How I Learned I was Hypothyroid and Began Searching for Health
NOTE: The following is a story of how I began my journey for healing. For an update on how I'm doing after 4 years on the journey, read Update After Four Years.
In December 1996, I learned my thyroid was not producing enough thyroid hormone (a condition called "hypothyroidism"). My endocinologist gave me the standard medical writeoff, "You're not going to get better. I'm putting you on Synthroid. You'll take it the rest of your life."
I never went back to him. I started researching what diet and lifestyle changes could possibly benefit my thyroid. The diet changes made a tremendous difference in my energy level, and literally all the pain I'd been regularly experiencing has disappeared. I found another doctor that was better at listening and willing to consider some alternative therapies.
Four years later I am taking thyroid hormone (see Update). So I haven't found a "magic pill" that solved all my problems, but I do feel positive and healthy and in control of my health decisions.
It had probably been coming on for years. But in December 1996, I felt lousy. I was tired and achy and depressed. My throat hurt, my arms ached, I was developing arthritis in my shoulders, and my head was muddled. So much so that I did something I rarely do--I went to my doctor.
My doctor (an osteopath, who had his thyroid removed after thryoid cancer), quickly discovered that I was hypothyroid. My Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) was elevated at 7.7 (normal is .4 to 4.2). My T3 and T4 readings were barely within the normal range. But most disturbing of all, the autoimmune antibodies that attach the thyroid were off the charts. Antithyroglobn was 21 and Antithyroid Peroxidase AB was 75 (the top of the normal range for each should be less than 2!)
I was referred to a big-bucks endocrinologist who fired off a series of questions and sent me for lab work. The next week he announced, "I'm putting you on Synthroid, starting at 100 mcg. We'll check your blood again in 6 weeks. You'll need to take it for the rest of your life."
When I asked him about nutrition, he laughed in my face. "Take the Synthroid. Diet is irrelevant. You're not going to get any better."
Later, reading "Spontaneous Healing" by Dr. Weil, I realized that the physician was in effect cursing me with what Dr. Weil calls a "medical hex." A physician is a powerful authority figure and such pronouncements can hit people like a voodoo curse. To paraphrase Dr. Weil, If your doctor tells you you're not going to get better, get a new doctor!
This was in January 1997. Since then I have been reading a wide variety of books and other resources in an attempt to discover what, if anything, is available in the way of a more natural treatment for thyroid. I have been drinking a pint or more of freshly made vege juice every day, and my diet is at least 50% raw fruits and veges.
I've had great results from my diet changes. My chloresterol is great - down to 200 (from a one time high of 260), my energy level is much improved, and my blood sugar level has been fine (in spite of an earlier diagnosis of Type II Diabetes). My arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic indigestion have completely disappeared! I've lost 20 pounds and am at a good weight for me. Anytime you get those kind of results at the age of 50, you know there's something special going on. I truly recommend a vege-based diet and juicing!
But, in spite of progress in other areas, I did eventually go on thyroid replacement. I also take a few (mostly food-based) supplements including garlic, CoQ10, selenium, ginkgo bilboa, natural E and C, and B complex vitamins.
I am excited about how much more there is to learn about health and healing. I am hoping through this web page to share my discoveries and to learn what has worked for you.
For an update on my current health, as well as a discussion of Armour "natural" (port extract) thyroid vs. synthetic thyroid, visit Update after 4 Years.