The following is a blow-by-blow report by Thyroid and Adrenal patient Suzanne about her use of the Circadian T3 Method in promoting far better adrenal function! She started out using Natural Desiccated Thyroid rather than T3-only. Stay tuned for more updates.
DAY 1 – Feb. 27th, 2012
This is unbelievable. I’m on NDT only, not T3. Emboldened by the success of a few STTMers who are trying this protocol with NDT only, I made last night my first night of the protocol.
This morning, my thinking is much more focused — even now, late morning, when I usually have my first adrenal slump of the day. I’m actually connecting the dots more easily today. My blood sugar isn’t shrieking for lunch (although I’m going to eat lunch anyway lol). My heartbeat irregularities are way, way down. And my heart is beating gently, not as if it’s ramming a steel cage with each beat.
I usually get up around 5:30. I set my alarm last night for 3:00. I didn’t sleep well before the alarm because my brain knew the nasty “beep beep beep” of the alarm clock was coming. I had trouble staying asleep after I took 2/3 of my daily NDT dose because my brain acknowledged that I only had a couple hours left to sleep. But I don’t feel tired today. WTH? Unbelievable, as I said. Especially since I’m also hampered by an RT3 ratio of 14.5.
Tonight I’ll set my alarm for 2:30. Maybe that way, my brain will register that I still have 3 hours left to sleep afterwards and let me do it. 🙂
Trying to figure out when to take my iron pill now. It’s slow release, and I was taking it around 10 p.m., at bedtime, but I want to move it earlier so it doesn’t conflict with the NDT at 2:30 a.m.
DAY 2 – Feb. 28th
Update for Tuesday: I did set my alarm back to 2:30 a.m., and I was able to get back to sleep, and I was out of bed by 5:35 a.m. I’ll leave my alarm at 2:30 for awhile to see how this works. Alert and focused this morning. No blood sugar cravings. Minute tremors in hands are gone. Heart palps gone, heart beating gently. Boy, I need all that today. Amazon has had a huge database glitch that’s affected the sales of thousands of authors, myself included.
DAY 3 – Feb. 29th
You haven’t heard from me much today because I’ve been getting things done. (!) My focus and energy are greatly improved, and the pain in my left wrist/arm/shoulder is diminished. I cruised right past my usual late-morning adrenal slump without a peep of protest from my adrenals. Now that it’s late afternoon, when my more profound adrenal slump usually occurs, I’m having a few heart palps, but it’s maybe 5% of what I’d been having, and I’m not sleepy. Wow, this is what NORMAL feels like! Ooh-rah!
Truly, the only drawback I can see to this protocol is that you have to wake yourself up enough in the middle of the night to take your thyroid medication. And last night, my second night at 2:30 a.m., my brain woke me up at 2:29, just so I didn’t have to hear that nasty beep beep beep of the alarm clock. I’m going to hold things at 2:30 a.m. for several more nights and see whether my late afternoon slump vanishes.
I gather that we’re all being pioneers with this protocol. My RT3 ratio as of 1.5 weeks ago was 14.5, and I’m using NDT (Erfa) with no T3-only med. I’ve also been taking selenium since last October.
DAY 4 – March 1
An improvement I noticed today is that my eyes exhibit decreased sensitivity to direct sunlight. In the grocery store parking lot, I was standing in direct sunlight with no sunglasses, and my eyes weren’t twitching, blinking, or even squinting badly. That’s one adrenal symptom I sure won’t miss. (Maybe vampires have adrenals problems. lol) I tested my pupils with a flashlight when I got home, and they no longer have that wicked flutter. It’s more of a slow oscillation. I wonder if my aldosterone is slowly building back up.
I had trouble getting back to sleep after my 2:30 a.m. dose last night. I was really deeply asleep when the alarm clock went off, and I just about slapped that sucker across the bedroom in effort to stop the beep beep beep. Those of you who are farther down the road than I am on the Protocol shouldn’t find that surprising. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure when the last time was that I slept so deeply. Coming out of such a deep sleep to take a pill feels like Chinese Water Torture. 😉
DAY 5 – March 2nd
Good news: I slept like a ROCK last night, woke myself up just enough to dose with Mr. Piggie at 2:30 a.m., then fell right back to sleep. Awakened at 5:15 feeling rested, focused, energized, ready to have at the day. Sallied right past my late-morning adrenal weak spot. Ooh-rah! I think it’s safe to say that the Protocol has now shored up my adrenals for that particular weak spot.
I’m coming up on my late-afternoon adrenal weak spot. Thus far, the Protocol hasn’t been as successful at shoring up my adrenals during that time of day. Although it’s kept me from being sleepy late afternoon, my concentration wanders, and I get blood sugar issues.
I have noticed that I have better success with the Protocol when I’m in bed, lights out, before 9:45 p.m. I guess being a party animal is out for me for awhile, eh? 🙂
DAY 6 – March 3rd
Whew. Had a bit of a setback yesterday. I’d been doing really well, gotten rid of my late-morning adrenal slump on this protocol. But shoring up my late-afternoon slump has proven more difficult. Yesterday when that slump was hitting, I also had pain returning in my left arm/elbow/shoulder/neck/wrist. I decided to top up with 2.5 mcg Cytomel.
By half an hour after I took the Cytomel, all the pain was gone. Huzzah! But then I got heartbeat irregularities, and by dinnertime, I was ready to run a 10K marathon. I had some *serious* mitochondrial action going, folks. I was really cranking the ATP, and that late in the day, combined with the heartbeat irregularities, the music from the frat party was simply way too loud. So I sent in law enforcement — iron and calcium — to round up the T3 party animals, and that did take the edge off all that excess energy.
I didn’t sleep well last night because I had heartbeat irregularities throughout the night. My heart is calming down as the day progresses, back to beating that gentle, steady rhythm with just a few hiccups every now and then. However the pain in the left arm is back. Urrrrr.
Paul Robinson was correct that I needed a T3 top up. The pain in my arm tells me I’m not getting quite enough T3. I suspect that I could have gone with 1.25 mcg T3 as a top up. Maybe not as late as 4 in the afternoon. Maybe 1.25 mcg late morning.
DAY 7 – March 4th
Overall I feel so much better than I did last Sunday, before I started the protocol. I’ve seen a huge decrease in muscle tremors, heart palps, and blood sugar cravings; and a huge increase in focus and clarity of thought. Even though I semi-wake up at 2:30 am to take 1 grain NDT, my sleep is much more solid. The protocol has obliterated my late-morning adrenal slump, and yesterday, for the first time, I sailed past the real tough customer: my late-afternoon adrenal slump. The sparks for writing fiction are returning — whoo hoo! — which is a huge relief, as that’s my livelihood. I’d like to ditch the puffy eyelids and pain in my left arm. I guess that will come with time. Exercise and warmth definitely help the arm pain. I am SO looking forward to summer. 🙂
I’m considering adding 1.25 mcg Cytomel to my 2:30 am dose of 1 grain NDT. Before I do that, I’m going to hold my current regimen for several more days, see if I can gain further improvement there. My resting pulse is consistently about 72 bpm. I just started taking my temps, and they aren’t horribly low or varied, so maybe that’s an indicator that my adrenal dysfunction isn’t profound. I’m *still* looking for the darned BP cuff. Don’t have the money to buy another one.
But I do have an appointment this coming Thursday with a GP. If things go very well, it’ll be a “gateway” appointment to an endocrinologist at UNC-Chapel Hill’s teaching/research facility. I’m in the market for a doctor who’s open-minded and cutting edge, and if I find that doctor, I’ll tell him/her all about the Circadian T3 Protocol. If things don’t go well — and we all know that most of the time, Western doctors diagnose us from 25-year-old textbook cases — well, at least I’m going to get some bloodwork out of the appointment, and I’ll be able to see whether the protocol has made a dent in my RT3 ratio.
DAY 8 – March 5th
Ooooh-raaah! Do the Happy Dance with me, my STTM buddies! My brain neurons are unstuck, my creativity has begun flowing, and…I’M WRITING AGAIN!!!!!
Pain the my left arm now comes and goes instead of being constant. My dats are running 98.3 to 98.4. (I have 2 mercury thermometers and have used both because I thought surely my temps couldn’t be so close together, that the first thermometer must be broken. But no. Temps are accurate.) Average resting pulse is 72 – 75 bpm. I still have puffy eyes. Urrr. I guess I’ll have to wipe out one wretched hypo symptom at a time.
WTH, I’ve just blown past my late-morning adrenal slump again! I’d better shut up and go make lunch.
DAY 9 – March 6
Today was one of those insanely busy days, and last night I had trouble getting back to sleep after the 2:30 a.m. medication. I think I’m lapsing into PTSD over my upcoming (Thursday) visit to a doctor in the UNC-Chapel Hill system. I had to fill out a medical record online and explain for the millionth time that the diagnosis of heart disease 4 years ago was wrong, wrong, wrong. Part of me hopes that this new doctor will be the one to finally “get it.” The other part says, “Fat chance.”
For now, I’ve set aside the option of adding 1.25 mcg Cytomel at my 2:30 a.m. dose. I’m feeling so good on my daily dose of 1.5 grains NDT (Erfa). I was able to complete a full day of work yesterday — first time since December — without being bogged down by my late-morning or late-afternoon adrenal slumps. Maybe those slumps are a thing of the past.
My saliva test last fall also indicated that my nighttime cortisol was a little above mid-point on the range. Since starting the protocol, I’ve been taking zinc with the bedtime snack that provides me with a supply of glucose for the night (so my body doesn’t run out and make adrenaline lol). STTMers sometimes take zinc at night to help depress nighttime cortisol, so they won’t have trouble falling asleep. I wasn’t having much trouble falling asleep to begin with, but I decided to take the zinc anyway.
From the STTM web site: “If your daily average temperatures are] steady but low, you need more thyroid and adrenals are likely fine.” That’s me. My dats have been running 98.4. I’m wondering if I have enough thyroid inherent in my 1.5 grains of NDT, and the issue has been my RT3 of 14.5, keeping me from using some of that thyroid. This Thursday, I’ll definitely hit the doc up for RT3/FT3 tests. I want to know whether the protocol is whittling down my RT3 ratio. How awesome if that was actually happening.
DAY 10 – March 7
A few of you have caught on that I’m now feeling so good that I’m getting a whole lot done, thus I haven’t been posting as much around here. Look, folks, I’m not going to abandon you. I’m going to keep reporting on how disgustingly good I feel in hopes that more and more of you will try the Protocol and take one giant leap toward being optimized. That’s what we all want, right?
I’m writing, writing, writing. Ohhhhh, this feels good, after weeks of not being able to harness my muse, due to this wretched disease. I feel the way wilted plants do after they receive a slow, thorough rain.
I feel *normal*. I smile for no reason at all. (Hah! I caught you smiling!) I’m more and more curious about life each day.
The pain in my left arm is now localized in just my elbow and shoulder blade, and even that is mild, when I have it. Some of the pain may be weather- and atmospheric-pressure-related, thus I may have some (hereditary) osteoarthritis going on. But the pain is no longer nagging.
I’m not having any kind of food cravings, period. I’m not having to eat meals *right on the nose*. A delay of up to an hour doesn’t freak out my blood sugar. My adrenals are no longer slumping late-morning or late-afternoon. Energy level through the day is even. No more peaks and valleys.
Starting tonight, I’m going to taper down my before-bed zinc supplementation. I was only taking an extra 11 mg, using it to make sure my slightly elevated nighttime cortisol didn’t stop me from going to sleep and discourage me from continuing the Protocol. My multivitamin contains 2 mg copper, so I should be okay there.
One warning about the Protocol. You cannot use it to help you get by with less sleep. Not that I tried to do that, but there have been several nights when I had the “wired-but-tired” effect going on with my adrenals, and I didn’t even get 7 hours sleep. That following day (like yesterday), I felt sub-normal. My ideal amount of sleep per night appears to be about 7.5 hours. I recommend that you not cheat yourself of sleep while working the Protocol. That way, you’ll be giving yourself the best odds of making it work for you.
If I continue to do well, I may slide my 1:30 p.m. dose of NDT closer to bedtime, see if I can use it to prime my adrenals before that 2:30 a.m. dose. That’s going to depend upon whether I can make enough cortisol from 2:30 – 5:30 a.m. to carry me all the way through the day to bedtime.
Looking forward to losing the puffy eyes (I’ve had them since late fall) and mild vertigo (I’ve had it since mid-January). Also looking forward to gaining back some of the 10 pounds I’ve lost in the past year. I’m actress-skinny now, and it does NOT look good on me. However my legs definitely look better than Angelina’s, thanks to 30+ years of adult classical ballet. lol
O-P-T-I-M-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N. What are you waiting for? Try the Protocol. I bet you notice a difference after just one night.
DAY 13 – March 10
Hello, fellow sailors of the Circadian T3 Sea! 🙂 I’m back from an inadvertent adventure into the Land of Ravenous Adrenals, otherwise known as Adrenals Without Bounds. In the past few days, I’ve learned that if you give healthy but T3-starved adrenals 2/3 of your daily T3 supply while those adrenals are at their peak production, and you allow them plenty of time to work with that T3, those adrenals will make a butt load of cortisol and hammer your arteries with it, producing blood pressure readings that look like they were propelled by Saturn 5 rockets into a low-Earth orbit.
My BP this morning was 143/82. Nice diastolic, eh? The heat shield survived atmospheric re-entry intact, the parachute has deployed properly, and it looks like I’m in for a soft landing. (As a matter of fact, yes, from the roof of my home in Florida, when I was a kid, I *did* watch the Apollo missions blast off.)
Today I took my early morning dose at 3:30, returning to 1 grain (60 mg) NDT, so the only parameter we’re dealing with right now is changing the time. I had a lot of trouble going back to sleep because, apparently, waking up at 3:30 is close enough to my regular wake-up time of 5:30 to cue my stomach that it’s feeding time. Or maybe I have some adrenaline action going; 3:30 a.m. *is* the Adrenal Witching Hour. I do eat a bedtime snack of complex carbs and protein.
As for my elevated systolic, in the spring of 2011, when I was closing on optimization for the first time, and I had negligible issues with my adrenals, I noticed that my systolic reading was sluggish to lower. I had these weird readings for a long time like 160/82 before I finally hit 130/80 in June 2011. I may be seeing that pattern again.
BTW I suspect that the BP the machine reports for me is a bit higher than my true BP. I definitely have sphygmomanometer-anxiety. I take my pulse with no cuff in sight, and it’s almost always 72 bpm; if I take my BP right afterward, my pulse always registers much higher, like 90 – 100 bpm. If the anxiety can affect my pulse, it probably also adds a few mmHg to both systolic and diastolic. The effect of a white coat in the room with me has an even more profound effect on my pulse and BP. My limbic brain calls the shots, and it’s fight or flight. <sigh> Going forward, keep that in mind when we’re interpreting my BP readings.
I have plenty of energy and focus today, even though I only tallied about 6 hours sleep last night. No late morning adrenal slump in sight. I’m waiting to see what happens late afternoon today. Yesterday I did backslide into a mild late-afternoon slump. Possibly that was from cutting my early morning dose to 0.75 grain, and taking the other 0.75 grain mid-afternoon.
So I will need to find out if I should hold here (3:30 a.m. 1 grain NDT; mid-afternoon 0.5 grain NDT) for awhile, and if so, for how long.
DAY 14 – March 11
Usual dose time: 3:30 a.m.
Usual dose amount: 1 grain NDT (60 mg)
Usual wake-up time: 5:30 a.m.
What I did to try to ease the loss of an hour was to offset by half an hour v. the entire hour. Therefore, I dosed at the equivalent of 3:00 a.m. (4:00 new time) and rose at the equivalent of 5:00 a.m. (6:00 new time). Getting out of bed at 6:00 this morning was really hard, but I did make it out by 6:10. I blundered about for most of the morning trying to recover my usual routine, and missed the first recording of data. The muscle twitch in my left eye returned. It had vanished when I started the Protocol 2 weeks ago %^#$@!!!. Heart palps also showed up.
When I finally sat down to record my data, although my pulse was still 72 bpm, my temp was 97.9, almost an entire degree lower than what it should have been for that time of day. As for my BP, I have this fight-or-flight thing going on with my limbic brain and the cuff. Even on a non-time change day, I was pretty sure that was causing all my BP readings to be higher than my true BP, so I’d been thinking about doing something to outfox that pre-Paleo part of my brain.
This morning, I sat in the most comfortable chair in the house, strapped on the cuff, and, without inflating it, meditated for a few minutes. When I’d gotten past the thought traffic, I quickly inflated the cuff. BP: 128/82 Yesss! Sneak attack! Caught ya unaware! lol
All my limbic brain had time to do was hike my pulse rate up, which it does *every* time I take my BP — and which was what led me to suspect that it was elevating my BP, too. My limbic brain can hike my BP at least 10 mmHg in 10 seconds, in the time it takes to strap on a cuff. Obviously Operation Sneak Attack isn’t going to work in a doctor’s office, but I can definitely take my cuff in, show them that I get the same elevated reading on it that they get on their machine, and *own* the normal BP readings I get at home.
DAY 16 – March 13
My BP has continued to follow a downward trend. So far today, I’ve had two lovely readings: 128/79 and 126/77. This doctor I’m seeing has been really patient about letting me work with the Protocol. I sense that rather than being the typical arrogant jerk and insisting that doctors know best, he’s curious to see whether I can bring my BP down to a healthy level *without* Rx meds, using the Protocol. We email back and forth each day. I haven’t heard back from him yet today, but after I reported the above two readings, I asked him if I was off the hook. 🙂
My pulse and temps are puzzling me. Last week, even on Thursday when my BP was scary high, my pulse was an unwavering 72 bpm, and my dats were 98.4 F. Yesterday and today, my pulse has varied between 66 and 72, and my dat yesterday was 98.1. The time change is still affecting my sleep pattern, and for the last two nights, I’ve only gotten about 6.5 hours of sleep. Maybe the time change is influencing my pulse and dats.
DAY 18 – March 15
I haven’t felt this hypo in months, and I have the return of symptoms that look a lot like Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy: inability to articulate/focus,and left side issues (eye twitch, pain in elbow). Realistically, if I don’t get this fixed soon, it will mean the end of my writing career. I have a scheduled free run for my third book next week on Kindle but cannot focus on the pre-event promotion. And a new five-star review of my fourth book on Amazon last night sent me into tears because I’m unable to connect the dots to finish the next book in the series, make it just as good.
My feeling is that the time change has messed me up. Before the time change, when I was feeling really good, I was dosing with 1 grain (60 mg) NDT at 3:30 and waking at 5:30. Rather than shocking my adrenals with an entire hour time change, I decided to change it by only half an hour for the first week, so that meant dosing at 4:00 and rising at 6:00. However, my own Circadian rhythm has other ideas. Starting Tuesday morning, I’ve been waking up at 5:30 on my own, and my body has been pestering me to return to the dosing at 3:30, rather than 4:00.
I tried dosing with 3/4 grain at 3:30, to give my adrenals time to adjust to the time change. That’s what I did last night, and today I feel like I’ve lost 30 IQ points. My BP this morning was 123/76. I’ve been getting a lot of diastolics in the 70s in the past few days. That may look orgasmic to the AMA, but I suspect it’s actually too low for me, that I personally need diastolics in the lower- to mid-80s to have full cognitive abilities. Furthermore, my pulse is now low, low, low now, down to 60 bpm. When I had plenty of focus, my pulse was a steady 72 bpm. I’ve heard that the latest thinking is that 60 bpm is too low and actually represents a hypo state.
I’m seriously considering returning tonight to 1 grain NDT at 3:30.
Day 22 – March 19
I feel really good. I feel NORMAL.
Since Thursday night, I’ve been dosing with 1 grain (60 mg) NDT at 3:30 a.m., then taking another 1/2 grain (30 mg) NDT mid-afternoon. We were all concerned with my BP, right? I haven’t had a diastolic as high as the 90s for almost a week, and my overall BPs have trended down to cluster around 120s/low 80s in the morning and 130s-low 140s/mid-80s in the afternoon.
I have no pain in my left arm except for an intermittent slight ache in my elbow. I have no heart palps, no finger twitching. I’m sleeping like a rock. Lately, I almost don’t remember waking at 3:30 to take my early dose, because I go right back to sleep. Amazingly, the bottom fourth of my eyebrows appear to be filling in — and I hadn’t even realized they were sparse! I’m also gaining back some of the weight I lost, which is a good thing for me. (I wish it would come back in my scrawny neck, but at least it’s come back in my bustline.) I’m not seeing my late-morning or late-afternoon adrenal slumps anymore, and my energy level is so constant that for the past three days, I’ve accidentally overshot the time I usually take the 1/2 grain NDT in the afternoon and wound up taking it early evening — not because I felt the hunger to take it, but because I knew it’s part of my daily dose.
My temps are still varying by 0.3 – 0.4 degrees, and I’d really like to ditch the vertigo and puffy eyes. But I hope that will come with time.
All of a sudden, I’m a lot more interested in the outside world. I went to a St. Patrick’s Day party last Saturday night and had fun. And I’m thinking about getting back into contra dancing again. That’s what this is all about, right? 🙂
DAY 36 – April 2
On Saturday night 24 March, I was able to do something that I haven’t done in about ten years. I went contra dancing. I’d been thinking about doing it again for several weeks before and was waiting for the signal from my body: feeling alert and focused in the evening. And *not* in pain. That’s right, folks. No. More. Pain. So I went contra dancing. Had a blast. Called it quits after about 1.5 hours of some of the most breathtaking aerobic stunts on the dance floor that I’d ever done, went home laughing, showered off the sweat, and slept like a rock. Felt really good Sunday, too. Feet were a little sore, but I couldn’t complain. I felt like a euthyroid person would feel after having a great time.
So I got that little taste of Paradise. Then, on Monday 26 March (a week ago), my health got dealt two curve balls: the menstrual cycle, and tree pollen allergies from hell.
For years, I’d been telling gynecologists that the menstrual cycle was dangerous for me. They always laughed me off. A couple of them even admonished me that it was “natural.” Recent research has shown that they were wrong about the “natural” part; American women menstruate about 33% more than their bodies are built to endure. And because I was tracking my three vitals during this time, I got to see that I’d been correct all along. For several days, the systolic on my blood pressure went from 120s/130s to 140s/150s. The diastolic went from upper 70s/low 80s to upper 80s/low 90s. My daily average temperature dropped by half a degree. Although my pulse rate was unaffected, some mild heart palps returned, the muscle spasm returned beneath my left eye, and the neurological twitch returned to my left forefinger. The menstrual cycle was making me hypothyroid again — possibly due to my low, low progesterone levels. And my big concern last week was whether this spotty cycle was heralding the onset of another bleed-fest from the uterine fibroids caused by my hypothyroidism. Fortunately my vitals (including BP) have stabilized again, and the nasty hypo symptoms have vanished. My fibroids appear to be behaving themselves. I sure don’t need to be hemorrhaging again. Oh, the problems I’ve had with iron after hemorrhaging twice last year. I’m pretty sure that the CT3P helped me skirt that danger this time.
Day 38 April 5
For those with RT3 issues, I can now confirm clinically that the CT3P has helped with my RT3 issue — and I’ve seen the improvement using NDT and *not* T3 only. Heresy, right? 🙂 My ratio prior to starting the Protocol 27 February was 14.5. On 20 March, after only about 3 weeks on the Protocol, my ratio was 20.2. Huzzah!
Take a bow, Paul Robinson (the creator of the T3CM) 🙂
I now have to work on raising my iron levels. My % saturation is 21–too low.
To be continued…….