Hypothyroidism and Health

By 2004, I still did not know the difference between dieting and eating healthy, but I was about to start on a journey into hypothyroid hell that would further deteriorate my health and almost kill me.

Borderline Hypothyroid Better Than Full-Blown Hypo-T

I had just moved to Texas following a divorce, and finally had a job that provided insurance. Since I'd not had a complete physical since I was in Santa Barbara, I went in for a whole workup. Big...no HUUUUGE mistake! On the follow-up appointment after all the labwork came in, the doctor said, "you're borderline hypothyroid. I don't know if I should prescribe anything for you...yes, I will." That's when I should have beat feet out of there! But no, at that point I still trusted doctors.

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I’d been suspecting for awhile that I had a thyroid issue. For instance, my normal body temperature was 96.8…NOT the “normal” 98.6. I was always cold. It could be 106, and if I was in the shade I would have a sweater on…in Texas! As you’ve seen, I been struggling for years to lose weight.

So when the doctor recommended a pill to make it better, I was all on board!

My Journey into Hypothyroid Hell

The doctor put me on Levothyroxin, the standard treatment for hypothyroidism. Great! Lost five pounds the first month. Then forgot to get my refill and gained five pounds. Oh no! Got my medication refilled and lost a few pounds. Horrifyingly I was also losing hair by the handfuls. My long beautiful THICK blonde hair was clogging the drain and filling the hairbrush at an alarming rate. I even started wondering if I would be looking at wigs in my near future. NOTE: 16 years later, I’m wearing wigs full-time.

Then my back went out. Lost my job. Lost my insurance. Couldn't afford the Levothyroxin, so stopped taking it. Gained 60 pounds in the next four months and developed plantars fasciitis!

It wasn't until I began researching plantars fasciitis that I discovered it was just one of the bazillion symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. That's how I discovered that whatever thryoid function I'd had six months prior, had been destroyed by the Levothyroxin, and I was now full-blown hypo-T.

Welcome to hypothyroid hell.
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Stop the Thyroid Madness

A doctor's appointment and lab work quickly confirmed, "yep, you're full-blown hypothyroid." Duh! As if I didn't know. By then I'd started doing my research into hypothyroidism, which started when I was researching plantars fasciitis and found the website Stop the Thyroid Madness.

There I learned about the dangers of T4-only treatments like Levothyroxin and Synthroid, and how hundreds of thousands of people around the world (mostly women, sadly) were able to do much better using natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) like Armour, Naturthroid, Westhroid, etc.

Doctor Dumping Goes Both Ways

I asked the doctor to prescribe Armour, which he did. However, like too many doctors, he knew nothing about Armour or hypothyroidism and refused to raise in on a schedule that would eventually get me to an optimum level.

With the first dose of Armour I began feeling great, the brain fog was gone and I could concentrate, which was wonderful. However, if the dose wasn’t increased, I dropped like a stone back to having symptoms. That is when that doctor and I parted ways; I dumped him...or maybe he dumped me...either way, it was the first of several such doctor dumpings, and has forever changed my idea about the entire medical profession.

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Stuck in Hypothyroid Hell

Then, trying to find my way out of hypothyroid hell, I did what so many do in the hypothyroid community, self-treated. I won't go into a lot of detail, but I would get the NDT from overseas and take it according to symptoms and temperature.

Not the perfect solution, especially since I had no insurance and couldn't afford the regular labwork necessary to monitor my thyroid hormone levels (T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3, TSH, TPO, etc.)

What this meant is that eventually I ended up developing some other issues due to under and over medicated thyroid disease: atrial fibrillation, gall bladder (removed), and eventually congestive heart failure, weight gain, hair loss, and skin issues.
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