In fact, I think those kind of testimonies are some of the most influential ways to help others. And Erin’s story below really struck me. She spent years ignoring the idea that her T4 treatment with Synthroid and later Levoxyl just might explain all the growing problems she was having. So she finally saw the light, made a change, and is feeling so much better as she finally is working on the right issues. Enjoy her story! And if you want to read more, they are on the Stories of Others page, which anyone is invited to contribute to!
HOW I MISREAD MY CONTINUED SYMPTOMS WHILE ON T4-ONLY…THEN GOT WISE
I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis and post-partum depression after having my first baby at 23 years old. I went to the doctor because I was so depressed and fatigued that I couldn’t get out of bed most days. I also had terrible headaches. My doctor put me on Prozac and Synthroid and I stayed on both for the next 23 years (also later used Levoxyl).
The Prozac did help me to be more functional; however, I still had periods of depression and fatigue, and developed other health problems as well, such as anemia, IBS, and chronic pain from TMJ. I went back to my doctors seeking solutions, but they put me on new and different meds that didn’t help and actually caused worsening symptoms like sedation and dependence. I was even diagnosed with bipolar at one point and on six different psych meds at one time!
I finally got off all the meds except the Levoxyl (which I had switched to from Synthroid) and Prozac, and was able to go back to school and regain some functionality. But I continued to struggle with chronic pain, periods of depression, fatigue, and digestive complaints. My doctors periodically checked my TSH and told me I was optimally treated or raised my Levoxyl. I didn’t question their testing or treatment methods, and did not connect my health problems with my hypothyroidism.
For many years, I just lived with the pain, discomfort, and fatigue. I chalked it up to stress and aging. But the IBS and fatigue got progressively worse until they were seriously interfering with my life. I had bloating, constipation and pain that often kept me housebound. I went to my doctor, and was told to change my diet, and take over-the-counter preparations for constipation. He never suggested that my health problems could be related to my hypothyroidism.
My denial and my apathy
My mother, who began frequenting a particular thyroid website, told me that some people can not convert t4 to t3, that she was one of those people, and that I might be too. She encouraged me to go back to my doctor and ask him to test my t3 levels. It seemed unlikely to me that my hypothyroidism was not being adequately treated! After all, I was getting my health care at a university medical center – a teaching institution.
My doctor ordered lab tests yearly and had not adjusted my Levoxyl for several years. I think too I was just plain too exhausted to deal with it. I barely had enough energy to get through work, let alone devote time to researching an alternative form of thyroid treatment that, in my mind, probably would not work anyway! I think, too, the Prozac contributed to my failure to seek alternative modes of thyroid treatment by dulling the pain and keeping me apathetic.
The pain and discomfort of my IBS is what finally pushed me to take the first step to finding an alternative form of health care. My husband had been insisting for a few years that I go to a naturopath or functional medicine doctor, but I didn’t want to pay out of pocket when I had medical insurance that I paid for each month.
My breakthrough, finally
Finally, I got on the internet and searched for a functional medicine doctor in my area, and found one not far from my house. My new doctor, a naturopath, ordered comprehensive lab testing, which revealed that I had very low free t3 levels, severe anemia, low b12, low ferritin, high cholesterol, candida overgrowth, other digestive bacteria imbalances, and more! He told me that my health problems were related to my hypothyroidism, which, he said, was not optimally treated on my current medications. He advised me to reduce my Levoxyl and add .25 grain of Naturethroid each day. He also recommended a variety of supplements.
When I first took the Naturethroid, I didn’t feel much. But about two weeks later I began to feel better than I had in years! I could not believe how amazing I felt; it was like a miracle! My IBS, head and jaw pain went away, and I had feelings of well-being. I was convinced natural desiccated thyroid was the solution to my health problems.
A bump in the road
About 10 days later, however, I started feeling anxious, restless, shaky, and having heart palpitations. I went back to my naturopath and he told me to stop the Naturethroid. I felt intuitively this was incorrect. I frantically searched the internet for some reason for my symptoms, and found STTM. I learned that I couldn’t tolerate the Naturethroid because of my low iron and low cortisol. I also felt empowered by what I learned on STTM; the site encouraged patients to make their own decisions about their healthcare. After that, I took over management of my own health care. I told my naturopath what I had discovered, and he agreed to adopt the treatment plan I felt was right from what I learned from STTM. Fortunately, he was open-minded and has been willing to be my equal partner in my health care.
I learned from the STTM site, book and forums that recovering from years of untreated hypothyroidism from staying on T4 meds is more complicated than simply getting on NDT. It takes a lot of work to stay informed, investigate, identify and treat the root causes of my health problems with natural remedies. It is far easier to remain passive and allow my doctors to dictate my treatment. However, my apathy kept me sick for a long time, and I cannot afford to lose anymore time being sick! Treating the root causes of my health problems is well worth it, as it leads to longer-lasting and better results than simply covering the symptoms with harmful pharmaceuticals.
Success and confidence for the future
While I still have work do to, I have come a long way and feel better than I have in years. The progress I have achieved in recovering my health has made me confident that I will ultimately achieve optimal health with the tools I have learned on STTM.
- Check out the latest page on STTM about enlarged thyroids aka goiter, and the causes, treatment and more!
- Have trouble tolerating Natural Desiccated Thyroid? There are explainable and treatable reasons!
DID YOU KNOW STTM IS ON FACEBOOK? Join us!
NEWS FROM LAUGHING GRAPE PUBLISHING:
- The STTM **SPANISH EDITION** book is on sale for a limited time only thanks to an overstock! Only at the LGP site!
- All English books from LGP still include a 4-page handout about Herbs for Thyroid! Take advantage of this now.
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10 Responses to “Thyroid treatment success stories–read Erin’s story about T4-only problems and moving to NDT!!”
I have only just found (from a dear friend in Ireland) the STTM website and immediately came here because I had to comment. I am so grateful to all those who have shared their journey. I am so grateful to the STTM site. And I am beyond grateful to my dear friend, Sabine. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in 2005 and have gone downhill since then. I have so much studying to do now, but I see a light, a great and glowing light at the end of this, because of you. Thank you. Will send out my own ‘story’ once I learn more and find a new doctor and start on natural meds to help with the Hypothryoidism and the horrid complications, including Peripheral Neuropathy and Lipodermatosclerosis that have made life unbearable. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I had a pretty amazing experience with Armour Thyroid this year. I’d been on generic levothyroxine for about 5 years after making a very good case to my doctor that I was hypothyroid, even though my blood tests were normal and I am almost underweight (34-year-old male; 5’8″; 125 lb.). I was always cold, tired, hypoglycemic after eating too much sugar, and I have thin eyebrows on the outer third, plus a grandmother with Hashimoto’s and lots of autoimmune stuff in the family. At the time, I was thrilled to get on the T4. Earlier this year, though, I was feeling awful in a lot of non-specific ways and didn’t know why. I felt like my heart was pounding and fluttering, my stomach was upset no matter what I ate, I was achy, short of breath, and I felt like all my insides were bruised. My ordinarily low blood pressure seemed to be getting higher (although to be fair, I did later find out that my blood pressure cuff was faulty). I never considered thyroid problems because I was already being treated… actually, I’d always felt doubtful, like I had forced the diagnosis and that hypothyroid wasn’t my real problem, because I’m so thin. Plus I have no insurance and didn’t want to get more blood tests that I was sure would just turn out normal.
After finding this website (again), I asked my doctor if she thought I could switch to Armour and try it out. I was desperate. She said yes, and put me on 60mg right away. Let me tell you, I felt like a million bucks within about 48 hours. Praise God! It was a dramatic improvement.
However, now, six months later I’m feeling weird again. This time it’s different… I am just apathetic, sluggish, weak and achy, and feel like I just want to sit in a chair from sunup till sundown. I don’t have much interest in doing anything, although I’m not specifically depressed… just out of energy. I am having a hard time surviving my job as a computer programmer… my hands get exhausted and slow using the computer, no matter how many ergonomic positions I try and how much trigger point massage I do (and BTW, most of my muscles don’t seem to have trigger points). I’ve also had a big lump right below my collarbone on the achier side for years, which I have ascertained is the clavicular branch of my pectoralis major muscle. It doesn’t hurt and doesn’t seem to be especially tight… it’s just big! It totally doesn’t fit in with the rest of me! I wonder if that could be hypertrophy due to thyroid imbalance, and I also wonder if it’s pressing on the brachial plexus to make that arm weak (although anatomically I’m not sure if this is possible).
My doctor retired this summer as a result of ObamaCare, leaving me a six-month supply of Armour. So now I’m looking for another DNT-friendly doctor who can continue to prescribe it, as well as perhaps decide if I need to go up from 60mg. Thanks for reading; it helps to get it out of my head. 🙂
Congrats on finding Armour, Peter! And yes, you’ve been left on a starting dose, which is not meant to be your final dose. So you are now worse. Janie, for example, is on an optimal amount of 3 1/2 grains. You may be different, but one grain is something that should have only been held for two weeks. Read https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/natural-thyroid-101
I am 31 years old and I have 3 children 2 step children and a great husband now. my thyroid is all over the place. when i had my first son at age 18 my doctor told me if i wanted to see my 30’s i had to get radioactive iodine. well after that it killed my thyroid. ( wish i wasnt so young and stupid and wish i would have gotten a 2nd opion) now i have to take a pill for the rest of my life and nothing has helped. its all over the place every blood test its eather the doctor needs to up my thyroid me or lower it.I now feel like i’m dying, my head is fogy, i get dizzy alot, been forgetting allot of things, feel lost, alone, everything bothers me noises, i dont leave my house, i wanna stay in bed, im tired all the tme and im depressed.achy joints and muscle, loss of libido, anger/intolerance for noise and pure lack of motivation weight gain. I just need help with dealing with stupid thyroid problems. I really am so tired and in pain after 13 years of this problem i’m ready for something, anything.
Becky, you are why STTM exists–to educate you as to why the med you are on doesn’t work, what does, how you need to test your adrenals (you have symptoms of a cortisol issue) and more: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/things-we-have-learned. And get the book here: http://www.laughinggrapepublishing.com
I have been living with my thyroid problem for 15 years and it is only getting worse. Been on levoxyl in various dosages but the drs cannot get it leveled. I tell them how I feel and they put me on depression meds, Now in 2013 I am a mess. My TSH came back at 0.18 so my new dr put me synthroid .88 just started it so I cant say it is helping. I am depressed, moody, lost 20 pounds down to 108 and I just want to be alone. Reading your blog and knowing I am not alone makes me realize I am not crazy. I dont know where else to turn.
You are not alone. STTM will help you greatly, as it’s based on years and years of patient experiences and wisdom (and of which other websites and people copy as if it’s their own. haha). And here’s where you’ll find great patient support: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/talk-to-others
Have 23-year old son just starting to deal with hypothyroid. Will know more after bloodwork next week, but many symptoms. Currently, he’s taking 30mg. Armour in the morning, then another 30 mg. around 2:00 p.m. He’s been on for about five weeks. He still has some anxiety and panicky feelings, fatigue, occasional depression, aches in joints. Hoping and praying we can find optimal dosage and help for him. He’s an athlete so this has been very frustrating and life altering for him. Any helpful tips??
Hi Cindy. Glad your son is starting Armour and not the lousy T4 meds.
It doesn’t work out well to give tips on a blog when there’s so much more to know about someone. Here’s where I list patient groups: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/talk-to-others
I was first diagnosed with hypo in 2007. I had gained close to 30 pounds over several years and was up to 182 on my 5’7″ frame.
I started taking Synthroid, and JOY, lost 50 pounds within a year without serious dieting.
About a year later, things headed south. I gradually began picking up weight. I switched to Armour, which helped, but not enough, and returned to Synthroid when Armour got hard to get.
Two months ago, I was about 154 pounds – heavy, but not horrible. My doctor upped my Synthroid from 100 mcg to 150 mcg. In two months, I’ve gained 12 pounds. Over the past year, I’ve gone from having a nice pear shape to looking like a potato with legs. My eyes felt like they were going to bug out, and I was always bloated.
Three days ago, I quit Synthroid cold turkey. Already, the bloat in my stomach is practically gone. I feel energetic and normal. I realize I still have a lot of Synthroid in my system. I’ll have to find another solution. Because I’m NOT going back on T4 any time soon.