Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Is My Thyroid Sick?

I have to ponder this question.

But first, I have to talk about what I ate for dinner! Because that is infinitely more exciting....

I slow-cooked my short grain brown rice in coconut milk and home-made chicken stock (made with chicken feet) and sea salt for a long time. I also cleaned some wild-caught shrimp and grated some horseradish into some of my special home-made ketchup to make a cocktail sauce. And of course there was my famous salad and sauteed greens. We ate some of the shrimp raw and some flash-boiled. It was pretty good and it is such a simple meal (and can be done more quickly if you buy cleaned shrimp.

So in January I went to a routine check-up at the doc and did some bloodwork. He called me a week later to tell me my TSH (that is the hormone that stimulates the thyroid to do it's job) was extraordinarily high. He was shocked because I had no symptoms. Needless to say, I was shocked too.

So what followed was a month or two of anxiety, filled with countless doctor visits and lots of deep breathing moments. You see, I was unwilling to just go pick up the synthroid as my (now fired) doctor had advised. I knew I had a crazy, out of control number on my bloodwork (TSH: 147) and I didn't really know much else about hypothyroidism. So my mission was to find out what was causing the problem and to find the least invasive way to manage it.

The more I read, the more disheartened I became. I subsequently found out that I had Hashimoto's (an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid). Even the doctors with the "alternative" approach agree that once you go autoimmune you never go back. And as my anxiety increased I began to have numbness and tingling in my feet and hands when I laid down at night. I was told it wasn't phsychosematic but I realize now that stress aggravates thryoid issues and that my stress was bringing about these symptoms. The more I felt the symptoms, the more stressed I got.

So, I eventually started taking a somewhat "natural" medication called Armour. It is made of pig thyroid hormone (not the synthetically produced hormone in Synthroid and others). I take a very low dose of 30 mg a day. The funny thing is that even before I started taking the Armour my TSH had gone down to 41 (in about one month). I know that my diet can take the credit for this one!

I recently got more bloodwork done and my TSH is now 7. I'm not sure if the Armour did it or not but my (new) doc was shocked at how quickly my TSH and antibodies had improved (especially on such a low dose). She recommended I continue to do whatever the heck it is I'm doing.

So I sort of do know why my thryoid is sick but it's still a mystery as to why my immune system is malfunctioning. Will raw milk change things??


  1. There is no conflict to take natural thyroid supplements even when you are under thyroid hormone treatment. You may reduce your thyroid hormone gradually to see how you will feel.

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