Hi everyone!! Last week I found the most amazing photo of myself at age 29… before treatment for hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue!! This before photo is so hard to look at but I think it helps show my journey. About six years ago I threw away almost all my pre-treatment photos because they were so upsetting. Before treatment I was overweight, and this photo wasn’t the worst of it! I was so tired I didn’t have energy to care about work, exercise, home, doing my hair, makeup, or nails. All those fun things being a girl were just too exhausting. Watch my video to hear the whole story! Miss Lizzy!
Boost Thyroid Medicine in Winter
Here is my new video about Hypothyroidism and the winter blues on Youtube!
REPOST FROM FEB 2011
Here it is March 2014 and I am thinking “Wow, I’ve been feeling kind of blue lately.” It’s the yearly seasonal thyroid drop, which always happens around early March and goes until May. Late winter through early spring can be hard for those of us with hypothyroidism. Even when we are on good thyroid medicine! It reminded me of my blog post from last year on this exact topic. Sheesh, even I have a hard time seeing my own symptoms!
This time of year is always tough for me. The days are getting longer, there is more light and I feel like I should be feeling great. But sure enough, I feel the low-grade depression sneaking up on me again. It usually sets in just before the forsythia bloom (so early March here in New England). When I finally got treatment for hypothyroidism I learned this depression is actually low thyroid!
Apparently thyroid function drops in the late winter/early spring months which creates a low-grade depression for many of us. It feels like SAD (seasonal affective disorder), general depression, or just a heaviness. I know it’s not SAD because I still have it even when I get plenty of sunlight. And I know it’s not traditional depression because it lasts only a few months, and it’s always around this time of year.
So this is a reminder… to help get through the winter blues many of us need to increase our thyroid medicine about 1/4 pill just for a few months. (I might add, who wants to take anti-depressants and gain weight?!) For me the depression starts around now and sometimes lasts through May. When I start to feel light and buoyant again I know I can ease back to my normal dose of thyroid medicine.
Health Tracking is Vital for Treating Hypothyroidism
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.
Latest Update on My Medicine for Hypothyroid and Adrenal Fatigue
Hi my friends,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my medicine, and it’s been an interesting year! So I wanted to share what I’ve learned. First, I want to say wow – it’s all a big experiment! And that’s tough sometimes because I want the answer right now. But the only way to learn is try, test, observe and somehow be patient along the way. So my dear friends, keep at it and you will find answers too. Here is my medicine and general update…
Update on Thyroid Medicine
For a year I have been on the Thyroid compound prescription I special order from Collier’s Pharmacy (details below) in Arkansas. I continue to love it. On the new compound medicine, I take 180mgs day which seems like the right dose for me. On Naturthroid, when I raised above 130mgs I had super freaky hyper and hypo symtpoms. Yet on the compound I can take 180mg beautifully. Weird, isn’t it? So I am super happy to report feeling great now though on the compound. We affectionality call it “The Miss Lizzy Compound” — you can ask for it by name at Colliers. Neat.
Update on Hydrocortisone
The other super big change…I weaned off Hydrocortisone! This was a huge step. I started Hydrocortisone three years ago to help with low cortisol and adrenal fatigue. And Hydrocortisone definitely helped me. But I was always a little worried that the Hydrocortisone was causing some weight gain, and perhaps had something to do with hair loss, though I wasn’t totally sure. This summer I decided it was time to try weaning off Hydrocortisone. Here is what I did:
- On STTM Janie felt she had avoided adrenal fatigue because of the high doses of Vitamin C she took daily. So I increased my Vitamin C to 2k mgs a day along with 1k mg Bioflavonoid (per Dr. Wilson’s suggestion). And btw — chewable vitamins really make it much more fun!
- I started the process of decreasing my Hydrocortisone by 2.5mgs a week.
- If I was stressed during the process, I would hold the dose, and then continue when I felt ready. The idea was to take care of my body and not cause shock.
- If had I felt any adrenal fatigue symptoms, I would have stayed on the Hydrocortisone but luckily it seems my adrenals are really well healed now! YAY!!!
It took about 3 months to fully wean off the Hydrocortisone (long time, I know!). And I happy to report, I feel great. It was definitely worth it for me to be on the Hydrocortisone but it was time to try without. It’s been two full months, and so far I seem to be keeping my weight down with greater easily. Over the coming months I will be observing weight gain/loss and hair volume/regrowth to see if the Hydrocortisone might have be related. And of course I will share what I learn!
Here is the info for Collier’s. The pharmacist Rodney at Colliers is SO awesome. He gave us his direct phone extension for ordering the compound (479) 935-4336. Ask for “The Miss Lizzy Compound” and he will hook you up. (A doctor’s prescription is of course needed and he can explain what to do.)
Losing Hope with Naturthroid, Venturing into Compounds and Canada
It’s been ages since my last post. While I’ve been a totally bad blogger, to my credit I’ve collected lots of good info to share. The big news: I’ve been experimenting with desiccated thyroid medicine! After the Armour reformulation fiasco two years ago, and then the Naturthroid reformulation about six months ago I’ve gone renegade and decided I needed to find stable medicine.
I took the advice of many of the great ladies on the Stop the Thyroid Madness and the Yahoo Thyroid Group and decided to try having my medicine made by a compound pharmacy. Why go with a compound? Well, it’s all in the filler. When Armour and Naturthroid reformulated, people claim the new cellulose filler was the root of all evil. I don’t really understand why but I definitely found my thyroid symptoms got worse after both reformulations. Whatever the drug companies did, it was Bad (and not in a Michael Jackson way). The lesson learned: no more cellulose for me.
A Journey into Compound Pharmacies
Thyroid medicine is my life line, it has to work, and I have to know it’s reliable. So that’s when I decided to venture out on my own into the mysterious world of compound pharmacies. For those of you who don’t know, compound pharmacies are super cool. Basically, they will custom make your medicine using the filler you want. Kind of like “Build-a-Bear” of the medicine world.
A visitor here on the site, Kama (Hi Kama!), recommended a great compound pharmacy called Colliers Drug in Arkansas. I got on the phone with Rodney at Colliers and he was fantastic (and has a super cute southernish accent!). See contact info below. I explained that I wanted a thyroid medicine that could dissolve under my tongue (rather than capsule form which has to be swallowed). Rodney offered to make my medicine in a form called a “Troche” (or lozenge). They even sweetened it to cover the awful desiccated thyroid smell. Also I explained I wanted Vitamin C or Acidophilus as a filler (suggested by STTM) instead of cellulose, which Rodney was totally happy to accommodate. It’s a great little pill. I’m very proud.
Anyway, back to the important details. It’s been a month on the compound thyroid medicine and, so far, my hypothyroid symptoms seem to be improving. Most importantly to all us ladies, I am finally losing the 6-7 lbs I freakishly gained for no reason after the Naturthroid reformulation. Yay! Now you would think that I would feel better right away on the compound but it took about three weeks before my body decided to like the new medicine. So a big thumbs up for the effectiveness of Colliers thyroid compound!
That’s all the good stuff. Now, the downside… the compound is waaaaaay more expensive than the Naturthroid prescription. It costs $50 for a one month supply with partial insurance coverage, zoinks! I know *sigh*. It’s a lot of money.
It’s unlikely I can afford to stay on the compound, but at least I know where to get reliable medicine. Instead I’ve decided to try another medicine called Erfa, out of Canada, which was highly recommended by the Yahoo Thyroid group. The ladies say Erfa is “like the old Armour” and it costs about $50 for a three month supply. Now, its worth noting that switching medicine too quickly can really upset my body. My plan is to stay on the compound for another month just to make sure it works well. And then try Erfa by adding it into the daily medicine mix slowly.
Once I have more info on Erfa I will share what I’ve learned. Meanwhile, if you want to try my compound give Colliers a call and ask for Rodney.
Rodney at Colliers is SO awesome. He gave us his direct phone extension for ordering the compound (479) 935-4336. Ask for the “Miss Lizzy Compound” and he will hook you up. (A doctor’s prescription is of course needed.)