Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My FORMER Long and Pathetic List of Health Problems

Position of the Thyroid in Males and FemalesImage via Wikipedia
If you met me today, you would think I was a pretty healthy person, and relatively speaking, I am.

If you met me 5 years ago, you would think I was nearly dead, because I nearly was. At least I felt nearly dead. I was hypothyroid (low thyroid levels) and my adrenal glands were nearly kaput. I kept dragging a three-page list of symptoms to "the best endocrinologist" in Austin and the best he could do is shrug his Big Pharma backed shoulders and offer me zero solutions and refuse to give me any thyroid medications I so desperately needed because I was considered to be sub-clinical hypothyroid.

As a layperson, when I look back over my long and pathetic list of symptoms, I am aghast that the "best endo in Austin" offered me no help at all. By doing so, he guaranteed me to get sicker and sicker. He also insisted that the parathyroid cyst I had to be removed surgically. I fought that for 5 years and he finally wore me down with his repeated concern that it might one day be cancerous. His good friend and ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) surgeon operated on me. He missed the parathyroid cyst (it is completely different than the actual thyroid) and instead removed half my thyroid, leaving me extremely hypothyroid and with an ugly neck scar. It also left me with the parathyroid cyst. I still have it and it is not cancerous, so that surgery was completely unnecessary and it guaranteed that I would need thyroid medicine for the rest of my life.

When I finally got some life-saving advice from some very wise women on-line, I found a true thyroid expert and he put me on dessicated (dried) thyroid medicine and adrenal support and I begin to get my life back. It has been a slow, uphill battle that one nationally known health expert says is the equivalent of becoming an Olympic athlete. I climbed up and over that Olympic-sized health hurdle, and now I blog in hopes of saving others this same misery.

I will share all of the symptoms I once had to illustrate what I have overcome. If you have any of these symptoms -- or all of them as I once did -- please know that you do not have to feel that punk. Find a truly caring doctor who listens to how you feel and one that works as your health care partner to get you back on your feet. (Check out my post on how to find a great doctor.) Also join on-line, patient-advocacy support groups and then read, read, read relevant health books.

And then get ready to thrive and not just barely survive.

Former Symptoms:
Low body temperature (97 degrees or lower)
Very low blood pressure (made me wonder if I was even alive)
Low thyroid levels (especially Free T3 and Free T4, forget the useless TSH test)
Nearly non-functioning adrenal glands
Candida overgrowth
Gaining weight and nothing I did would make it stop
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
Excessive sweating
Extreme heat intolerance
Low Libido
Perimenopausal in my early 30s
Extreme fatigue (couldn't hardly get off the bed in 2005-2006)
Repeated sinus infections
Antibiotics stopped working altogether
Severe allergies
Air hunger
Inability to exercise
Loss of ambition
Slowing of speech
Continual cough
Severe acid reflux
Puffy face
Loss of outer eyebrows
Thinning hair
Dry hair
Brittle fingernails
Low female hormones
High cholesterol
Failure to thrive
Fast heartbeat
Hand tremor
Increased thirst
Excessive itching
Night sweats
Inability to sleep thru the night
Inability to wake up easily in the mornings
Cold hands and feet
Brain fog
Bumps on the legs
Inability to work full time
Handwriting nearly illegible
Ear infections
Joint pain
Carpel Tunnel
Dry eyes
Dry mouth
Muscle cramps
Bone pain
Thyroid nodules
Iodine deficiency
Thankfully, I never lost my mind or got severely depressed but if you live without thyroid hormone for a long enough, you can even slide into schizophrenia. That happened to my maternal grandmother Mimi and to other women in my family. I kept my mental facilities but nearly lost the physical battle.

Today I am an active, inquisitive and healthy person.

I have not caught so much as a cold in more than two years. I have not had a sinus infection in four years. I am far, far from being stuck on the bed, watching life pass me by. Some days I think I get more done than "healthy' folks who still have their thyroid and whose adrenals work properly. I walk our 5 dogs every day and most days, I ride my horses. I work as a professional dog trainer and writer. Other than fighting a Candida overgrowth, ALL of the symptoms above are either completely gone or so minimal as to not pose problems. The only medicines I take are hormone related (thyroid, adrenal and female hormones).

Please don't settle for feeling sick. You have options and you are sitting in the driver's seat when it comes to your own health. Reach out on-line and surround yourself with people who have fought this battle and won it.


  1. OK so now I feel like a whiner, but I can look at that list and say with certainty that I experience at least 35 of your symptoms daily... Where did you start to sort them out? Maybe I am not as nuts as I thought...

    Where did you go for help?

  2. Hi Mim. You are not a whiner! It is depressing when your symptoms take up 3 pages! I saw that you have CD and I am assuming you are now gluten free? You may have to quit other things as well, at least in the short run and maybe forever. I had to quit all dairy as I have an issue with caseins but I didn't really feel totally great until I stopped eating anything with corn in it.

    You might also be fighting Candida. And you might not be on enough thyroid meds and I would bet money that your adrenals need support with Cortef. I would read the Stop the Thyroid Madness site and I highly encourage you to join some excellent thyroid yahoo chat groups, especially one titled "Thyroidless." There are wise women there who started me on my path of healing myself.

    There are many tests you can order for yourself if you can't find a good doc in your area. They can also help you find a good doctor. Feel free to email me privately anytime. I am happy to help anyone dealing with these issues: annie@phenixdogs.com

    Hang in there! Because you are searching for answers and you are willing to educate yourself, half of the healing health battle has already begun!

  3. Natural thyroid supplements are more effective compared to prescription medications. The results may be worth waiting when you begin to feel better and start losing those extra weight that the thyroid condition caused.