Kandice is an avid bicycler and post thyroid cancer survivor who found out that she did much better on Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) rather than the two synthetics, and definitely better than the time she was put on Levoxyl.
It’s funny because my story was one in which I thought I was optimal on a T4/T3 combo for many years. I had my thyroid removed in 2005 due to thycancer. Then I went on Levoxyl and felt horrible, achey muscles, no energy, couldn’t sleep. I scouted around for a decent endo and after going to several who told me to “get used to life as a thyroid patient” meaning get used to no energy, achey muscles, crummy sleep, I finally found a semi decent endo. He put me on Armour and I felt decent but not great for a while. Now having found STTM, I realize the problem then was I was on too low a dose, 2 grains! DUH. Endo at time said that was “plenty” and said my symptoms must be caused by something else.
Then after a couple years something happened to the Armour supply chain and I changed insurance about the same time and went on to Kaiser where they promptly put me on Levoxyl again. I was horrified and begged for T3 and reluctantly got Cytomel but only would allow me 15 mcg a day. Well it was better than nothing and I felt overall decent.
I had been an avid runner before my thyroidectomy and after my thy removal, I let exercise go for a while esp when they had me just on Levoxyl, OMG I felt bad. But after getting on Armour and then T4/T3 combo, I was able to do my running and then became an avid cyclist in approx. 2007. I ride mostly hills, so typically will do 8-10K of climbing of a weekend. I also still run a couple days a week and swim, dabble in yoga, etc.
I felt generally OK on T4/T3 but I always felt something maybe could be better, but didn’t know any better. I had some fatigue and joint pain and brain fog, inability to focus a lot. I used caffeine more and more as a stimulant, as well as progressively more alcohol to “get me going”. I also frequently experienced topsy turvy emotions and would sway from sorta depressed to highs and then back down and I had anxiety often. I was irritable, had ruminating thoughts, mostly negative unfortunately. It affected my relationships negatively sometimes. I was even diagnosed as having a personality disorder. Yikes! I thought that was just the way I was. I combated all that with reading about mindfulness and meditation and yoga and expensive therapy and supplements.
Looking back now that I’m much more informed through STTM, I do feel many years I was under-medicated or just missing the full thyroid spectrum you get with NDT.
I would still be on T3/T4 if not for peri-menopause. My sex hormones started to go haywire when I hit 46. I tried to get tested and treated for bio identicals at Kaiser and they said no way! So I sought out a doc who would treat me. I found a functional medicine type doc and paid outside of insurance. Got tested and sure enough, low progesterone and low T. I told my doc I didn’t need thyroid treatment as I was already optimal on my T4.T3 combo, or so I thought.
The more I read in groups, the more I thought about me being on T3/T4 and how maybe NDT might help some of my lingering issues. I was focused mostly on wanting more energy. So I asked my FMD if I should switch and he didn’t seem to think there would be benefit. But the more I read and then ordered the STTM book, the more logical it seemed to me that a natural working thyroid produces the full spectrum but I was only on 2 of the hormones, not the full T1, T2, T3, T4. I thought might as well try it? I asked doc for script and he obliged. Well I’m now over 2 months heading into 3 months on Naturethroid and I titrated up per the Piggy although a wee faster given I was already on T4/T3.
I can honestly say this is the best thing I’ve done for my health my whole entire life, besides continue to be an exercise fanatic. I feel so so so much better mentally! My anxiety is so reduced I barely noticed it. I’m much less irritable, much less moody, my ruminating “negative” thoughts are 95% gone. All the mental symptoms I had before really have been resolved. I couldn’t believe it. I thought must be placebo effect, but I’m almost 3 months into NT and still having the positive results, so I have to conclude the NT is the cause of me resolving these symptoms. I also have more energy and my exercise is even easier and I recover faster than before. But I’ll take the NDT for the mental benefits alone. It’s making a tremendous difference in my life! I’ve cut way back on caffeine and completely cut alcohol. I feel now that being under medicated caused me to need those stimulants but they also caused me vicious cycle health issues. No more! I feel being under medicated really was the root cause of so many issues over the years. Alas. I try not to think about that, but instead focus on the go forward and how great I feel now.