It’s been a few months since I wrote about my thyroid journey, and what a journey it has been. I have been to eight doctors, mainly because I wasn’t feeling better, but also because I like to hear different perspectives. I have been to two endocrinologists and what I didn’t like about them was that they know one direction – medication. They didn’t address lifestyle or nutrition at all. I have also been to two MD’s that are integrative medicine doctors. One is my primary care physician in New York City and the other in New Jersey. My acupuncturist is also an MD and a healer. I love her because she addresses nutrition, hormone fluctuations, heavy metal levels, food allergies, yeast and candida and detoxification, which most conventional doctors dismiss. My other doctor is an Ayurvedic MD in New York City. Ayurveda is the Indian system of medicine, and more a way of life, and the sister to yoga. We have also become friends so I will be studying with her to become an Ayurvedic practitioner this year. Ayurveda, like traditional Chinese medicine, looks at the whole body and addresses the root as well as emotional causes of illnesses and the imbalances in the body. I love these approaches. The last doctor I employed is a traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor who is Harvard trained but focuses on treating disease through herbs that his laboratory formulates.
For now, to help me overcome the fatigue, I was put on synthroid, which is the standard medication for thyroid problems. Since I have Hashimoto’s disease, which means that my immune system sees my thyroid as a foreign invader and attacks it, my antibodies are elevated. When I asked the endocrinologist why we are not focusing on balancing my immune system so it stops attacking my thyroid he said ” the medical establishment has no idea why it happens so we don’t deal with the immune system.” What???? That’s the total opposite of the eastern perspective to treat the root cause. The second endocrinologist who told me the same thing. Taking the conventional meds are not passing my gut test as my goal is to stop taking the medication and manage this with nutrition, body treatments, yoga, meditation and herbs. But I need to get past the fatigue and pain and be able to focus on healing. That being said, I wanted to start at the lowest dose since I have never taken pharmaceuticals for longer than a week. The lowest dose is 25 micrograms. I took that for a few months and my numbers came down, but not enough so my endocrinologist said I needed to raise it to 50. I agreed. Two weeks later I was in such crippling muscle pain in my arms and legs it was a struggle to get through a day. When I called him to ask if the meds could be causing the pain he said that it wasn’t a side effect of the drug and he had no idea why I was in such pain. It lasted for almost three weeks until I decided to do my own experiment and lower my dose back to 25 mcg. Two days later the pain started to subside and by the end of the week they were gone. This was only last week and I am starting to feel like my old self (prior to my diagnosis in March). After recent blood tests, all my numbers are normal on the lower dose of medication and when my endocrinologist called me, he said I did the right thing by lowering the dose since the higher dose was too much and causing me the pain.
So what am I doing and what have I learned so far? My Ayurvedic doctor said that in India Ayurvedic doctors never prescribe thyroid medications like synthroid but since Ayurveda is not recognized in the US she cannot advise her patients that. She determined that my body is acidic from being a vegetarian for so long and put me on a regiment to make my body more alkaline to bring it into balance. She also does weekly body treatments which are deep tissue massages with special oils for detoxing the body and nourishing it. I go for weekly acupuncture treatments and my traditional Chinese medicine doctor has me on an herbal protocol to modulate my immune system so it calms down and stops attacking my thyroid. I have also gone gluten free. If you have ANY autoimmune condition whether it be rheumatoid arthritis, MS, lupus, graves or hashimotos disease, all the studies as well as testimonials from patients say that gluten must go. People with autoimmune disease, many times, have food allergies and digestive problems. Gluten causes inflammation, making food hard to digest. You don’t have to have Celiac to have a problem with gluten. Many have lowered their antibodies after giving up gluten completely. I have severely limited my dairy intake and gave up coffee. That was a hard one but caffeine just makes adrenal fatigue worse. I stopped with vigorous exercise. My day begins with healing meditation and yoga at 6am and a walk for about an hour a day. My biggest lesson is to be patient as this didn’t develop overnight so it will take time to heal. Slow and steady is the way to go when dealing with a complicated illness. You also need to follow your gut and listen to your inner physician. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Read, get educated, talk to others who have had similar problems and do your research. Never believe that anything is incurable or impossible. You have the power within to heal.
My next blog will address something that goes hand in hand with thyroid disease and that is adrenal fatigue and stress, so stay tuned!
Yours in good health,