If this is normal, I’m not impressed!

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.06.02 PMThis page has been updated to the present day and time. Enjoy!

In 2008, I was getting to know a 40-something relative-in-law whom I hadn’t known long, but could tell we would click! She’s one of those people who could say things in a way that I’d be on the floor, laughing.

When she found out I had written the Stop the Thyroid Madness book, she got a copy and read it. And as she read, her eyes got bigger…and bigger…and bigger. The Thyroid Stimulating Hooey chapter was especially an eye-opener for her.

Turns out she has had fatigue problems for at least 14 years (while being told she was normal), starting right after her daughter was born. And that fatigue showed in her eyes and her demeanor (while being told she was normal). But that’s not all. She’s continually gained weight all these years (while being told she was normal), even though she eats like a bird (while being told she was normal), and has enough depression to warrant an anti-depressant (while being told she was normal). She was also getting worried about her cholesterol (but of course, she’s normal). And finally, she had low cortisol symptoms (while being told she was normal).

14 years of being pronounced “NORMAL” is as crazy-making as it get, don’t you think?

Why was she continually told she was normal? Because the TSH lab result said so. It always…always fell in that crazy-making “normal” range. And like so many doctors, her doctor believed ink spots on a piece of paper over all her very clear symptoms of NOT being “normal”. Talk about bringing her to tears.

I sent her to a MUCH better and hopeful doctor.

In 2006, the World Health Organization defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. So…if you stuck “normal” in front of that definition of health, as misinformed, TSH-obsessed doctors so routinely tell us we are, it means that we have the symptoms expected of one who is in complete physical, mental and social well-being. Then why don’t we feel that way?????

Yessirree, somewhere along the medical perspective timeline, the ability to pay attention to the obvious clinical presentation of clear hypothyroid symptoms ran right down into the sewer. And with that loss has come hundreds of millions of hypothyroid patients worldwide with the schizophrenic diagnosis of “normal” along with raging symptoms thanks to ink spots on a piece of paper called the erroneous TSH range. And that is exactly why this website is necessary, as is the book and YOUR demands for better treatment.

I was schizophrenically “normal” for nearly 20 years while I had miserable and even debilitating symptoms. My relative had been for 14. How about YOU?


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15 Responses to “If this is normal, I’m not impressed!”

  1. Lynda

    Janie, I am so thankful that you cared enough and took the time to share. I am new to the world of thyroid problems. Had many symptoms and was finally diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in March of this year; got the radio active iodine treatment, which has led to hypothyroidism. I am on Synthroid, and I feel awful. Low energy, bloated, depressed…I don’t even recognize myself half of the time…BUT, my endocrinologist says that I have “Perfect TSH results”. His advice is that i need to give my body time to get use to the ‘levels’. I am on the eve of my 50th birthday, i know my body, it is NOT getting use to anything. I need HELP!!!

  2. Ann

    I live in Toronto and have been going to the Dempster Clinic where Dr. Dempster practices functional medicine. He can test your mineral/ vitamin deficiencies through a blood test at the cellular level.

  3. graciela

    Where can we get the mineral and vitamin test done? I live in Toronto, Canada.
    Thank you

  4. Donna F. Smith, Ph.D.

    Reference: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2008/05/16/normal/

    I just read the comments at the above site, and me makes me both sad and angry for all the people who are mislead by well-meaning, but misinformed experts. What I will share with you has been the result of helping people with dysfunctions of the thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones, etc., since 1981, and in doing so I have learned something everyone needs to know.

    Minerals transport hormones (thyroid, adrenal, sex hormones, etc.) to the cells. The thyroid can be functioning normally, yet if the person has deficiencies in the specific minerals that transport the thyroid hormones from the glands (same with adrenals and sex glands), the hormones that do not get to the cells will collect in the blood. They are taken to the blood to be filtered by liver and excreted through the kidneys. This is a biological process for eliminating what the body cannot use. When the hormones get transported to the blood for this purpose, it causes imbalances in thyroid levels (it can raise or lower TSH, T3, T4 and FTI, respectively). If at that moment, a person has a blood test done by their MD, the MD will see this imbalance and immediately assume that it is a glandular problem. The MD then will diagnose hypo or hyper function of the gland, prescribe a drug for it, as in the case of Synthroid for hypothyroid. Consequently, the drug interferes with a perfectly healthy functioning gland, which in times causes the gland to become dysfunctional, even diseased, and the real cause continues, also making the condition worse and goes on undetected. This is why so many continue to have problems and create more problems for themselves when they take the drug, or take supplements such as Armour or other thyroid supplements — the real cause is not being addressed. So though the person may feel initially better (which is due to the stimulation of the gland) once the gland has dealt as best it can with this source of stimulation or manipulation (drug or supplement), it tries again to communicate to the person (via the symptoms surfacing again) that the real problem has not been addressed. So the person goes back to feeling fatigued or whatever their original symptoms were. Please note, my referenced to Armour is not saying anything against the supplement, just that if the cause is not glandular, but mineral deficiencies, Armour will not help in the long-term.

    Additionally, when a man or woman goes through menopause (fe)or andropause (male), the thyroid and adrenals are backup glands for producing sex hormones. However, most people have exhausted thyroid and adrenals glands by the time they reach this time of life. This causes even further dysfunction of these glands and more severity of symptomology.

    Taking a multiple mineral supplement is not the answer and can make the above worse. I could write a whole article on minerals.

    Before taking any supplement, it is best to have your nutritional biochemistry tested to find out exactly what you are deficient or excessive in – there are specific tests for vitamin deficiencies and others for mineral deficiencies.

    • arni phiroz

      where can I get the best mineral vitamin food intolerance tests done. My doctor keeps saying my tsh etc tests are normal and I have all the hypothyroid symptoms. Would you care to recommend a real doctor or specialist. Tired of trying to diagnose myself.

  5. Shirley

    My problems started in the early nineties. Both my sons were around five years old. I developed Fibromyalgia, although getting to that diagnosis was a horrific experience, itself. I was misdiagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis that goes undetected by x-ray or blood work. A reputable rheumatologist put me on Feldene and Prednisone for six months. It did no good. In the interim, I gained 60 pounds. The vicious circle of low self-esteem coupled with depression caused me to no longer care about how I looked. Soon, I was up to 100 pounds heavier. I am now 175 pounds overweight. Since that time and becoming progressively worse, I have extremely low energy, I have trouble putting sentences together due to a thousand thoughts racing through my head at one time, I’ve developed asthma and my allergies have become worse–basically anything I had wrong with me initially has been amplified unbelievably. My once gorgeous mane of hair is now thin and brittle. I have vertical cracks in two of my molars from stress-clenching. I have TMJ. Everything hurts 24/7. I have trouble getting up stairs. I have trouble cleaning. I have trouble cooking. I have trouble sitting and standing. I have been misdiagnosed with ADD. I have recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on lithium and Lamictal. For the first 6 weeks, I felt like a new person. Now, I feel like dying. As with every antidepressant I have ever been on (and I do believe I’ve been on them all), I feel great for the first month and then they cease to work. It wasn’t until recently, my “borderline low” thyroid level was brought to my attention by MY PSYCHIATRIST and not my primary care physician, who had my labs because she wanted to see my lithium levels. I just turned forty. I have literally lost 20 years of my life to whatever is going on with me. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist on Friday. I know what to ask. I know to bring a completed checklist. I made sure to have all my medical records sent over there ahead of time. My husband is coming with me. I will be taking complete notes. I am not going to allow another doctor to misdiagnose me just to shut me up. I will never get the past 20 years back but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sacrifice the next 20. I’ve been taking magnesium supplements to try to weed out a magnesium deficiency. While it has helped some, it hasn’t eradicated any of my symptoms.

    Reading the previous four stories and reading pretty much the rest of this site, I am determined now more than ever to stand up for myself and not believe a doctor just because he’s a doctor. I truly wish none of us had to go through this. We’ve all lost valuable time, some have lost their families and others have waning sanity. There is no excuse for this especially since the medical technology is in place to prevent or treat any and all symptoms by treating their host. Thanks to all of you, especially Janie for this no-holds-barred site. I feel like there is real hope where there has only been false hope.

  6. Lee, Yorktown Virginia

    Thankfully, it has only been three years for me. I’m up to 100 mg Amrour sublingually now. On each dose increase, my symptoms go away for about two weeks, and then begin to creep back. But what a joy to have a couple weeks of feeling 95% percent normal again. Hopefully, I will arrive at the optimal dose soon. My heart rate is still 45 to 50, and has not budged, and I am not athletic, though I am very slim. My biggest symptoms have been IBS, FMS, and CFS. It was a beautiful day when I could eat without pain again. The days became even brighter when my pain spots stopped paining.

  7. Jan Hughes

    I am seriously about to walk out on my family because I/they can’t live this way any more and (I’m serious here) harm myself in some way to finally be taken seriously, but I’ll likely just be forced into a psych ward somewhere where I have no control and they won’t do the proper investigation ‘just cause I say so’ anyways. I’ll just be labeled, maybe even kept there against my will needlessly. I’ve had over 30 years of real crap, over 20 of it repeating myself over and over to my md and all thyroid tests coming back normal. All that’s missing in the hypothyroid posts and books written by experts is my photo on the front. Yet last week my md flatly refused to send me to an endocrinologist -wanna know what she actually said? She said, “They don’t deal with this, if you were having trouble getting pregnant, that’s what I would send you for.” Because the repeated thyroid tests have been normal. She wrote me off long ago as having generalized depression and anxiety and that’s been it. Over a dozen anti-depressant meds that didn’t work out, a minimal dose of daily Clonazepam that I’m addicted to, and thousands of dollars wasted over the years on therapies and counseling I had to fully pay for, I go home and get on the Net, and what do I see EVERYWHERE? That’s PRECISELY what endos specialize in -the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, and all other hormones as well. I just read yet another thyroid book, The Thyroid Solution by an endo in Houston that people travel thousands of miles to see. So much of it that’s true for me I am stunned to read more that I didn’t know -the stuff in my family aside from a hypothyroid mom, -(she and I both lost 50% of the hair on our heads, I grew excess on my face), my PCO, the panic attacks/depression, cognitive problems impairment/, even the high incidence of addiction that runs in my biological family? All there in the book, and more. I have fibromyalgia (diagnosed by 3 naturopaths -my md doesn’t think I have it), IBS, severe menstrual pain and PMS, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms for many years (I am now lucky to leave the house), my thyroid is now enlarged which causes me a sore throat and hoarse voice.I went for blood tests Thursday and don’t have them back yet, July 9th is the soonest for an ultrasound. What really bothers me is reading in the book over and over again, “After suffering for over a year/2years etc., her life in shambles, so-and-so finally got the help she needed”, that it IS very possible that all this started when I was a teen as I suspected, and that prolonged conditions (what would you call 36 years)really can affect the heart and the brain, sometimes permanently. I’m getting a new md, and I found a Dr. Leonard Direnfeld in Scarborough highly recommended on the “Best Thyroid Doctors in Canada” postings and will call his office Monday. Someone posted that they waited 4 weeks to see him which doesn’t sound too unusual to see a specialist, but to tell you the truth, (and I’m sure everyone’s an ‘urgent’ case), I will have lost my family by then. If my md prescribes anything, I simply don’t want to go through the T4 only, automatic Synthroid etc. trial/going back & forth with my md nonsense. I would give anything to see Dr. Direnfelf asap.

    • jenna

      Hello, I am currently looking for a doc in this are, and was just researching this particular one (DR. Direnfelf)
      Did you end up going? How was he? and did you need a referral from your family dr?

      • Lisa

        I called to get an appointment and was given August of next year!!!! 2015
        Not sure I will survive til then…

        • Mac

          Hi, for those of you who didn’t want to wait in Dr. Leonard Direnfeld’s long waiting list, where did you go? Do you suggest other good doctors in GTA? Thanks.

          • Sarah

            I don’t have major thyroid issues, but my Doctor in East York automatically tested Free t4 and Free t3 as well as anti-tpo in addition to the TSH. His first goal was to have me go gluten-free before putting me on any meds when I showed up having thyroid antibodies. He’s not a specialist or anything, but I think he’ll work with you on what you want to do. His name is Dr. David Tsai. Again, I don’t have major health issues–so my problem was pretty easily controlled/corrected. Not sure how he would do with a more developed/severe case…but he’s better than a typical doctor.

  8. Theresa Roberts

    I can sooooo relate to your stories. I was hyper many years ago (oh the brain fog, late 80’s or very early 90’s, figured out recently it was Grave’s) after having my third child. Several months of anti-thyroid med’s later, I ended up hypo. My GP thought I was adequately treated for 12-15 years with ever increasing doses of $ynthroid. Needless to say I gained weight (40-60 lbs), blood pressure elevated, frequent bouts with anemia, horrendous allergies developed, quality of life went down the tubes. With no energy to do much else, I went online and found this site and the about. com site. It has been a revelation to me!

    When I first asked my dr about T3, I got a lecture about why is was unnecessary and bad for me. I asked to see an endo, but it took many months before he prescribed desiccated thyroid. He left me on a low starting dose too long (3 months), and it has been a long slow road to recovery. In January this year, after a little over a year on it, I joined Curves to try and boost my metabolism and get my heart healthy again. I haven’t lost much weight (no energy to diet yet, and don’t think restricting calories would help the still struggling metabolism), but I am building muscle and have lost about 18″ so far. I feel no pain after exertion now, just a pleasant tiredness. Coincidentally, I started to suffer weakness shortly after joining, and came to suspect anemia. Taking iron supplements seems to be helping. I’m not all the way back yet, but I shudder to think what life would be like without the information I found here.

    Jane’s book is awesome! I just got it this week, and I’m still poring over it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! And it’s a shame that we have to beg our doctors and feel like shrill harpies to get the help we deserve! This is a no-brainer! How can we get doctors to listen and see what is right in front of them?

  9. Susan Florence

    Please know that you are RIGHT ON!
    I feel like a fool. My gyn prescribed me Nature-Throid (similar to Armour). Although I had many symptoms you list here, I became afraid, because, when I asked for my labs, they were completely normal.
    So…. I went to an endo. He took me off the meds, because of the labs. I am now far worse than ever before. Before I had about four of the symptoms. Now I have practicall ALL of them. So…. The endo (who originally said he preferred Synthroid, drew a whole diagram to explain why) has now put me BACK ON NATUR-THROID, and this after the most painful, upsetting 8 weeks of my entire, long life!
    Thank you for informing people about what you know so well.


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