noise stimulate me like a cup of coffee or worse.

What I didn’t seem to associate with my sleeplessness and racing heartbeat was the wine before supper that “relaxed” me. Seriously, how could it be a stimulant? It is specifically supposed to help me relax. I felt betrayed (not really) but clearly I needed to stop that long standing custom, so I did. If someone would have told me that putting that particularly bad nightmare scenario to bed was this simple I would have been all over it ages ago.

I know, I know, I can hear all the health conscious folks reading my soliloquy asking with wonder “Doesn’t she know alcohol is bad for her?” Mercola and many others preach and preach on the evils of alcohol but honestly I still don’t think a glass of wine is going to kill you but there is a time and place and I am not in either at the moment.

In Conclusion

With that admission behind me I feel like my shoulders are less rounded as if a weight has been lifted from them. I have to say that other than a few niggling issues I have been exceptionally well. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 which results in normal energy and slightly below normal basal temperatures. I have recently started taking Ashwaghanda again and I added 5-HTP to my repertoire of supplements to elevate my moods slightly and help me sleep even better.

There are things that still need attention and the one that plagues me at the moment is my dry eyes and mouth. It could be Sjogren’s as that often accompanies Hashimoto’s Disease but I have never had that diagnosis, so my quest for an answer to that problem continues. If you have successfully treated this issue please share your experience by leaving a comment.

I conclude that with almost everything in my life I have come to expect the unexpected and I glean from all I experience what I can. I am fascinated by the stories of the world and the challenges we all face. If you come across this blog while on your own midnight quest for knowledge I hope you find it comforting that you are not alone. We are truly in this together and we share the weight of the world’s health issues on collective shoulders.

To your good health,

Kris

Paradoxical Progesterone

Human as defined in one paragraph by Dictionary.com is “of, pertaining to, or having the nature of people: human frailty”. I can relate to that definition especially “human frailty” more days than I care to even acknowledge but when you take on “Heal Thyself” as your badge of identity you face those days with a sense of purpose.

There have been many of those frail human moments in the past few years since I took on my foe, Hashimoto’s Dis-ease. Why? You ask. Because to “heal thyself” is often a daunting task and you need lots of support from the medical community, friends and even strangers who become friends through one commonality: human frailty. Mine just happens to be a thyroid that resists normal treatment and time and again I find myself faced with something new and unusual to find an answer to.

If your thyroid doesn’t run on all pistons at all times it seems like one hormone or another is always in need of tweaking. This past weekend it seemed to be my sex hormones that were slightly wacky but that was not clear from the onset. It was only after some introspective time that the light finally dawned that what I have and did experience might be what Uzzi Reiss describes as a “paradoxical” response to taking bio-identical Progesterone.

The paradox, you see, is that Progesterone is supposed to be a calming hormone, one I often rightly or wrongly liken to Melatonin, but in some human females it can react in quite the opposite way leaving you feeling quite stimulated. If Uzzi Reiss is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, in some women who take Progesterone with bio-identical Estrogens the Progesterone actually affects the way your body absorbs and utilizes the Estrogen.

Youthful Aging Center has this to say about progesterone it “is the balancing act for all of the estrogens within the body. It is also very important for normal reproduction and for menstrual function. Bioequivalent progesterone influences the health of your bones, blood vessels, heart, brain, skin, and many other tissues and organs.

As a precursor, progesterone is used by the body to make all of the other steroid hormones, including DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. In addition, progesterone plays an important role in mood, blood sugar balance, libido and thyroid function, as well as in the health of your adrenal glands.”

Yes, progesterone is vital to the female body and our bodies need it to run efficiently and to avoid the pitfalls of the aging process BUT if you experience the paradoxically stimulating effects of progesterone it is most disturbing and perplexing. It is possible, no it is probable that balancing all your hormones may be necessary before you can successfully add progesterone, yet progesterone is often the first thing doctors prescribe even before testing your progesterone levels.

I think, based on personal experience and clinical studies, there truly are three paradoxical reactions to progesterone and three different reasons. Paradox #1 may be due to progesterone’s affect on your cortisol levels. Apparently the progesterone can convert to cortisol and if you already have high cortisol it is going to make things worse. Or you might  experience hot flashes and some depression, we will call this Paradox #2. It is due to the down regulation or overloading of estrogen receptor sites. Another negative reaction to progesterone when you aren’t used to it might be an increase in your appetite and subsequent weight gain, there you have it, Paradox #3.

If you suffer from the second paradoxical response this could be due to low estrogen levels. If you are menopausal and your doctor has foolishly put you on a low dose of  BHRT (aka E1 and E2) taking progesterone will clog the estrogen receptor sites and now with your low dose of estrogen you will have hot flashes like you haven’t had in years.

Take it from me it has happened. If your levels of E1(Estrone), E2 (Estradiol), and E3 (Estrone) are not correct optimizing your estrogen levels especially E1 and E2  may take care of the paradox and allow your body to react correctly to Progesterone.

I also believe I have experienced Paradox #1. I have challenged adrenals according to my ZRT saliva cortisol tests I have taken twice in the past year. I am not in full blown adrenal fatigue (not yet anyway) but I can see that my cortisol levels are affected negatively by any progesterone intake. So dramatic is this effect that I see a rise in my temperatures, both basal and daytime, within a day of progesterone intake or using it on my skin.

The temperatures are a remarkable indication of its power but the paradoxical effect is worse. I will awaken around midnight (but sometimes 3 or 4) with a racing heart. This is usually precipitated by a vivid and disturbing dream and when I awaken I am hot and sweaty and have a distinct need to get up.

At that point I have no choice but to lumber out to my cold (we turn the heat down to 55 at night) and dark kitchen and prepare my special elixir, filtered water and a full teaspoon of sea salt. It is the only thing that will calm my racing heart and thankfully it works every time. (I have this love/hate relationship with salted water. I need it but I hate it and I am tired of my unquenchable need for it but  that is off the topic.) The elixir cures what ails me but, more to the point, the entire episode is likely caused by an adrenaline surge because the progesterone is converting to cortisol and my nighttime cortisol is already high.

Dr. Reiss suggests a way to possibly cope with the paradox until you get everything in equilibrium. Apparently we absorb far less progesterone through the skin, so he suggests applying progesterone to the breasts, so that they get the benefit of progesterone. His dosing schedule is a bit difficult to decipher, so it might be better if you either worked with a knowledgeable physician (good luck with that one) or experimented on your own.

The answer to all three reactions is to either reduce or discontinue your intake of progesterone until things are in balance. If you need to lower your progesterone dosage trying an over the counter (OTC) cream might be just the trick.I have tried the Emerita brand because it has no parabens and other ingredients that I abhor. Also NOW brand has a fairly natural list of ingredients and they are both USP progesterone creams which are the only effective progesterone creams sold over the counter.

There are interesting discussions about the paradoxical effects of progesterone on several websites and I find the sharing of knowledge encouraging. You see it is only with the discussion that we learn, if we close ourselves off to the experiences of others we lose a very important resource. Some find the sharing of knowledge threatening, I find it invigorating and edifying.

I cannot tell you many times something has happened to me that seems totally out of the parameters of the “norm”. My reaction is to start researching and with that I find there are many souls like me out there. I hope if you glean nothing else from your time on KrisInsight you will find one morsel of tantalizing information that you never considered before. You don’t have to agree but if it sparks a thought that will make my day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you next Monday,

Kris