Ursula is in the UK and her story reveals how the use of T3 changes lives, in spite of the NHS implying it’s not needed.
I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, despite my decades of battling hypothyroidism.
At 19 yrs of age, goitres started to appear. My GP, referred me to a very pompous specialist who told me to come back in a year. I returned and there followed a further year to eighteen months of random and intermittent blood tests. The specialist and his entourage would discuss amongst themselves and comment “there is something” then “there isn’t anything” throughout. I was finally dismissed with a wave of a hand saying, “Don’t bother coming back unless your doctor sends you, lack of iodine changing from a girl into a woman”
I did go back to the GP some time later with another goitre. He checked my notes and said “They couldn’t make their ****** minds up!”
It took me a further 10 years to get a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, despite increasing symptoms. But the diagnosis was finally made and I was issued T4 and told I was lucky that it would be all I needed.
Doses of T4 would be increased, decreased. My GP told me that T4 might not improve things but should stop me from getting worse. It didn’t.
Over the years my health deteriorated. Further symptoms were assigned to everything but poorly treated hypothyroidism. The chronic fatigue was blamed on every life style stage, after all I was working, then a working mum, so of course I was going to be tired. Then depression was suggested. I was not depressed: I was just fed up and frustrated with being ignored. And this was not ‘lifestyle tired’ This was chronic fatigue.
Along the way I was made to feel somatic. Eventually, they said it was my age. I said it wasn’t my age 30 years ago!
Eye problems started around the time of the goitre – dry gritty eyes, developed into conjunctivitis and then ulcers, which have continued to reoccur intermittently over the years.
Finally, I read Dr Peatfield’s book and I could have cried. The case studies were like reading my life story. From my teenage years I had been plagued with increasing symptoms, many of which were illustrated in these case studies.
As I got into my early 40’s, fighting my way through a degree, dealing with long term family stress, bringing up a family, every aspect being a struggle, I started to suspect my adrenals were being affected.
After 20 years of trying, and failing, to make T4 work, I told my GP it was time I was allowed to try something else. I was told there was nothing. I told him there was T3. He said he couldn’t issue it. I asked to be sent to someone who could.
My cortisol levels were checked via blood before I went to the endocrinologists. This, I was told, was “normal, no further action”. The endocrinologist rechecked my cortisol again as it was actually “borderline”. This came back ok, so he issued a small amount of T3. This had some, limited, positive effects. It was swine flu that floored me again. The endo would not alter medication as he was concerned that the TSH was already very low. He referred me to a psychologist, who agreed with me, i.e medical not mental. I lost faith in my Endo, and did not go back.
I knew I was struggling work wise. I could cope with the 8am -5pm in the classroom, and 30 kids, but it was the efforts outside this time, the “spoons” would just run out. https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by- christine/the-spoon- theory/
Life and poor health got on top of me. I decided to leave my job, I had to get my health sorted. I just could not deal with any more stress and strain. I had, at this point, booked to see Dr Peatfield and everything he said made sense. I did some private testing and worked with Dr Peatfield to get my adrenals and thyroid sorted. I did have to restart the regime a few times, until we found the right balance and pace.
Every time I reintroduced T4, the symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and migraine reappeared, within days. When I stopped the T4 again, they disappeared. Eventually I stopped taking T4 and ended up on an increased dose of T3, with the adrenal and some thyroid support.
My GP at the time did support me working with Dr Peatfield. This GP saw the difference T3 made to me. Unfortunately he has since retired!
I started to feel better. I had energy, I had life. In over 7 years I have not experienced any heart problems on T3, despite the scaremongering of some medics. With the correct medication, the right balance, we hypothyroid people can be well again. We can have a life.
Nothing is perfect. And my adrenals struggle from time to time through stress. When this happens it throws the balance of medication out and it can take time to get back on track. But it is no longer the hopelessness of not knowing what is happening or how to fix it. I know better health is possible.
That is why I am passionate about fighting for better diagnosis and improving thyroid treatment for all thyroid conditions. I’m determined to promote the positive effects of T3 that I have benefited from. And to fight, with all my ability, for choice of medication, to suit the individual, whether that be T4, T3 or NDT. So please don’t give up. The right balance for each of us is out there. Better health is possible. So let’s fight for it. Let’s do ITT! (ITT is a UK Facebook group fighting against the NHS and BTA’s negative opinion about T3 in the treatment of hypothyroidism)