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.

My Favorite Books
I read a lot, but these are the books I trust. If you're feeling lousy and are confused about food choices, these books will give you hope and new direction. If this web site has been helpful to you, you can help us by ordering a book now through Amazon. Here's wishing you good health!

Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a wonderful reference book, written by an MD and a certified nutritional consultant. The book suggests sound nutritional strategies for coping with more than 250 diseases, including hypothyroidism. You'll turn to this book again and again!

In the Complete Book of Juicing, Dr. Michael T. Murray (one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicines) reveals how fresh fruit and vegetable juices can help combat cancer, aging, arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney stones, ulcers, and other health conditions. Over 150 easy recipes included.

I love the balanced approach presented by Annemarie Colbin in Food and Healing. She analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a number of alternative diets, explains the remarkable healing qualities of specific foods, and describes how to tailor a diet approach that is right for you.

Fit for Life changed the way I think about food. If you're confused about what to eat, you'll appreciate the simple, natural advice in this book. This is the book I buy and give to friends who ask me the secret of my good health.

Living Well with Hypothyroidism is a great resource for those of us dealing with the condition. In her book Mary Shomon discusses symptoms, conventional treatments and alternative treatments, including new research on the value of adding T3 to the more traditional T4 hormone replacement. Very helpful!

Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices is the first and still the best book on why and how juicing restores health. The book was written by Dr. Norman Walker, who literally invented juicing and reportedly lived well past 100. This affordable little book contains very specific advice for treating hypothyroidism and many other conditions, and is available in most health food stores.


The Thyroid Health Homepage has provided this material for informational purposes only. We do not prescribe and we do not diagnose. If you use the information on this website without the approval of a health professional, you prescribe for yourself, which remains your constitutional right, but neither the author nor the Thyroid Health Homepage assume any responsibility.

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Thyroid Health Home page / revised November 2003.
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