Tag Archives: hypothyroidism

The Battle Continues…

Thyroid 2

Two days ago I started to write about my experience with being treated, or not, for hypothyroidism. For some reason it didn’t publish.  Yesterday my blog was almost finished and in switching from one site to another, most of it disappeared. I’m definitely rusty at blogging the correct way.

Whether the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were separate issues in themselves or were a manifestation of problems with my thyroid, I’ll never know. I only know doctors were throwing anti-depressants at me, giving me shots of testosterone, and cringing when I even mentioned what I thought was happening (this was the mid 1980s) was fibro and CFS. Those topics seemed taboo. Could it have been my thyroid? Nobody paid enough attention to even try to find out.

That has been my story for almost twenty five years  with fibromyalgia and CFS. It’s been almost sixty years with questionable thyroid treatment. I have had periods of being just “ok” to having major flare-ups.

Since the title of this blog is “The Battle of the Thyroid Docs” I’ll get back to the topic. A big brouhaha has been happening between the “synthetics” and the “naturals” ever since the middle 1950s when Synthroid was developed.Those of the synthetics think that T4 of such drugs as Synthroid  are the only way to treat hypothyroidism. That was the drug I was placed on in the mid ’60s and stayed on for so many years. There was never any attention paid to what I said about how I felt as long as the TSH level tests were “normal”.

With the advent of the internet, I started doing my own investigating. You know, I was the kind of patient who started asking questions based on my research. It was through that research that I found an alternative in “dessicated  thyroid” which comes from the thyroids of pigs. Those doctors I call the “naturals”. The “synthetics” call them “quacks“.

When I had to find another  yet another doctor due to constant insurance changes, I found one who finally was willing to prescribe the “natural” thyroid. I felt better but year by year I started slipping. When that doctor died I found an endocrinologist who reluctantly allowed me to stay on the Armour. He kept telling me I was “normal” because my TSH level was 4. It was ten years ago that the thyroid physicians decided the range of normal should be .3 to 3. He’s using an antiquated scale! I have just discovered all of this since my last visit. My alternative doctor talked to me about all the symptoms I have been having and told me my thyroid medicine was too low. He recommended increasing my dosage. My feelings of well-being over the past month have been a complete change but that is another day’s blog.

In researching this topic I have discovered there are hundreds of articles about thyroid on the internet. There are pages of comments from patients who fought to gain the freedom to use desiccated thyroid over synthetics. It’s a very interesting search. There are major controversies on both sides.

As for me, yes, I am feeling much better but there are still road blocks. Medicare will no longer pay for desiccated thyroid. On top of that, newer recommendations are saying that thyroid medications should not be prescribed for those over 65. I can’t now find that web site to reference but I will continue to look.

I have already researched doctors in my new place of residence and found one who uses Armour in his practice. I know nothing about him but plan to make him a top priority in finding new docs.

There are millions of women out there who have been along the same path I have had to follow. Out of every ten thyroid patients seven to eight are female. Approximately one in thirteen people in the US have diagnosed or undiagnosed thyroid problems. Synthroid is the third best selling prescription.  The company heavily funds endocrinologists. The makers of the synthetics are banking on women to blindly follow the instructions of these doctors. I can only say to other women, be true to yourselves. How do you actually feel? Are you ready to question? Namaste Attic Annie

 

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Filed under Casual conversation, general topics, health, health thyroid TSH levels, senior citizens, Thyroid, Uncategorized

The Battle of the Thyroid Docs

Statistics

According to studies, which present varying statistics, out of every 10 thyroid sufferers, approximately 7 to 8 are female. It appears that this difference is related to the fact that thyroid conditions are autoimmune in nature for the most part, and that women tend to have more autoimmune illness. (August, 2002)

Prevalence and incidence statistics for Thyroid disorders:

Prevalence of Thyroid disorders: 20 million Americans (NWHIC)

Prevalance Rate: approx 1 in 13 or 7.35% or 20 million people in USA [about data]

Undiagnosed prevalence of Thyroid disorders: about 13 million (based on estimates from the AACE, as reported by Reader’s Digest1; estimated 8 million people (American Medical Women’s Association)

Lifetime risk for Thyroid disorders: 1 in 8 women during their lifetime in the US (American Medical Women’s Association); 1 in 8 for women (NWHIC)

I won’t list all the thyroid symptoms for hypothyroidism but click the link. You will see a biography of my life. After years with our home town GP, I was advised to see a new doctor in high school who finally tested me when I was seventeen. He diagnosed me as being hypothyroid. He made the comment that I had probably had that problem for a number of years. I totally agree.

In third grade I was normal weight. During the next five years I had gained 111 pounds. You can imagine the social problems that caused. My height finally  caught up with my weight in eighth grade and I was able to wear a size 15. Still large but somewhat more proportional.

In high school I gained another twenty five pounds between freshman and senior year.  I lost those twenty five pounds over the summer thanks to Metrecal. That’s basicially a liquid starvation diet. I actually had new friends at college tell me I looked great when I mentioned my weight. They couldn’t believe I was so overweight just three months previously.

My weight yo-yoed for years during college. It once again went down after a tonsillectomy my junior year and once again I was looking fine enough to wear a two piece swim suit.

During that time I never seemed to have much energy, but that was pretty much my life. At times, I was hypersensitive to cold. My face, hands, and feet were often puffy. My hair, which has always been fine, kept getting finer. My brush was filled with hair every day as was the floor of the shower. My nails were brittle, my skin, dry. I lived in a brain fog. My muscles were weak. I was, for so many years, a train wreck. And through all of this I was “normal” on the TSH scale. Of course at that time I wasn’t regularly going to a doctor or having thyroid tests very often. The doctors never discussed the tests with me or told me what the actual results were.  Too often I just heard “You’re normal.”

Then in 1987 my health status really hit the fan. I became extremely tired and my muscles ached and cramped more than I could hardly stand. Those were the early days of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. None of the series of doctors I was seeing (thanks to frequent changes of insurance providers) even recognized either of those problems. I was “depressed” or I “needed to lose weight”. That was in the time of “Yuppie Flu” for those of you who were similarly affected. I don’t remember any of the doctors tracking my thyroid levels. I’ll continue the battle tomorrow. Namaste Attic Annie

 

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Rage, hermits, Chicago, and crabs in winter

Wow! It seems like the time of my life is simply dragging by with its empty days. I look at the number of blogs I have written in the past several months and to describe them as a “handful” would be generous. The days seem to be disappearing so fast when I look at the calendar but they are endless when I look at the clock.

I have become almost a hermit. I find that during these cold days, my flannel pajamas and thick robe are warmer in the house than jeans and a sweatshirt. Thankfully very few people a year come to my door unexpectedly. I blame my hermit status on the fact that I abhor the cold as much as I abhor the heat, but I feel there is more to it than that. Exactly what it is I can’t really analyze.

I have been on thyroid medication since high school. A few weeks ago a test revealed that the medication level I was on was no longer sufficient. It hadn’t been for quite some time.  Being hypothyroid is not an easy way to go through life, but somehow I feel I should rise above it. I rev my motor, but I still manage to go nowhere. Add that to the anemia and you have a good picture of where I am at this point in my life in the dead of winter.  Many days I just sigh and accept. Then there are days when I say “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”  Dylan Thomas said it better than I:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and  rage at close of day:

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Having been reared by a distant father who believed in children being seen and not heard, I stored a life time of things I wanted to say . There were many rages piling up in my thoughts. There were a myriad of events I felt were not justified but instead of showing anger, I simply swallowed and remained silent.

When I started this blog, I found it very rewarding to be able to communicate. Some readers were actually listening to me. Then things began to happen and I let the world get the better of me. 2010 was a banner year for blows. I stopped trying to say anything and let myself once more be swallowed by the silent wrappings of my childhood when it was appreciated if  I would just stay out of the way.

Perhaps I could best be described as a crab or a turtle. The elements of my life have allowed me to build a tough shell about my body. It is my protection. I said crab because I believe I’m the cover girl for Cancer magazine…not the disease…the astrological sign. In this link I found I would say that I fit almost 90% of the description. One has to work extra hard to connect with the world when one is a turtle or a crab. It takes effort to stick one’s head out of the shell.

There are days when I want to rage. I’m not talking about going ballistic about events happening personally to me. Not any more. I’ve been too influenced by “Let go and let God,” . I’m not about to let road rage get the better of me. I’m much more of a “if you need to get there before me, please allow me to get out of your way” kind of driver. I gave up raging about personal affronts decades ago.

I’m talking about the way I see our society heading. I believe so much that is happening in the United States is simply wrong. I see the story of two sisters who get a life sentence for an armed robbery which  netted between $11 and $200 and then I think of the Bank of America who, instead of a gun, used every dirty trick in the book to expel people from their homes to the tune of billions of dollars. Their “punishment”? A temporary ban on their foreclosure activities. They’ve been back at it since October.

Or  someone like the televangelist Jim Bakker who eventually got his forty-five year sentence reduced to five. He didn’t use a gun either. He used  the cross. If Jesus had stayed in the grave, I’m sure he really did a spin in his grave over that one. Bakker gained millions of dollars from his followers. The sisters gained less than $200.  The amount B of A accumulated is still being amassed.

My list of things I wish to rant about is far too long to include in one blog. There are hundreds of injustices I see and hear around me.  Perhaps it is time once again for me to start raging at the dying of the light. When my father died at the age of sixty-three, people said that was a ripe old age back in the ’60s. Now that I have passed that age, I feel there is too much for me to say to even think of cashing in my chips for at least another couple of decades or more.

“A man playing guitar singing for us all.

Will you help him change the world? Can you dig it? Yes I can”

“A bronze man still can yell stories his own way. Listen children all is not lost. All is not lost. Oh no.”

Chicago in the early 70s forty years ago suggested we sing our own songs to help change the world. Tell the stories our own way. All is not lost.

On that note of positive thought I’ll make an attempt to blog more often. Perhaps there is a chance America can still avoid going the way of the Roman Empire. But then again, that empire lasted almost 1500 years and we’re not even half way through the third century. Perhaps there still is hope for the United States if enough of  its citizens continue to rage. Perhaps I can rev my motor long enough to be one of them. Namaste. Attic Annie



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Filed under Casual conversation, childhood, diary, general topics, health, life, musings