Is there something that you eat most days that has a negative affect on your Hypothyroid condition? It might even be something you are unaware of? But think about it…if it’s something bad like drinking soda or eating something that has lots of refined sugar in it (like a pastry for breakfast, or something sweet after dinner?) then you know that stuff is bad for everyone lol!
Just for today, target that ONE THING and don’t do it…just for today. I find that if I make big plans, they always fall through because being that strict for most humans is impossible. I get more accomplished if I lower my expectations. Wow, that sounds awful, but in the end this approach has worked best for me. It doesn’t feel scary, but truly doable.
Think about what that is and then give your body a chance to fight and your meds a chance to do their best work (whatever it is, a drug or supplements, or like me: both!). It’s a really simple and genuinely manageable thing to do. It will help you feel in control of something that most of the time has a hold on you, at least that’s how I feel for a little part of every day. Okay my thing will be no Justin’s Peanut Butter Cup or Goobers and replace it with some Greek Yogurt or perhaps a nice Pink Lady Apple. I don’t do it everyday but at least this challenge will most certainly make me choose something better today.
So one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is stress or depression, or both! It doesn’t mean you will have that. I feel that most of the time I am not depressed but more frustrated. I think it is important to do anything that is in your power to make your day a little easier. One of the things seems so obvious but we don’t do it, is to get outside each and every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
It is a widely known fact through tons of research (just type stress and exercise into your Google search box!) that the act of simply walking relieves tension IMMEDIATELY, STRAIGHTAWAY, DIRECTLY, POSTHASTE!!!
So today, go outside for 5 minutes, (You can even time it so you don’t feel pressured). Don’t put yourself off by saying you don’t feel like it, or you feel too weak or tired, or that it’s raining or freezing cold, or any of the other million and one clever reasons to not open that door and point yourself in any direction and just walk. You can run too! Just tell yourself it will help you overcome or alleviate what you are feeling right now. And smile too. I’m deadly serious. I promise you will not regret a modicum of that time you are putting one foot in front of the other.
There is one very small change that I have made and it seems such a simple thing to do but I’ve had a hard time doing it: taking my pill at the SAME TIME EVERY DAY. Jeez, that should be easy but I have been terrible about that. And it’s not like I didn’t put any thought into it. I thought the morning would be easiest but that didn’t work out because on the weekend I get up later so it throws the schedule off. I did read that the absorption of T4 (the hormone that my medication levothyroxine is supposed to replace – very simplified explanation) into the body needs some alone time so that didn’t help me either. Apparently if you take other medications or supplements they should not be taken within 4 hours of taking this.
Well that throws another spanner into the works if you are trying to balance this all out, not to mention that certain vitamins and minerals are best taken with a meal.
So I made myself narrow down a time for once and for all. It is 4pm. That way I don’t have to worry about taking it when I wake up or go to sleep as these times vary. It is not a mealtime for me so shouldn’t interfere with absorption and other supplements, and I have made it easy to remember by setting an alarm on my phone to remind me. And 4 days in, so far so good.
So if this is the ONE THING you figure out today, then you are on the right path!
In a moment of total frustration and really not having a clue how to approach figuring out the answer to the question: do I feel crappy because of my hypothyroidism or do I feel crappy because of my daily 25mg of synthetic hormone Levothyroxine which is supposedly helping me to feel better???
I wish I could tell you it was an enlightening time but all I learned is that I was happy to feel I was not on any life long medication, and that it was really difficult to tell on a daily basis what made me feel good and what made me feel bad? Was one day bad because I ate the wrong food (food that is harmful to the function of my thyroid)? or because I didn’t take my pill? Or was I having a good day becasue the thing I ate or vitamin I took was exactly what my body needed to feel healthy?
A few days ago I went back on my little peach-colored pill but made a decision I have avoided making since I started taking my daily dose of levothyroxine, and that was, in order for me to truly know how to help myself, I needed to take the time to understand the disease and to seriously monitor how I felt from day-to-day. In order to figure me out, it’s time for me to take on a little homework. I have avoided this mainly because I have down-played how hypothyroidism has elbowed its way into my daily routine and also the amount of information in the form of books, articles and the internet could become a full-time siphoning job!!!
Not to mention what to do with all that advice…I just wanted someone to tell me what to do and I would just do it agghhh! But it’s not so simple and I know that now after a year of just relying on doing what my doctor told me: take the pill!
I need to figure out what is right for me and to do this I need to read more, experiment and write down what I find out so I can make a better decision for me. It’s my life, I need to take this seriously.
I thought what I have been doing all my life would just make me immune to many of the things that cause people trouble as the years go by. I have always eaten right, and exercise is a daily part of my life. And I know for sure this has warded off most things but unfortunately for me (and it appears millions of people around the world) my thyroid problem has found a way to drag me down both physically and mentally.
I cannot let this happen. I have about twenty tabs on my computer open at the moment with articles written by anyone from doctors who specialize in finding out more about what this crappy disease is all about and how to go about fixing it, to people like me who got fed up with just doing what they were told. Taking your life into your own hands is scary but at the end of the day we will ultimately be the best advocates for what is best.
I have no clue where to go from here but I’ll hash it out here and see what happens.
I was “diagnosed” with hypothyroidism over 2 years ago and I said “fucking no way I am taking drugs!” I am 5’9″ and weighed about 126lbs at the time. And that weight is normal for me. Ok… so I have to tell you my age:53 and that’s not a big deal. I don’t really care except for the fact that my totally limited research noted that woman over the age of 45 or so are a popular group to suffer from this.
Why did I even go to the doctor in first place? I hate doctors, well not truly hate but don’t think they know more than a patient knows about their own body. I am one of those woman who feels like my state of well-being is up to me, from I eat and drink, to being active. I have always taken care of myself (as the say) and going to the doctor and then taking advice from people who sometimes are in need of a visit to Dicks Sporting Goods for a pair of running shoes themselves is hard for me! I am not a bitch and this sounds bitchy but when people look at me and say I was blessed with the “Thin Gene” I want to chain them to my ankle when I go running or lay on the yoga mat beside me and yell at them to keep up while we do core exercises and then ask them about their freakin’ Thin Gene Theory. If only there was such a thing!!
I know we are all born with different shit we have to deal with and I am no different from anybody else. I have always known that I will put on weight if I eat too much or too much of a bad thing, and if I don’t exercise. It’s logical!! So I have always tried to do my best and keep my life (body-wise anyone) on the straight and narrow. It is work and it pays off. And it’s not vanity either. I just don’t want to feel like crap everyday because I have made the BAD decision to abuse myself by what I eat and how I treat this temple of mine.
I’m trying to get to my point. I just want to talk about the thing that drags me the freak down: Hypofuckingthyroidism! At least that’s what I call it.
Anyway, over two years ago I began to think that my hitting a wall of tiredness that would turn me into a walking zombie and forgetting the reason why I ran upstairs or opened a drawer or what I was saying, and why my hair was falling out and my skin hurt and felt dry as a biscuit, and why when I applied mascara I could barely find any lashes and why I was always constipated even though I knew nobody who consumed as many leafy greens as I!!! And so many other things that felt totally unrelated??? That was the problem. All of this stuff or these symptoms seemed so random. Well that apparently is hypothyroidism!
So I had a blood test and the normal level for a healthy thyroid is between 1-4 and mine was a 5.5 or something. My doctor (who I actually like and is cool etc etc) said she was concerned and enlightened me on this disease (she called it a disease!). I said ok great and what can I eat and/or do to fix this problem? She said there was no real cure but it could be controlled with meds. OMG really – I couldn’t cure this shit myself??? I said no way and left, but did promise to have a blood test later to check “my levels”. I hated all this medical jargon…disease, levels, Jesus! She told me I didn’t look like a typical type as I was thin and seemed quite healthy overall. She said my thyroid didn’t even look compromised but that it must be working mighty hard to stay in that shape. Whatever, I didn’t really understand what she was talking about and was too consumed with thinking that it would just go away when I figured things out for myself.
I read about it and decided I just needed to make sure I had enough iodine in my system to keep everything running smoothly. I got some J.Crow’s Lugol’s solution which contained iodine.
In a nutshell, the Thyroid Gland in your neck is responsible for a lot of how your body functions. It produces, (ok here we go with horrible medical speak) stores, and releases hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the body’s cells. The thyroid gland uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two main hormones:Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). The brain then has to talk to this gland and tell it how much of each of these things to release to maintain normal body function. My god, it is so simple but so complex. I couldn’t help being a little bit in awe of the human body when I started to understand this whole crazy balancing act that my body performs on a daily basis! Essentially the pituitary gland tells the thyroid gland how much hormone (T3, T4) to make and release at any given time. When the job is done right, no one is the wiser. You just go about your life blissfully ignorant of how you are managing to do that!
But when the communication lines between these two glands (and I am most certainly aware of how simplified I have made this, and that’s fine ’cause this website can explain it better if you want to get into it: Nitty Gritty Thyroid Details) is messed up then all sorts of crap goes wrong in your body: Too much of these hormones produced and you get Hyperthyroidism and too little and you get what I have, Hypothyroidism. And it’s totally frustrating for so many reasons. Mainly for me I’m super pissed because I cannot control this myself. I hate that I am walking around seemingly looking normal but that there is this constant struggle. It totally sucks.
So when I got the word from my doctor that she was “worried” about my 5.5 and that she wanted to start me on something called Levothyroxine I said “huh? No way, I cannot even pronounce that shit!” I left and took a year to figure it out myself. All I found out is that taking the thing could be dangerous and not taking it could be dangerous too! I decided to just add drops of that bottle of J.Crow’s Lugol’s solution into water, drink it and hope for the best. I didn’t have to really change my eating habits (I eat a Blood Type A diet) and I was already exercising so didn’t do much else save for add stuff I read about like evening primrose oil, biotin, vitamin c, lysine, some B complex stuff and a few other things. Actually going online and finding out about all this just freaked me out. When I looked it up there was a crazy amount of information, including personal stories from people who were hyper vigilant about their disease which only served to either turn me off as they were way too into the whole thin,g or made me feel bad for not caring in that sort of serious way.
In general I was just annoyed and think I was so used to feeling crappy (oh the symptoms for my Hyposhite as I call it include: Trouble sleeping, Tiredness and fatigue, Difficulty concentrating, Dry skin, thinning hair, Depression, Sensitivity to cold temperature, Frequent heavy periods, Joint and muscle pain, unexplained weight gain – there are more, like my freakin lack of eyelashes which I never thought would bother me, but now that I have less and less it sucks… maybe I’m vain after all!) that I thought it was all normal. I just thought I was going through the motions of aging or it was just how I was…like being cold and forgetting why I walked into the other room was normal for me. I just let it go.
However, as the year from my first convo with my doctor to the next progressed little alarms kept going off in my head, like “oh that’s a hyposhite move” and “oh yea, I read that this is why my period is a killer!”. And when I had the next blood test and my new shiny number had bumped up to a 7.75 I said “fuck it, give me the meds!”
What sucked about that is I now officially had a freakin’ “condition” and I knew I would possibly have to write the word Hypothyroidism on every damn form I ever filled out again!
I started on the lowest dose (25mg) of the most popular medication for hypothyroidism called levothyroxine sodium. This drug replaces the hormone not produced or produced in insufficient amounts by the body, MY BODY.
I didn’t really notice anything for a while and didn’t want to chalk any good that came out of ingesting this artificial shite to this until I was absolutely sure that the drug was the thing responsible. My life was busy enough without having to monitor what was going on with my body.
After about 6 months I have to admit that some things changed for the better. That brick wall of tiredness was far less frequent and I felt like the resident fog had left my brain and felt more like my old self in many ways. Also my now regular blood tests (to see if the drug helped and to make sure the dosage was working) were giving me numbers in the 1’s and 2’s. I decided that is was ok to be on this.
About 2 months into taking this however I started getting these crazy eye infections, in both eyes! My eyes would completely close and it was gross. The whites would get so red that I was afraid to make eye contact with anyone for fear of scaring them to death.. The doctor hadn’t a clue thinking it was some sort of allergy. All I could do was take antibiotic drops and calm the skin around my eyes with cortisone cream (yes, I know I’m not supposed to do that but it was that or tear the itchy skin from my eyes with my long daggery nails). It kept happened and then I figured it out the same time I realized that my eyelashes were totally spare and pathetic-looking. I think, and this is my diagnosis, that because my eyes were no longer protected by long lustrous lashes they were more susceptible to any bacteria that they came into contact with. Crazy, even eyelashes are responsible for more than just batting. So this was new…eyelashes falling out and this happened after I started on that levothy-crap. It did take me nearly a year to figure that out and I stopped the stupid infections by meticulously washing my eyes with Johnson’s Baby Body Wash every night before bed. Hope this tip helps anyone who got the same problem after their eyelashes fell pray to the effects of the Hyposhite thing or the side effects of the meds.
And that’s the funny peculiar thing…lots of the side effects are the same as the freakin’ disease. Totally confusing.
And even more confusing when a month ago when I decided I was sick of hair thinning and the eye lash problem, as well as WEIGHT LOSS (I was thin as it was but I went down to 116 lbs – Jesus, I looked liked one of those older women who starved themselves in a desperate attempt to look youthful. My body in clothes looked fine but naked…I hated being so thin!!! And I wasn’t eating any less and I refused to give up running and coaching (I coach track and cross-country on the side).
I figured if one of the side effects didn’t include an erection that lasted more than 4 hours (ok that’s impossible for me but had to mention it) and I didn’t have suicidal thoughts or leaking orifices I would not worry. But after a while the things that did appear to be new problems began to gnaw at me. I absolutely couldn’t stand the hair loss and O My God that sounds so trite but it just made me feel that loss of control thing. I could not simply remedy it by a better conditioner or gobs of vitamins – believe me I tried this. Nothing worked!!
A month ago I went back to my doctor and said I didn’t care if I had this Hypo thing, I was going off the meds. She was pretty cool about it and that’s because she knows me and knows I like to be in control of my life. She scheduled a blood test for 6 weeks after my big announcement, which is coming up soon (beginning of March).
BUT, in the past month my body has been through either withdrawal or just been retaken by my under active thyroid. It is so hard to tell as side effects from withdrawal are super similar to the disease in the first place. And in three weeks I gained 11 lbs, which is all very well and good as it put me back to the weight I have been my whole life, but 11 lbs in 3 weeks with no diet change – shit, that cannot be normal? But apparently it is if you have hypothyroidism.
I used to be critical of people who said they were overweight no matter how much they ate because they had hypothyroid crappy disease. I couldn’t understand or believe it. I thought it was an excuse. But I see that it’s not, even though I am not overweight or never have been, but I am beginning to think that’s because I am a kind of extreme person who will run 5 or so miles even if I can barely walk when I feel fatigued. I just cannot give in to this crap whatsoever. It is normal for me to struggle and I totally LOVE running and being outside. It makes me happy and gives me energy and a defiant satisfaction.
Here is why I am writing this, or sharing this I suppose. I went back on my 25mg of levothyroxine three days ago because I panicked. I felt like I had a whole array of new symptoms to deal with and the more I read the more confused I got. I was sitting with my daughter who was up to her eyes in a school project she should have started way earlier and she asked what I was doing. I told her my dilemma and she asked “well could you die of this hypothyroid thing?” and I scanned what I was reading at the time and said “well yes, it says here I could”. “I mean you can die from taking an aspirin”, I told her, but she said to please go back on it and then really try to figure what I truly needed or wanted to do. I said okay, and popped my pill!
Kind of a dumb move since I should have waited for the blood test which will be skewed now even I take it on Tuesday just to see where that needle on my blood test would have fallen…oh well.
But I am going to do something different and that is to take this more seriously in my kind of way. I don’t want to get bogged down in all this shite but one way I can keep tabs on changes etc is to keep a diary of sorts. That is what this is for: a way for me to monitor, write and figure out what I can do to give me more control. Of course my goal would be to cure myself to the point that I don’t need to take a drug once a day for the rest of my life.
I realize I have a very small problem compared to people who battle major diseases and I am extremely grateful for this, but I do feel like hypothyroidism looks like nothing on the face of it but has the power to totally mess with your life.