At least 32 oz of CocaCola each day, 64 oz without ice on some weeknights. Five cups of coffee a day, three heaping scoops of sugar in each cup. Mac ‘n cheese. Ramen. Hamburger Helper. This diet was “balanced” by breakfast cereal full of sugar and iron shavings (try holding a strong magnet over your bowl after you’ve finished a serving), eggs smothered in margarine, and an evening cup of green tea with plenty of brown sugar. Then perhaps half a glass of chlorinated water topped it all off. My diet seemed alright to me.
No one around me exercised. Why should I have done that?
I was sick, like clockwork. Thinking back on my “well” days, I was feeling miserable even when I wasn’t fighting allergies, colds, viruses, or another ear infection. I wasn’t out of my teens yet and getting regular cases of heartburn.
In college, there wasn’t as much palatable food, but much more walking. So, on the bright side, I lost 15 freshman pounds. On the dark side, I was losing weight to stress and malnutrition, not health. The last flu shot didn’t protect me from a horrible case of flu, so I didn’t bother getting it again. Then I quit pork and shellfish (looong story). You have to read lots of labels when you stop eating those things, so I was becoming more aware of what I was eating. I came across information about MSG, hormones, metal toxicity, dyes, etc.
One summer my sister took me to get TSH tested like she did. My numbers were kind of in the normal range, but I was presenting symptoms of hormonal dysfunction. So in August of 2012 I was diagnosed with “borderline clinical hypothyroidism.” Levothyroxine was supposed to fix everything.
I felt better within a week. Energy levels improved. I was less irritable. After a few months, though, my hair still fell out a lot, menstrual cycles still debilitated me, PMS swung rather hard, my feet rarely felt warm, the brain fog didn’t lift much, constipation and overall pain continued – I was sentenced to buy a medication for the rest of my life, for symptoms I would have to live with, anyway. In five years, the cost quadrupled. What would I be paying when I was 60?
My first baby succumbed to kidney dysfunction and was stillborn in 2013. My doctor was satisfied with my TSH levels throughout that pregnancy. I wonder, though, if I knew then what I know now…. Would it have made any difference…? One of many questions. One of many things the doctors and “specialists” should have known better. One of many reasons I cannot trust every word from the mouth of conventional medicine.
Growing up, I was constantly nervous. My marriage was teaching me to calm down and change my anxious attitude. I got a good husband who always encourages calm and cheerful habits. But since our son died, the panic attacks became severe enough to cause numbness. Thankfully, they were infrequent, and I was slowly learning to change what I could.
The Maker’s Diet helped me heal some more. It has six weeks of restrictions followed by lifelong habits. The first two weeks have no starches or sugars, the next two weeks incorporate some starchy vegetables, and the last two weeks reintroduce limited sugars. Since trying out a modified version of The Maker’s Diet, (I didn’t give up dairy at any point) I am more sensitive to high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and highly processed products. They don’t seem so appealing, and I don’t feel so good after ingesting much of them. Drinking 32 oz of coke in one week sounds horrible. Most days, one square of dark chocolate is good enough for my sweet tooth.
The next baby was a month premature but healthy in 2014. Three months postpartum, my emotions were not stabilizing at all, so I began supporting my nutrition and gut health with a raw vitamin and probiotic. That helped me get a grip and regain some sanity. Eventually, I got fed up with taking a drug that didn’t work and I stopped taking Levothyroxine for a year. I began using Endoflex daily. Following FlyLady Babysteps and habits enabled me to get control over my mental and household clutter. My husband and daughter challenged me to learn better self-control and overcome my everyday anxieties. Our home became a peaceful, safe haven.
After getting pregnant with twins in 2016, I was put back on Levothyroxine. The dose increased as the high risk pregnancy progressed. My twins were born two months premature, but healthy once they learned to support themselves in the outside world.
One month postpartum, I was doing well on 75mg Levothyroxine. Five months later, I was feeling like a wreck. The doctor tested TSH and increased my dose to 100mg. A month later, he was satisfied with my lab result, but I still felt “off.” I didn’t want to crawl out of bed in the mornings even though I loved my everyday activity. The brain fog and fatigue were not letting up. Worst of all, my cesarean incision site was killing me, even nine months post-op. If I lifted children and groceries on a trip to town, it would take a whole day after for the pain to subside. I couldn’t mother the way I wanted in this condition. The doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me, except perhaps low estrogen. He recommended birth control pills. Well, that would have only made matters worse, so I declined.
The only other option in town was to get a zytocompass scan, so I got it done. Sure enough, my numbers were dismal. The scan indicted that I needed some serious thyroid and liver support. Poking around the internet, I found that a compromised liver would throw off bile and thyroid function. I had Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C on hand…I developed a little plan.
For ten days I took 6,000 to 9,000 mg Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C a day. Some other time I may post my notes from the whole experience, but in short, I got some energy back and my cesarean hasn’t bothered me since. There were side effects from this liver detox, so don’t dive into this idea thinking it will only open up happy surprises.
The quest for optimal thyroid health continues.
Now I have almost eliminated using non-stick pans and use cast iron instead. Plastic refrigerated food storage is replaced with glass. Freezer storage I have yet to figure out. I’ve learned of BPA in the lining of canned goods, so I will need to can more vegetables next summer. I needed to increase our garden produce storage, anyway. Anything to avoid further hormonal disruption.
For four or five months I have been trying to eliminate soy, but I keep finding one more thing I am eating with soy in it. My beloved mayonnaise and blue cheese dressing! Nearly every condiment and seasoning? Every candy bar out there seems to have “soy lecithin.” I fell in love with hummus only to find it was hiding soy from me. 😔 It will be cheaper to make my own, anyway.
All over the Internet there are admonitions to ditch gluten and dairy for thyroid support. I don’t know when, how, or if I can do that; but I am taking note of how much gluten and dairy I am consuming, and how I feel after eating it. Sure enough, a day of pizza, cake, ice cream, and bread leaves me miserable compared to a day of eggs, borscht, and hamburger patties. So for now, I am at least moderating dairy and gluten.
My latest adjustment, Thyrovanz, just arrived in the mail. A bovine dessicated thyroid hormone supplement, Thyrovanz seems to achieve whatever Levothyroxine lacks. This will be another experiment of my own making, and, like the liver detox, I am making it up as I go at my own risk. The only listed side effect is overstimulation or jitters from overdose. It sounds like a Red Bull without the caffeine or sugar. So, I assume I am safe gently playing with dosage for a little while before finding the proper dose for my needs. After a month I will type up my notes and the results of trying this supplement.
On and on, I’ll keep learning and adjusting. There is a dream to completely heal my thyroid, get to a healthy weight, and have an active life up until I die with my boots on. There are no guarantees, no knowing what is achievable, no promise of long and healthy life, or even if this society will hold up much longer before the inevitable collapse. Today, I nurse myself along. Today, I am better off than the sick teenager I was. Today, I do what I can to give my family the healthiest and happiest wife and mother I can. The Almighty has a way of giving us what we need as we need it, “our daily bread.”
I look forward to learning form others fighting to assist and heal thyroid function. It is an honor to be a contributor to Judy’s blog project on Dirt Road Essentials.
There’s my health story,