I’ve accepted the fact that either I am health obsessed or a hypochondriac. That said, if I’ve learned anything trying to heal from hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, its that good health is a practice which takes effort, research and intention. In doing so I have become a bit of a health detective.
For example, I use a spreadsheet to track every day of my life; charting my medicine, mood, weight, body temp, cycle, PMS, energy, hair loss, even sex drive (yep, I track it!). I start on Day 1 of my cycle and track every day until the next Day 1. It’s amazingly informative!
Otherwise life just blends together and its sometimes hard to see progress or setbacks. Like tracking point on Weight Watcher’s, writing it down helps me see what’s happening. It’s not about judgement either, tracking is about awareness and observation.
By tracking I discovered a big mood shift in my cycle, but didn’t see the monthly pattern. When I started tracking I realized this mood swing happened like clockwork on Day 19. On Day 18 every month, I felt great. And then suddenly on Day 19, I would feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I would feel sad and have difficulty coping even with everyday chores. Sometimes I could actually feel my mood slipping as the day progressed on Day 19. Then as quickly as it started, the mood would lift around Day 24. I never connected it with PMS because it came so much earlier in my cycle.
When I showed this pattern to my doctor he suggested we run hormone lab tests. Sure enough, he learned my estrogen and progesterone levels dramatically flip on Day 19, which created the mood swing. He prescribed bioidentical estrogen creme for days 16-24 of my cycle, and sure enough, no more mood swings. Also I learned if I start the estrogen creme to late (like Day 18) or end too early (like Day 22) the mood swing hits me hard. Incredible isn’t it?!
Tracking also helped me realize when I overstimulated my adrenals by increasing my thyroid medicine too much.
But I know, we are all so tired already, how will manage to do this too? My advice is just do your best and forgive yourself what you cannot do. I am reading the The Four Agreements, A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a great book and I especially like what Ruiz writes about crime and punishment. When there is a crime it is punished once, but in our minds we punish ourselves over and over for years. He explains happiness is directly related to quieting the inner judge, and then attempting to do our best. If you track a little and that’s your best, then great. If you are too tired to track today, maybe you will tomorrow. Whatever it is, do your best.
In case you are curious, here is a section of my tracker from 2009 (done in Pages, but will open in Excel). The notes can be as loose or detailed as you like. Download a copy and take a look.
Kristine - March 8, 2011
Hi Miss Lizzy, thank you so much for sharing all your thoughts and experiences on hypothyroidism! I really like reading your blog.How did you know that your adrenals was overstimulated when increasing the dose? I am feeling much better on Erfa thyroid and Cortef, but I haven't lost a pound, rather the opposite (due to Cortef, I think). Is the medicine you are now using better for loosing weight than the old Armour thyroid? Very interesting what you write about mood swings and pms. I have mood swings on some days, but my pms problems are mostly physical (extra tired etc).Take care:-)
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