I have hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! I follow a ton of health and wellness blogs/websites and in addition to gluten intolerance, hypothyroidism is having a “moment”. I feel so trendy! After reading story after story of how women aren’t getting any help with their symptoms, I felt like I had to share MY story. I think it is now “trendy” to forgo traditional medicine and try “natural” approaches to solving many of our medical issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for that! I preach it. BUT, if a simple pill can solve some symptoms so that you can focus on getting the rest of your life healthy, why are so many resisting? Here’s my experience.
EVERY woman in my family on both my mother’s and father’s sides have hypothyroidism and or Hashimoto’s disease. I’ve watched all of them have their thyroids removed. I knew I was prone to having something up with mine. I gave birth to my one and only child at the age of 25. It is my understanding that many women find out that their thyroid is going wonky around the same age or after the birth of their first child. It was at that time that my doctor did my first blood test to check my thyroid levels at a routine check up. They came back on the low side, and she recommended that I start taking a very low dose of Synthroid. I didn’t have any of the numerous symptoms that having low thyroid can cause. I just took the small pill as directed. It seemed totally natural and not scary given my family history.
I continued to get my yearly check-ups and have my blood work done. Everything was fine. About four years into taking this low dose of Synthroid, I have my first signs of things not working. I started getting ridiculously tired around 3 or 4 PM. It would last until about 7 and then I would pep back up. I had a little weight gain (5-7 lbs.), but I could easily chalk that up to taking too many B.L.T.s off my daughter’s plate. The other weird symptom was that my face felt puffy. I didn’t look puffy, I felt puffy. It made no sense to anyone except my doctor. I had my levels checked and sure enough, they had sky-rocketed. She moved me up to the next level of Synthroid, and the symptoms subsided after a few weeks. This scenario happened about every year for the next five years. I knew what to look for so as soon as I started to feel a certain way, I popped back into the doc.
It was around this time that I started to investigate more into hypothyroidism. I started reading some books and talking with more people who had it. I mean, what if my levels kept rising and nothing worked anymore. I got a little freaked out. I started to change my diet to support a healthier thyroid. This meant cutting out cruciferous vegetables and soy products. I read Jillian Michaels, “Master Your Metabolism” about endocrine disruptors (Google it). And then my symptoms came back, and my doctor didn’t want to up my dosage of Synthroid because I was just under the normal range. WTF? Normal
Normal “Highly Sensitive TSH” levels can range between 0.35 and 5.50. I was hovering at 5 and felt like crap. My doctor didn’t seem to think it was worth changing my dose. I found a new doc who understood that some people feel better at the low end of normal. He adjusted my dose a few times, and I’ve been happily sailing along for the last 8-9 years!
This little “western medicine” pill has allowed me to focus on living a healthy life. I could have easily chosen an “eastern” medicine doc and might still be chasing a “cure.” I’m very happy with my decision to take the little pill. I encourage anyone who might be dealing with thyroid symptoms to find a doctor that will listen to you and your body. I urge you to research all of the ways that you can support a healthy thyroid. I urge you to not be stubborn about taking a little pill and chase a natural remedy. Remember that ALL medicine is still a business. Western medicine seeks to make money from insurance companies, drug companies, etc. Eastern medicine is still a business. They seek to make money from you coming in over and over again to treat more and more symptoms found on tests that aren’t even covered by insurance companies. I believe that both styles of medicine have a place in our lives, and we have to be open to both. Do your homework!
This is my thyroid story, and I’m sticking to it!