Category Archives: My Hashimotos Story

Is my Sore Throat due to Hashimotos

At the end of the last My Story post I was advised by DrG to reduce my intake of medication, so I had stopped taking the natural dessicated thyroid, the T3 and reduced the T4 (oroxine)  from 100 to 75.

The hangover lifted, the feeling that my heart was tumbling ( like a tumble dryer) in my chest went, and after about 4 days of feeling tired I had two days when I felt ‘normal’. Normal is the epitome of Heaven, to a normally healthy person, you have no idea what bliss it can feel like to someone with an illness!

Then I started to feel the swing in the other direction. The black hole returned and dragged me under into sleep after lunch. My eyes remained sore until I slept and I got a pain in the bum. The constipation which I never had before T4 responded to magnesium, but the pain in the bum didn’t go until I started taking T3 again. I returned to 100 oroxine by cutting the 75 in three and cut the 25 cytomel in thirds to take approx 8.

For almost a month I was as near normal as I might expect to be. But life doesn’t let you rest. Our financial situation is bad and the stress of meeting bills and always being late and overdrawn and not quite making them is constant on both of us. Even more so probably on my husband as he is the one earning the most money. But the stress eats at you and insufficient funds means you cut back to basics.

Moeller's cod-liver oil advertisement
Moeller’s cod-liver oil advertisement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It means no doctors appointments or tests, and you can’t afford to replace expensive zinc or magnesium, special multi vitamins, colloidal minerals. All these ran out and I am left just taking B vitamins, iron, cheaper magnesium, cod liver oil and vitamin C. My migraines have returned and I have a low grade headache all the time. I need the zinc for that but its $50. The cheaper zinc doesn’t do anything.

Maybe next month…

Is my Sore Throat due to Hashimotos or is it a Reaction to Gluten?

Friday night is takeaway night. Might be pizza, might be Kentucky fried chicken. When you are gluten free, neither is suitable of course. I have assumed I am gluten intolerant, but have had no tests, don’t think its coeliac, but don’t really know either way.

Normally I’d cook something for me, a piece of fish or some eggs. Sometimes if it was Kentucky, I’d strip off the crumbing and just eat the chicken meat, and that was ok. This Friday I spat the dummy and ate 2 pieces of Kentucky crumbs, skin, spices, herbs and all. It was lovely.

On Saturday I woke up with a sore throat and fever and was so tired I slept all day and all night and half of Sunday. I gargled with iodine to no effect. I gargled with warm salty water. I sprayed it with the sore throat stuff I buy for the kids sore throats, all to no effect. I took aspirin every 4 hours and that kept the fever in check and gave relief from the soreness.

I was a bit less tired during the week, and helped my husband on a painting job most days. My glands stayed swollen until Wednesday, I had no energy but was not so tired, although an afternoon nap was called for each day. I had a constant dry cough, very little mucus production but prickly in the nose again and sneezing like from allergy, and low fever still. I struggled to take a full breath and when I did I coughed.

Today is Sunday a week later. The sore throat and mild other symptoms are still there and I’m pretty sure the pain is “in” the thyroid, though I feel it in my throat, it would explain why neither salt or the iodine couldn’t take it from the throat.

English: Voltaren

I thought about going to the Hospital or a doctor, but I’ve only just managed to reduce candida to a whisper and antibiotics would be like putting out the fire with gasolene. What else do they have to offer? Aspirin and other NSAIDS which I cannot take like Voltaren (instant sore stomach) . so… Nothing new I don’t know about I think.

I looked up sore throat and Hashimotos on the internet and discovered some great new articles but I am still not sure how to categorise it and whether to seek medical advice . I hate feeling like a hypochondriac!

  • Is this just a viral bug – sore throat, fever etc?
  • Is it just a normal bug that has affected my thyroid, or been different due to having Hashimotos.
  • Is it an allergy like hay fever?
  • Is it because I ate gluten for the first time in a year and antibodies attacked my thyroid in droves ( even though I have never experienced this type of reaction before as a “sore throat”)
  • Is it just a progression of the disease?
  • Is it due to not taking the natural thyroid or from reducing the medication too much?

Several links suggest that the sore throat pain is actually from the thyroid.

Swollen Lymph Nodes & Sore Throat With Hashimotos anecdotal confirmation it is related to thyroid

All this caused by Hashimotos! this was just downright fascinating reading the advice in comments

Overall MD article on Thyroiditis helped by stating use analgesic, anti inflammatory, antibiotics to treat

Treatments for sore throats due to thyroiditis bit easier to read than above and confirms treatment

STTM advice of course contravenes what my doc said – (I know, you can’t follow two masters)

Essential Oil and Sore Throat an advocate for lemongrass oil applied to the thyroid area on throat

Coconut Oil and Sore Throat an advocate for increasing consumption of coconut oil

Well who knows? I guess for now I’ll stay at 100 oroxine and 8 cytomel and continue to take aspirin for the sore throat. It’s been one week since it started and it will probably just go away next week. If not, then we’ll try and find the money for something – zinc maybe, maybe a doctor – not really sure which is the better value! lol!

17th Nov Update
The sore throat isn’t going away. It did get a bit better and then it got suddenly worse and now its getting better again. I now believe its iodine causing it.

I took Lugals when I first started treatment and felt better for it. Four or five months later I read that iodine might not be good for people with Hashimotos so I stopped until I talked to DrR. He felt that continuing would be beneficial but to reduce it to 2 drops.

I get tired of taking supplements. My husband wouldn’t believe that because he doesn’t think they have any effect. I don’t think he even believes I’m sick, I’m walking around after all! I know things start to go haywire when I stop taking stuff, like now. I don’t know for sure which are doing good and which are not.

I believe that zinc, magnesium, iron and vitamin C are essential for me. I believe that B vitamins and probably A, D and E vitamins are also important.

I think selenium and iodine are good but I’m not sure.

I hadn’t been taking iodine and selenium regularly and then I watched Dr Tenpenny’s video on iodine. I started taking 2 drops iodine again with 5 drops selenium like before.

What if this is what has caused my sore throat. At the bottom of the throat there are two round bones, over the right one, I sometimes see a slight swelling. It appears larger when my sore throat gets worse. I wonder if its the start of a goiter. I originally thought goiter is only caused by deficiency of iodine, but too much iodine can also cause goiter.

When I stopped taking iodine daily my sore throat slowly got better, but I didn’t at that time think it had anything to do with iodine. One day I did take my iodine in the morning and with in hours the sore throat was back with a vengeance. I stopped taking it and it is almost gone.

I don’t feel it is a coincidence. I think my thyroid struggles to process the Lugals now. I read that you can paint it on the sole of your foot for a different way to absorb it. For now, I’ll wait and see if the throat actually gets better at all.

I am supposed to have blood tests this month and go see the doc. Don’t think it’s going to happen before Christmas. I guess if the sore throat continues, if its a possible nodule, I can go to the hospital.

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Back to just T4 for now

I knew it had been a while since i last wrote but somehow five months have slipped past. The last post ended with “You can tell when I’m good, I’m writing, otherwise…no update. Hopefully this will last a while…” so I guess you know what happened!

I’m not exactly good yet either, but I need to write this while its still in my head.

Firstly I am still taking a tablet and sometimes two tablets of zovirex and they keep me free of outbreaks and mitigate the pain in my back. I am still taking the zinc picolinate and magnesium, and I found a candida supplement with iron, borax, biotin, molybdenum and vit bs which I have been taking for the last three months.

The candida after the treatment with acigel followed by this supplement is almost unnoticeable. I still use a bit of zinc cream topically at night, but otherwise no treatment is necessary. No swabbing with peroxide, or vinegar and no infernal itching! So we have two things on the run! Yahhh!

Two down – one to go – autoimmune.

Maybe due to this, my thyroid seems to need less medication? I started to feel hungover every day. I was tired, in a different way just “life’s a drag tired”. I had a constant nagging headache, just low grade but enough to make me struggle to think and to trigger a migraine or two. My heart felt big in my chest and I could feel my heart beat sometimes like a reverberation in my ears and pulsing pulse points. I was flushing with heat in waves and nervous and agitated.

The irritation inside my nose was the worst, it made scabs which hurt, it prickled and made me sneeze, it was dry and uncomfortable all the time. I researched this and found two possibles. It could be Sjogrens or it could be due to high blood pressure due to being overmedicated, which was more likely.

As it was, I had to see a doctor to get tests and to get a new prescription. So it was doctor number 4 I had to pick and this was what held me back. Eventually I decided to find where Dr P went to, and found he was only half an hour’s away. I wasn’t enthusiastic but he had helped me with my migraines and hoped perhaps he might be a good choice. I was wrong.

I was about to employ and pay the classic worst thyroid doctor I’d been reading about in all the thyroid forums! lol!

Classic Thyroid Doctor Responses

“You’re taking what? Pig thyroid. My God girl that went out before I was born. I can’t work out what you’ve been taking from pig thyroid . I don’t care what it says on the Internet you can’t measure it accurately. Why people like natural I don’t understand. There’s no science in natural remedies.

Taking T3? Whatever for? That’s like high octane fuel. Of course you’re feeling hungover, you’re taking some – don’t even know what to call it – and its making you sick. Stop taking it.

Sjogren’s? Why would you think you have Sjogren’s. High blood pressure? Oh, on the Internet, well you can’t trust anything you read on the Internet. That’s simply not true. Lets take your blood pressure. Oh, yes well it is a little high, but I’d need more than one reading to go on, one high reading doesn’t mean anything.”

This was the first conversation as I tried my best to explain. Eventually I stopped wasting my breath. It was as obvious to me that here was a man who had firm beliefs that could not be shaken, as it was to him that I was a “flake”. So I took the blood test form and got my blood tested on the 5th July. All starred and the comments were standard ending with “the results suggest that decreased dosage may be indicated.

Date/Range    TSH  (0.40-4.00)           T4 (9.0-19.0)          T3 (2.6-6.0)
20/1/2012      *TSH  <0.005 mU/L      *Free T4   20.01      Free T3    5.8
05/7/2012      *TSH  <0.005 mU/L      *Free T4   22.8       *Free T3    6.3
30/8/2012      *TSH  <0.005 mU/L      *Free T4   22.05      Free T3    7.2

I Was Over Medicating

That result was the one in red with range figures at the top so you can see where the test thinks the result should be.  From what I’ve read the TSH is mostly irrelevant after treatment is started, but the free T4 and free T3 figures confirmed that I was taking too much.

I stopped taking the natural thyroid but kept taking the T3. So this meant I was taking 1x 100mg tablet oroxine and 12.5 of T3. Meaning I reduced T4 by 30ish and T3 by 9 . I was so tired and vague but gradually I began to feel better. My nose cleared up within the next month and the headaches stopped. My heart felt less strained but still was at times very large in my chest.

Taking Thyroxine

As I was low on medication, Dr P prescribed more at 75mg – not 100. I wasn’t real happy with this as I was so tired. Whats more he prescribed thyroxine not oroxine. I did try taking 75mg thyroxine for just over a week. It was strange. I know it shouldn’t make a difference but on the one hand i was very tired, hypo tired. On the other hand I was climbing the walls with tension, it really didn’t agree with me. As I had a couple of strips of 100 oroxine left I went back to those and felt better within 2 days. (Yes I know you think that’s impossible Dr P but I did)

I had my second blood test done after two months. Unfortunately the result is only marginally better for T4 and worse for T3! I told Dr P about my reaction to thyroxine which he assured me was exactly the same as Oroxine. He did however agree to re prescribe as Oroxine but refused to change the amount from 75mg tablets.

Then to top it all off my chemist supplied Euroxsig. lol! You gotta be on your toes with all this! Luckily I checked the package before going home and asked the chemist to supply Oroxine as prescribed and make a note on the computer that I only wanted Oroxine supplied.

Taking only T4 for now

Again I tried just taking 75 but my eyes got so sore and blind, and I fell down the black hole again after lunch and all weekend after reading. I started getting depressed. It’s simply not enough. I tried splitting the 75 into two doses – the normal dose at 3am and a second one at 3pm.  But its like my body didn’t know it was there to use and I really didn’t feel any difference except I felt worse in the morning when I wasn’t getting my usual dose.

So as the T3 was still too high, I have stopped taking T3. That last blood test was at the end of August and its now just turned into October and I have not had any recurrence of adrenal issues. All is good except occasionally still my heart beats loud in my ears and feels large, and I still flush hot or get cold out of the blue.

At the moment I am cutting the 75 sized tablets in three and taking one whole tablet and a bit that is close to 25, so I’m stable on around 100. I’ll give that a bit longer and then try again to reduce to 75 if I can tolerate it and still function.

Overall I think its a good sign that I need to reduce. I’m sure my doc would say I was over medicated all the time, but the fact is I was good on that dose for many months. I have no doubts that without taking some form of T3 I would still be way shaky and unable to cope much more of the time. If that returns, I will take T3 again. I had no return of the faintness I felt during my first blood tests.

Now all I need to work on is whether I go back to DrP or look for Dr number 5. I resent paying a man to call me a fool. So I probably won’t, but then again, does it really matter? he is right that I was overmedicated and needed to reduce, but its hard to be honest with someone who is so insulting. I know what I need to do for my own well being, all I really need is someone to write the script . Unless something else goes wrong of course which is the best reason to find a doc I can talk to.

I just discovered a Hashi thyroid group on Facebook. Woo-hoo! The group seems very friendly I already feel at home. They have a list of documents including aussie doctors who understand Hashis and there is one on the Central Coast, a woman doctor at that. So maybe I’ll be going to see DrS, who knows.

Anyway thats it for now. If only I could fix the pain in my back now…



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Zinc & Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

I’ve been playing snakes and ladders these last two months. Assuming you were lucky enough to play board and card games when you were a kid, then you are familiar with the analogy. For those who didn’t get to play games with family members and friends…

English: Snakes and ladders, board game. ?Nors...
Snakes & ladders board game. Wikipedia

Snakes and ladders is a board game where you throw a dice to move forward. If you fall on one square (ladder) you jump forward faster or you slip back (snake) if you land on another.

Since my last post 2 months ago, when I started taking only T3 for my hypothyroidism, I was climbing up the ladder to sunny good health, only to slide back down the snakes into misery, pain and brain fog.

My nose was very sore, and irritating. I wondered if Sjögren’s Syndrome was the cause, but decided I was just being paranoid. It’s still sore. The internet says its high blood pressure so maybe I am taking too much T4.

The T3 only experiment and an general increase in various life stresses made me weepy; prone to cry if given sympathy, feeling sorry for myself far too often and with no good reason. Intellectually I was ashamed of myself, but if something set me off, I would weep for half an hour. Not the sobbing grief type of weeping but the slow tear trails and broody OCD thought spirals of depression. Pitiful!

One step at a time, each step… better.

Stress can have good as well as bad effects however. If life is normal and you are depressed, there are no bumps to climb or new events to change your course. My life stress requires action. Activity made dealing with this easier and I started to slowly tick tasks of a mental list and the tasks took my mind away from those broody gloomy thoughts.

As these were tasks like painting rooms in my house, sorting documents, data entry, gardening, cleaning out cupboards etc, I was capable. This gave me some confidence back.

As I completed these simple household tasks, many of which I had put off as I researched remedies for my illness, I gradually moved on to harder tasks I’d been putting off. I had not maintained website jobs, I went and did those tasks.  I had been avoiding tackling all but personal and urgent email, and I started to tackle the spam and list emails and clean up the inbox and check on whats new.

Mengs Metta Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

As always when reading on a computer, one article led to another and I ended up watching the following video from Chade-Meng Tan (its an hour long).  At around 12 minutes he talks the audience into a simple breathing meditation and as I took a deep breath with the audience, I suddenly started to feel better, to believe again that I was in control of myself. As I continued listening to his talk I remembered my zen, something I had spent a lot of time reading and practicing when I was much younger. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, east over west, in the end only kindness matters. It all came flooding back.


The stress I was in was not less than before, but I remembered that it is the way you feel about things that happen in your life that has the most effect on you. Even those few minutes meditation was enough to recall to me the mindfulness meditation benefits of breathing, being in the now and loving kindness.

Since then the weepiness has faded away with no more victim, I feel like myself again.

Thyroid replacement is not everything

I have added biotin (against candidiasis) and B12 (anemia) to my supplements list .  I have gone completely away from creams and use zinc powder (like talc) to keep the skin as dry as possible. I have used acigel for the vaginal candida which changes the ph which the candida doesn’t like. The candida plaques that do appear are “smaller”, less often and its irritation is gradually receding. It helps that its not Summer and hot.

The B12 also has seemed to stabilize me almost as much as adding Iron did a few months ago.

Zinc Picolinate For Herpes HSV2 & Migraines

I ran out of the two vitamins that Dr R prescribed about 3 months ago. He prescribed Zinc Picollinate and Magnesium Glycinate. When they ran out I bought other types of zinc and magnesium but was not able to get those types, and I looked in many chemists. These types of zinc and magnesium are said to be more readily absorbed by the body.

In the last three months, since I haven’t been taking the zinc picolinate, I have had 3 herpes outbreaks, 4 migraines and my back has been unbenddownably sore. I think I thought it was the thyroid that made my back sore, but eventually I realized that my back just never got better whatever thyroid meds I was taking.

I started thinking about herpes causing sciatica and then about post herpetic neuralgia. The herpes virus does latently reside in the ganglia in the lower back. Although post herpetic neuralgia is mostly said to occur after shingles (herpes zoster), what if it occurs as often for HSV2? The more I researched this, the more convinced I became that this was what was causing my back pain.

When I was good – with no migraines or herpes outbreaks – I thought the herpes was better due to goldenseal. But goldenseal didn’t make any difference this time. I filled the script I had for zovirex and have been taking this daily for now to halt the herpes outbreaks. In a week, this has helped and the pain reduction in my back convinces me that this is caused by post herpetic neuropathy. (That and the fact that no pain medication touches the back pain – not aspirin, ibuprofine or codeine.)

Zinc angel
Zinc angel (credit: Mr. 0)

After taking the different zinc ( a blend) I finally went looking for a picolinate online. Then I thought why not just ring the chemist, which I did. He agreed to make it up for me. Whew! So I’m now back taking zinc picolinate and I’m firmly convinced that it is this zinc that made all the difference then and now in reducing the pain and outbreak frequency of HSV2.

It is only three days, so I cannot be absolutely sure, but my back lets me bend for the first time in months. The lymph in the groin is now also painless and I am starting to feel better in other ways. The low grade headache I have had for months, (and put down to excess T3) is finally gone.

My head is clear and I’m getting a good nights sleep again – thanks to either the zinc or the magnesium.

So thanks to a zinc angel and mindfulness meditation benefits I’m currently back on an even keel. The black dog has hopped off my chest and is dancing around in circles wagging his tail. You can tell when I’m good, I’m writing, otherwise…no update. Hopefully this will last a while…


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Taking T3 Only

Taking T3 Only

Analogy is often useful as a tool to help people visualise things so I’ll keep imagining my life with Alice…

My husband has Grave’s Disease or autoimmune hyperthyroidism or an over productive thyroid gland. I have Hashimoto’s Disease or autoimmune hypothyroidism or an under productive thyroid gland. I think of my husband as fast by nature and myself as being slow. He makes quick decisions and does things now. I like to think things through and do them tomorrow, or next week even.

The Mad Hatter, illustration by John Tenniel
The Mad Hatter, illustration by John Tenniel ( Wikipedia)

My husband is always in a hurry, like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland – “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date…” He gets irritable and impatient quite often now, although when I met him he was a kind, patient and generous man.  He still has those qualities, but the fever of hyperthyroidism has burnt the polite edges from them.

He chose not to have surgery or radioactive iodine reduction of his thyroid gland. If he had, he would likely be hypo as I am now. Certainly not manic as the Mad Hatter – far more likely that he’d be as depressive as the dormouse. I think manic suits him better, I cannot imagine him hiding his head in the teapot.

He takes neomercazole daily, which suppresses his excess production of thyroid hormone. This slows him down a bit and especially protects him from the risk of heart disease and keeps his hyper symptoms, such as heat intolerance, in check. I have lived with him and watched him subtly change through the ravages of this disease.

I thought for sure I would know what it feels like to be hyper thyroid. But subjectively things feel different to what you imagine they might feel like. What we fail to allow for sometimes is “nature” or personality. It’s easy to talk science and chemicals but we are made up of more than just the juices inside our body.

I am hypothyroid and the inside of a teapot sometimes looks like a safe warm place to hide your head now and then. Is that my nature or my disease? Perhaps a bit of both.

This disease has given me a clear insight into the loss of physical strength, constant sleepiness, jumpiness, blurring of senses, and fuzzing of brain clarity that old people have to cope with daily. Except that when I take oroxine – I can speed up back to near normal. And sometimes when I look at my parents who are in their eighties, I wonder… Well I’m sure you know what I wonder…

The difference between hyper and hypo

Anyway, all that was so you could see the difference between hyper and hypo. Because taking thyroid hormone, whether oroxine (T4), natural thyroid (T4+T3), or cytomel (T3), stimulates someone who is hypo and speeds them up to normal function until it overdoses them and they become hyperthyroid.

At least that’s what I thought. Now I think, that this reasoning is too simplistic.

The use of glasses (as in spectacles) and hearing aids to “correct” sight and sound loss do indeed make the sense function. However the way they do this is by magnification which is a distortion. The correction works, you can hear and you can read and focus, but the brain may never adjust to the distortion. The ear that hears normally can filter out sounds but magnified sounds, like the sound of a large dog barking, are painfully loud. Objects picked up and seen through glasses are larger, it’s hard to retrain the brain to adjust its mental measurement to define the difference between several similar objects in different sizes.

Yet this type of adjustment is actually really simple. While chemical thyroid adjustment is really complex.

Now oroxine (T4), natural dessicated thyroid or NDT (T4+T3), and cytomel (T3) are thought to have the same effect but to differ in degree. Subjectively, this is not my experience.

T4 is the raw material from which T3 is made, and T3 is the active ingredient that makes the changes.

If we take T4 then our gland converts it to T3 – unless we don’t have a gland because its been destroyed by our immune system. If we take T3, that should be all we need – except some people cannot tolerate it at all. If we use NDT which is after all natural, is the ratio of T4 to T3 right for a human, being as it came from a pig or a sheep? Also do we need the T1 and T2 in it, and whatever else it may have?

Then there are amino acids, enzymes, minerals and vitamins that the thyroid gland may be unable to access. Ingredients that other organs may need, to use the T3 the thyroid gland makes from the T4, if it can. Iron is a big one, as many thyroid patients are iron deficient if not anaemic. Selenium, iodine, vitamin B complex etc are others. If the disease is related to coeliac disease, then the ability of the intestines to absorb its nutrients from food is compromised. With all this going on, can we “subjectively” tell the difference between similar medications? I don’t know, I can only describe what I felt.

Taking Only T3

Alice’s Abenteuer im Wunderland Übersetzer: An...
Honestly, the dormouse likes it in the teapot!

When I tried to just take NDT after taking oroxine (T4), I grew very tired and my eyes got sore again. Sore, tired eyes that I couldn’t focus were one of my pre-diagnosis symptoms. After I had been on T3 only for just over 2 weeks my eyes went again. Taking more T3 was out of the question as my heart raced. Some people in the group say that heart racing can be caused by too little T3, but my heart tells me different.

NDT took the breathlessness or air hunger away. I still get it on bad days, but if I’m taking some form of T3, I don’t feel I have no breath after the slightest hint of exertion. I still need to get more exercise. I cannot walk up a hill without resting yet, but I can walk up it without gulping for air like a goldfish.

When I was taking oroxine (T4) only, without the NDT I gained hypo symptoms that I did not have prior to diagnosis. Dry hair and hair loss, constipation, feeling the cold,  and emotionally cold. I started taking coconut oil for the constipation, which worsened when I started taking iron, and this kept me regular.

On T3 only my hair finally came good again, becoming smooth and shiny as it had been before I started taking oroxine. Emotionally I became just a little too emotional, crying too easily, being irritable and cranky, but no warmer. I still feel a bit cut off from me. On T3 I can have a bowel movement several times a day or in the night if awake, but it is not loose like diarrhea.

I developed symptoms around my nose. When my husband got sick before he was diagnosed with Graves, he lost a lot of weight, becoming almost skeletal. Around the bottom of his nose the skin became a bit red and tight in the folds of skin leading from the nose to the corners of the mouth.

Taking T3 I could feel skin soreness in my own face in this place. Scabs formed inside my nose. I looked this up and its a symptom caused by dehydration due to high blood pressure. Internally my nose was always felt dry and sore, and its only now, nearly three weeks after reducing the T3 that it is feeling better.

I was thirsty and hungry almost all the time but still losing weight. I often felt flushed as with a fever and went around in a singlet, its Summertime here, but I rarely ever covered my shoulders. I felt overtired, muscle sore, strung out, and stressed by constant pain. My brain just stopped working, but I got a lot of house work done as I had to keep moving. I didn’t want to think about anything difficult, I just wanted to DO things, like a form of denial or work avoidance in reverse.

Taking T3 in split doses over the day was interesting. I soon knew when the dose was due as half an hour before, my eyes would start to fall and I’d start to space out and appear a bit catatonic. After I took the T3 sublingually (under the tongue) I’d feel normal again within 5 minutes.

Paul Robinsons T3CM

The one really cool thing that happened taking only T3 was taking some in the middle of the night. I would have liked to follow Paul Robinsons T3CM protocol properly but I couldn’t afford the tests, the visits to the doctor and didn’t have enough to buy a blood pressure cuff. Honestly though, I doubt I could have wrapped my brain around how to do it all either. So I took the one fact and winged it.

Fact 1: Several hours before you wake your body starts to make cortisol. Give it T3 at that time and it will make enough to heal your adrenal fatique.

I almost always wake at 3.00am to have a wee, and get up around 5.30 – 6.00am. So I take 12.5mcg of T3 when I wake up at 3am and go back to sleep. On T3 only, I then usually took a further 12.5mcg ( or half a 25mcg tablet) of T3 when I got up at 6am,  at 11am,3pm, and 9pm (or before bed) unless I forgot – which I often did. Sometimes I felt I needed more, sometimes i took a bit more, often I felt better when I forgot it.

After a week or two of taking T3 at 3am I had an unexpected violent argument with my husband. My heart hammered and I shook after it, but I didn’t fall into a heap, a depression or an exhausted sleep. It felt good actually to finally fight back. I still often feel the creepy crawling sensation in the small of my back when I’m over stressed, but it’s not all the time and it doesn’t just disable me like before. It gets less often all the time.

Overall I’m glad I have the experience of taking only T3 but I hope my autoimmune system never totally destroys my throid gland because I don’t think T3 only is comfortable. Its world is harsh and brash and bright and dry, and it’s really annoying to have to remember to take meds 6 times a day.

Now Medicating With T4 + T3 + NDT

OK, don’t laugh, but this is what I’m taking now and it seems to suit me just fine for now. I take 12.5mcg of Cytomel (T3) at 3am (or whenever I wake in the night around then). When I get up I take 1 tablet 100mg oroxine and 1 tablet or grain of natural thyroid (NDT). I can generally remember to do this as I generally can’t function until I do, although last week I totally forgot to take anything when I woke up. Oddly I was fine all that day and didn’t suffer until the next day, when I felt like I had a hangover all day.

This medication regime means I am mostly functional and normal so far as hypothyroidism is concerned. I’m not sure what Dr R or Dr M will say when I tell them but we’ll cross that bridge when I need to go see them in a few months.

I still have pain – around my knees especially, in the tendons around joints, in the finger joints, in the small of my back whether I am sitting or after exercising. My ankles are always a little swollen with edema, not badly but never normal. On bad days the pain is black and sharp, and my brain is slower than a supermarket queue. On good days the pain is an old friend who visited at a bad time and my brain can write an article (like this) and get some basic web maintenance things done but it still has trouble concentrating enough to work something difficult out from scratch, which used to be a breeze. My memory is better than it was, but I’m not 20 anymore so I don’t expect miracles.

I’m sure there is something crucial I have left out, but overall – I think that’s it – for now at least.



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RT3 to FT3 and Adrenal Issues

No RT3 to FT3 Ratio

I had to try it. There was nothing scientific about it, it was just human nature. You cannot read all about it and not want to see what happens – at least not if you have an ounce of Alice in Wonderland in you, and I’ve got a pound! If I were a cat I’d be grinning and dead nine times over from curiosity.

"Alice meets the Caterpillar", from ...
The hookah smoking caterpiller & Alice – I think she’ll know

Anyway, my natural dessicated thyroid was nearly all gone (3 left) and my cytomel had arrived from Mexico in 25mcg tablets. I got back the blood test results but either the doctor didn’t order reverse T3 or the pathology lab didn’t  do it, so I had no definitive guideline to measure the ratio of RT3 to FT3 as advised on the STTM. (No zinc either, even though I asked for it, but that’s another issue, for another time).

I did think about it, I thought about it for a week. Then I ran out of natural thyroid and the oroxine wasn’t enough to keep me from disappearing into the black hole again.

I took some T3, just a little at first, to replace that I wasn’t getting from the Natural thyroid. I continued to take 1 tablet (100) oroxine on my first wake up of the day.  I started the T3 by taking 12.5 at night to help me sleep.

I think it did help as well. Then after a few days I took 12.5 cytomel (T3) at about 1.00pm as well and that kept me out of the after lunch siesta black hole.

I was actually starting to feel pretty good, except for the continuing backache, and muscle pain when I worked physically, and the weakness (adrenal) due to too much stress – loud noises, arguments, driving, even cliffhanger and thriller movies exhausted me. But life isn’t calm. I was fine when it was but I couldn’t deal with it when it wasn’t. Stress made me shiver, shake and feel dizzy – shocky. I just wanted to feel well.

English: original illustration (1865) by John ...
Alice playing croquet with a flamingo as a bat and a hedgehog as a ball.

I might have been fine if I’d continued with T4+T3, there was little difference between 100 oroxine + 25 cytomel and 100 oroxine + 1 grain natural thyroid, but fine is not well. Then finally the natural dessicated thyroid arrived…

…so first, (comfort zone) I tried to return to the former protocol of 100 oroxine + 1 grain natural thyroid.

Hmmm…The new natural thyroid tasted and looked different to the tablets I had before, even though they came from the same supplier. They didn’t seem to be having the same effect either, as if taking T3 had changed something. Or maybe they were different.

To be honest Dr V warned me that changing meds might mean I could not just return to the last best “good configuration” again … but, lol, us intrepid explorers never listen when we’re looking for a holy grail!

I was starting to feel like Alice wrestling with the flamingo to try and play croquet – just when she got the flamingo sorted out – the hedgehog unfurls from its curled up ball shape and waddles away – it’s enough to make a girl cry! My brain didn’t want to work, I was tired all the time and fuzzy headed. I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything, except read…

I had expected the blood tests I asked the doctor to order would have RT3 so I could work out a correct ratio to FT3. Since that didn’t happen, and I really couldn’t afford another visit to the doc to ask her to redo it nor cope with any confrontation if she said no, I had to wing it.

Facebook Group on T3 Only and Adrenal Issues

I thought it would be nice to ask someone for advice and I thought about posting in the forums. Then I discovered that there were groups on Facebook I could join, moderated by STTM and also a group there on LDN, so I joined those and read everything I could. I made a few posts and asked questions but I didn’t get the personal support I hoped for. I keep reading though, because other people do have that knack, to get answers, and then I can compare what I’m going through against the answers they get.

One of the facebook groups was a T3 only group. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to do that but sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, even if you do end up falling down the rabbit hole. This group revolved around Paul Robinson’s new book, Recovering with T3 only therapy and healing the adrenals by taking T3 during the sleep cycle as according to the circadian rhythm of the body, that is when it makes it’s cortisol.

I started taking more T3 and gradually reducing the oroxine (T4) and stopped the natural thyroid so that over a week I was only taking between 50mcg and 75mcg of Cytomel in 4-6 split doses of 12.5mcg over the day and night.

The reason  to go T3 only was partly based on the previous experience of Increasing And Decreasing T3 using natural thyroid. This was when increasing it sent me hyperthyroid but failed to fully address the hypothyroid symtoms. STTM and Dr Lowe both said on their websites that this was due to excess T3 being converted into reverse T3. If I had blood test results I could check this, but I did not. I just had symptoms.

The other reason was that licorice root and adaptogens (ashuanganda) had helped but not healed the adrenal fatigue. I felt it was worth trying T3 only , especially T3CM as per Paul Robinsons Circadian Method, to get my adrenals functioning better, so I can handle stress again without falling apart like a girl!

Dr R said that as my free T3 was ok, reverse T3 was not an issue. He also said on a previous visit that taking T3 only might be better for me.  The only way to find out was to do it, so I did. The next article will tell you what I found out. It’s different to what I expected, but I’m starting to believe that it’s different for everyone.


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Blood Test 3 – Confirms Hashimoto’s

Blood Test 3 – Confirms Hashimoto’s Disease

Dr R strongly suspected that my hypothyroidism was Hashimoto’s disease but we confirmed that it was this autoimmune disease with two new blood tests, so we are now absolutely certain what we are dealing with The two thyroid antibody tests are called … (the Ab stands for antibodies)

  • Thyroglobulin Ab (TgAb)
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Ab (anti-TPO)

As you can see below both these tests are out of range, confirming autoimmune disease.  The TSH shows as being vastly supressed but this is commonly seen when being treated and is disregarded after treatment is in progress, in favour of other markers. The Free T4 is slightly elevated and the Free T3  is good, being at the higher end of the range.

Currently I am on 100mg Oroxine and 1 grain or 60mg of Thiroyd (Natural or dessicated thyroid). Dr R recommended that I reduce Thiroyd to 30mg or half a tablet ( I take these just before waking)  and take 25mg of Cytomel (T3 only) at night which may help me to sleep through the night. I can’t get to sleep easily and wake 3 or 4 times. Perhaps supplementing T3 at night will help.

Hashmoto’s is confirmed by two antibodies labs: anti-TPO and TgAb. The first antibody, anti-TPO, attacks an enzyme normally found in your thyroid gland, called the Thyroid Peroxidase, which is important in the production of thyroid hormones.

The second antibody, TgAb, attacks the key protein in the thyroid gland, the thyroglobulin, which is essential in the production of the T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. Unfortunately it is common for a doctor to only do ONE of these tests, but you need BOTH tests as you may test normal in one but high in  the other.

The presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, or thyroglobulin antibodies, in your blood suggests that the cause of your thyroid disease is due to an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease, and there is a third antibody test that tests specifically for Graves .

If you have an autoimmune disorder, your immune system mistakenly makes antibodies that attack normal tissue (such as the thyroid gland) and inflame and impair it’s function. If your antibodies remain high, they may permanently damage your thyroid gland. Eventually, the damage may become so severe that the gland can no longer produce enough thyroid hormone to keep your metabolism normal.

It is said (if rarely) that with hypothyroid treatment and attention to diet, that the thyroid can be healed, antibodies reduced  and that hypothyroid treatment may no longer be needed.

Most of the articles I have read suggest that once on medication, you’ll be taking it for life. Anyway, that’s the test results and the plan of medication for the next week, and I’m trying a new treatment for the candida that I’m hoping will help. I’ll let you know how it goes….

The Two Thyroid Functions that are Tested for Antibodies

Thyroid peroxidase or thyroperoxidase (TPO) is an enzyme expressed mainly in the thyroid that liberates iodine for addition onto tyrosine residues on thyroglobulin for the production of thyroxine (T4) or triiodothyronine (T3), thyroid hormones. In humans, thyroperoxidase is encoded by the TPO gene. TPO is stimulated by TSH, which upregulates gene expression. Thyroid peroxidase is a frequent epitope of autoantibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease, with such antibodies being called anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO antibodies). This is most commonly associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

To be honest, the science is way beyond me generally and probably always will be, but every piece of info I can add makes the final picture clearer and the better I understand something the closer I get to knowing how to treat it. Putting it here makes it easy to refer back to, and maybe it will help someone else who reads it …

Thyroglobulin (Tg) is a 660 kDa, dimeric protein produced by and used entirely within the thyroid gland. Thyroglobulin levels in the blood can be used as a tumor marker for certain kinds of thyroid cancer. Thyroglobulin has been shown to interact with Binding immunoglobulin protein but should not be confused with Thyroxine-binding globulin. Tg is used by the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). In fact, the Tg molecule, which contains approximately 120 tyrosyl residues, is able to form only very small amounts of thyroid hormone (5-6 molecules of T4 and T3). The active form of triiodothyronine, 3, 5, 3′ triiodothyronine, is produced both within the thyroid gland and in the periphery by 5′-deiodinase. It is presumed that Tg and thyroid are also an important storage of iodine for all body needs, in particular, for many iodine-concentrating organs such as breast, stomach, salivary glands, thymus, etc.

Small globules of the follicular colloid (Tg) are endocytosed (hormone (TSH)-mediated) and proteases in lysosomes digest iodinated thyroglobulin, releasing T3 and T4 within the thyrocyte cytoplasm. The T3 and T4 are then transported across (TSH-mediated) the basolateral thyrocyte membrane, into the bloodstream, by an unknown mechanism while the lysosome is recycled back to the follicular lumen.

Thyroid hormone synthesis, following thyroglobulin from production within the rough endoplasmic reticulum until proteolysis to release the thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormone synthesis, with Pendrin seen a...
Quotes and Images via Wikipedia

My thoughts…

Anyway that’s a bit of science behind two things that antibodies are attacking in the thyroid gland if you have hashimotos disease.

How do we stop it? Hypothyroid treatment (supplementing T3 and/or T4) apparently reduces antibodies and slows Hashis, but it’s not the whole answer if a cure is on offer.

Dr R says it the gut – and I’ve read articles that link gluten and hashis – which means more attention to diet and supplements. It’s been six months since I started the Candida diet but am I being strict enough about removing potential allergens? Or maybe it’s time to rethink my food choices and add some new things rather than just removing them – such as fermented foods like kefir and saurkraut. Also Dr R again suggested probiotics to see the candida out. Much to think about…

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Increasing And Decreasing T3

Increasing And Decreasing T3 Dose.

The father of modern medicine, Sir William Ostler, was once asked about the secret for longevity. He said to “Get a chronic disease and learn to take good care of it.”

When talking with my sister recently, I said that if I had to get a chronic disease, then Hashimotos hypothyroidism is probably one of the better ones, because the remedy (replace the thyroid hormone that the thyroid isn’t making enough of) basically makes you better and the only problem is getting the dose right.

Of course nothing is really that simple.

Ostler explained that when you have a chronic disease you become more aware of your body and will seek to identify what makes you flare up and what keeps you feeling well. And so you learn to tend your natural healing system and stop doing things that would ensure that you’ll be following all the other sweet fat lambs early to the slaughter house. Your survival gene kicks in and you vow to be 120 year old mutton before you get herded there. Or so you should…

Giving up wheat, dairy and sugar has reduced my weight and  I feel and look well, even though I am often tired and in pain. I feel better not to be overweight, and although I still wonder what to eat because the snack options are gone, it’s just food. I get plenty of it for nutritian and it tastes good.

Getting the dose of this thyroid medication right though is another matter, because I want to feel normal, not just functional. It’s harder than I thought to know when to increase or decrease. I thought I would recognise hyper more easily but I think I overdid it before I stated recognising the signs.

English: Thyroid hormone pills. On the left, T...
Image via Wikipedia

Oroxine &  Thiroyd

To recap a little, I started treatment (6 months ago) by taking 1 x daily Oroxine 100mg. This is equivalent to the medications called L-thyroxine or Levothyroxine or Synthroid or synthetic T4.

As well as the hypo symptoms of extreme tiredness, joint pain, slow brain and eye strain,  I was also struggling with monthly outbreaks of herpes, persistent candida and came to relize that my temperature was both low and erratic.

Through daily supplements (especially of goldenseal I think) the herpes outbreaks have stopped and the restricted diet has made the candida flares rare so that I suffer only minor discomfort. The oroxine brought my eyes back to normal and I stopped needing to sleep in the day. What was left was lower back pain, joint and muscle pain, misery and irritation, the oppression in my chest with breathlessness on activity, and my slow spaced out brain.

I started taking the thiroyd I got from Thailand which is natural or dessicated thyroid (similar to Armour) at 1 grain and reduced the oroxine 2 a 1/2 tablet or 50 mg. This left me so tired that I started falling into the black hole again and sleeping 2 hours after lunch. So after 4 days I went back to 100mg oroxine and 1 grain of thiroyd.

I was quite stable on this dosage while I waited for the next appointment  with Dr R and although it is difficult to state the benefit of thiroyd over oroxine, it is somewhere in the “normalcy” zone, you feel more like yourself. The oroxine alone, I felt physically cold and emotionally cold and uncomfortable all the time. Rough fabrics and labels irritated me, people irritated me, I couldn’t concentrate and I had no stamina for work.

When I added the thiroyd to the oroxine I calmed down and was nicer again, and over time I recovered gradually, although some days were worse than others and good days were few.

Increasing Thiroyd

Which is why I started to increase the thiroyd after talking to Dr R. My temperature was still erratic and very low, and I felt that this would be the main indication that I was improving. As thiroyd has T3, he approved the plan that I increase the thiroyd by half tablets and if it felt right, every 3 days. The proviso was to watch for hyper symptoms and to stop and perhaps reduce when they occurred.

Over the next month I gradually increased and decreased the dose.  I kept the oroxine in the morning and the i tablet of thiroyd and added my first half thiroyd in the afternoon. I tried to keep both doses consistent at 5.30 morning and afternoon. Since I tolerated that I went to a full tablet thiroyd in the afternoon after 4 days. When that was ok I reduced the oroxine to a half tablet and increased the thiroyd to 1 and half tablets in the morning. By the end of the month I was taking 21/2 grains thiroyd and 50 mg oroxine.

My temperature made it to 37 degreees a couple of times and started to stabilise, staying around averages of 36.2 – 36.6 degrees and rarely ever dropping below 26 anymore.

The pain however got worse some days and I felt weak and cranky.

At various times while at work I might feel that my tendons were like old rubber bands, about to fall apart. My knees wouldn’t get me up off the floor and didn’t want to lower me back there while painting a door or skirtings. A day at work would leave me with sore muscles for another two days, and the combinations of pains made me very irritable and pathetically sorry for myself. The back pain was as bad as the knees as the lower back is the core of your bending. Steps also became a problem, I came down them one at a time so as not to make my back twinge.

Even cooking was a problem, I couldn’t cut the ham easily and cutting a chicken up was a struggle, as the joints in the wrist and fingers were painfull. It was so frustrating! I got cramps in my fingers holding a painting brush over my head. If I swivelled I felt like the rusty tinman in need of some oil, with my ribs creaking and cracking and my shoulders grating. At the end of the month I felt no better physically, in fact I felt worse.

On the up side two major improvements happened. My breathing improved and is almost normal now. My temperature stabilized, not perfect but more stable and very close to where it should be. Smaller improvements on the high dose were a normal regular stool as I had before starting oroxine, fewer hot and cold feverish foreheads, the fog lifting to reveal a cool brain with logic (if still withdrawn and a little cold).

Then I got my first hyper signs, a sensation like my heart was beating in my ears. Also my ankles were swollen.  I knew I had reached a limit.

I dropped back a half tablet of thiroyd each day until I stopped getting episodes of that pulse in my ears, which I assume is a marker of high blood pressure. I was irritable at the high dose but I rationalized it as pain, not as being hyper, so perhaps I should have stopped sooner.

I thought, having watched my irritable husband who has Graves, that I would know it when it happened to me – but seeing something from the outside is never the same as experiencing it on the inside. Which is why a doctor who lives with your condition, or has someone close to him with it,  is so much more helpful than one who has no personal experience of it. Anyway now I have a marker I cannot mistake. If my ears thrum I have overdosed.

Adding Iron Supplement

As I dropped back the combined T4/T3 dose, I started to feel better, gaining energy and feeling less weak. But then I also started needing to sleep in the afternnon again and the pain returned and the stool which had normalized returned to hard rabbit droppings.

So I upped the oroxine back to 100mg which returned me to the same initial dose I started at of 100mg oroxine and 1 grain of thiroyd. The weakness I felt which appeared to originate in the lower back but flushed through to every muscle made me think about the adrenals and anemia that are mentioned on the STTM site. Without further tests it isn’t possible to check, but these symptoms speak quite clearly. I’m just not 100% sure how to treat them.

So again I set aside the adrenal issue. The last blood test had showed improvement in iron but it was still low, so I bought a month’s supplement of iron/vit C and started taking this at dinner time, (away from the breakfast thiroyd dose because iron can interfere with its absorption). This appeared to be the right thing to do as my energy increased and the episodes of shaky weakness lessened in intensity and frequency. I still think the adrenals may need help with cortef but I’m going to try the T3 first.

It took just over a week for me to stop getting episodes of thrumming ears, usually when I lay down or when I had just taken the dose in the morning. I reduced the dose again yesterday back to 1/2 oroxine and 1 grain thiroyd and may halve the thiroyd tablet tomorrow as well as I am still feeling the thrum when I take it.

Otherwise I feel great, very little pain, plenty of energy. Maybe this is nearly right … except

Ordering Cytomel (Cynomel) or T3 from Mexico

After increasing the thiroyd and reaching the hyper stage, I knew that I had improved with it’s T3 because my temperature was improved, and other indicaters. But the amount of T4 included with thiroyd was either too much OR it is being converted to reverse T3 (this seemed to be a likely explanation.) Last visit Dr R indicated that T3 alone may be the change I was looking for. So I started reading up on T3 and lowering the dose of what I was taking in preparation.

If I am creating reverse T3 then T3 will gradually disperse it. With T3 and T4 in separate doses I can try and balance the two so that I reach a normal temperature (at which time my enzymes might be able to work properly again and therefore my digestion and perhaps the candida will resolve any issues they are having.)

So, I ordered some T3 (Cynomel) from Mexico two weeks ago. But although the initial page said 3 weeks delivery, a further email said it might take 5 weeks. As I was running low on thiroyd I re ordered this as well just in case, it took about 2 weeks from Thailand last time, so I should be ok if the T3 does not arrive in time, or at all. If not I still have plenty of T4 in oroxine which will keep me at work if not in comfort.

I am patient really I am, do I have an option? I guess if my brain had worked quicker I’d have ordered both of these drugs sooner, so I only have my slow brain to blame.

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Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders

Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders

Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Disease

Whether I have Hashimotos thyroiditis or not, is not an irrelevant question. Hypothyroidism is different to Hashimoto’s disease, even though the treatment for them is generally the same. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and therefore has known risk factors people should make their families aware of. Graves disease – the over active thyroid disorder is also an autoimmune disease with different symptoms (such as the widened eyes) but similar risks. (see below)

Deutsch: Struma mit großem tastbarem Knoten pr...
Hashis Goiter
English: Photograph showing a classic finding ...
Graves Eyes

I believe I do have Hashis, as I can go back in time and remember gaining about 10k weight for no particular reason and feeling a swelling under my chin which I assumed was a double chin from the weight gain, but could easily have been a small swelling goiter.

Then I lost weight for no particular reason while experiencing nights when I could not sleep, and days when I felt anxious and irritable and my heart fluttered. My temperature fluctuated wildly, one minute I was piling on the jumpers to overcome the cold and then pulling them off again because soon I felt feverish. This I put down to the change – or the hot flushes of menopause.

Looking back, these symptoms are very similar to the described fluctuation between hyper and hypo thyroidism that is described for Hashimotos. I dismissed these signs believing I was just tired and stressed – but I was probably getting sick.

If this was so, I started to feel excess tiredness about 5 years before I went to the doctor last January. My knees became inflamed and I couldn’t easily get up from a squat or cope with a full day on my feet anymore – but I thought I was just getting older. I changed my job so I could sit down more, but I didn’t think to have tests done for illness. Probably however, even if I had, the TSH result would have been under 10 (as it was in January) and I would not have been diagnosed or treated for a thyroid disorder.

Thyroid Disease Risk

In Australia, one in every forty people have a thyroid disorder. If the Aussie TSH range 0.4 – 4.00 were lowered to the American range 0.3 – 3.00, or if people were diagnosed when they were out of range (ie over 4 not over 10) I believe that statistic would probably increase. (But then it’s easy to see the markers when you are immersed in researching the disorder!)

BERLIN - OCTOBER 31:  Former US president Geor...
George & Barbara Bush

Thyroid problems do run in families – my Grandmother (my mothers, mother) was treated for a goiter and used to wear a string of pearls to hide the scar. Oddly though, thyroid disorders in families are not confined to the genetic predilection. It is also quite common for couples, like my husband (Graves) and myself (Hashimotos),  to both have a thyroid disorder. Ex US President George Bush and his wife Barbara both had Graves disease. Apparently their dog Millie also had a thyroid disorder!

No one knows why exactly. Is it something they both eat or something toxic where they live or something to do with their work? Is it a carry on from another disease such as candida or herpes? (According to the poster in the doctors waiting room, 1 in 8 people have genital herpes in Australia)

One theory I read is that the thyroid gland is like the canary in the coal mine, first thing to keel over when there is poison in the system. Unfortunately no one has yet confirmed a “definitive” list of poisons to keep out of the system, in order to avoid thyroid disease.

Although there are plenty of known risk factors, such as high stress, lectins and possibly heavy metals. There are also conflicting theories (and matching conspiracy theories) as to their validity. Every theory affects a trade, mercury (dentists, vaccinations), gluten ( wheat farmers through to bakers and nearly every fast food industry), dairy (ditto), stress (doctors), medicines (big pharma to little pharma and including the huge vitamin and supplements industry).

If we were all balanced, slim and healthy – how would the economy survive? It is hard to not be cynical about it, especially when so many “old” theories that have been disproved are still touted as truth in government approved pamphlets and information doctrine. I don’t really want to be a conspiracy theory cynic though. Let’s just say the truth is out there…

Autoimmune Disorder Continuing Risks

Primary autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashis with no goiter), Graves and Hashimotos are autoimmune thyroid diseases. This means that our bofy’s defensive white blood cells (called lymphocytes) are attracted to something in the thyroid gland and start attacking it for some reason. Their attack causes chronic inflammation which gradually destroys the thyroid’s function.

In Graves disease the thyroid overproduces, exhausting the sufferer by running the metabolism so fast it will eventually lead to heart failure (without treatment). With Hashimotos, the thyroid at first overproduces like Graves, but then as the thyroid gland is destroyed, it starts to fail to produce enough to keep going, leaving the sufferer tired to eventual death (without treatment).

As to treatment, people are expected to manage this disease with daily medication and lead normal lives. A complete cure is not expected (without medication) but remissions do sometimes occur.

If you have an autoimmune thyroid disorder like Hashimotos or Graves, your blood relatives have a higher than normal chance of developing any one of these three autoimmune thyroid disorders. You and your relatives are also at increased risk of developing related autoimmune disorders such as:

  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

If thyroid disease is on the increase and  our immune systems are attacking us rather than saving us, what is causing this to happen and what can we do to stay healthy? The short answer is to reduce stress and eat a diet that is close to nature with no toxins. That may mean looking for organic food sources and it may mean deciding to cut certain things from the diet. It may even mean an increase of stress while you reorganise, in order to decrease stress in the future. A sea change.

The long answer is a lifetime of research into guessing what is really good for us!

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Oroxine Plus 1 Grain Thiroid

Oroxine Plus 1 Grain Thiroid

Before I went to see Dr R with the Thiroid (dessicated thyroid from Thailand) the last week was difficult and painful for me and I felt lousy. We were working at some distance from our home and staying at my mothers home, sleeping on mats on the floor. It was the end of Spring and starting to get very hot and the oroxine I was taking was failing to keep me on an even keel.

My eyes were starting to “cringe” again, my hands and fingers had cramps, I had muscle tension and all over aches – so I increased my oroxine to 150mg (or one and a half tablets).  The constipation returned but after two days I did feel a bit better – my hands hurt less, the joints were easier, and I had less back pain. I was still tired though and within a week it was back to square one – I hurt all over again, woke up with headaches and I was as miserable as sin.

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...
Bad Migraine Headaches

Due to near 30 years of monthly migraines, I have a fairly high pain tolerance and rarely take pain killers unless I really can’t function without them.

I would rather relax or lie down, eat or drink if that what’s needed – than soldier on with a couple of codeine tablets. I’ve already done too much of that. I think we all do. Luckily my husband is a firm believer in an early start and finishing by 2pm, so while I am working with him I can relax if I need to. Still I was sleeping 10-12 hours a day rather than the recommended 8.

Dr R suggested I cut the oroxine back to half a tablet (50mg) and take a full tablet of the thiroid daily but that I might need to split the dose (cut a thiroid pill in half) and take half of it in the morning and the other half at night.

So this is how I started taking the thiroid pills and adding it to the oroxine.

I lasted only three days on this plan. I was so tired, chronically tired, and I hurt all over! I went to sleep for 3 hours in the arvo, went to bed at 8.00pm and when working I would also sleep both ways in the car. I was so stiff and sore I sometimes took aspirin just so I could still get up and down when I needed to at work. I couldn’t do it – be on this dose and still work, it was too hard.

So I upped the oroxine back to 100mg. Almost immediately my mood lifted, my pain receded and I could go all afternoon without a nap and stay up until 10.00pm. Not cured but heaps better!

I saw Dr R on the 4th of November – today it is the 5th of December. Time to go see him again. Many things are better after the adjustments made this month, but I think there is still room for improvement.

What I learned about Thyroid meds this month.

The thiroid and oroxine work better if chewed or allowed to dissolve in the mouth, rather than tossed straight down the throat with a glass of water. Thiroid won’t dissolve until the outer coating is broken first.

I was taking the tablets in the middle of the night, as they are not meant to be taken after eating (3 hours after) and need a half hour after taking them before eating. I generally eat every 3 hours (and have often done so even through the night, as I wake to go to the bathroom and am often hungry enough to eat a biscuit or have half a glass of milk). The best time I could find was to swap the biscuit for the tablets and go back to bed at around 3am.

I tried splitting the thiroid dose (to allow for fast use of T3) and discovered I develop a heavy headache when I am approaching the low med time. At first I tried taking the first dose of thiroid before breakfast when I woke and the second dose of thiroyd around 3pm.  I found that around that time in the afternoon I became a bit irritable, sometimes weepy or introspective or lost in a dream or I got a slight headache. I couldn’t always remember if I’d taken the half tablet or not, other than checking the halves which I did often. Taking the half tablet in the afternoon didn’t really make me feel better, although it always relieved any slight headache I might have developed.

I did experiment a bit more with different times, sometimes I forgot altogether to take it and generally felt tired, miserable and with variable symptoms.The chest pressure and breathlessness would worsen some days, the lower back pain would worsen, the small joints in fingers and wrists and ankles would hurt, the ligaments at the side of my hips would feel “loosened”, the old inflammation on the inside of my knees returned.

After about two weeks I just started taking both tablets in full, at the same time, around 3am.

I felt better then, more stable. I was still prone to fugue states and a bit over emotional in the afternoon and evening, but now I feel progressively better each day after taking the tablets this way.Even the breathlessness is better.

At the moment I rarely have an afternoon sleep unless I’m being lazy and lying down in front of the TV. I can also quite easily stay up to 10.00pm as long as I have had a full quota of night sleep.  Progress!

This last week I have not been waking as often in the night (over the last few months I might wake 2-4 times) – I wake for a loo visit just once and sometimes not that. I now wake at 5 – 5.30 am (often with a slight headache and a raging thirst).

So now I take the 2 thyroid tablets at 5 – 5.30 am and go back to bed for half an hour. This appears to be enough time for the thiroid to start working and then I wake fully and get up. Then I take 2 drops Lugol’s solution, 5 drops selenium and 5 mls colloidal minerals in water and I have also started to take 100mg Vitamin B6 at this time too. Then I get ready for the day with some breakfast.

At lunch I take a B vitamin mix (or a multi vitamin), cod liver oil, glucosamine and chondroitin. If needed I might take golden seal, milk thistle, licorice root, rarely maybe other supplements – but not every day.  At the evening meal I take zinc and magnesium. So far this is working fine, even if some days I forget the lunch vitamins. For breakfast and dinner I make sure to take them.

Repairing Adrenals

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.
Adrenal Glands Are Near the Kidneys

I know the theories about adrenal fatigue are something only some doctors accept, but so much of what I’ve read at Dr Rind’s site appears to apply. Like the breakup of symptoms he does into classic hypothyroid – mixed – and adrenal. Other articles about the adrenal glands have  mentioned hyper pigmentation.

Either way the only addition I have made as to treating adrenal fatigue, was initially the ginseng mix (which I have now stopped taking as it caused nausea) and licorice root which I take if its on hand when I get stressed by something. I don’t really know if it helps or not! I am reluctant to add more hormones like DHEA or prednisone to the mix and Dr R has NOT said I need anything like this.

Metabolic Temperature Chart

I have continued to read and chart my temperature with a cheap digital thermometer. I know it should be a better quality one for reliability but it can’t be that wrong, can it? At least for this purpose?

Below is a small sample of my temperature chart .  36.7 C is considered an average temperature and therefore it is the primary goal, but a second goal is to stabilize my temperature so there is rarely more than 0.2 of a degree difference between average readings.The chart (from Dr Rinds website) only goes down to 35 degrees but in the first weeks of taking oroxine my lowest temperature reading was a mere 34.1 degrees. My temperature is averaging in the low 36s at the moment

The numbers represent how many temperatures were taken to get the average. You are meant to take 3 temperature readings, each one 3 hours apart and then chart the average. If you forget and only take your temp once or twice, you indicate this with a 1 or 2. Or you write a 3 for the correct average of 3 readings. Read more about the metabolic temperature graph and how to do it at Dr Rinds Website .

37.0 98.6
36.9 98.5
36.9 98.4
36.8 98.3
36.8 98.2
36.7 98.1
36.7 98.0
36.6 97.9
36.6 97.8
36.5 97.7
36.4 97.6
36.4 97.5
36.3 97.4
36.3 97.3 1
36.2 97.2
36.2 97.1 3
36.1 97.0
36.1 96.9
36.0 96.8
35.9 96.7
35.9 96.6 3
35.8 96.5
35.8 96.4 1
35.7 96.3
35.7 96.2 3 2
35.6 96.1
35.6 96.0 3 3
35.5 95.9
35.4 95.8
35.4 95.7
35.3 95.6
35.3 95.5
35.2 95.4
35.2 95.3
35.1 95.2
35.1 95.1
35.0 95.0 1
 Cent  Far  Mon  Tues  Wed  Thur  Fri  Sat  Sun  Mon  Tues
DATE 10/17 10/18 10/19 10/20 10/21 10/22 10/23 10/24 10/25

My temperature actually made it to 37 degrees (for the first time since I started taking my temp) 3 times in November after adding the thiroyd. All on very hot days (over 35 degrees). I don’t know if an external temperature should affect a person’s internal temperature, but maybe it affects a cheap digital thermometer!

Its good to chart in the normal zone even if on an abnormal day. The first two days in a row it happened were the first two days I took the thiroyd, the third was the day I went back to 100mg oroxine and the fourth was the day I started taking the two tablets in full together. That wouldn’t seem coincidental to me, except for those very hot days when it happened. Variables, I hate them!

Stress, Sensitivity To Stimuli and Pigmentation

I am still quite fragile, and not tolerating raised voices, confrontations or long periods of time spent in loud or bright places. In other words I’m not up for a good argument yet, I back away from them. If I do participate, I start to feel dizzy and my back “creeps” like it does at heights – ie a danger warning. I get weak in the knees and my heart races.

The large 4 inch square patch of red and brown pigmentation on the side of my neck has mostly gone. It’s was there for about 3 years I think and definitely when I first saw Dr R. I only noticed last week it was gone, as I got a bit sunburned and it’s usually more noticeable then. Excess or strange pigmentation is meant to be a symptom related to adrenals.So I’m healing…

Zinc 12.3 umol/L 9 – 19
Serum Copper 18 umol/L 12 – 22

I think it’s disappearance may be because of the zinc I am taking. Dr R mentioned the copper-zinc ratio when he prescribed it because my test results, although “in range”, showed a lower zinc than copper result.  I discovered this extensive article about the zinc and copper ratio a few days ago. It is especially well worth reading if you are vegetarian or have limited foods you are able to eat.

There are numerous other factors contributing to this imbalance, but most devastatingly zinc is lost from our bodies every day when we are under stress. The more stress, the higher the losses, and yet zinc is needed in large amounts by our stress-resisting adrenal glands.When we are zinc-deficient our innate coping resources can start to unravel, and the grind of everyday stress can seem overwhelming…

… Pioneer mineral researcher Paul Eck, found that supplementation must be applied to correct critical mineral ratios, such as the ratio of copper to zinc in the tissues of 1:8

Read the article by Laurie Warner, MA, CNC re copper-zinc imbalance

 Learning More About Hashimotos

The last research project for this month was to learn more about Hashimotos which is one of the most common forms of thyroid disorder and Dr R said it is most likely the “type” I have. I could go have tests for antibodies but after reading more about it, my symptoms fit.

First I read the page on Hashimotos at STTM . As always it is full of good advice, original and obviously gleaned from patient experience. Compared to the dry lists of symptoms on most medical websites where Hashimotos looks much the same as hypothyroidism in general, this article gives perspective to it as an auto immune disease.

It mentions selenium as a supplement that helps to reduce antibodies in Hashimotos .

It talks about not eating gluten as…

 Gluten can also trigger the very autoimmune reactions that cause you to have Hashi’s, since supposedly, the cells of your thyroid are similar to the cells of gluten, i.e. an attack on one is going to make you ripe for the attack on the other.

It explains the Hashimoto swing between hyper and hypo symptoms and what they mean. They recommend that you NOT WAIT very long to treat it, as waiting could take months or even years, and they describe this process as watching a dog chew your leg of! Read it yourself! Hashimotos.

Lower doses of desiccated thyroid and other thyroid meds, as well as staying with each raise too long, will FEED the attack, not stop it… The solution is to RAISE THE DESICCATED THYROID faster and according to the elimination of symptoms and NOT labs. Most seem to end up in the 3-5 grains area to stop that attack, with a few lower and a few higher…

 Low Ferritin (Iron)

While I was there reading up on Hashimotos,  I also noticed an article on Ferritin and Hypothyroidism so I had a good look through that as well as my initial blood test indicated I was a bit low. This article suggests that supplementation might be needed and also mentions a low body temperature. So maybe I should revisit this issue with Dr R, which we shelved last time we spoke of it.

Why do we often have low Ferritin and/or low iron? Because being hypothyroid can result in a lowered production of hydrochloric acid which in turn leads to the malabsorption of iron, whether revealed with low ferritin, or with inadequate levels of serum or saturation. It can also lower your body temperature (common for those on T4-only thyroxine, as well) which causes you to make less red blood cells.

What level of health is “Good Enough”?

Although I am almost good, as I said to Dr R, where do I say ok, that’s good enough – I’m ALL good, I’m happy and stable. What loss of function, pain or discomfort do I just accept?

Well the thyroid symptoms are still only part of the equation. The candidiasis is another issue. While this imbalance is still there, I am NOT well. My theory – a patients theory of course – is that if I treat the hypothyroidism (diet and thiroyd and oroxine and supplements) in time my temperature will return to normal. I’m hoping that when that happens, my natural immune system will help the candida morph back to its normal non-harmful placid form. But maybe that’s just patient wishful thinking…

OK I think it’s time to step up the thiroid one more grain. So far I have no hyper symptoms, other than heat intolerance which I have had since becoming menopausal. (Dr Rind suggests that heat intolerance WITH cold intolerance is adrenal.)

Of course I should probably also consider all the female hormones of the change coming into play. Or maybe the changing temp could be Hashis – it being a mix of hyper and hypo.

It’s all just too much for my poor hypo brain. Back to the Doc…

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Deciding To Take Natural Thyroid

The last time I wrote, I had just discovered that Dr R was retiring. Honestly, my brain just went into hibernation for a few weeks trying to deal with this. I had done so much reading about how doctors adjust medication only until the blood tests put you back in range and then stop, that I could only see a bleak future ahead. Before this setback – I believed in time that Dr R and I would gradually find the right dose of thyroid replacement and I would gradually return to close to normal when the dose and type of medication and my body’s adjustment to it was right. This small setback became a huge roadblock for some reason.

Deciding To Take Natural Thyroid

So I felt very sorry for myself for a while. If I was not sick, I think I would have bounced back quicker. Even so, eventually my optimism hacked its way through the fog and apathy of hypo misery and a solution came to me while reading my email. I thought – What the hell, that’s what the internet is for!

If half my (spam) emails are about getting prescription medication without a prescription then it can’t be that hard to do. Can it?

So I googled “dessicated thyroid no script” and took it from there. The Stop the Thyroid Madness page on the ingredients of thyroid medications was very helpful and I also checked a few forums to get any personal experiences of the various different types of natural thyroid – like whether a script is required, how much to take and how to swap or add to the thyroid relacement (oroxine) I am already taking.

One a day
Image by trekkyandy via Flickr

I checked out a few websites and decided to order the smallest amount of natural thyroid called THIROYD (manufactured by  Greater Pharma, a leading Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Thailand.)

I paid the paypal invoice I was sent, checking everything carefully, and waited, patiently (not!). I  figured if it was no good, it was a well spent investment to find out, and there are other manufacturers. And if it was good, (as most of what I was reading indicated) – bonus! Back on track.

Hoping that Dr R would advise me, I made an appointment to see him two weeks ahead, hoping the “thiroyd”  would arrive in time.

Cover of "Stop the Thyroid Madness: A Pat...
Cover via Amazon

Conveniently it arrived on the same day as the appointment. A brown padded post bag containing a small sealed foil bag with tiny hard pale-brown tablets inside. On the foil, a sticker with a written description that said Thiroid 60mg, 120 tablets and the expiry date.

The T3/T4 ratio below is what I read on a page at STTM (Stop the Thyroid Madness) comparing ingredients of thyroid medications from different brands and different countries. Janie’s website helped me a lot in “translating” pieces of information I’d read in articles, into an actual knowledgebase. I can’t recommend STTM enough – for patients (or doctors) seeking clarification on everything to do with thyroid disorders, but specifically treatment of hypo thyroidism.

Greater Pharma states that “thiroyd” at one grain contains T3 at 8.31 microgram; T4 at 35 microgram, which is 0.013% and 0.058% respectively.

The thiroid tablets have a hard coating which I presume protects the interior. The tablets hold together well when cut in half. They taste sweet and have a quite distinctive flavour. I can’t think of a comparison, but it’s not unpleasant. Chewing the tablets is preferable (for absorbtion) to swallowing them whole. If you are looking for sublinguel absorbtion, you need to break the outer coating first or it takes forever to dissolve.

Information I’ve gleaned from forums and websites

How much thyroid is enough and how much is too much?

If a new dose of Armour contains too little T4 and T3 to benefit you, you’ll have to go through another evaluation period. And you’ll have to do this again and again until you find what I call your “therapeutic window”—a small dosage range that optimally benefits you without over stimulating you. That optimal dosage range is highly individual, but historically, the typical patient’s therapeutic window has been somewhere between 120 to 240 mg (2 to 4 grains). There’s no way to accurately predict what your therapeutic window is.

What ratio of T4 to T3 in thyroid replacement

Armour and Thyrolar both contain 38 mcg of T4 and 9 mcg of T3. This is 4 parts T4 to 1 part T3 (the exact ratio is 4.22 to 1). 15 milligrams = 1/4 grain, that is 9mcg of T4 and 2.2 mcg T3.

That is what his ratio means. Like I said…I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to make sense. 98%/t4 + 2%/ t3. If you were going to add Armour he says….because Armour has both…( 80/20 ratio)…one might take 1/4 grain with a 100 mcg of Synthetic t4. He argues too much t3 can eventually flood the system later…even if it feels okay initially. He further explains Armour contains a 80/20 ratio for pigs and that’s why and its not good for people in the long term….although he does agree that some folks get on Armour initially and their body takes a liking to it…and no other meds are needed.

Some endocrinologists now advocate a ratio 10 parts T4 to 1 part T3.

Some endocrinologists now advocate the use of products containing both T4 and T3, but they recommend a higher T4 to T3 ratio. They prefer a ratio 10 parts T4 to 1 part T3. The lower T3 content of such products renders them far less effective than Armour and Thyrolar. In our clinical experience, the treatment outcome is inferior for patients who use products with the lower T3 content.

The inferior treatment outcome is supported by two recent studies conducted by endocrinologists.[1][2] The studies showed that patients who added only a small amount of T3 to their T4 continued to suffer from symptoms, just as did patients who used T4 alone. The ratios of T4 to T3 the patients used varied, but most used a higher T4 to T3 ration than in Armour and Thyrolar. Of course, the endocrinologists restricted the patients’ dosages according to their TSH and thyroid hormone levels, and this almost guaranteed that the patients took too little thyroid hormone and continued to suffer from hypothyroid symptoms.

What changes to look for when T3 is added

T3 helps with more than just moods. Benefits that I have heard from people who added T3 include more energy, better moods, better skin, no more hair loss, easier to lose weight, reduced swelling, less joint pain, and many other hypo symptoms that T4 alone didn’t take care of for them. The effects are more than just mental and emotional, they are physical, as well.

T3 doesn’t cross over from the blood to the brain very well, but T4 does, so the reason T3 helps with moods isn’t clear that I am aware of. My theory is that T3 is helpful in restoring levels of neurotransmitters, including serotonin (the main one that most antidepressants affect) to better levels, as well as improving nerve health.

Since T3 doesn’t cross over to the brain as well as T4, you can see that T4 is going to be vital for proper brain function, so it is important to keep both hormones optimized.

On adjusting your own thyroid meds dosage

I’ve done my own share of dosage adjustments based on how I feel but you should be very careful when doing this. And don’t just change things because of how you feel on a particular day. Look for trends, look for other signals. If you’re getting too much your pulse will be higher than usual. If you’re not getting enough you’ll have chronic fatigue and eventually will have some hair loss. I use a black bath towel to help me know my status. If there’s only one or two hairs on the towel after showering I’m fine. If I don’t see any hair for a week I’m hyper, if there are a few dozen hairs I’m hypo. But I won’t change my dose without another sign to confirm–rapid pulse, slow pulse, fatigue, etc.

How long to wait before increasing thyroid replacement

You said that your endocrinologist scheduled you for a reevaluation ten weeks after you started using Armour. Two to four weeks is usually enough time to evaluate the benefits, if any, from a particular dose of Armour. I see no reason to wait ten weeks for a reevaluation.

The faster uptake of T3 to the body’s slower conversion of T4

On the other hand, I hope you don’t allow yourself to sink into depression because you haven’t gotten any better after two weeks on 90 mg of Armour. Impatience is understandable since you’ve suffered from hypothyroid symptoms for years. But a little more patience is necessary to find your optimal dose. Armour contains both T4 and T3. The benefits you’ll eventually get from the product will be a combined effect of the T4 and T3. If you increase your dose of Armour, and the increased dose contains enough T3 to benefit you, you’re likely to see the benefit within a few days to a week. But you may not benefit from the T4 for one to four weeks. To see how you benefit from both the T3 and T4 in the Armour, you must wait out the lag time of up to four weeks. Hopefully you’ll wait patiently; otherwise, you’re likely compound the frustration you must already feel.

Doctors may need to update knowledge of thyroid treatments

To get well, some patients must use Armour doses that are high enough to produce TSH and thyroid hormone levels that upset endocrinologists. But the lab values are meaningless in themselves, as long as a patient isn’t over stimulated and has gotten well from her hypothyroid symptoms. What’s truly harmful is for a doctor to keep a hypothyroid patient’s dose too low strictly for the sake of predetermined lab values.

But – Everyone is different!

Dr Lowe describes the treatment and dosage as a bell curve – for some patients need very little and others need a lot, and the tests don’t reflect their responsiveness to the treatment properly. Some patients need T4 some need T3 and some need both.

You – the patient – need to be as self aware as it is possible to be, so you can direct the doctor with your symptoms, to help him choose the right combination and dosage of thyroid replacement. On the other hand don’t expect the doc to read multiple pages of text – edit the info down to one page that you can refer to during your appointment, to remind you of what to say.

When I started on 75 mcgs of Synthroid, my brain fog cleared within 2 weeks, and my mood and energy perked up a lot. Problem was, I was hyper on that dose within a month, and cutting the dose to 50 didn’t help one iota. That is the smallest possible therapeutic dose, so I had to stop taking it. The endo deemed me “hypersensitive” to it and told me to wait until I got sicker and could tolerate it. Not an option. That’s when, one month later, I saw my current doc who prescribed the lowest dose of Armour, 30 mgs. I never became hyper after that, and I now take 120 mgs.

What The Doctor Said…

Many of these snippets came to mind as I discussed all this with Dr R. He checked the thiroid medication and didn’t insult me by saying “you can’t trust stuff you buy on the internet”, which I thought was awesome. It goes without saying – so why say it?

He noted that the tablets were 60mg (1 grain) and I had ordered a 3 month supply (if taking one a day). I told him that I had increased the oroxine to 150mg (two weeks before) as I was in pain and tired. But that the increase of oroxine had not made any difference as yet. I told him about the ginseng and that I’d stopped taking it and he ran through what supplements I was still taking.

He said that T3 is absorbed and used quite quickly so that I might need to split the dose (cut a thiroid pill in half) and take half of it morning and half at night. He suggested as a starting dose, I cut the oroxine back to half a tablet (50mg) and take a full tablet of the thiroid daily – to start. He reminded me to watch for hyper symptoms and said to adjust the dose and try different times to take it if I thought it might help (ie split dosing).

He also looked at the chart I’d been keeping of my temperature. I was following the guidelines from Dr Rinds website. My temperature appears to fluctuate by 2 degrees when it isn’t meant to fluctuate by moore than .2 of a degree. My temp is also quite low and on the graph I showed him, it never made it to 37 degrees in two months.

So now I have a new regime to follow in the hope of reducing my hypothyroid related joint and back pain and curing the breathlessness and tiredness I was still coping with.


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Blood Test 2 – Back in Range

Blood Test 2 – Back in Range

After about 5 weeks I had my blood tested to see the effect of the Oroxine on my thyroid. As you can see under 24.08.2011 I am back in range – in fact I’m at the other end of the spectrum. I’m cured!

Blood Test Date * 24.01.2011
* 16.07.2011 * 24.08.2011 Targets
TSH * 7.55 * 45.3 * 0.39 mU/L 0.40 – 4.00
Free T4 13.9 * 7.6 * 19.3 pmol/L 9.0 – 19.0
Free T3 * 2.1 5.2 pmol/L 2.6 – 6.00

I felt very much improved too, though I wouldn’t have said “cured”. The symptoms I was most concerned about – my eyes and the exhaustion were very much better. Other symptoms like the “breathlessness” and backache had better days and worse days.

I knew that the above result for TSH was borderline of hyperthyroid and that this would mean no change in medication. I told myself to be patient, I re read the forums and websites for different ways to interpret these results for FT3 and FT4.

Normally, the amount of T3 is the same (in a relative sense) as T4. A healthy person has mid-range values of T4 and T3 (according to the scale the particular lab is using). A T3 that is relatively lower than the T4 is a sign that the body is holding back on making T3 from T4 and usually occurs when the body is putting the brakes on energy production such as occurs in weak adrenals because the adrenals are unable to handle all the metabolic energy coming at them. The opposite occurs when the body either needs more energy (e.g., fever) or is able to utilize more energy (e.g., adrenals became healthier).

From a PDF available on Dr Rind‘s website

Weak adrenals huh? Don’t I have enough to cope with already? My list of supplements grew but I baulked at adding desiccated adrenal (glandular), DHEA, Pregnenolone, 7-Keto DHEA and Cortisol and just added Licorice which apparently helps maintain higher cortisol levels by interfering with the destruction of existing cortisol.

Unfortunately feeling better didn’t totally last. It was just a transient “I feel good”, two steps forward and one step back, sort of cure. O.K – we can deal with this I thought, I can be patient, really I can (not)… So what’s next while I’m waiting?

 Supplements Herpes *  Supplements Candida *  Supplements Thyroid
 Vitamin C  Oil of Oregano  B Vitamins  Multi vit esp
 Bioflavenoids  Boric Acid  Selenium  Vit A & D
 Zinc  Zinc  Zinc  Folate
 Probiotics  Lactbacillus  Prebiotics  Ferritin (no)
 L-Lysine  Lactoferrin  L-Carnitine  B1,2,6,12
 Goldenseal  Goldenseal  Omega 3  Biotin
 Panax/Korean Ginseng  Ashuaganda  Iodine  Vit C
 Olive Leaf  Milk Thistle  Magnesium
 Spirulina  Dandylion  Tyrosine
 Biotin  Licorice

This is what I ended up with on the list and took to Dr R on this visit. He helped me decide from this staggering range of choices the better vitamin supplements and most likely herbal cures without the cost running too high or overloading me with cures. It’s gets too hard to fit the pills in with the meals!

glucosomine & chondroiten
vit C 500
cod liver oil
Photograph of Cod Liver Oil capsules.
Image via Wikipedia

Like most people, I was already taking some supplements on a daily basis (when I remember)

Nothing major, just vitamin C if my gums bled when I cleaned my teeth, cod liver oil (grandma’s remedy from when we were children to ward off colds and oil the bones),  a multi vitamin mix, and glucosomine & chondroiten for arthritic knees.

These were the results from my blood tests for iron, zinc etc. Dr R also wanted me to have a heavy metal test as thyroid disorders may be due to mercury, chlorine, fluoride, lead etc but I can’t afford it at the moment. He said even though my zinc is in range it needs to be higher (about the same as copper) and I think he gave me  magnesium as my calcium is in the high range, but don’t quote me.

 24.01.2011  16.07.2011
Ferritin * 7 * 23 ug/L 30 – 300
Iron 14.7 umol/L 5.0 – 30.0
transferrin 3.1 g/L 2.0 – 3.2
TIBC ( Calc) 68 umol/L 46 – 70
Saturation 22 % 10 – 45
Zinc 12.3 umol/L 9 – 19
Serum Copper 18 umol/L 12 – 22
Vitamin B12 493 pmol/L 145 – 637
Red Cell Folate * 2113 nmol/L 776 – 1784
homocysteine 10.2 umol/L 5.0 – 12.0


Normal Supplements
vitamin B mix (or multi vitamins)
extra B6 pyridoxine 100mg – 250mg
Ashuaganda or Ginseng Mix
Compounding Chemist
selenium 5 drops
zinc picolinate 100mg/cap elemental zinc
magnesium glycinate 500mg 15% (PCCA)
Lugals Solution 2-8 drops

He gave me a script for the compounding chemist for zinc, magnesium and selenium and I continued taking Lugals solution which I started on 8 drops but decreased over the next few weeks to 2-4 drops. He said to not take iron (ferritin) as it interferes with the absorption of the oroxine.

Ginseng Energy Mix

I had dificulty finding ashuaganda or India Ginseng but finally found it (called Withania) in a Ginseng Mix  . The energy mix included siberian ginseng, schizandra and korean as well as tyrosine.This mix did wonders for me and I felt more alert and less fragile (startling at any loud noise) after taking it.

I took the ginseng mix every day for about 3 weeks but then I started to get nausea about an hour after I’d taken the supplements. I finally narrowed that down to the ginseng after I researched and found that ginseng does cause nausea in “overdose”. It’s kind of like the ginseng tells you when you’ve taken enough. So I stopped taking it, but I truly think it helped quite a lot as a “tonic”. It’s actually kind of nice to use a supplement that you don’t have to take forever!

A bottle of Redoxon Double Action (Vitamin C &...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t notice any change with the B vitamins or selenium whether I take them or forget, but I keep taking them. I sleep better when I take the zinc and wake more frequently if I forget it or else I find it hard to get to sleep. I think there is a cut off date with zinc too, I must remember to ask.

The magnesium helped reduce the cramps I’d started to get in my fingers and my heart stays quiet as well. I should probably take more, as I only take one a day,  but it is expensive. The zinc and magnesium both need to be taken with food or they burn a hole in the center of the chest.

I looked for licorice but only found a licorice tea (mixed with anise) which is really nice (I like licorice) and is the only sweet thing in my life at the moment since I’m sugar free. I have ordered licorice root from the internet but only just received it. I don’t know what to do with it ! I think maybe I’ll should put it in capsules and swallow them, I tried to make tea but it tasted awful.

Coping With the Candida Diet

As to Candida treatments I’ll go into that on it’s own page. So far although the candida is “quieter” it’s still hanging around. It’s coming on Summer here, then it will be a year since it started.

Apart from the addition of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil to my diet, my diet is very limited  – to meat, fish and red and green vegetables at this stage. I can have fruit again in a few weeks, but not yet because of its sugar content. I am learning about flours and what grain flour is versus flours made with nuts or seeds.

I have got used to oat milk on my porridge. I like almond milk but it’s twice the price. I can’t have soy milk as it interferes with the absorption of oroxine  and rice milk is just plain awful. Coconut milk and cream is delicious for a change.

I also ordered powdered stevia (a sweet herb) with the powdered licorice root, so I can sweeten food without using sugar. I’m trying to make sense of how to bake something worth eating when you have to substitute more than half it’s ingredients! The library has some great recipe books thank goodness. I’d just like to know why every recipe has to have 2o ingredients!

I have had few true successes so far but I’ll let you know when I do. Meanwhile I’m rediscovering the joys of spinach. No wonder Popeye’s face looked so scrunched up.

oh that’s right I meant to tell you before…

5 steps forward 4 steps back…

Dr R said he wanted to see me in 6 weeks so in October, a month after this, I called to make an appointment. He then apologised and said he had decided not to renew his GP registration as of October 1. He said he would still do some consulting with patients but… he would no longer be able to write scripts or order tests. But he said he’d be happy to work with another doctor if I liked.

I was so upset and I felt  totally lost for almost a month. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. How do I find a doctor here that I can talk to who will understand any of this? Besides I like and respect Dr R and don’t want a new doc.Also unless they test again and my TSH has gone down, there’ll be no change in medication.



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Hypothyroidism – Proving Thyroxine

Hypothyroidism  – Proving Thyroxine

If hypothyroidism was your diagnosis then you’ll know that the first line of treatment is probably going to be a brand of thyroxine sodium or T4 . For us in Australia that is Oroxine – if you need help “translating” to similar treatments in different countries see Equivalent Thyroid Hormone Brand For Australia.

So when the high TSH hypothyroid diagnosis came through soon after the blood test Dr R called me in immediately and prescribed 100mg Oroxine daily. I was also to take 8 drops of Lugal solution (iodine) in water each day for the time being. This was a quick visit to get me started on the hypothyroidism treatment and then I saw Dr R again a week later when the rest of the blood test results arrived.

A Homeopathic Aside To Explain “Proving”

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I should say here that earlier in my life while looking for a cure for my migraines, I spent quite a bit of time studying homoeopathy. My kids were small then, and I had much success with teething (chamomilla) and fever (belladonna) remedies. I magically removed warts from 4 different boys with Thuja and had other small miracles occur at different times.

So even though homoeopathic remedies had no effect whatsoever on my migraines, or herpes, I still learned a great deal about remedies in general and strongly believe in homoeopathy as a stimulus to the body to heal itself.

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived...
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The history of a homoeopathic remedy is compiled by individuals who relate their symptoms after overdosing on the substance. This is called “proving”. The proving  or overdose symptoms are collected and compiled in the Materia Medica and homoeopathic practitioners use this to find the right remedy to heal.

For example coffee in overdose keeps people awake and “wired”. Someone who is having difficulty sleeping and is wired and tired may well be given homeopathic coffea as a treatment. Rhus Tox is a homoeopathic remedy derived from poison ivy. It is used to treat red raised itchy skin outbreaks, among other things.

Homoeopathic remedies take the substance and progressively dilute it to get their remedies. Generally speaking if we take medication and it doesn’t work sufficiently well, we increase the dose. The overdose provides the proving – the homoeopathic remedy goes in the opposite direction by “coding” the remedy, and it’s highest potencies are the most dilute.

I Appeared to Gain Hypothyroid Symptoms on Oroxine

See Symptoms of Hypothyroidism  for a full list of thyroid disorder symptoms

This is from the Oroxine® Consumer medicine Information

Symptoms of  hypothyroidism include tiredness, muscle weakness and cramps, feeling the cold, a slow heart rate, dry and flaky skin, hair loss, a deep husky voice and weight gain.

These are the symptoms I presented to Dr R on the first consultation before the hypothyroid diagnosis

  1. Candida vaginal also itching / soreness external groin skin, no rash or discharge
  2. Severe eye strain, sore eyes, (they cringe)
  3. Strongly breathless walking up steep hill and after mild exertion
  4. Poor memory, struggling to concentrate or focus on tasks
  5. Muscle weakness, joint and muscle pain, stiffness, especially knee and finger joints
  6. Severe pain lower back middle to (my) right side, occasional pain in big toe right
  7. Often feel fever (?) or strange temperature changes
  8. Severe tiredness and fatigue symptoms occur half way through the day, NOT just at its end, or after moderate physical exertion, and sick headaches when over tired

Only two things here really overlap – tiredness and muscle weakness.

My situation is also slightly complicated by the candidiasis symptoms, which probably accounts for no 4 – struggling to concentrate and poor memory – as well as no 1.

The main debilitating symptoms were the eye strain and extreme tiredness. I was finding it hard to focus my eyes and they seemed to be permanently squinting or “cringing” in an attempt to deal with bright light and attempts to focus. My eyes looked sunken and the bags under my eyes were in triplicate. Not an attractive look – trust me!  I looked in the mirror, tried to focus, and told myself to go to bed. But sleep made little difference. For perhaps an hour in the mornings after waking I was good and then I started to slide into the black hole again. I fell asleep after lunch whether I wanted to or not.

The Positive Results of Taking Oroxine

I don’t remember now exactly how long it took, but in only a few weeks, my eyes returned to normal (ie still needing no3 magnifying glasses to read) but not sore and not constantly tired and no longer cringing or squinting in attempts to focus at a normal distance. The tiredness receded to a normal level as well. I might still have a nap after lunch, but if there was a better offer on the table I had no problem forgoing my nap for it and still feeling ok until bedtime. 8 hours sleep at night was enough to feel normal all day. It was bliss!

Additional Symptoms From Taking Oroxine

The Oroxine pamphlet says the usual starting dose is 25 to 50 micrograms daily. Dr R started me on 100mg so perhaps this is why I “proved” it. I’m not complaining by the way just explaining, it was good to get “kick started” quickly. As people who have been taking thyroid meds for a while will know, the dosage of them is the hardest thing to get stable, as the thyroid system adjusts to the treatment.

These are my notes from the first two weeks of treatment…

Motivation shrank even further towards “too lethargic – cant be bothered to move “ so I’ve done very little real work on the computer, apart from researching this.  I have done work that I pre arranged to get done. Have felt more sleepy and hibernated, sleeping several hours more than before.

Whereas before I felt the cold outside in a normal way, now I feel cold “inside” my skin, and I’m constantly just a bit cold inside even when bundled up and warm in bed. Cold drinks and food are now unpleasantly cold and when I touch things, some feel hard or sharp like cold metal on my skin.

Week 1: Initially sticky stool, constipated and holding fluid. When I urinate sensation is acute and urgent. Increased thirst, cold drinks are unpleasant.  Week 2: Taking Coconut oil eat 2 tablespoons a day fixed constipation.

Week 1: My (external) eyes got puffy (rather than sunken).Week 2: Eyes (internal) are still feeling a bit blurry and strained but don’t feel as bad as before. (external ) Puffiness has gone down and under the eye the sunken look has improved to almost normal. (The eye bags are genetic as a family we all have them.)

I have felt mild cramping (new) in muscles when working that needs rubbing to relieve it. Only first few days when working physically. Also  I feel very tense as if my muscles are poised for flight and I have to consciously loosen up to stop the tenseness.

Week 1: After lugals feel both better and worse, Maybe I feel a bit brighter for half an hour or so, then perhaps a bit nauseous and I’m aware of my heart beating, my temperature rises and then after an hour or so returns to normal. Overall just feel a bit off through the day especially around food times after I’ve eaten or if I’m hungry. Week 2: Had an outbreak of herpes,so feeling sciatica and lymph pain.

6 weeks is normal to let thyroxine “settle” and normalise

There is a reason doctors ask to see you and retest you in periods of around 6 weeks. It is because the body needs to adjust to the medication and decide if it is enough or if it needs more or less. The symptoms you have after this period indicate what dosage change – if any – may be needed.

I found that the symptoms above that I call proving, mostly settled and disappeared around week four or five and I felt pretty good. Then the week after I started to get sore eyes and feel tired again. The cramping, especially in my hands and the joint pain in my fingers and wrists increased. This never settled, it increased. The constipation or different bowel reaction to oroxine also stayed. It was not major but it was uncomfortable, and I had not had this before taking the oroxine.

The back pain and the sensations of breathlessness were unchanged by oroxine. In the forums I had found threads that confirmed that both these are hypothyroid symptoms and that the correct dose and combination of thyroid meds had resolved them for the patients who were writing these posts. In these cases natural thyroid or dessicated thyroid was the treatment they had used. I figured that was going to be the next step for me as well, but for now I was ok with whatever Dr R thought was appropriate.

I really didn’t expect what happened next – it threw me into a loop for just over a month…