Sunday, July 29, 2012

Adrenals

Living a very stressful life will eventually wear out the adrenal glands. A stressful job, drinking coffee, energy drinks, consuming fast foods, alcohol, staying up late on a regular basis. All things that will wear down the adrenal glands, yet we do them. It's a common sight to see people with a coffee in their hand no matter what time of day it is. I've done it myself. Having that after supper coffee was a regular thing to do. Part of relaxing at the end of the day. Too bad I didn't know I was killing my adrenal glands. So how do I fix my adrenals?


Right now that's the number one question. Based on everything I could find out there on the www, there are a few things I can do to help my adrenals. Avoid caffeine and all of the things I have above, go to bed at the same time every night, find a way to de-stress every day, and take an adaptogen. 


According to Wikipedia, "An adaptogen is a metabolic regulator which increases the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors, and to avoid damage from such factors." 


Now, I originally had a list of adaptogens here, but I don't want to encourage people to run out and buy them. I have no idea if they will cause allergic reactions, change the way medications work, or if they will help at all. I mentioned them because they are discussed in so many websites in connection to adrenals.  

So, if doing those things for the next 6 months to 2 years will help my adrenals, and if healing my adrenals will help with my Hashimoto's Disease, how could I possibly not do it? (everything except take adaptogens, that is) 


edited to add:
Someone pointed me to this site. I think it's a good guide to adaptogens.
http://www.adrenalsweb.org/isocort-and-glandulars.php  






Hot?

I'm hot. Every night I'm hot. No, I don't mean hot flashes. I'm not old enough for those yet. Instead, I get hot. At night, after the sun goes down, when I should be in bed sleeping. That is when I get hot. I feel the need to pant like a dog. Instead, I change into a tank top and sit in front of a fan. I'm happy it's not night sweats! I even get the same hot sensation if I nap during the day. So right now I'm doing some research on sleep and adrenals. It's my understanding that when cortisol levels are off, adrenals are not working properly, and therefore, the body temperatures will be off also. I'm trying out Melatonin at night. It's suppose to help me get to sleep, but it's not intended as a permanent fix. Which means I have to fix the problem while I'm able to take the Melatonin.

Update on my Erfa Thyroid: I'm now taking 60mg in the am and 45mg in the pm. My next doctor's appointment is at the beginning of September. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

If You Think You Have Thyroid Disease

I'm adding this in here because I see it all the time in those thyroid groups. Someone comes in who insists they have thyroid disease and it's their doctor who refuses to give them a proper diagnosis. They post their labs and ask "what do I do?".  Well, the problem I see, is that they have test results all within range with a TSH that is a little bit high. But it's evident from the rest of their labs that they either have poor eating habits or they need some vitamin supplements. Low vitamin D, iron, ferritin, B12. Being low in all of those will make you feel terrible and have very little energy. Now, in all these groups, they say TSH is virtually meaningless, yet they will push someone to "fire" their doctor and find a new one who will give them thyroid meds based solely on that slightly high TSH. Hmmm...that doesn't sound quite right to me. Wouldn't it be better to work on the low vitamins before jumping to the conclusion it's a thyroid problem? Of course the TSH is a little high - with the body in such short supply of all those necessary vitamins, what could you expect?

It's great to help people who have thyroid disease, but it's better to not push thyroid medication until the vitamin deficiency is taken care of first. Taking thyroid medication when you don't need it can do the thyroid harm, make it sluggish. In a healthy person, the body will adapt and slow down it's own production of the thyroid hormones, so there would actually be no purpose to taking it. Plus, keep in mind that there are side effects to all medications. Why give yourself those side effects when you don't have to?

Even though it is never the intention of those groups to cause harm, sometimes I feel the overzealous members get out of hand and people need to take a step back to get a better look at the whole picture. Find out more information before jumping to the conclusion that person has a bad doctor. Chances are, we aren't getting the whole story. If we don't ask, of course, how would we know? Making the assumption that the doctors are at fault may not always be what's in the best interest of the patient. We do have some really great doctors, and sometimes I think those groups are very judgmental. I think it's unfair to label a doctor a jerk, or out of touch, when they've probably been given much more information than what's been posted in the group pages. Perhaps that doctor is thinking along a step by step process. Fix the vitamin deficiency, and if symptoms persist, THEN check the thyroid again. It's a logical way of doing things. We don't just jump into surgery because we have a tummy ache. It may not be the appendix. Maybe it's just gas. Perhaps doctors need to be given a little more credit. Dealing with thyroid disease is not an overnight quick fix thing anyways, so slow down, and take things one step at a time.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Progress?

I'm never sure if I'm really getting better or not. I do feel better, and I'm down 4.2lbs since starting Erfa. But I just hate to get my hopes up. What if this isn't permanent? What if I start gaining weight again. What happens if I start feeling super tired again? I've had a couple of days in a row now that I've been tired. I think that may be my allergies. I tried CoQ10 and ended up with hives, bad asthma attacks and really bad allergies. So I've slept quite a bit over the past 2 days. I'm now on 45mg of Erfa in the morning and 45mg Erfa in the afternoon. Today I feel hyper. I never felt hyper on 200mcg of Synthroid, so this feeling is new to me. Of course, this whole experience is new to me. It's exciting to feel better. I am so elated to not have that all over body pain. OMG - brushing my hair!!! It's not falling out anymore!!!! Makes me wonder how many symptoms I attributed to Hashimotos when it was probably the Synthroid. I could just kick myself sometimes that I thought it was all my disease. All this time I was suffering when I could have been feeling just fine. But I guess I'm just like so many others out there. I had no way of differentiating between side effects of Synthroid and symptoms of Hashimotos Disease. I sincerely hope someone out there reads this. If this changes one person's life - stops some of the suffering of one person...

I know I don't have to share my experiences. And perhaps I tend to ramble in some places. But I keep thinking that I may have a relative or friend out there who has to deal with thyroid disease and they may feel alone. No one should ever feel alone. Especially with thyroid disease. We didn't cause it. We didn't do anything to bring this on ourselves. And most importantly, we should not feel ashamed to have it. I know some people post in thyroid groups under a false name to hide their identity. WHY? They don't want their friends and family to know what they're going through. What's the point of that? How will hiding it help anyone? There is absolutely nothing wrong with us. We have a disease. It's not contagious. Is this 100 years ago when they would make people out to be a pariah if they had Hashimoto's? NO. This is 2012. Get out there and share. Friends and family are there for support and love. There's absolutely no reason to hide. I'm actually quite angry that people want to hide it. How do they expect to get the help they need if they don't tell anyone? How are we suppose to get more people donating to thyroid research if we all run and hide? It's extremely counterproductive. I think I could rant on and on, so I will just end this for today. DON'T HIDE IT - IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT YOU HAVE THYROID DISEASE!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm Actually Feeling Better

I've been doing so much yard work lately. And that's not a complaint. I'm so happy that I'm actually able to do yard work. I even did a bit this morning too. If you had asked me a month ago to do yard work, or anything physical 4 or 5 days in a row, I would have laughed. Something like that wasn't possible. Thinking about it would make me need a nap. I feel like I need to pinch myself sometimes. Is this real? Can I really be getting better? Is this possible? Is this too good to be true? Is it going to just stop one day and allow all those symptoms to come back? I really hope not.

Today I noticed my hair brush isn't full, the shower didn't have a gob of hair in the bottom after my shower, my feet and ankles don't ache, my hands don't ache. My whole body doesn't ache! I have sore muscles from doing all that yard work, but that's suppose to be there. I'm happy to have muscle aches! Isn't that crazy? Being grateful for muscle aches - never thought that would ever happen. But it means my muscles are working and regenerating. Such a great feeling!  I'm actually feeling better! Maybe thinking I'm going to have a normal life is not like asking for a miracle.


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Patience

Today I was really disappointed that I couldn't just go outside and do yard work. I accomplished so much yesterday and the day before - why not today? I was able to do less yesterday than the day before, but sore muscles can do that. And I'd rather have sore muscles than complete exhaustion. So, not being able to do as much today? Well, I'm still on a low dose of NDT. Switching from T4 only to NDT takes time. Some days I'll feel better than others. I had that on the T4 treatment. The only difference is that I still feel better on NDT. But I won't have a ton of energy every single day until I'm on an optimal dose. I'll probably get to 3 or 4 grains total per day before I'm optimal and finally feeling human again. In the meantime I have to have patience. Raising my NDT 1/4 grain every 2 weeks takes time. (For reference,1 grain = 60mg erfa thyroid.) Right now I'm on 3/4 grain in the morning and 1/2 grain in the afternoon. On July 16th I should be raising it to 3/4 grain in the morning and 3/4 grain in the afternoon. I look forward to every single dose increase.

Since I've been taking adrenal support, I've noticed I sleep better at night. I think I've had insomnia most of my life and waking up feeling refreshed is quite a new feeling for me. I don't have a good sleep every night yet, but I really enjoy it when I get it now.

Eating healthy is so important for everyone. Even those without any health concerns. Chemicals and factory made foods just can't be considered nutritious. Many Hashimoto's patients find out they have an intolerance for several foods like gluten or dairy. Perhaps it is an intolerance to processed foods brought on by T4 only treatment? Food for thought. But you can't go wrong if you eat something that had to be grown.

Seems like Hashimoto's is just something you can't quit on. Don't stop looking for answers. Don't just give up and accept feeling crappy. Try eating organic foods, treating your adrenals, getting your rest and cutting down stressful situations. At the very least, those things will make you feel healthier and help you live longer.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Muscles

Those who have been dieting have probably read that muscle burns fat. Sort of. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. Fat produces hormones that store more fat. So in my quest to gain muscle and burn fat, I have spent hours upon hours over the last 6 years lifting weights, doing P90X among other extreme workouts, trying to build up muscle. It didn't work. In 6 years have lost so much muscle on the T4 only treatment that I'm almost at the point of asking my 75 year old neighbour to open my jar of pickles. How embarrassing is that.

Today I noticed a difference. While doing some yard work, I could actually feel my muscles working like they should be. Weak, yes, but working. Being on NDT for a little more than 2 weeks, I'm actually starting to build some muscle back. I can't believe I didn't make the connection between T4 only treatment and the loss of muscle mass until after talking to other thyroid patients. I'm also not completely worn out. I don't think I could have made it through 2 hours of raking and shoveling gravel and dirt 3 weeks ago. Probably half an hour and I would have had to nap.

Now, I know some people do really well on T4 only, but I guess I'm just not one of them. It probably helps that I'm taking steps to repair my adrenals, which helps me sleep, which helps my cortisol levels, which makes my NDT work better, which makes me feel better. Brick upon brick we build things. Never give up.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

T4 or NDT

When I found STTM, I read the posts from the members. Then I checked out the links. I think I read them for 2 days before I phoned my doctor to get an appointment. Now, I'm pretty skeptical of things - thanks to the diet industry and their "testimonials", so I researched as much as I could. Unfortunately, there's just not a lot of information out there that didn't lead me back to the STTM website. Janie Alexander Bowthorpe has done an amazing job with STTM - Thank you Janie! I recommend everyone check out her website. There's actually so much to learn from that site that it's just not possible for me to put it all here. But I will say that healing the adrenal glands and getting the cortisol levels fixed is super important. Instead of getting into all that, I will tell you what I've done and how I feel.

Two weeks today, I started on NDT - Natural Desiccated Thyroid - A brand called Erfa Thyroid. I was on a total of 187.5mcg of T4 then switched to a much smaller dose of 30mg of NDT twice a day. Doctors do this because it's a change from T4 only to T4 with T3. I think it's standard procedure, but it's also an excellent way to do it. My doctor prescribed me 60mg twice a day, but because I've been on such a high dose of T4, I started with 30mg twice a day.

The first 4 days I felt ok. A little 'funny', a bit tired, but ok. I know from STTM that I needed to be on 30mg twice a day for 2 weeks to help my system get rid of the synthetic/excess T4. Days 5 to 9, I started to feel less joint and muscle pains. Days 10 and 11, I was tired. Very sleepy. So I rested often, napped often.

Now, to back up a little bit, I started some adrenal support on day 3 or 4 - I can't remember which. (My adrenal support includes avoiding caffeine completely, taking Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, Vitamin D, Iron, and Siberian Ginseng.) And I started making sure I went to bed by 11pm at the very latest. I also included melatonin at night to help me get to sleep. It's not perfect, but so far it's helping by leaps and bounds.

On day 11, I was so extremely tired, I decided I could probably increase my NDT the next day. So that's what I did. I now take 45mg in the morning and 30mg in the afternoon.  I know I'm still on a very low dose of NDT and I will have to have it increased, but I'm amazed at how much better I feel. I'm tired, but not exhausted, and about 90% or better of my body aches are gone. I know I'm not on an optimal dose yet. I've only just begun. So far things are looking up. :)

New - New to me, Anyways.

It's been quite a while since I last posted. Mostly because I really wasn't feeling 100%.  I didn't understand how I could be taking 175mcg + 12.5mcg (1/2 of a 25mcg) of Synthroid every morning and still not be feeling better. I don't mean that I felt as horrible as before taking thyroid medication, I just mean that I wasn't feeling as good as I thought I would.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
  • Depression
  • Mania 
  • Fatigue 
  • Panic Attacks 
  • Weight Gain 
  • Sensitivity to Hot and Cold 
  • High Cholesterol
  • Migraines
  • Memory Loss 
  • Cramps  
  • Hair Loss
  • Infertility

Here are the symptoms that started AFTER I began taking Synthroid:

1. body aches and pains equal to having the flu
2. hair loss -- getting sunburn on the top of my head through my hair
3. complete exhaustion - equal to having the flu
4. sleep disturbances
5. weight gain - (something that's not suppose to happen if on an optimal dose of T4) I did a 30 day regime of P90X at lunch and 2 hours on the treadmill after supper with only losing 1lb at the end of those 30 days. I was fully committed to an extremely healthy eating plan, so you can imagine my frustration!
6. Muscle deterioration

I do understand that nothing man-made will be as good as what the body can supply, so I never expected perfect. I did however, expect to get better with time. In 6 years of being on Synthroid (T4 only), I didn't feel better. The body aches and pains actually increased. And yet, I just thought I had to endure.

One day about 3 weeks ago, I was searching Facebook for a support group. I didn't really expect to find anything. I wasn't looking for some place to complain and accomplish nothing. That wasn't going to help.
What I did find was exactly what I needed. STTM.

Stop The Thyroid Madness (STTM) - great information! I can't even express how happy I am that I stumbled across them!!