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Monday, March 24, 2008

My Thyroid Story

MY THYROID STORY

By placing this story, I want to help others who are suffering needlessly with thyroid conditions or diseases.

Pictures of me taken in June 1999 (Left) and in October 2002 (right).
Notice the "lump" visible (slightly off-center, lower LHS in pictures) on the bottom part of my throat.
Like most folks, I have always had to very carefully watch my weight, but I did manage to contain it within "acceptable levels" - until my late 30's. This story of mine begins about 7 years (actually a lot longer now - this thyroid story is getting old. (smile)) ago, really, when suddenly my weight began to creep up, ending up by about 24 lbs after some 3 years, which is a lot of weight on a 5'3" medium frame. My normal weight for many years (from age 19 - 39) vacillated between 116 and 120 lbs. and, occasionally, like around Christmas time, it would go up a bit more than that. I was in my early 40's and I'd written 2 sugarless, reduced-carb, reduced-calorie cookbooks for people struggling with diabetes, so I naturally assumed my weight gain (by now I was up to 140 lbs) was from indulging in all the fabulous desserts I was creating, and from a slowing metabolism as I entered middle age. I found losing weight an increasingly difficult task. Sometimes I would go without any food or consume only 800 calories a day, but still I would battle to lose anything at all, and the minute I started eating normally, the weight came right back on. It seemed like a never-ending cycle, but still I just accepted this as part of aging and didn't suspect anything else was amiss.
I learned about low-carbohydrate diets from several people who e-mailed me inquiring about desserts made with SPLENDA(r) Granular that were also low-carb. Ironically, my husband and I were addicted to carbohydrate-rich foods, so when I inquired what it was all about, I recoiled in horror, so to speak, and the following was my reaction: "What do you mean you don't have all those tasty simple-carbohydrates anymore?" I thought of all the breads, muffins, bagels, potatoes, rice, pizza, cinnamon buns, doughnuts etc. that I'd not be eating on these diets, and I must admit I felt quite apprehensive. I could accept foregoing sugar though, since for years I had developed carb-reduced recipes using a good sugar substitute - SPLENDA(r) Granular, but all those tasty other simple carbs? My second reaction was: "You eat all that fat, red meat and eggs? Don't you know that's bad for your health?" However, once these dear folks pointed out how well they were feeling, how much weight they had lost, how their cholesterol and triglycerides had fallen, and that, in fact, fat is perfectly okay on the low-carbohydrate way of eating, my horror turned to sheer curiosity, and I started to investigate ...
I rushed to the nearest bookstore to buy my first low-carbohydrate diet book - "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution", and the rest is history. I've been low-carbing going on 14 years now. At first, induction worked for me, and within a few weeks I was down 10 lbs to 130, but instead of going on (strictly) with the diet, I stopped at a this 10-pound loss, and decided to postpone my dream of reaching my goal weight while I switched my creative focus to writing low-carb cookbooks, which would address some of the comfort foods my husband and I missed so much. After 2 years of low-carbing and creating many new recipes, easy, continued weight-loss was eluding me. But, unlike when I was developing recipes for people with diabetes and routinely put on 10-12 lbs per book, my weight had stabilized. Still, I was stuck in the mid to low 130's while my husband's weight was down a respectable 25 lbs. No matter how hard I tried, now I could not lose weight - even on "Induction". I was frustrated and often voiced the feeling that I must be an alien living on planet earth. It seemed everyone else out there was experiencing continued success with low-carbing, but after my initial 10 lb loss, my body fiercely resisted and it seemed that the low 130's was about as low as I could go. Try as I may, I was not able to lose anymore, even on this, the most efficient of diets. But I never gave up on low-carb dieting as, at least, I did maintain my weight very easily this way and my blood work was great. However, I just couldn't make it work for weight loss.
Even my family was rather puzzled. They decided to pray for me. I distinctly remember my husband and two sons praying for me. The prayer was that we would discover why I could no longer lose weight. Very soon thereafter things started to become clearer. The Fat Fast (described in Dr. Atkins' book in the chapter on severe metabolic resistance) was a great help to me, and soon after trying it I was down 5 lbs and at least I was back to 130lbs. I was so enthused, after 2 years of staying static, that I decided to identify which recipes, in my latest book "More Splendid Low-Carbing", qualify as "Fat Fast" choices. As an aside, while on my "fat fast" I had my blood work done, and my doctor was astonished to find my LDL up a little (not so good), my HDL up a lot (good) and my Triglycerides very low (very good). Overall, even while getting 75% of my daily calories from fat, my cholesterol profile was "Excellent"! So much for the old beliefs about fat.
I reread the chapter in Dr. Atkins' book and began ruling out the various reasons for my metabolic resistance to weight loss. I decided to chart my temperature and "lo and behold", my body temperature was always lower than normal, consistently it averaged around 97 deg. F, quite a lot lower than average. So I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. I explained why I thought I may be having thyroid problems. He just laughed at me, when I suggested I might be hypothyroid. I even took my documented temperature readings, plus hypothyroid symptoms with me, but he discounted them all. He said temperature readings to test for hypothyroidism dated back to the 1920's. He intimated that since at 130lbs I wasn't "fat" by medical standards, I therefore couldn't possibly have a problem with my thyroid. I still insisted on blood tests to check TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels. This test came back showing a TSH level of 6.7, and in Canada, the reference range of 0.5 - 4.5 means, "No Problem", 4.5 - 10 means "Euthryoid - perhaps there may be a problem developing" and > 10 means "Possibly we had better treat the patient." Now this is where the issue starts getting murky. You see, the American Endocrinology Association and the British Medical Journal have all (for years) been saying that these reference ranges are incorrect, that since thyroid problems are actually extremely common (especially in women), that these numbers include large numbers of people with underlying thyroid problems - thus the numbers are skewed and actually anything > 2 (some say 2.5) should be treated as "suspect".
So, anyhow, despite my many symptoms such as dry skin, thinning hair, memory problems, low temperature, emotional spells, low energy at times, and now a TSH of 6.72 (obviously greater than the new TSH reference ranges) my doctor was unimpressed and wrote "Euthryoid" on my form and sent me packing.
Naturally, I was upset. But a short while later, my husband checked my neck and discovered a "lump" on the right lobe of the thyroid gland, which is shaped like a butterfly and lies at the base of your throat. It was already 3 cm (about 1 1/2") in size. Anyhow, I was not exactly thrilled about this discovery and more than a little fearful - not knowing much about lumps in general and dreading the worst of outcomes, so it was back to my family doctor - who promptly laughed at me and told me that only one thing is more dangerous than diagnosing myself, namely having a spouse do so! Confidently he went out into the waiting room to get me a glass of the "good stuff" - bottled spring water, handed me a glass, quite smug in the expectation that my husband was "obviously seeing things"... and asked me to "Drink up" while he watched my neck and throat. I saw the blood drain from his face as he too noticed the sizeable lump. This time he hastily filled the glass with tap water in his office in his hurry to repeat the experiment. The diagnosis my husband had made was confirmed. Now suddenly the doctor sprang into action and his immediate advice was to surgically remove the right thyroid lobe, ASAP! I left his office quite upset. My husband calmed me down and we did some more research on the surgical procedure. I was not keen on such a dangerous operation (the voice box can be permanently damaged or the parathyroid glands can be damaged or the delicate nerves, etc.) and really wanted to explore my other options first - unless it turned out that I had cancer, in which case I was resigned to surgery and chemotherapy, etc. Naturally, this was all very upsetting to me. In the days that followed I had an ultrasound. This showed a solitary thyroid nodule. My doctor scheduled an appointment for a radioactive isotope test. My research on the internet showed that this test carried a chance with it that some of the cells in my thyroid could be damaged, and it may not even be necessary if other tests were conclusive. It made me feel uncomfortable to damage an already compromised thyroid, so I cancelled the appointment without letting my doctor know. I do not think he was pleased. We prayed. My doctor had made an appointment for me with a 6' 8" (ex-basketball player) surgeon in my home town ... we prayed some more and suddenly that appointment was cancelled as well. He had just recently given up doing thyroid-related operations. We prayed even more. Now with the surgical option removed, my doctor referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist in a neighboring city (we have no endocrinologists nearby). My husband and I both went into her office and after looking in my ears, nose and throat, she suggested the Fine Needle Biopsy test. She did not suggest any other test, but my husband insisted on the thyroid antibody test as well, which she agreed to. So, that same day I had my blood tested for the thyroid antibodies. This, it turns out, was the smart test to do. The next day, Friday, November 1st, I had an appointment at the cancer clinic in the hospital with a pathologist to do the FNA test. Once again, before both tests, we had prayed that the truth come out clearly and that the results would be conclusive. With the FNA test, there are a few outcomes: (1) obviously benign (2) obviously papillary cancer (3) inconclusive due to not being able to get a good tissue sample from a very solid nodule (4) inconclusive due to a follicular adenoma, which is indistinguishable from follicular cancer when viewed under a microscope (This happens in about 30% of cases and most times doctors recommend surgery to rule out cancer.) Of the people who receive thyroidectomies (surgical removal of the thyroid), most people (91%) do not have cancer and even of the thyroids that appear to be suspicious, a whopping 40% are not cancer! Thyroid cancer is extremely rare - about 1 out of every 10,000 people have it. Thyroid cancer is also very easily treated and the prognosis is excellent in most cases, as surgery and chemotherapy are very effective in treating it.
Anyhow, back to my FNA test. We had a kindly, intelligent pathologist (used to be an engineer) who did the test. Before the procedure, the pathologist was cautiously warning us that sometimes it's not possible to get a good enough sample and that in 30% of the cases, it's not possible to rule out follicular carcinoma completely, but that they could rule out papillary carcinoma, and that yet a third cancer was highly unlikely, appearing mostly in elderly women. Each time (3x) he inserted the needle into my thyroid, my husband prayed that the sample would be good enough to read under the microscope.
He took a slide to view under the preliminary microscope (just there to do a quick quality-control check) and he suddenly looked more relaxed. Turning to me, he said, "I will write my report and send it to your doctor and it should be there by Tuesday afternoon, since I am not allowed to discuss the findings with you, and even if I did, studies show that patients in your position are stressed and only remember 10% of what they are told." Then he turned to my husband, smiled and winked. He said, "But if I were to write a report on a situation like this, this is what I will say: This is a Follicular Neoplasm. An adenoma is favored, and it is highly likely that it is benign." He saw my photos of 4 years prior that showed the nodule at about the same current size - it was not growing. He also said that the lymph nodes were not involved, as he palpitated my neck to check those. He said most likely the antibodies would come back showing I had an autoimmune disease going on, such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. He then spent considerable time reassuring us that thyroid nodules are extremely common, appearing in more than 50% of the population, and that most of them go unnoticed and are almost always benign. What a nice man! Technically, he should not have said anything, but just before the weekend we went away "on cloud 9" and thanked God that all our prayers had been answered - but the devil was not quite done tormenting me ... yet.
On Wednesday, the ENT called to tell me the news I already knew. "Follicular Neoplasm - a benign adenoma is favored". The antibody test, however, came back with a level of over 3000, a high level of thyroid antibodies - indicating Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease kind of like Lupus, Diabetes 1, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. Now this was very significant, since this rarely indicates that cancer is present as well, thus further adding to the above pathology report. Then there was an appointment with the internist (Specialist physician) who, in the absence of an Endocrinologist, treats thyroid patients around here. I was unsure of exactly what to expect, but from the ENT's response it would appear that the internist would put me on thyroid medication to suppress the antibodies' action on the thyroid. In 25% of cases thyroid nodules will actually shrink in size. This could take 6 to 18 months or years. He put me on a fairly high dose to begin with (125mcg of Levothyroxine, synthetic T4) and told me to come back in 6 weeks time after a blood test to test TSH levels and T3.
My husband and I were feeling elated, but stressed, and exhausted, so we wound up eating out at a restaurant, ordering way too much!!! When we arrived home, our sons informed us that the doctor had called and instructed me not to take my medication, until I had spoken to him the following morning. I felt disturbed, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what was to come next!
Finally, I got through to the doctor, and his manner and voice was cold and matter-of-fact. He said, " I was looking over your pathology report again and I noticed you have cancer. In light of this, do not take the medication. I have made an appointment with the surgeon for next week." After all that we had been through, this was like going "back to square 1" and I was in total shock! I handed the phone to my husband to get the details. My husband, levelheadedly, asked the doctor to please fax us the pathology report and informed the doctor that he was surprised, because we had heard everything to the contrary - up until that moment. The ENT was away for a couple of weeks, however, fortunately we were able to speak to the nice pathologist. The pathologist was shocked at the doctor's presumption of cancer from reading his report. He went out of his way to reassure my husband that his findings along with the case history and the antibody test indicated that the "lump" in my throat was most likely a benign adenoma, and that the easy-to-detect kind of cancer cells were NOT present. He immediately phoned and informed the Specialist that his pathology report had been misinterpreted.
So the official diagnosis now was: ** Most probably a "Benign adenoma" and hypothyroidism due to a form of autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. After exactly 7 years, "the curse was lifted", so as to say, and I could resume a more normal life.
** It is in fact a "Follicular neoplasm" which means that the only way to rule out cancer (or diagnose it) for sure, is to remove the Thyroid gland, section it and then examine it under a microscope - but once done, they cannot put it back! However, in the vast majority of cases (including Tipper Gore's case) this results in peace of mind and a missing thyroid and surgically induced hypothyroidism. The alternative here is to treat it aggressively with thyroid hormone medication and check it's growth/spread or shrinkage later. In the small likelihood that it grows and spreads into surrounding tissue, you would have guessed wrong and then surgery is called for, as well as Chemo-therapy (usually radioactive Iodine). Generally though, the risk of cancer is quite small in middle-aged women. In younger or older women and also in men, the chances of this Follicular Neoplasm being cancer is somewhat greater, but still relatively low. It's a tough judgment call. We chose to believe that it was "Benign". Time has shown that we were correct in our assumptions.
Treatment: Thyroid hormone replacement therapy - for life.
Prognosis: : Excellent! Treatment prolongs the life of the thyroid gland, reduces antibodies, maybe reduces nodule size and most likely surgery isn't required.
Current Status: : I tried Synthroid (Levothyroxine - T4) at a med-high dose of 125 mcg and within 3 weeks I was exhibiting hyperthyroid symptoms. The dosage was reduced and T3 hormone (Cytomel 5mcg) was added. The correct dosage will be arrived at by trial and error and frequent blood work in the beginning (every 6 weeks). I have to tell you, the T3 immediately agreed with me, my symptoms are gone already and I feel great! What's to say but "Praise the Lord"!
TIPS: If you suspect a thyroid disorder such as hypothyroidism (an often hereditary condition or due to an autoimmune disease), here are some suggestions:
(1) See your doctor, but go armed with a file with your research, with documented temperature readings - once before each meal and once before going to bed and average the temperatures - and a documented list of symptoms.
(2) Ask your doctor to examine your neck for an enlarged thyroid or thyroid nodule - goiter. This is done while drinking water and holding your head up and back. An enlargement of the thyroid will be seen as a protrusion moving up and down in the neck (below the Adam's apple).
(3) Ask for a blood test to test for thyroid antibodies as well as TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels. If there is a thyroid nodule or enlargement of the thyroid is present, the antibody test is even more important to test for an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. In this case the body attacks the thyroid and eventually destroys it completely. Each year it goes undiagnosed and untreated there is a 5% chance of full blown hypothyroidism. At the same time, diffused enlargement of the thyroid gland is common.
(4) If TSH comes back over 2.5, this may be quite fine, but request a FT4 and FT3 test anyhow, even if you have to pay for it yourself!
(5) If TSH is normal, but hypothyroid symptoms are pronounced, some doctors rely on a TRH test - thyrotropin releasing hormone. This is a very important test for those who are suffering from hypothyroidism, but tests come back in the normal ranges.
(6) If you have a thyroid nodule, often the doctor will suggest an ultrasound to see where it is located and to see if it is single or multi-nodular.
(7) Radioactive iodide uptake tests track how much iodide the thyroid takes in within a certain time period. Higher-than-normal amounts indicate possible hyperthyroidism; low levels indicate hypothyroidism. However, there is a small chance of the cells of the thyroid gland being damaged in this procedure. I skipped this test as I already knew from the blood test that I was hypothyroid as opposed to hyperthyroid. Many doctors in the States, especially, only perform this test, if necessary, after the FNA and antibody tests are done, and then only if it required.
(8) If you have a thyroid nodule, it is important to rule out cancer, but it is not always conclusive. A fine needle biopsy (FNA - fine needle aspiration) will help diagnose the nodule. If you have any photos displaying the nodule clearly in your neck from a few years ago - that can help enormously in the diagnosis. If the nodule has not grown much and the lymph nodes in the neck are not swollen, chances are it is a benign adenoma, especially if they also detect high levels of Thyroid antibodies.
There are 3 outcomes of the FNA test:
(1) definitively benign,
(2) definitively cancer - one type is easy to detect, another not so easy but only appears in elderly women and yet another mimics a follicular neoplasm (which is what I had), but with all the other diagnoses taken into account, such as the antibody test, the photograph of years before with the same size nodule, and the hypothyroidism, this becomes a much less likely scenario - and a benign adenoma is favored.
(3) Inconclusive - too little specimen available for diagnosis or the follicular neoplasm as described in #2. Very often only surgery can rule out cancer in the inconclusive cases, but since cancer of the thyroid is very rare, many needless surgeries are performed.
Conclusion: : In my humble opinion, if you can avoid surgery and keep your thyroid gland, do so. If the thyroid nodule continues to grow with lymph node involvement, then obviously surgery is required, as it is most likely cancer, but thyroid cancer has a very high cure rate. However, if the thyroidectomy is performed, you will most likely become severely hypothyroid afterwards. If you can avoid surgery and there should ever be a shortage of thyroid hormone available in the world - at least you have your own thyroid as back-up, even if it is not working optimally. Obviously, I am not a doctor, and you will have to consult your doctor, but do your own research as well, because my experience has been that doctors are not necessarily very well schooled in the area of thyroid problems. They have so much to worry about in their profession, that their expertise may not necessarily lie in that area. Too often women are told their thyroid is normal based on the old "normal range" which is 0.4 to 5.0 and sometimes doctors won't treat until TSH is over 10. Sometimes doctors dismiss women's thyroid complaints thinking they just want a quick fix for their weight problems. New thinking is that the results were skewed, because people who were sick were in amongst the reference ranges decided upon. People didn't realize just how prevalent thyroid disease is. Anything over 2.5 should be considered suspect, though most doctors will not even raise an eyebrow unless it is over 5, and many will not even regard that as abnormal. Check the British Medical Journal archives and the American Endocrinology association for validation of this assertion. Knowledge is a way of arming yourself and protecting your own interests and seeking the very best treatment for your particular situation. In my opinion, too much emphasis is placed on just TSH levels. My doctor was willing to dismiss my symptoms and concerns based on my TSH level of 6.7, but thyroid antibody test and the screening for thyroid growths very clearly indicate thyroid problems, and can often help to "nip thryoid damage in the bud" by highlighting the need for treatment.
So, here is a short generalization of some of my experiences:
(1) Doctors seldom take Thyroid symptoms seriously - one has to be quite persistent!
(2) Even TSH levels above 5 do not seem to alert most doctors - but "lumps" sure do!
(3) They often over-react to "Lumps" and regard surgery as a preferred choice.
(4) High TSH levels coupled with high antibodies generally preclude cancer.
(5) T3 taken along with T4 alleviates symptoms noticeably and quickly, but doctors do not often offer this choice.
(6) Learn to say "NO"! Do not hesitate to get a second opinion; it's your body.
(7) PRAY! You are going to need "supernatural help". With God clearing the way before me, I was able to get a favorable resolution to this 7 year old "curse" in just 7 short weeks, and in 12 weeks I was on appropriate treatment (T4 and T3) - substantially less time than by just relying on doctors alone, which often does not even deliver results, or can take many years to do so. Two, of the 4 doctors I saw, were helpful, and even the other 2, who really could have so easily been used to hurt me and to delay proper treatment, when targeted by our concerted prayers, were ultimately also used to help me. Now, if you read the "horror stories" of other women trying desperately to get appropriate diagnosis and treatment, you will fast begin to realize the significance of these assertions - our prayers, humbly beseeching God for help, really did help!
NOVEMBER 2003 UPDATE (What a difference a year makes my husband writes) :
Last October Jen had an Ultrasound which showed an oval solid heterogeneous mass in the RHS lobe of her thyroid, with the LHS lobe being sonographically normal. It's dimensions were: 3.1 x 2.2 x 2.0 cm = 13.64 cm3
Jennifer went on (after a short period of time in which we experimented with the dosage) 88mcg of T4 (Synthroid) and 2 x 5mcg of T3 (Cytomal) per day, which was enough to basically shut down her thyroid, with her TSH hovering around 0.01 and supplemented with 200mcg of Selenium. 1 Year later, October 2003, she again went for a Ultrasound which showed that it had shrunk to: 3.0 x 1.5 x 1.7 = 7.65 cm3 which translates into roughly a 44% reduction in volume.
This means that it is almost certainly NOT cancer, but is "Benign". So, we are kind of pleased that we did not opt for the "Let's remove it and place it under the microscope" routine, since they do not put it back! We figured it's better to hold on to it for a while and see what happens ... well "Praise the Lord" - in hindsight, that was a smart move!
Her thyroid now seems to be somewhat rejuvenated, since she is now beginning to show hyperthyroid symptoms on her medication, and has had to reduce it. We have not yet figured out what it needs to be reduced to, but it is clearly too much! So what she did is started taking just the 88mcg of T4, since whenever she takes just the 2 x 5mcg T3 (Cytomal) as well, she starts to show symptoms of being over-medicated. However, we found that too little, and so cut the T4 down to 62.5 mcg (1/2 of a 125) and added back 1 x 5mcg of T3 split into 2 - 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. What we are finding is this is probably still too much, especially when she has tea as well as the T3. However, time will tell. She does plan to investigate the "Natural" T4 + T3 combination (and we believe it has T1 and T2 in it as well) - which several people seem to tolerate very well. She will do this for a while and then have her TSH and Free-T4 and Free-T3 levels tested, and perhaps also her Thyroid Anti-body levels tested? Anyhow, we will let you know what happens. What we are finding is that Thyroid treatment never stays static for long, and needs to be closely watched. For now though, this is mostly very good news! Her Thyroid nodule has shrunk substantially, her weight is much easier to keep under control and her moods and energy levels have been great over the last year ... though of late (as noted) she started getting a little too "energetic/excitable" ... and has had to reduce her consumption of tea (caffeine) and T4 (Synthroid) and T3 (Cytomal) which (perhaps) is a sign that the treatment has allowed her thyroid to "rest-up" and it is now re-juvinated?
My update today in 2008: I was on natural thyroid hormone for a long time, but recently I reduced the dose slightly and added a little T4 (just a smidge - less than 5 mg a day), which seems to help in keeping me awake longer in the evenings. One thing about people who are on thyroid hormones, is that they tire more easily.
The good news is that one can feel well again. It just takes time to find what level of medication (and which kind) works best for you. I was diagnosed in 2002 and have been medicated for 6 years. I'm sure I had the autoimmune disease begin at least 5 years or more prior to 2002.
My Update December 2012:  My thyroid nodule is smaller and stays smaller when on medication.  The surprise is that I am on a very low dose of thyroid hormone:  30 mcg natural thyroid hormone daily.   Anything more and I feel very hyper and it is noticeable to my husband.  Now, you're probably still wondering how after this many years I am on such a little thyroid hormone.  Fact is, I discovered that I have a mycoplasma infection and have been on 25 mg of doxycycline (1 tablet divided in quarters) for years, which incidentally reduces inflammation in the body by about 40% (CRP levels - that was true in my case - see, CRP levels are higher in people with autoimmune diseases) and it's great for healthier gums and keeping plaque buildup on teeth down. Both my husband and I had been remiss and hadn't had a cleaning in 2 years (crazy busy lives and living far from the city).  Our cleaning at the dentist was a breeze!  We both take doxycycline and in such tiny doses it is no longer similar to taking an antibiotic - it is at subclinical levels, so no longer considered an antibiotic.  It has no effect on the gut flora. It keeps the organisms inside my thyroid from being able to reproduce possibly (or simply reduces inflammation - not exactly sure the mechanism) but it doesn't kill the mycoplasma unfortunately.  I still have a compromised thryoid, however, my eyebrows have grown back and my thyroid nodule is smaller, so that tells me I am getting enough thyroid hormone help.  I have to have enough carbs to help with the T4 to T3 conversion; very low-carb is not the way to go for me (so, around 50 to 150 grams is what I consume daily).  My weight is okay, but not great (5 lbs up).  I need to lose some weight again, but I've just finished a cookbook again, stress levels this last year have been very high (3 big cookbooks out in one year) at times and it is Christmas time!  Over here you can read more about mycoplasma infection.  My experience is that most people don't take me seriously on this one, but I'm very content that I have found my answer.   http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/brownstein.htm and http://www.digitalnaturopath.com/cond/C670329.html  AND READ THIS (very interesting!): http://www.drgregemerson.com/fact-file/mycoplasma and the MYCOPLASMA INFORMATION PACKAGE: http://rense.com/general7/microplasm.htm

UPDATE May, 2013:  I am in remission and completely off thyroid hormone.  Thank you, God.

15 comments:

browynnath said...

Thanks for your input into thyroid health issues. I think that the more people who speak about what they're going through, it'll help those who are going through this too. I discovered my underactive thyroid about 7 years ago.

http://thyroid--health.blogspot.com

Sherrie said...

Thank you for sharing :)

Jennifer said...

You are welcome, Sherrie. I hope and pray you can get your answers soon as well.

Sherrie said...

I should do, I am pretty confident in the doctor I have an appointment with as he has self published a book which I have read, titled "it could still be your thyroid" as well as others on vaccinations, doctors, drugs such as statins etc

Just over 1 week to go now!

Jennifer said...

I think you will be in good hands. I will say a prayer for you too.

susan said...

Hi I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in July 2008 I am on 50 mcg Thyroxine my thyroid antibodies have been high 1300 1600 2000 and just this week 5000 i have been referred to an endocrinologist. Has anybody else suffered with this ....what are my health implications as I can't seem to get much out of my doctor who just tells me not to worry! and of course yoou can't help but worry
Thanks Susan

Jennifer said...

Hi Susan,

It sounds like you have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis the same as me, and it is best to treat it with thyroid hormone. For me, the natural thyroid hormone has been best. It is important to find out what your FT3 and FT4 values are and also to do a fine needle biopsy if you have a goiter, just to rule out cancer. I think you have Hashi's though, and it is very treatable. Most of the time I feel well, except under stress, I need more hormone. Taking one's oral temperature several times a day (before eating or drinking) will help determine if you need more medication.

You will be fine, now that this has been discovered. Keep researching and if need be, feel free to contact me with your test results or any queries you may have, and I'll try to help you find answers (that you can present to your doctor), based on my own experiences.

Anonymous said...

I had all the symptoms of hypotyroidism and the doctors ignored my call for help. I gained 42lbs in one year which I had a personal trainer. While given a pape smear a doctor noticed a lump on the front of my neck. I have an enlarged thyroid gland. It protudes and tomorrow I will have an ultrasound. I am scared. I am in my early 20s....

Jennifer said...

Don't overreact. Even if it is thyroid cancer, it is the most treatable cancer there is. It is very, very unlikely that you have cancer and doctors will try and scare you into surgery.

Chances are usually that the thyroid has simply grown in size because it is trying desperately to produce enough thyroid hormone.

Have they done something as simple as a thyroid antibody test? This will usually show if Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) is present. Often a goiter simply occurs with plain old hypothyroidism. My goiter shrank with suppressive doses of thyroid hormone.

Please feel free to keep me updated. Don't do anything in too much of a hurry, okay? I'm fine many years later and you will be too. If it is Hash's, I may have some very good news for you, so relax and get the tests first.

God bless you.

O.T. said...

Thanks for the post.
One correction the volume of nodule is calculated as 1/2 of the product of three maximum dimensions [L X W X D], as the nodule is not, a box but rather is a grape-like shape.
Same formula used to calculate thyroid volume.
Keep going!!

Anonymous said...

Your doctor is a moron. Thyroid problems are common, particularly in a woman your age and you should have been diagnosed quickly, particularly in light of your nodule. I'm stunned at the lack of cohesive organistion in your medical care.

Jennifer said...

O.T. Thanks!

Anonymous - my doctor was not too smart - you are right. He is no longer my doctor. This seems to be a perennial problem in Canada and the U.S. and probably elsewhere. Doctors (General practitioners) typically are not well trained in thyroid diseases, nor are they trained to routinely screen middle-aged women and men for thyroid problems. I was diagnosed (thanks to prayer and to my husband researching on the internet) when I was 45 years old.

gonnabecanuck said...

Thank you for your very informative and reassuring blog posting! I have suspected I have thyroid issues for several years now and the doc has pooo-poohed my concerns based upon supposedly normal hormone levels. I just ended up with a new primary doc because I am away from home for 6 months and even though I went in for something else, he zeroed in on my thyroid. I was just diagnosed with a 3.5 cm mass on the right side of the gland. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist for later this week and I'm sure a fine needle biopsy is in my near future. Your case is very encouraging--thank you so much! Its reassuring to read given the limbo I'm in at the moment.

Jennifer said...

Gonnabecanuck, make sure they do a thyroid antibody test. You might not even need the fine need biopsy if they find you have high antibodies - that means you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and cancer is not very likely. Email me at Jennifer.Eloff@gmail.com for more hopeful news that I can share with you personally.

Anonymous said...

check out www.StopTheThyroidMadness.com . They have a ton of very useful information.