Tag Archives: kharrazian

This one thing is not like the others

It turns out I’m the anomaly.

The problem most people have during Hashimotos is not the problem I have.

Its taken some time and trial and error to figure this out.

Partly because I have not found ann affordable doctor who is also knowledgeable about all things Hashimotos.  The closest I have come is Dr. Kharrazian, who I follow and read his books (and love pretty much anything that he comes out with) but who is not my personal physician.  Sadly.

BUT. Back to this anomaly.

From reading countless posts from poor women who are really suffering from this disease, there seems to be a common thread of being medicated with synthetic T4 and receiving not so stellar results. Basically their symptoms improve slightly, if at all, but not in a lasting fashion.

A lot of these patients beg their doctors to make the switch to a natural dessicated thyroid medication, some with luck.  Others are refused.

In case you are new to the world of thyroid hormones, this is how it breaks down:

Natural dessicated hormones are usually collected from a pig thyroid.  These contain various combinations of T3 and T4.  T4 is the “slow release” version of thyroid hormone.  T3 is the “ready to use” version.  T4 will get converted to T3 at some point in your body.

So the natural hormone medications have both ready to use energy and slow release energy in them.  This works well for a lot of people.

Examples of natural dessicated thyroid medication brands are: Armour, Naturethroid, WP throid,  as well as a few others.  A good comparison can be found here on the Stop The Thyroid Madness site:

http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/armour-vs-other-brands/

To contrast, synthetic thyroid hormone medication usually only includes T4. This means that the “ready to use” part is missing and only the “slow release, yet to be converted piece is what remains.  For most people, this is not effective treatment.  Some people have issues converting T4 to T3 in their bodies.  For them, having a ton of T4 floating around but not being able to effectively convert it to T3 will not do diddly squat for their symptoms.  Examples of synthetic meds are Synthroid, Levothroid, Tirosint, and other levothyroxine containing products.

Like I said though, I’m an anomaly.

I had stumbled upon an endocrinologist who was willing to prescribe me Armour from the get go.  Some people fight their doctors tooth and nail and switch several times to find a physician willing to prescribe this.

I should consider myself lucky.  I did, actually, because he is an excellent physician in many ways.  But it wasn’t right for me.

The combination of T4 and T3 sent me into a two month long ordeal. I suspect it’s because I was low normal to begin with.  And although I had symptoms (like being practically frozen), the T3 in Armour was too much for me.  When I took it, I had heart palpitations that took months to go away after stopping Armour.

Another awful side effect was the crippling anxiety that came along with it.  I remember during this time period thinking, I understand now why people kill themselves.  When I say crippling anxiety, I mean such a mental state that I wanted to escape it desperately. I have never before experienced such a thing, but I believe it to be representative lot of too high thyroid levels in the body (at least in my body).

This left me feeling like a paradox.

On the one hand, I definitely didn’t feel “normal”.  Something definitely wasn’t right.

On the other hand, I also wasn’t off the charts.  So the medication we tried was just too much.

What options does this leave me with?

After months, my thyrotoxicosis symptoms (anxiety, tremors, heart palpitations) were finally wearing off (thankfully!!) and I had found a functional medicine practitioner who was a nutritionist, I thought why not give this route a try?

After all, I am a proponent of natural things if at all possible.  And with being “low normal”, maybe it was possible to stabilize my thyroid function with diet alone.  Because a high percentage of T4 gets converted into T3 in the body by multiple organs including the gut, going the nutrition route instinctively made sense.  Since then I have learned that the body is more complex than I ever imagined it could be and a multitude of factors can inhibit this conversion.

Next, we’ll dive into the beginning of the nutrition protocol that I began with.  Stay tuned 🙂

 

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Where do I begin?

Well at the time, I didn’t really want to begin.

Or need to.

I mean, I wasn’t feeling completely awful. Yes, my life had taken a turn for the worse and I wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. But I’ve learned the hard way that we need to reach a certain threshold of pain, whether physical, mental or emotional, to be willing to go in a new direction. And I wasn’t there yet.

At this point in the diagnosis process, I had a thyroid ultrasound that looked like beeswax, full of holes where my thyroid had been eaten away by my immune system. But my thyroid levels were low “normal”.

I also did not test positive for thyroid antibodies.  What this means is that my antibody levels were low enough to be undetectable.  I took this to be good news.

I am hopeful that what this means is that we caught this monster early enough to be able to make a dent in it and bring it to a grinding halt.

And because medication only brings thyroid hormone in the blood to an optimal level for a limited time, I wanted to find a more sustainable way of managing my newfound disease.

After much googling, I stumbled upon Dr. Kharrazian who wrote a book called

Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? when My Lab Tests Are Normal

This book changed my entire understanding of Hashimoto’s and for that I will forever be grateful to Dr. Kharrazian.  By the way, I am not paid to endorse him or his book, I just really love anything he has to say regarding Hashimoto’s and find it to be based on real patients and their symptoms as well as successful management of said symptoms.

So if you have Hashimoto’s and have no idea where to start, I highly recommend his approach.  It’s very detailed but understandable by regular people.  I especially enjoy the thorough explanations of what takes place in an auto-immune situation on a cellular level.

Another great thing I found thanks to Dr. Kharrazian is the Hashimoto’s 411 support group on Facebook.  There are several Hashimoto’s support groups on Facebook but I found this particular group to be the most helpful and not as judgemental and bossy as some of the other groups (just from my own personal experience).  Those ladies (mostly ladies 🙂 are FULL of buckets of knowledge about this disease.

So now I was armed with knowledge.  Thanks to the lovely people at Hashimoto’s 411, I found out there was a special type of doctor called Integrative or Functional.  These doctors go through special training to take the entire body into consideration instead of looking at it through the lens of a particular organ or body part (urology, cardiac, etc).  The idea is that everything is interrelated and can affect everything else.  I strongly believe in this concept in my own life so it made perfect sense to me to seek out this type of treatment.

According to Functionalmedicine.org:

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership…functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors …In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

After lots of phone calls, I finally struck on a nutritionist who was also a certified functional practitioner who was not too awfully far away from me (a few hours).  I should not that this field is relatively new and while there are lots of doctors listed in a 100 mile radius, not all of them align with my particular issue.  So weeding through the list and getting someone to actually call me back was an arduous task.

I found this to be the case with most things regarding this disease.  There is no clear cut “best” option.  There are many paths, many providers, many opinions, many courses of action.  In the end, the only way to know if some path will help is to try it (after some prayer and meditation on it lol).  This is, in a way, terrifying.  What if, by going down this particular path, I’m wasting the chance to fix this problem at THIS point in time with some other remedy?  I’m certain this is a malady facing lots of patients with chronic or urgent issues to address.

I guess we just make the best decision we can with the best information we have at the time.

And hope for the best.