I am curing myself of Hashimoto's thyroiditis

I am a professional journalist who suffers from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an auto-immune disorder in which the body's antibodies, attack the thyroid gland. I was prescribed Thryoxine and told to take it for life. I am now challenging this directive through a course of action which I am determined will reverse my disease and restore my thyroid function. I will write regularly about what I am doing to fight this disease. Perhaps together we can prove that Hashimoto’s can be reversed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 years later

Hashimoto say: He who shouts causes deafness and then he won't be heard.

Hello all

I am revealing who Hashimoto is today to my Twitter followers. No more anonymity. This is who I am. @Donshardnews.

Five years on I never attempted to cure myself of thyroid disease again. I take thyroxine every day and, for the most part, I'm OK. Sometimes you just have to accept this is how things are. There are far worse things.

In a way, it reminds me I'm human and mortal - something perhaps we all need reminding of from time to time.

Much love all


Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 15 2006 – The final entry

Hashimoto say: One failure is just one lost battle. The war can still be won

My experiment to kick-start my own thyroid has failed.

My specialist will give me a blood test on Monday and I expect this to confirm my thyroid stimulating hormone has rocketed.

My voice is gravely, my legs feel as heavy as if they were bollards, I’ve put on a few pounds despite the fact I have deliberately dropped my food intake and my leg muscles hurt, I’m knackered and my head is fuzzy.

Thank god I’ve only dropped my thyroxine tablets by 15%. If I’d gone cold turkey, I reckon I’d be bed-bound.

I am slightly irritated with the alternative health brigade and the author of a book who claimed to have cured his own thyroid disease using a regime of supplements which has cost me more than £100 a month. I still advocate alternative/complementary therapies, especially spiritual/energy healing and acupuncture. When I went to my spiritual healer two weeks ago, I felt dreadful. I walked out of there with a bounce in my step. Explain that one. And I find my acupuncturist helps boost my immune system.

I am pretty calm and relaxed at the moment – that is the one aspect of an underactive thyroid gland that I love. One of the reasons I wanted to get off thyroxine in the first place was because the amount I was taking was making me feel hyper, nervy and tense even though with the thyroxine supplementation of 100mcg a day my TSH and T4 levels registered “normal”. Clearly, it was not normal for me.

So while I’m resigned now to not being able to stop taking thryoxine and increasing my dose again, I don’t want to increase the dose to what it was before. I found that when I dropped just one 100mcg table on Sundays for six weeks, I felt good, much better than before but when I dropped two tablets twice a week I became ill within about three weeks.

I imagine the logical thing once my blood tests confirm what I’m feeling is to go back to dropping one tablet once a week. Or perhaps to make up for the thyroxine I have lost I will initially have to go up to my original dose of 100mcg every day.

This does not mean you will fail dear reader. We are all different. And, indeed, it is not really a failure. In a few years time I might try again. Our bodies change. I think, perhaps, one of the reasons I haven’t been successful is because I have not been able to practise daily Yoga because I hurt my back and could not do the shoulder stand which helps stimulate the thyroid.

I’ve lost the battle folks but not the war. As my old mate Elton John once sang: “I’m still standing better than I’ve ever been”.

But I have to take thyroxine.

Well so what. It’s not the biggest deal in the world.

C’est la vie!

Over and Out


Friday, May 26, 2006

May 25 2006: Next stage of the cure

Hashimoto say: He who works hard and plays hard ends up knackered

Hello again dear readers

I know, it's been ages.

It's been a case of manic May. I've been getting work commissions like there's no tomorrow. The way dear Tony and George are going, who knows, maybe there won't be. Not that they don't have good intentions. But tell me, after all these centuries of using war to achieve our aims, you would have thought the world would finally get enlightened. Still what the hell else are they supposed to do when evil shits keep trying to blow us up.

But I still maintain that violence is for idiots not for highly-evolved beings. Clearly, highly-evolved we are not! There's centuries of misunderstanding to resolve. It's a big education process. Violence makes it worse and wars are just a short-term fix during which ordinary human beings have their families torn apart.

Anyway, I digress, this is supposed to be a blog about how I'm weaning myself of thryoxine. Well, I completed six weeks of dropping one 100mcg tablet a week. No ill effects. Indeed, I'd say I've been calmer and less edgy overall.

I did get an awful cold and pulled my back out but I doubt whether that's anything to do with my thyroid. I pulled my back last week trying to do a shoulder stand, which is part of my Yoga routine for stimulating my thyryoid to produce its own thryoxine. I lost my balance and tried to pull my legs back up into the shoulder stand position and then, somoething ripped.

So I'm backwards and forwards to a wonderful chiropracter at the moment called Carl Irwin.

This Sunday will be the beginning of week 3 of cutting out thyroxine twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays. I've had muscle pains in my legs but I think that's more to do with the strain my back's been enduring rather than my thryoid. However, I am concerned about skin dryness between my thumb and first finger on my right hand. However, this again might be nothing to do with my thyroid.

As I've said in previous entries, the problem with a thyroid condition is you end up attributing every symmptom to it.

Energywise, I've been fine and same with the weight. I'm fluctuating between 10 and a half stone and 10 stone 9 1b which is usual for me. If my weight balloons without me stuffing my face more than usual, then I'll know my experiment to cure myself is not working.

However, so far so good, I think. I'm still taking 120mg of co-enzyme Q-10 every day and all the other stuff I've mentioned in earlier posts. So we shall see.

Look, at the very worst, I've discovered that I can cut my thryoxine back by 100mcg a week and feel better for it. But I could still achieve a turnaround of my thryoid disease and I believe I will.

Incidentally, I know loads of people are looking at this site because I get emails from the site meter once a week telling me the numbers. Yet no one is leaving comments.

I would so like to make this site more interactive responding to your comments and including your views and your experiences.

So please do post comments.

I'll be in touch again soon.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 2 2006: Buy your supplements with care

Hashimoto say: still waters don’t always run deep. Sometimes they’re stagnant.

Dear readers

Sorry I’ve not written for a few days but I’ve been inundated with work, which is great news for my bank manager.

Well, that’s a figure of speech really. Who of us knows our bank manager these days? You get put through to a call centre: Press 1 to be annoyed, press 2, to speak to an idiot who does not know the day of the week, press 3 to get one of our staff to commit identity fraud…know what I mean?

One of the great annoyances of my dietary and supplementation regime to cure myself of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis/underactive thyroid/thyroid disease/hypothyroidism is the price of the products.

Take Klamath Blue Green algae. My local health food shop sells The Really Healthy Company’s 60 veg capsules, 500mg each, for £16.90. I’m taking two a day so they last me a month.

I went to St Albans at the weekend, which is quite a journey for me and went into Holland & Barrett where they, too, were selling the same strength for £15.99 for 120 capsules.

A relative bargain.

However, when I got them home I discovered that the ingredients included soya which I am trying to eliminate from my diet as far as possible because soya is one of those ingredients that apparently can inhibit efficient thyroid function.

Of course, it does not necessarily mean you have to eliminate soya completely from your diet and I would not advocate anyone doing that. However, what I am doing to cure myself is experimental and therefore, I have to adhere to the parameters I have set myself.

I called the shop and they’re willing to refund me as I’ve not opened them.

Do check all the ingredients of your vitamins and dietary supplements. I’d advise you to knock anything with gelatine in on the head straight away. Any ingredient that comes from a dead animal cannot be advantageous to health, in my view.

To remind you, I am taking : Klamath Blue Green Wild Algae, 1 500mg capsule once a day; Pro-Biotic Acidophilus, 2 tablets daily, Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend, 1 capsule three times a day (150mg each) before meals (contains amylayse, protease, glucoamylase, malt distase, pectinase with phytase, lipase, cellulose, invertase, lactase, bromelain); Kyolic Garlic 600mg (one tablet daily); Coenzyme Q-10 (120mg, 1 a day), Vitamin E495mg and BioCare Bifidobactereum bifidum (1gm daily)

All are free from soy/soya

I am having weekly acupuncture to boost my immune system, I have created my own meditation technique where I visualise my thyroid as a butterfly and its wings start to move (signifying thyroxine production). I also visualise blue light entering my thyroid. The thyroid relates to the third charka, for those who believe in such things, which I do.

I am also having fortnightly spiritual healing.

Sunday was the 5th Sunday of dropping one 100mcg thyroxine tablet. When I reach week seven I will drop a second tablet on a Wednesday and at the end six weeks return to my specialist.

So far, so good.

I have now had more than a month of dropping my thyroxine intake by 100mcg a week and I feel fine. No symptoms that I can categorically attribute to my thyroid. Remember that most people with thyroid disease tend to attribute every ache and pain to their condition when the cause might be something else.

So, I’d say I’m winning.

If anyone else is trying anything to help themselves please post a comment.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 26 2006: A cure is possible

Hashimoto say: If a job needs doing, do it yourself.

British Thyroid Foundation emailed me today with research references:

They were as follows: Takasu N, Yamada T, Takusu M, Komiya I, Nagasawa Y, Asawa T, Shinoda T,
Aizawa T, Koizumi Y 1992 Disappearance of thyrotropin-blocking antibodies
and spontaneous antibodies and spontaneous recovery from hypothyroidism in
autoimmune thyroiditis. New Engl J Med 326:513-518.
Utiger RD 1992 Vanishing hypothyroidism. New Engl J Med 326:562-563.

I was hoping she might have spoon-fed me and emailed me the actual research but hey-ho, who said life was ever easy. Still, I’ve located one of them on the web and had a quick read.

The URL, for your interest is: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/326/8/513:

This in a nutshell says: Hypothyroidism may result from the production of antibodies that block the actions of thyrotropin. How often these thyrotropin-blocking antibodies are a cause of hypothyroidism and whether their production may cease, causing hypothyroidism to disappear, have not been extensively studied. However, one study concluded that : “The production of thyrotropin-blocking antibodies may subside, producing remissions of hypothyroidism. Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis may therefore cause transient as well as permanent hypothyroidism.”

In a nutshell hypothyroidism can be cured.

So all those doctors that insist you will have to be on thyroxine for the rest of their life are talking about “odds” but not certainty.

Clearly money should be poured into researching this disease properly and far bigger studies undertaken. I believe there are millions of people out there resigned to taking thyroxine for the rest of their life who will never find out whether they could have recovered.

That’s sad.

Great for the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture thyroxine though, isn’t it?

Oops, I better be careful here – I’ve just seen The Constant Gardener!

Let’s make it clear - I’m not suggesting that the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture thyroxine are anything other that 100% ethical and responsible.

There are libel laws you know, so I just thought I’d make that point.

However, should you know otherwise…

I challenge the pharmaceutical companies to commission their own independent studies!

Yeh! Right!


Monday, April 24, 2006

April 24 2006: On a roll

Hashimoto say: He who bites into olive without checking first ends up with broken tooth.

Yesterday was the fourth Sunday I cut out a dose of thyroxine.

What a contrast to the Sunday before. Apart from a pulled back and a broken tooth (courtesy of Sainsbury’s organic olives), I feel really fit.

Went to the dentist today. It is going to cost me £380 to have a crown! Don’t suppose Sainsbury’s will pay for it.

I’m feeling supremely positive again about weaning myself off of thyroxine and getting my thyroid to function on its own.

I know it’s early days, but I know the vitamin regime I am on is giving me energy, my skin’s glowing like I’m the Fairy Liquid kid and my libido…don’t even go there!

I’m still waiting for the lady from The British Thyroid Foundation to email me. I suspect she’s got the email address wrong. Have just left a message on her answerphone so hopefully she’ll resend the research and references she said she had for me.

And, of course, I will share it with you all.

It’s odd but I just cannot seem to interest the national press in hypothyroidism. I thought it would make a great feature telling my story about how I first became ill, how I dealt with it, got diagnosed and am now fighting to restore my thyroid function.

But it seems thyroids aren’t sexy. I’m not giving up yet. I might target some of the glossy magazines as well. Will keep you posted.

Did I mention before that I went to the gym on Friday? The fact I was able to get through the whole programme boosted my confidence that I was going to lick this thing.

My spiritual healing teacher who is also my healer made a good point when she said it was not surprising I felt really ill last Sunday because my thyroid was probably battling with the anti-thyroid antibodies and that may have been a turning point in my recovery.

As far as I can see, I’m still winning.
Speak to you soon

Friday, April 21, 2006

April 21: Feeling healthier and more positive/a healing tip

Hashimoto say: he who takes no for an answer after the first thousand rejections is a fool. He who takes no for an answer after the 1001st rejection is wise.

I’m feeling healthier today. I have just come back from my spiritual healer who emphasised the importance of not letting negative vibes from doctors and other scoffers knock me off track in my quest to get rid of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

I got a call back today from the British Thyroid Foundation (better late than never) and spoke to a very nice lady who made the good point that there is so little money given to thyroid research that there just isn’t the data or knowledge available on recovery from Hashimoto’s. She agreed with me that the problem was that Thyroxine tablets were an easy and cheap fix therefore there was no motivation for the medics to do any other research.

She also said that it’s all very well stopping eating soya and other types of food that are supposedly not thyroid friendly but she said it was unlikely any particular food would have been a problem and that you would have had to be predisposed to auto-immune disease in some way, such as arthritis in the family which I had not realised was auto-immune related. Is that correct? Certainly on my mothers side there was a lot of arthritis and I suspect my mother might have had an undiagnosed thyroid problem.

The British Thyroid Foundation lady promised to email me over research and said if I’d got any questions she’d forward them to a friendly endocrinologist. Six hours later I’ve not received the email so I’m wondering if she’s spelt my surname incorrectly in the e-mail address – most people do get it wrong. Will contact again on Monday if nothing’s come through but I hope I won’t have to wait another three weeks to get a response.

Once I get the links and details of research, I will of course share it with you in this blog.

I contacted my specialist today to see if he intended responding to my letter I sent him at the beginning of the month. I got a message back that it was in the post. Sounds a bit like the cheques my customers keep saying they’re sending.

Anyway, I’m feeling positive about my fight to cure myself again on the basis that the doctors who say it can’t be done are talking from a position of ignorance because there is no comprehensive research been done into the possibility as far as I can ascertain.

Before I go, I’d like to suggest you do the following. Record on CD, tape or digital medium the following: “My bloodstream is free of anti-thyroid antibodies….my thyroid is functioning and healthy” over and over again. Do 30 minutes or an hour’s worth.

Then play it softly in the background when you go to sleep at night. It will filter into your subconscious - while you are a sleep. And it is while we are sleeping that the most healing takes place.

Worth a try?

Lots of love

Thursday, April 20, 2006

April 20 2006: thyroid news digest

Hashimoto say: a cat’s nine lives are worth nought if not one is lived.

Today’s hypothyroidsmselfcure thyroid news:

Iodised salt could have saved Chernobyl thyroid victims
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has called for the supplement of iodised salt to be widely used throughout the region affected by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in 1986.
UNICEF said the salt could have significantly lowered the numbers of exposed children who developed thyroid cancer. Many would have been spared from the disease, it said.
The issue is still being debated despite many efforts to get legislation passed on universal salt iodisation in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Thyroid cancer is the only cancer to have increased significantly among people living close to the Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to the Human Cancer Studies Group, at Swansea Medical School, in south Wales.

Sunscreens disrupt T4 production, research shows
Use of sunscreens could lead to hypothyroidism, according to new work presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Glasgow, Scotland.
German researchers discover UV-absorbing chemicals used in sunscreens may disturb production of thyroid hormone.
They looked at rats exposed to the UV-absorbing chemicals 4MBC, which is also used in some anti-aging creams, and benzophenone 2 and found that after treating the rats with 4MBC for five days, the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone were significantly raised and T4 was slightly decreased.

NY doc urges TRH test use
A New York City doctor is calling for wider use of TRH Stimulation Test to be used in detecting hypothyroidism.
Dr Raphael Kellman, an integrative medicine practitioner, believes while the TSH test is viewed by conventional practitioners as the gold standard for detecting hypothyroidism, the TRH Stimulation test overcomes what he regards as its serious limitations.
He explained that the TSH test was a picture in time of circulating levels of thyroid hormone. But the TRH Stimulation Test challenged the thyroid and evaluated its actual ability to function in real life.
He believes the TRH test is essential when traditional TSH tests are borderline, and when a patient has obvious thyroid symptoms but normal TSH results.

Would you like to see more news stories like this on a regular basis? Please let me have your feed back. Just click on the bit at the end of the post that says "comment". I welcome all feedback. And if you have questions I will reply to them in future posts

Love to you all

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19 2006: Watch the stubble

Hashimoto say: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush unless it shits on you in which case I’d rather keep them in the bush.

Went to the health club this morning to use the sauna, steam and swimming pool, which helped my muscles.

While I was in the steam, an old geezer asked me if I minded him shaving. If he hadn’t asked me, I probably would have had a go at him but as he had the decency to ask me, I didn’t object.

I should have objected, but you don’t do you, when someone has the decency to consider your feelings on the matter and ask you. But some poor bastard will end up anticipating a relaxing steam only to sit on the git’s stubble. I got an image of someone walking out with his beard on their bum and had to fight off the urge to break into spontaneous laughter.

Taking each day as it comes with my health. I certainly feel better than I did on Easter Monday. Found an odd looking mole on my thigh today which looked like one of those horrible pictures of skin cancer you get in medical books.

If it hasn’t gone down in a couple of days I’ll go to the doctor but it’s probably nothing. Note to readers. If you get a mole that changes colour, size, itches or bleeds, got to the doctor now!

Throat’s a bid dodgy, which could be thyroid related but then again not. I elect to say not.

Okay, here’s an exercise for you all to do today: Close your eyes and picture light entering your feet through the floor and coursing up your legs until it reaches the base of your spine, just above your bum. Picture red light at the spot. Move around to your sexual organs and picture orange light. When you’ve visualised that, go on to your solar plexis (that’s slightly above your naval, or belly button and towards the centre between your back and belly.) Then picture green light in the centre of your chest, blue light in your throat (thyroid) indigo at your third eye (just below forehead above centre of eyebrows) and finally white light entering the crown of your head and flooding your whole body.

I honestly don’t know if this does any good, but it’s one of the exercises I got from one of my thyroid books so you might want to try it and see.

It can take a while to visualise so be patient with yourself.

Okay, I’m going to do some Yoga or have a doze now. Hopefully, when I come back to my computer, someone will have commissioned me some work

Tootle pip
PS. Is there anybody there?!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

April 18 2006: Is it my thyroid or isn’t it?

Hashimoto say: Call a brick a brick and you can be sure it will be a brick.

It’s dead easy to talk yourself into saying symptoms you’ve got are from your dodgy thyroid.

That’s the problem I’ve got at the moment.

I felt terrible yesterday. My muscles were killing me, I was tired – all symptoms of hypothyroidism, I told myself.

I spoke to my spiritual healer who bolstered me a bit and today I went to my acupuncturist who, after taking my pulse, said the symptoms I’d been having the last couple of days are nothing to do with my Thyroxine reduction programme but that I’ve got a virus in my system or I’ve reacted to something I’ve eaten.

I choose to believe him.

If I’m going to walk into my GP’s surgery, look him in the eye and say, look you bastard, I told you I wouldn’t be on Thyroxine for the rest of my life, I’ve got to be completely positive and let no doubt in.

If you call a brick a brick, then it’s a brick even if it could have been a tile. Same thing applies to my thyroid. I can talk myself into failing at my Thyroxine reduction programme. I must not let that happen.

Monday, April 17, 2006

April 17 2006: I feel like I’ve been 10 rounds with Tyson

Hashimoto say: She who is deafening in her silence might also be deaf.

Okay, will someone please tell me that this has nothing to do with my thyroid?

The last two days the backs of my thighs have been hurting. Feels like I’ve had a punch-up with Tyson or been on the treadmill all night.

Yesterday was the third Sunday of my Thyroxine reduction programme. All I’m doing is dropping one tablet a week for six weeks.

Surely my blood levels would not change that quickly. Would anyone care to comment on this?

Perhaps I should be looking at the way I’m sitting at my computer. Sometimes my legs take a lot of the stress.

I have to beat this bloody Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I cannot be on Thyroxine for the rest of my life. If I can win at this, I can win at anything. It will be so empowering.

Speak to you soon

Saturday, April 15, 2006

April 15 2006: Weighty matters

Hashimoto say: Don’t sweat the small stuff or you’ll start to smell

Hello readers

I was not going to post anything over the Bank Holiday weekend, but hell, it’s no crime to change my mind and I want to keep you all coming back because I really value your visits to this site. Your involvement helps me to stick to my plan of fighting Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and proving my doctors wrong. Every time you visit this blog you are supporting me in my struggle. So thank you. And please do leave comments. There is a comment tag you can click on at the bottom of each post.

I was worried a few days ago because I weighed myself and my weight had gone up to 10st 111b.

This alarmed me because my normal weight is 10st 71b and I’ve maintained that pretty constantly since I’ve been on the cursed Thyroxine. I was all the more alarmed by the weight increase because since I started on my graduated Thryoxine reduction programme, I’ve reduced the amount of rubbish I eat: no crisps, ice-cream etc. So, if anything, I would have expected a loss of weight, not a gain.

This had me wondering, is the weight gain caused by my reduction of Thryoxine?

However, I would be doubtful. First of all, I’ve only been knocking out one 100mcg tablet on Sunday’s for the past two weeks so it’s very early days.

Also, I weighed myself again this morning and I was back down to 10st 91b.

I think I can probably attribute the marginal weight gain to a laziness lately about working out in the gym. However, exercise is an important part of thyroid recovery, I believe, so just because I have not been in the gym for over a week does not mean I’ve stopped exercising. However, I find gym exercise is better for keeping weight down. I’ve been jogging locally, I’ve walked a fair bit and this afternoon I’m going to do some gardening which is superb exercise.

I bought some beautiful irisis yesterday from Burford’s, an enormous garden centre in the Cotswold’s http://www.burford.co.uk/ . I love irisis yet don’t have any in my garden so I bought a load. I find a colourful garden really therapeutic. If any of you are into meditation I recommend you closing your eyes and visualising a beautiful garden with pinks, blues and crimsons. When ever you visualise the colour blue, imagine it entering your thyroid. Blue is a spiritually healing colour and calms and relaxes.

Just before I decided to begin on my road to restoring thyroid functionality I had a vivid dream. I was in my garden but it was different from my garden because it was lush and fertile in a way that my garden is not, as yet. It had a raft of colourful plants and flowers and running around the lawn were fawns, rabbits, squirrels, playfully chasing each other.

Now to me, because of my great love for wildlife, this was my idea of heaven. When I die, I want to spend eternity with the cats, dogs and rabbits I’ve had throughout my life. I can imagine nothing more wonderful. So this dream was beautiful to me. Now when I meditate, I imagine that scene and I find it very restorative.

Perhaps you have a scene that you love and when you close your eyes and visualise it, you feel calm and at peace. If so, that would be a good meditation for you. I cannot emphasise enough how important relaxation and minimising your stress is to good thyroid health, indeed all aspects of health.

Ten minutes a day’s not too much to ask. Listen guys, if I can find the time to update this blog every day, and I cannot tell you how busy my life is, I reckon everyone can find 10 minutes to meditate in a quiet spot.

So I challenge you all my hypothyroid readers: try meditating for 10 minutes a day. Perhaps combine it with the shoulder stand I outlined in an earlier posting. You can see a picture of what this looks like at http://www.yoga-alchemy.co.uk/asanas.htm
The shoulder stand is supposed to help balance thyroid function and stimulates the gland. I’m doing this one every day.

Well, I hope there is something here to help you. My aim is to try to provide something new every day I publish a post that might help some of my readers and might even enlighten a few “text book” medics out there whose only course or action is to treat Hashimoto’s with a pill.

Good luck everyone. Don’t forget I’d like your feedback. Your feedback could help others and might even tell me if I’m going wrong anywhere.

Incidentally, I've noticed that the hypertext links don't print out when I paste from Word into this post editor. If anyone knows how to make a hypertext link publish on this blog please let me know, otherwise I'm afraid you'll need to cut and paste the addresses into your browser. Sorry about that.

Lots of love


Thursday, April 13, 2006

April 13 2006: It’s a blip

Hashimoto say: Holy is he who falls into a barrel of tits and comes out sucking his thumb

Hello again readers

I want to emphasise today the danger of internet research. When I first started trying to find out more about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis/hypothyroidism, on the internet I was perplexed by the amount of contradictory information in cyberspace.

Some said iodine was good, others said it was bad, some said soya was good, others said soya was bad. If you must do research on the internet I advise you to only visit reputable medical sources of information. You can find gold nuggets elsewhere but you need to exercise discretion otherwise you can suffer from information overload. When it’s the wrong information that can be detrimental to how you handle this disease.

Blogs such as mine and other personal case studies are also useful because you can learn what works for others who have the same disease as you. Then it is up to you whether you think it is applicable to you.

I mentioned in earlier posts that appropriate exercise is part of my wellness regime. I went for a jog this morning for about a mile. It involved uphill, downhill and the flat. I was a bit perturbed when I got back home because my calves were killing me and I felt ready to drop.

It got me wondering whether the reduction of my thryoxine by one table a week had already started to affect me badly. But on rationalising it I realised it was far too soon. My consultant told me it takes 90 days for the blood to fully replenish itself.

It might just be that I’m naturally knackered, nothing to do with my thyroid. It happens sometimes. I so want to be positive about what I am doing, my quest to cure myself of hypothyroidism. The last couple of days, I’ve been feeling a bit low but it will just be temporary.

My wife took my eldest to the doctor today because her skin sometimes goes yellow and she’s had a bit of twitching in an eyelid. Alarm bells starting ringing. These are possible early symptoms of a dodgy thyroid. Mind you they can also be symptoms of a 101 other things. The GP’s ordered a thyroid function test for her and liver function test so we’ll find out soon enough.

It would be bizarre if she also had Hashimoto’s. She’s not my genetic daughter so it would be even more strange. I would also start seriously worrying if there was something to do with the environment where we live that’s caused this. My neighbour is also on thyroxine. I’d be interested to know if clusters of hypothyroidism exist. If any medical people are reading this and you know of any research about clusters or have any views on this, please leave a comment. I’ll keep you all posted if anything else comes of this.

Well, that’s it for today folks. I’m not sure if I’m going to write an entry on Good Friday. Check in just in case, if you want but I’m more likely to continue with this on Tuesday.

I’ve decided not to reprint the details of my self-cure regime on each post. Regular readers will get bored so new reader should revert back to my first two posts for the details.

Incidentally, I’d be grateful for comments from readers about whether a news service would interest you. I thought I could perhaps include daily thyroid news posts in this blog but only if there’s a demand for it.

What do you think?

Lots of love to you all
Speak soon

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April 12: Irritable and restless

Hashimoto say: Silence is golden unless you’re deaf.

Today is not a good day.

I decided I was going to treat myself to the health club this morning. I was going to bypass the gym and relax in the spa area. I find the sauna and steam gets rid of so much tension and also soothes my muscles when they’re hurting. My back’s a bit creaky at the moment and I’ve got enough cricks and clicks to start a collection.

I got to the club and a notice was on the door to say there was a local power cut which meant the sauna and steam were out of action. So I had to go home and wasted 45 minutes of my precious time when I could have been generating ideas for features.

I’m a bit wound up at the moment. Work’s suddenly dried up. Oh, I’ve got my regulars, my early morning work, my Saturday news service, and other regular stuff but it’s the extra ad hoc stuff I need. I’ve got so many bloody expenses. The family seem to spend my money like it’s going out of fashion. My gas and electricity bills have gone through the roof and while all my bills seem to be rising faster than an Olympic pole-vaulter, my earnings aren’t.

Freelance journalism’s bloody tough but I’ve been doing it for 16 years and I don’t know how to do anything else. Maybe I should sell my body. Anyone want to buy a diseased thyroid?!

I didn’t have time to do my Yoga yesterday. It seemed there was too much to do and too little time to do it in. I took painkillers today for the first time in more than a week. Never mind, I’ll get back on track.

I sent a load of ideas off today to a couple of nationals and trade publications. Hopefully I might get a couple of bites.

I had acupuncture yesterday, but it didn’t do much for me this time. It’s like that. Last week I felt fantastic afterwards, really relaxed. This time, zilch.

My diet wasn’t that great yesterday. We spent most of the day at the hospital. My youngest has got to have an operation. She’s got a clubbed foot which has increasingly been causing her pain so I suppose I was a bit distressed at the thought of her having to have surgery. She’s really nonchalant about it, but I don’t think she really understands the full ramifications. We’ll have to prepare her well.

Anyway, I’ve not really got a lot to say today, so I’ll sign off.

Just a reminder for those who are not regular readers and for whom this is the first one of my posts they are reading. My regime is as follows:

Klamath Blue Green Wild Algae, 1 500mg capsule once a day; Pro-Biotic Acidophilus, 2 tablets daily, Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend, 1 capsule three times a day (150mg each) before meals (contains amylayse, protease, glucoamylase, malt distase, pectinase with phytase, lipase, cellulose, invertase, lactase, bromelain); Kyolic Garlic 600mg (one tablet daily); Coenzyme Q-10 (120mg, 1 a day), Vitamin E495mg and BioCare Bifidobactereum bifidum (1gm daily)

I would also remind you that I am eliminating soy/soya from my diet - as a vegetarian I now realise I consumed this to excess and everything I've read suggests soy can act as a thyroid suppressant.

I repeat again. What I am doing will not necessarily cure you. I am determined that it will cure me. My mind is unshakeably positive and I believe mind really does have power over matter. Telling me something is impossible is like a red rag to a bull. I've proved people wrong all my life. I don't intend to make this an exception.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

April 11: The cure begins

Hashimoto's thought for the day: Hashimoto say he who leaves room for dessert leaves room for life

Dear reader

If you have come to today's posting for the first time I would suggest you read my first three posts which describe what led up to my diagnosis and why I am now weaning myself off of thyroxine in an attempt to kick-start my thyroid.

I have been on my dietary supplements now for about a week, give or take a few days. I am definitely more energetic. To remind you all, I am taking the following every day:

Klamath Blue Green Wild Algae, 1 500mg capsule once a day; Pro-Biotic Acidophilus, 2 tablets daily, Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend, 1 capsule three times a day (150mg each) before meals (contains amylayse, protease, glucoamylase, malt distase, pectinase with phytase, lipase, cellulose, invertase, lactase, bromelain); Kyolic Garlic 600mg (one tablet daily); Coenzyme Q-10 (120mg, 1 a day), Vitamin E495mg and BioCare Bifidobactereum bifidum (1gm daily)

I would also remind you that I am eliminating soy/soya from my diet - as a vegetarian I now realise I consumed this to excess and everything I've read suggests soy can act as a thyroid suppressant.

I repeat again. What I am doing will not necessarily cure you. I am determined that it will cure me. My mind is unshakeably positive and I believe mind really does have power over matter. Telling me something is impossible is like a red rag to a bull. I've proved people wrong all my life. I don't intend to make this an exception.

I am doing Yoga every day which I taught myself many years ago but stopped practising when the kids came along. I feel so much more relaxed now I've started doing it again.

I will include the above few paragraphs every day to help new readers cut to the chase if they don't want to read the first few posts

I've not been to the gym as often as I'd like. I was going to go Sunday, but I didn't feel like it. My attitude is don't force anything if you're not in the mood. If your inner voice is telling you you don't want to exercise, it might be for a reason: exercise when you have a bug or a cold in your system, can, in my exprience, weaken the immune system even more. However, regular exercise is an important part not just for thyroid recovery but for keeping you as healthy as possible while you have thyroid disease.

On days when I don't feel like the gym, I make sure I take gentler exercise. It might be walking a mile or so to the local shops and back again with the dog, occasionally I might do a short jog around the park. As long as you get some form of exercise daily, you're doing yourself some good.

A quick reminder to those who are doing Yoga - make sure the dog and cat aren't in the same room. While I was doing the shoulder stand yesterday, an exercise which stimulates the thyroid (http://www.holistic-online.com/Yoga/hol_yoga_pos_shoulst.htm)
my dog decided to lick my face while my cat stuck her claws in my fingers. This is not conduicive to thyroid recovery.

In future the animals, and the kids, will have to wait in another room until I've finished.

I cannot emphasie Yoga enough. When I've had a stressful day, it makes an incredible difference to how I feel. I completely calms me down. Stress is not thyroid-friendly. Anything that can be done to reduce stress can only help, I would argue.

The thought for the day with which I kicked off this posting was not meant to be flippant. The worst disease of the Western World today is overeating. How many times do you go to a restaurant and have starter, main course and dessert. You have dessert even though you are already full because you just cannot resist the extravagant delights on offer.

You know when you have that awful full feeling, when your stomach feels like the man in the "We want you" poster is prodding it from the inside. That's when you've gone too far. Keep doing this and you're heading for diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Hell, isn't thyroid disease enough?

Look after yourself. Love yourself. Treat yourself with honour and respect. Don't get to that really full stage. Eat little and often. That's key. I've been doing that for the last week or so now. It makes such a difference. I feel far less sluggish after I've eaten.

Another tip - don't eat just before you go to bed. I've been doing this for years. I start work at 5am so I try to make sure I'm in bed by 9pm (sad life) when I have only eaten an hour before.


I'm now eating a lighter meal at 6.30pm. Is it a coincidence I've not had a single headache since when previously I was getting them every day. Of course, it might not just be my dietary change. The Yoga will have helped, perhaps the dietary supplemnts I am taking, or even just my positivity. Most likely it's a mixure of everything.

I am varying my breakfast. I'd like to recommend The Food Doctor Essential Seed Omega butter (http://www.thefooddoctor.com/homebody.php), which is used as a spread for bread or crackers. I spread this on Dr Karg Organic Seeded Spelt Wholegrain Crisp Bread (http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/cgi-local/frameset/detail/430105.html). I have two pieces for breakfast. I find it helps sustain my energy through to lunch time.

Please note I do not have shares in either company. I am just sharing with you what seems to be working for me.

Sometimes I will eat organic porridge made with water mixed with Manuka Honey and sunflower seeds.

For lunch yesterday, I had the leftovers of a curry I made the day before with potatoes, mushrooms and egg and for dinner I had a home made soup with all sorts of vegetarian goodies in it like courgettes, garlic, onions, aubergine and beans.

Beans are great - don't worry about the flatulance - your loved ones will be supportive.

In between, I'm eating plenty of fruit instead of eating crips or biscuits. Nuts are also a good idea although, avoid peanuts. Stick to pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazils (great source of selenium) and almonds (calcium). I read somewhere that pears aren't good for the thyroid so I'm avoiding them. Also in the vegetable arena, turnips, brussels, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and radishes, are apparently non-nos.

However, I would temper all the scare stories about soya and other foodstuffs by repeating what my old grannie Sophie used to tell me: "A little bit of what you fancy does you good". And she was a wise old bird my grannie (gaud bless 'er)...sometimes!

Be sensible about your diet - don't overdose on any one thing.

I practise autogenics, a sort of self-hypnosis that aids relaxation. You can incorporate your own positive statements into the routine. I have started using "My bloodstream is free of anti-thyroid antibodies". It's something that needs to be taught and I provide a weblink here to the British Autogeic Society for your further interest (www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk/).

Of course, there are only so many hours in a day but, be honest, who can't make time for 20 minutes of Yoga, 5 minutes of autogenics three times a day and a bit of exercise. If you can't, then you really do have to reorganise your life.

Eliminate clutter, stop rushing about, reduce pressure in your life.

You can do it. I'm doing it.

Let's do it together (oo-er!)

Have a good day everyone. Remember today is another day towards recovery. And let's face it, even if you're thyroid doesn't get better, adopting a healthier lifestyle will improve your quality of life and make you feel the best you possibly can. And that's got to be better than a poke in the eye.

Thyroid disease does not have to mean feeling like crap...it really doesn't!

Monday, April 10, 2006

April 10: Up to the present date

Dear reader

Today's entry takes us up to the present and will complete the story of how I came to the point where I decided to wean myself off of thyroxine tablets.

Once my blood levels were within the accepted norm I got into the swing of taking thyroxine on a daily basis. Life got pretty much back to normal. Oh, I still suffered mild symtpoms, dry skin, dry, brittle hair, bouts of exhaustion but I could function albeit not quite in the way I would have liked. The constipation never went and continued to be something that distressed me.

I had always felt younger than my years. Now I felt older. While subsequent blood tests showed that supplementation with thyroxine tablets had restored my T4 and TSH to within the "normal" range, what is normal for me and normal for another person are totally different. This is what the medical profession often fails to understand. Some people function best in the middle of the range, some towards the top, others towards the bottom.

Around September 2005, I had a problem with my bone anchored hearing aid site. The skin kept on trying to grow up over the titainium abutment which connected the hearing aid to the implant. The site got infected. I was prescribed amoxycillin and another antibiotic.

A side effect of the antibiotics was an end to my constipation. The tablets made me crap like an elephant. I still had an infection around my implant but at least I could go to the toilet with relative ease. Seven months later I am happy to report my bowel movements are superb.

I went on holiday to Las Vegas in October with my wife and oldest child. I was still fighting the infection which made my skull itch like mad. Then the itching spread all over my body. I was able to bear it until the return flight when, mid-air the rash turned nastier and more itchy and had me scratching like a thousand fleas were doing the fandango all over my body.

A Virgin air stewardess took pity on me and pumped me full of her antihistamines which knocked me out until I got to Heathrow, God bless 'er. The itchy rash stayed with me for about three weeks. My GP was mystified and sent me to have patch testing. No allergies came up apart from sensitivity to a preservative in soap.

The skin specialist suggested the hearing implant might have aggravated my skin and caused the rash but they were shooting in the dark. On December 14 I had the implant removed.

Two and two then started to make four in my mind. I had started to slow down shortly after I had the bone anchored hearing aid implanted. That's where the ill-health started. Could it be that the surgery was related to my thyroid condition? I started to think that somehow it triggered the Hashimoto's antibodies. I have certainly read that what little is known about Hashimoto's, trauma or surgery could be a trigger.

I was very sick after the implant was removed and could hardly get out of bed for about a week. Then on Christmas Day I woke up and threw off the bedcovers like I had been reborn. Suddenly I was bouncing with energy. I can't explain it. I've been bouncing with energy every since, indeed it became too much so and I started getting hyper, anxious and irritable.

I went for a blood test which showed T4 of 18.5 pmol (normal range is 9-19 and TSH of 0.9 mu/L (normal range is 0.35-4.94).

It seemed to me that I was at the upper level of probably what was normal to me.

I went to my consultant and asked him to help wean me off thyroxine. I told him I believed my implant had triggered the antibodies and now that I did not have it anymore, just maybe I could kick-start my thyroid.

We agreed that I would stop taking thyroxine on Sundays for 6 weeks. Then I was to stop taking it on Sunday and Wednesdays for another 6 weeks. We would then see how I felt and what steps to take next.

I bought a book called How I Reversed My Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Hypothyroidism by Robert T. Dirgo and adapted a regimen the writer suceesffully used to heal himself.

A week ago I started a regime of the following nutritional supplements: Klamath Blue Green Wild Algae, 1 500mg capsule once a day; Pro-Biotic Acidophilus, 2 tablets daily, Ultimate Digestive Enzyme Blend, 1 capsule three times a day (150mg each) before meals (contains amylayse, protease, glucoamylase, malt distase, pectinase with phytase, lipase, cellulose, invertase, lactase, bromelain); Kyolic Garlic 600mg (one tablet daily); Coenzyme Q-10 (120mg, 1 a day), Vitamin E495mg and BioCare Bifidobactereum bifidum (1gm daily)

All are free of soy. I have tried to eliminate soy/soya from my diet as much as possible: I have come to realise that, as a strict vegetarian, I have been overdosing on this, eating huge amounts from tofu, to soya mince, to vegetarian burgers on top of all the soya manufacturers use in many basic food stuffs from bread to biscuits. Everything I read suggests soya impedes thyroid function. Even the multivitamin pills I used to take contained soy isoflavones.

I am having weekly acupuncture to boost my immune system and fortnightly spiritual healing. I have created my own meditation technique where I visualise my thyroid as a butterfly and its wings start to move (signifying thyroxine production). I also visualise blue light entering my thyroid. The thyroid relates to the third charka, for those who believe in such things, which I do, and correlates with communication which is interesting for me as communication is what I am all about, as a journalist and writer. Perhaps there is something I am not doing that I should be doing or something I am doing that I should not be doing in the area of self-expression or creativity.

I know this may sound a bit “alternative” but I have nothing to lose. The worse that can happen is that as I wean myself off synthetic thyroxine, I feel dreadful again with the return of the original symptoms. That is easily rectified by returning to synthetic thyroxine which will restore me to a liveable state of health, but one that is a pale in comparison to how I used to feel before hypothyroidism set in.

The lab may say my levels of TSH and T4 are within the “normal” range now that I am taking synthetic thyroxine. However, the levels are not normal for me and for what I need to sustain a quality of life that feel right for me.

On the basis that no one seems to understand why people develop anti-thyroid antibodies in the first place, it seems to me that no one can positively tell me I cannot cure myself of them.

I know there is conjecture that stress, other lifestyle aspects, exposure to certain environmental factors and even surgery can trigger the anti-thyroid antibodies. My reasonable assumption is that several factors have come into play with my own disease:

1)Unresolved grief from the death of my mother when I was 14 came to the surface when my wife and I lost a baby at 20 weeks gestation in 1998 and subsequent therapy I underwent which went deep into this grief and other aspects of my childhood. It opened up a whole well of grief and childhood misery which I had not adequately dealt with up until then.

2)I would then speculate that this left something needing a catalyst to ignite Hashimoto’s. That catalyst may have been surgery to have a bone anchored hearing aid implanted in my skull two years ago. My health went downhill from that point on. I would speculate that the psychological stuff was the petrol and the invasiveness of the implant was the match that ignited the antibodies. There may be other factors at play, but who can know?

Now that the psychological baggage has been successfully worked through and the implant removed, I deduce I have a window of opportunity right now to wean myself off thyroxine.

I could be completely wrong here. I appreciate there is no known scientific basis for any of my suppositions but I owe it to myself to go with this, even if it is only based on a strong hunch.

To all my readers, I would emphasise that what I am doing is something I feel that is right for me. It may not be right for you. You have to find your own way. But I hope that if I am successful in what I am doing, that I will give sufferers of this disease something to aim for.

If you are okay about being on thyroxine for the rest of your life, then fine. Many people accept it. I do not.

If I don't try, I'll never know so I have to give it my best shot.
I've got to try.
I'll keep you posted on how it all goes
Lots of love to you all

Friday, April 07, 2006

April 7 2006: Trying to come to terms

One of my fears on being diagnosed with Hashimoto's and being put on thyroxine was that the tablets might force my T4 hormone too high and push me over into hyperthyroidism.

I had read that people could switch from one to the other if the medication did not suit. The thought of being hyper, nervous and anxious, traits I have battled with all my life and used complementary therapies such as acupuncture and meditation to tackle, terrified me. For me, intense feelings of anxiety and nervousness are less desirable than a hypothyroid state, however ill I had been feeling.

I had been grateful to my GP for diagnosing me. I had heard horror stories of others whose doctors were not so on the ball. A cousin of mine, for example, who was diagnosed about six months after me, was originally told she had glandula fever. She did, but she was also hypothyroid. Even when she told the doctor her mother was on thyroxine tablets, he told her she was too young to have a thyroid condition.

Clearly a doctor that needs to go back to medical school. You can have a dodgy thyroid at any age.

At this stage, dear reader, I must apologise for using such a stupid name (no offence to any Hashimoto's out there including the clever bod who discovered Hashimoto's thyroiditis). I have only done this because I think I can be more honest writing in cognito. I have no preconceptions to protect.

My GP dismissed my use of vitamin and mineral supplements and said to chuck them away. He failed to adequately answer my query about whether the amount of iodine in my multi-vitamins were safe. He also failed to adequately answer my nutrition queries. I’ve read that soy is bad for hypothyroidism. I eat lots of tofu and soya mince as well as Quorn. I have not been able to get any satisfactory advice on this. And different people have given me conflicting advice from my chiropractor to my acupuncturist.

I needed to know, and indeed still need to know, why I have this. If my own immune system is attacking a part of my body – why is it doing this or are there other underlying reasons? I wanted to know what natural and dietary things there are to help my condition. And I needed some respect and understanding for the fact that, if possible, I wanted to be weaned off medication once the condition had been stable for a while and the need to find natural means of stimulating my thyroid to produce the necessary thyroxine.

None of this advice was available. I did go to see a London consultant who very patiently explained the condition to me but at the end of the day did not give me the nutritional advice I needed.

I came away thinking that I suffered from a disease that no one really understood, and indeed, this was an accurate deduction.

They know more about Hashimoto's in the US and, of all places, Israel, where they do more detailed blood tests. Here, in the UK, the lack of knowledge is atrocious.

I started to keep a diary from the day I started taking thyroxine. I kept this up from Feb 1 2005 to Feb 8 2005 but stopped thereafter because I thought I was getting obsessive and, frankly, I did not have the time.

I made ocasional entries in April and May when there were significant developments and, again, I have published them here for your interest.

Writing this blog is different. Blogging is a new concept to me, it's exciting, I feel I can help other people in my situation, maybe teach the medical profession a thing or two should they stumble across this site.

So, dear reader, for your benefit, I present to you the very brief diary I kept. Those of you who are hypothyroid may identify with what I write. Those of you who are not might, hopefully gain some understanding.

Feb 1 2005

I took my first dose of 50 mcg on empty stomach at 5.20am. Felt at my worst today. Seem to have reached rock bottom with this. Totally knackered. Burning throat, aches all over. Got bad headache in the day but I did Yoga and after I finished the meditation part of the exercises my head had completely cleared. Far preferable than my usual Panadol Extra.

Daily food: 1 cup of black coffee, one fried egg between two pieces of toast, one banana, white pasta made with olive oil, garlic, mushrooms and porcini mushrooms, one glass of apple juice, copious amounts of water as always, curried lentils and white rice, salad containing asparagus, tomatoes, red capsicum, rocket, sugar snaps, fruit platter with melon, apple and dates.

Feb 2

Took 50mcg at 5.30 am. Went to the toilet this morning and for the first time in ages, it was normal. This must surely be a placebo effect, albeit a powerful one. GP said I wouldn’t start feeling improvements for about 10 days. My throat isn’t burning as much this morning. I am drinking one cup of strong black coffee as per usual at about 7am while working. Hope this is okay when I am on thyroxine. I usually only drink one cup of coffee a day. It is 11.36am and I am feeling very tired. Legs feel heavy. Calf muscles quite tender, face feels blotchy. Didn’t feel so hungry at breakfast and couldn’t eat much of it – for a change. 1pm: feel very cold after lunch. Sleep for a couple of hours beginning with a meditation tape in afternoon from 2pm-4pm. Get up and work until 5pm. Begin to fade very rapidly in the evening.

Daily food: One cup of black coffee at 7am, organic porridge made with water, with added banana, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, curried lentils and rice for lunch. Organic apple juice at about 6.30pm. Dinner at 8pm: peas, TVP breaded fillet and potato lutkas.

Feb 3

Felt pretty groggy when I got up. Black coffee 6.50am. Gradually perked up. At 9.20am, I’m feeling pretty buoyant. I’m climbing stairs much better than I was. I can feel something changing, albeit early days and only day 3 for the tablets. My mind started to come up with creative ideas again in the shower – my life blood. Don’t care if it’s a placebo affect at this stage. I’ve always believed the mind and spirit is more powerful than the body and can create disease as well as cure it. I believe I’ve created my own thyroid problem and that I can also cure it. I acknowledge I have to take the tablets but I want to look at other ways as well of kick-starting my thyroid and self-regenerating it naturally so that one day I can wean myself off once my body has got used to the right levels in its system again. My left eye was twitching badly first thing this morning. I’ve stopped the calcium supplements for the last two days because I want to know categorically if the eye tics are due to the thyroid problem. So I’m going to give the thyroxine a chance to kick in so I can observe what happens to the tics. 11.42am feeling very cold.

Feb 4

Constipation returned today. Minor muscular spasms near nose and on face. Perplexed by conflicting advice I keep getting about kelp and soya (Do I? Don’t I? Are they harming me? Some say to have it, some say don’t – terribly confusing. I’m coming to the conclusion my diet has had nothing to do with any of this. I suspect non-specified environmental causes. I wonder if the massive HP laser printer I sit less than two feet from has been instrumental in this. There was a funny smell coming from it a while back after it was serviced (ozone?) Spoke to someone at the Thyroid Foundation today re my queries on soy and kelp. I’m very underwhelmed. Not impressed at all with the organisation or the material they send out. Got sent four books today I ordered from Amazon, one of which, in particular, looks really good, The First Year Hypothyroidism. The others are Thyroid Balance, Thyroid Power, Living Well with Hypothyroidism – What your doctor doesn’t tell you that you need to know.

Food: Ate small portion of organic porridge made with water for breakfast, with pumpkin seeds added.

Lunch: had two and a half potato lutkas and an egg-and-onion roll (brown)
Dinner – a bowl of home made soup with potatoes, beans, onion, garlic, salad with celery tomatoes, carrots, rocket, olives, mixed nuts and seeds (not peanuts)
Desert – fruit (blueberries)

Feb 5 (Sat)

Went to toilet OK this morning. Lay in to 7.45 and had my thyroxine at this time instead of the 5.15-5.30 I have it mid-week. Feel a bit “spacey” several hours after taking it. Very slight underlying frontal headache which I can manage without taking anything. I’ve not had any painkillers now since I started the thyroxine after conquering the first really bad one with Yoga on the first day. Had interesting reaction from people when I tell them about my condition. A bit perturbed by the reaction of Rachelle whom I’ve known since age 11. “Oh that’s nothing, I thought you were going to tell me something much worse.”
Yeh! Right. I’ve got to be on f***ing tablets for the rest of my life, my own antibodies have destroyed part of my own body, I feel like shit and you call it nothing” – right thanks. Don’t call me I’ll call you! A 4ft 6 woman of about fifty something attacked me in Caffe Nero in Edgware today (yes really). She had apparently said "excuse me" and it seemed I hadn’t heard her the first time. When she next said "excuse me" she said it in such a rude way, I calmly said to her: "I’m not moving anywhere unless you rephrase that and say it with a bit more manners" at which she started pushing and shoving me. She started pushing and shoving Yoko (pseudonym for my wife). Not long ago I would have flown off the handle at anyone laying a hand on me. My heart rate didn’t even speed up. I was as calm as if nothing had happened. I calmly asked the person behind the counter to call the police. (now that’s one of the positives of this condition and I think it is also teaching me what it is like to be calm in the face of adversity) My wife explained to the woman I was hearing impaired and I hadn’t heard her the first time but that was no way to behave. Someone who was with the woman dragged her away. I think she had issues! I don’t think I should have had black coffee. I didn’t sleep well that night but I was also very worried. I took my blood pressure with our digital reader which is an expensive and highly accurate one. My diastolic has gone up from it’s normal 70-77 to 90-93. That scared the crap out of me. A normal diastolic for a healthy person is about 80.

Daily food: Breakfast: one fried egg in a white toasted roll (have decided now only to have egg once a week because hypothyroid people are at risk of increased cholesterol which is found in egg yolks), one cup of boiling water with a slice of lemon.

Lunch: Quorn, rice and peas and salad, an apple

Dinner: home-made pizza on brown French bread.

Feb 6

I got up at about 7am because I couldn’t sleep. Did my autogenics while I went to the toilet. This eases the constipation. It actually came out rather fast this morning and felt like it might be diarrhoea but when I checked it wasn’t. It just came out like gun fire. My heart felt like it was racing much of the night. I went downstairs, lit a candle and did Yoga. It was very calming. I then took my blood pressure, expecting it to have gone down. At 8am in the morning my diastolic was 93 for the first reading, 90 for the second and 91 for the third. I decided that it was important to keep exercising. I’ve let that go a bit since I developed all my symptoms. I jogged for about a mile, fairly gently but I did it pretty comfortably just the same and while I jogged I resolved that this condition was not going to control me. I would control it. Having read about the associated risks of diabetes, arteriosclerosis and heart disease, and the books I’ve been reading describing hypothyroidism as a condition that is life-changing, it put the willies up me. But I decided I would try to cut back work where it was possible to do so without sacrificing my financial responsibilities. I also resolved to get back into an exercise regime and have decided to make sure I exercise every day be it jogging like I did yesterday, or going to the gym, or swimming 50 lengths. I am going to bring my blood pressure down. I refused to be in a situation whereby I have to go on blood pressure tablets as well. Thyroxine is quite enough thank you.

When I came back from my jog, I had a bath and noticed that the muscle above my knee was in spasm. Also, my gums are still bleeding sometimes when I brush my teeth.

Question: I notice from the leaflet that comes with my tablets that my Levothyroxine Sodium is actually the new name for Thryoxine Sodium. I am supposed to be on a low-salt diet because I also have Meniere’s Disease. Sodium increases the risk of vertigo that is characteristic of Meniere's – that I know to be a fact. Also is the sodium having an effect on my BP? Must check with GP and/or specialists.

Food: Organic porridge made with water, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, pizza for lunch and a mixed leaf salad.

Dinner: mushroom burger (no bun or bread), rice salad, fruit.

Feb 7

Toilet OK. Tiredness really bad – slept most of the afternoon after meditating. Had headache which intensified as the morning went on.

Once again, meditation got rid of it. Went to my spiritual healing group in the evening and Maria gave me a healing. Felt icy cold around my head. She said she detected zilch energy coming from my body

Food: organic porridge made with water and pumpkin seeds and cinnamon. Lunch: egg & onion beigel and a slice of tortilla.

Dinner: small jacket potato with a mixture of kidney beans and onion.

Feb 8

Feel more energised this morning – probably because of all the sleep I had yesterday afternoon. Also eliminating coffee from my diet (third day now) appears to be agreeing with me. Toilet was fine this morning – not perfect, but much better than it was pre-thyroxine. Back muscle still hurts from when I prematurely tried to exercise and also my calves. When I dried my hair with the hair dryer my arms felt heavy. Muscle below the knee a bit painful when I walk. BP taken by my digital machine at 8.45am 134 over 90. Got to get that down to 120 over 80. Don’t understand why the diastolic’s that high – always used to be 70-80 max. GP hasn’t returned my calls. I need to speak to him about the blood pressure, tell him about the referral to the endochrinologist and need a print out of all my blood test. All it takes is a two-minute call from him to ease my worries about my blood pressure – maybe it’s normal when you first start taking thyroxine. None of the books I’ve read mention this, though. The receptionist at the surgery who takes my call, doesn’t seem very bright and gives up taking the three main points of my message so I have no idea what will get through to the doc although she says she’s sent him another e-mail. Weight has gone down from 11 and a half stone to 10stone 121bs since I started the thyroxine. My weight should be 10-10.5.

April 22

1)I got thryoxine tablets manufactured by Alpharma – different manufacturer than before. I know GP/specialist will try to dismiss this as psychological, but they are having a different effect. When I take this new batch, I get a spacey feeling after about 30 minutes and in the last week since I’ve started these I’ve suffered really bad depression, had a panic attack in a meeting with my publisher and I’ve been really nervy, tense and twitchy. I’ve always been highly strung but for the last 10 years, I’ve had good control over my nerves and tension due to the practice of Yoga, autogenics and regular use of a health club (gym, sauna, steam). I seem to have had less conscious control over my anxiety and tension, in fact since I first started thryoxine and it has got worse since the chemist gave me a different manufacturer’s product.

2)Although in the early stages the constipation improved, I still have a problem with going to the toilet. While I am mostly managing to go once a day, and my chronic farting/flatulence had greatly decreased, I am very distressed by the fact that while the first bit of faeces comes out easily, I have to use a great deal of toilet paper to get the rest out otherwise I’d be sitting there all day. I have the need to have a shower every time I go to the toilet. I can’t emphasise enough how distressing I am finding this.

3)My energy levels are much, much better, although I have good days and bad days. My main concern is the effect the thyroxine is having on my anxiety/tension levels and mood changes.

May 17

Going back to GP today. I had been feeling hyperactive for a while after changing to brand called Alpharma. Consultant had suggested dropping one tablet at the weekend but after seeing GP a few weeks ago, decided not to do that as my blood tests came back normal. He said it would balance out. He prescribed me beta blockers for the panic attacks I’d been having but decided not to take them as that, for me, would be “losing the fight”. Spontaneous bruising including big black eye. Had blood clotting tests on Monday. Doc says it’s got nothing to do with the thryoxine. I’m not convinced.

For the last week I have been getting very tired again, needing to sleep/rest in the afternoon. Muscles in the backs of my leg hurting. Left eye lid has begun twitching although not as severely as pre the hypothyroid diagnosis. I suspect my thyroid has burnt out a bit more. Also been feeling the cold greatly again.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

April 6 2006: In the beginning: I feel like I'm dying - do I have cancer?

My story starts at the beginning of 2005 when I woke up one morning - just like that - and realised something was seriously wrong.

I thought I was dying - asumed I had cancer, a disease that claimed my mother at the young age of 44.

Now, aged 42, I thought the thing I dreaded most had finally happened to me.

It was 5am and I had to get out of bed to produce a daily news service I provide for a internet business publication. My legs felt like they were cement bollards, my head was fuzzy and my muscles felt like I had been in the gym continuously for the last month, which I hadn't.

Indeed, I could not use the gym anymore. About a month or so ago, I was doing my usual routine on the treadmill and had to stop halfway. I was knackered. I was always knackered from that point on so I stopped going to the gym.

It was about that time my right eyelid started twitching. It was infuriating. I felt like some kind of imbecile. It wasn't visible to anyone else, but it felt like a mini earthquake in my face to me and it just wouldn't stop. My right eye was gritty and swollen and I experienced odd sensations in the nose and muscles near my nose.

I found someone on the internet who had the same problem and had found calcium and magnesium supplements had helped him. I tried it and within 48 hours the tics had gone. However, they returned after a week, so I increased the dose.

Then the phenomenon moved from my right to my left eye, albeit less frequent thanks to the supplementation, and weekly acupuncture helped reduce the severity.

When I think back I now realise that I had gradually become more and more tired over a period of three to four months. It was so gradual as to be almost undetectable until it got to that dreadful morning in January 2005 when I struggled to get out of bed.

I had put increasing tiredness, up until then, down to the fact that at 42, I was no spring chicken anymore, my early starts, 12-hour work days, one full day off a week and the stresses of adopting two children with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

I toyed with the idea of going to the doctor when people started commenting my face had become fatter and puffy and my voice had suddenly become "Rod Stewart" - gravelly and husky. Incidentally, I read in How I Reversed My Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Hypothyroidism, by Robert T. Dirgo that indeed, Rod Stewart, is hypothyroid so we are all in good company.

I felt like sleeping a lot of the time and pushing myself to work was a great effort. I was shocked to find I had put on 1 stone. I weighed 10st 51bs at beginning of November and when I went to my GP at the end of January I was 11st 51b I have always been a thin person and eat a healthy near-vegan diet.

One of the most embarrassing and distressing problems was going to the toilet. If anyone is eating a sandwich, read this section later. The first bit of faeces would come out okay, but then it would just stay stuck up there and I'd get through lots of toilet paper to keep myself clean. Okay, too much detail I hear you all say, but I want this to be an honest blog, warts an' all. I'd sit on the toilet for more than half an hour sometimes, practising slow breathing, Yoga techniques and autogenic exercisess in a bid to get it all out.

I've always been someone who hardly feels the cold but now I started feeling cold all the time. Went to Marks & Spencer and bought thermal underwear which helped.

So here I was lying in bed, focusing all my effort to drag myself upstairs to the office and attempt to meet my 8.30am deadline for my news stories. It's all a blur now, but somehow I managed to make it to my computer, wade through the national newspapers and get my work out in time assisted by copious amounts of black coffee and Manuka honey which I use instead of sugar.

I went to see the doc that same day. When he heard all my symptoms, he told me he wanted me to get my blood tested. Thyroid disease was one of the things he was looking for. I had my blood tested and was told I'd have to wait a week for the results.

A day after the blood tests I got a call from the surgery telling me I must make an appointment right away. This was it, I thought, as I mused I'd be the only person in history to have Chuck Berry's My Ding-a-Ling played at my funeral.

My GP, God bless 'im, greeted me with a broad smile. "You have the worst case of hypothyroidism we've ever seen in this surgery."

Bli'me don't look so happy mate, I thought to myself, wondering what on earth hypothyroidism was and whether I was going to live to see 43.

These were my results:

. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) 72.64 mu/L and

.T4, 5.1 pmol/L.

The normal level for TSH as defined by the lab that produced my blood results were between 0.35-4.94 mu/l, so you can see, I was way off the Richter scale. The lab defined the normal levels for T4 as 9-19 pmol/L. Here, too, I was also on another planet.

For those of you who don't know, the pituitary gland releases TSH to increase thyroid hormone production, T4. T4 is converted into T3 which influences all the cells and tissues in your body. If you are hypothyroid, the cells and organs of your body slow down and you can suffer a vast array of symptoms. So, to make it simple, my pituitary was having to work overtime producing more TSH to try to get my thyroid to produce T4 but my thyroid had gone on strike so however much TSH my pituitary pumped out, my thyroid refused to respond with T4 production.

Why? I had a form of hypothyroidism known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, so named by Japanese chappy who discovered it. In a nutshell, the body produces anti-thyroid antibodies. For reasons that are mostly unknown - and that is the frustrating part and why I insist no doctor can positively say you cannot recover from thyroid disease because they know so little about the causes - the body's own anti-bodies identify the thyroid as an alien that needs dispatching and attacks it.

No wonder I felt ill!

Everyone's symptoms are different so every ailment tends to get attributed to the thyroid disorder when in fact it could be something else. It is very important to be aware of this so that another condition is not overlooked.

For a good explanation of the mechanics of the thyroid, I would refer you to http://www.btf-thyroid.org/.

But, at least now I had a diagnosis. I was ill. It wasn't in my mind. And the good news, the doc said, was that it could be fixed with daily thyroxine tablets, a synthetic form of the T4 my thyroid was not producing enough of.

"For how long?" I asked

"For ever," he said.

"Great - I'm on drugs for life," I said.

"Don't think of it as a drug but a hormone replacement to produce something your body is not able to make."

"Thanks Doc - HRT at 42 - and I'm a man".

He printed out a sheet explaining hypothyroidismdsim and its treatment and dispatched me with a prescription for 50mcg of thryoxine a day for three weeks to be increased to 100 mcg thereafter...

I was stunned. What did this mean? What effect would it have on my life? I was immortal, wasn't I? Would I ever feel well again?

So began what I was told would be a lifetime of medication...

Not if I could help it!