Living Hypothyroid with Adrenal Fatigue, My Story...
Living with Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism
So this is me, in 2005, three years after my son was born, at the height of the "Hypothyroid Years". I weighed 174 lbs. and could never lose weight regardless of how many Weight Watcher points I counted (which was frustrating because it worked for so many others). Among the other big hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue symptoms (most of which I had), I was tired all the time, which seems natural if you're a new parent. But I was always tired before having a child, so that didn't explain it. And, get this, my body temperature was 95.5. Yes you read that right, and nooooo.... 95.5 is not normal (well, for a reptile maybe).
And on a side note, yes, my hair and makeup are better in the "After" picture. Regarding the Before picture, yep, that's definitely how I looked for most of my life. I have the classic hypothyroid puffiness, swollen eyes, dry hair, and general dull complexion. Check out these other before and after photos of Hypothyroid people.
40% of all Americans suffer from hypothyroidism yet only about 10% of the patients tested will be diagnosed.
- Dr. Broda O. Barnes M.D., Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness
For 25 years, doctors told me I was "totally fine, no problem, just needed to lose some weight," and generally made me feel like a hypochondriac. They said my labwork was "fine" and normal, even though I had most of the Hypothyroid and Adrenal Fatigue symptoms . There was even one especially rude women Endocrinologist who said: 'I won't give you medicine because you don't need it according to your lab work. And if you are here just as a quick fix for loosing weight, it won't work.' I was hopeless and ready to give up. I figured I was just lazy and overweight.
But I have this amazing sister, who has tons of energy, could eat twice as much as me, run three miles no problem and stay skinny. So even without my general instinct, physiologically I knew there was something going on with me. I just didn't know what. I continued looking for answers and finally found a doctor who listened to my symptoms and didn't just look at the lab work. When he took my temperature he said:
Amazing, I thought my thermometer was broken. So I checked three times and your body temperature is 95.5 in July, that's terrible! You should be 98.6. No one ever caught this?
I was so relieved I almost cried. And so began the journey to recovery. With my doctor's help and willingness to work with together, we were able to treat my hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. It took time, a combination of medication, and finding the right diet, but eventually I got my life and body to the place I always felt it should be. When I looked in the mirror I finally saw the person I thought I should be.
Here is how my life improved:
• I lost 34 lbs. between medicine and eating changes (see section below on food)
• I sleep at night, and can wake up in the morning
• My hands, feet and overall body are actually warm
• I have energy to do things other people seemed to do naturally
• Sex drive, yep, I've got that now (and its pretty awesome)
• I recover quickly from exercise (any exercise made me ill, and exhausted me for days)
• The brain fog is gone (brain fog feels like you just woke up from a nap, all the time)
• Allergies and asthma have greatly improved
• Almost all headaches are gone
• Skin is no longer dry
• Improved hair loss/thinning
• No more low grade depression (especially noticeable in March, April and May)
• Improved memory and ability to concentrate
• Improved blood pressure (I used to get dizzy a lot)
Seriously, I don't need to tell you, just looking at my "before" photo above, you can clearly see how messed up my body was from being hypothyroid. Dull, puffy, blotchy, tired.
For a complete list of Hypothyroid symptoms, visit Stop the Thyroid Madness. These ladies are amazing and helped me save myself.
If you match half the symptoms on the Stop the Thyroid Madness site you may be Hypothyroid, so keep reading that site for tons of valuable information.
ALREADY DIAGNOSED HYPOTHYROID?
If you are already diagnosed as Hypothyroid and take Synthroid or Levoxine, you might want to read more. From what I've read, synthetic thyroid medicine may not work for everyone. Read more:
MY THYROID MEDICINE
What may be right for me could be different for you. So always follow your instinct and work with your doctor. It took time and experimentation to find the right Thyroid medicine dose for me (I hear this is common). Through trial and error eventually I settled with 2.5 pills of Naturethroid a day. I spread the meds out throughout the day; the first pill in the morning, another at mid-day, and a half pill before dinner. This part is critical: I put the pill under my tongue where it dissolves. (Swallowing the pill means I have to avoid eating certain foods for hours, which is just a pain in the neck).
Again, this is my story. You should consult your doctor about what you need. But after living with undiagnosed Hypothyroidism for so many years, my adrenal system was severely stressed (resulting in low cortisol which has similar symptoms to Hypothyroidism). In addition to being treated for Hypothyroidism, I also needed treatment for Low Cortisol. For me that means taking Hydrocortisone every day. Here is some info about Low Cortisol and Adrenal Fatigue:
FOOD, EATING AND WEIGHT LOSS
Okay, so medicine aside, this part is really important. I have read that Hypothyroid people have trouble with all carbs. And after reflecting on my eating over the years I realized eating a bagel, pasta, cereal, bread, sugar, even alcohol always made me feel terrible (and hungry too!). So I started an experiment and removed all simple carbs from my diet. Extreme I know! But I noticed a difference immediately with my energy, and surprisingly wasn't hungry. And this was a key part of weight loss for me. I tried Weight Watchers and other diets, and watched other people lose weight but it didn't work for me because my body just doesn't like carbs.
Important Trick #1: For breakfast, instead of carbs, I eat savory/salt foods. It breaks the carb/sugar craving cycle which happens if I start the day with sweets. So for example, I will have last night's dinner for breakfast; basically vegetables with lots of protein.
Important Trick #2: I eat lots of fats, like cheese, nuts, butter, peanut butter, and eggs. I eat about every hour or two, little snacks which include protein.
Important Trick #3: I limit fruit to apples and pears, or what's in season. Tropical fruits make me feel terrible (like bananas, mangos, pineapple) so I eat these very sparingly.
Here is my list of supplements:
• Vitamin C with Bioflavinoid
• Vitamin D3
• Adrenal Stress End B Complex Vitamin
• Lugol's Solution of Iodine
• Cider Vinegar and Honey
I am an ordinary person like you, not a medical professional, so these are my experiences and opinions only. Everyone is individual, and what works for someone may not work for you! The ideas in this story are not meant to replace what you what you and your doctor discuss. Please educate yourself as best you can and consult a good doctor if you feel you are HypoT. Also, this is not an endorsement for the Stop the Thyroid Madness website, I have no affiliation with them other than being part of their community.