Thyroid - What Dr's really don't know how to help.

My thyroid ..........

As early as my teen years I was putting on weight no matter how hard I tried not to.   I remember my mother bringing me to a Dr where I grew up, in River Vale, NJ, and I remember him saying, " She is borderline."   I let it go....years and years...decades went by.  Still I continued to slowly gain and was told by every doctor I saw that I needed to eat less and exercise more - I am sorry but I was eating around 1200 calories a day or less and I was working out.   I got married, had kids - still was always told my thyroid was borderline and that if I would lose weight I would feel better.  More years went by and more excuses by doctors.   In 2009 I was tested again by Dr. Ben Doke and my tsh level was 5.86.  According to him that was not hypothyroid and  **maybe** was borderline.   So, again, I just felt ..ok I am a mom!  I am getting older....I homeschool so I have a lot of stress.  That's why I am SOOOO tired I can barely function.   Makes sense.  And, because I can barely function I am putting on more weight even though I barely eat.    I let more time pass.    

Finally it was around December, 2010.   I had completely had it with being fatigued all the time no matter how much sleep I got.   I felt like death was knocking on my door.   There is no other way to describe the fatigue that had overcome me.   I got online and researched HYPOTHYROID to no end.  I kept track of symptoms, saw examples of what blood work should be and spent many hours just researching it.   I read that many doctors are ignoring symptoms or treating them symptom by symptom instead of saying ....Hey!!!  Wait!!!  You have a BUNCH of symptoms here and they all related to being hypothyroid.   Not one Dr even considered that all my symptoms added together could possibly be this awful disease.  The longer the wait to be treated the worse you feel as your hormone levels start dropping.     What are the symptoms I had?   

Well, here's a list of common thyroid symptoms

  • Less stamina than others
  • Less energy than others
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to hold children for very long
  • Arms feeling like dead weights after activity
  • Chronic Low Grade Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Often feeling cold
  • Cold hands and feet
  • High or rising cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Palpitations
  • Fibrillations
  • Plaque buildup
  • Bizarre and Debilitating reaction to exercise
  • Hard stools
  • Constipation
  • No eyebrows or thinning outer eyebrows
  • Dry Hair
  • Hair Loss
  • White hairs growing in
  • No hair growth, breaks faster than it grows
  • Dry cracking skin
  • Nodding off easily
  • Requires naps in the afternoon
  • Sleep Apnea (which can also be associated with low cortisol)
  • Air Hunger (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
  • Inability to concentrate or read long periods of time
  • Forgetfulness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Always gaining weight
  • Inability to function in a relationship with anyone
  • NO sex drive
  • Failure to ovulate and/or constant bleeding (see Rainbow’s story)
  • Moody periods
  • PMS
  • Inability to get pregnant; miscarriages
  • Excruciating pain during period
  • Nausea
  • Swelling/edema/puffiness
  • Aching bones/muscles
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bumps on legs
  • Acne on face and in hair
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Hives
  • Exhaustion in every dimension–physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Inability to work full-time
  • Inability to stand on feet for long periods
  • Complete lack of motivation
  • Slowing to a snail’s pace when walking up slight grade
  • Extremely crabby, irritable, intolerant of others
  • Handwriting nearly illegible
  • Internal itching of ears
  • Broken/peeling fingernails
  • Dry skin or snake skin
  • Major anxiety/worry
  • Ringing in ears
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Inability to eat in the mornings
  • Joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms
  • No Appetite
  • Fluid retention to the point of Congestive Heart Failure
  • Swollen legs that prevented walking
  • Blood Pressure problems
  • Varicose Veins
  • Dizziness from fluid on the inner ear
  • Low body temperature
  • Raised temperature
  • Tightness in throat; sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Allergies (which can also be a result of low cortisol–common with hypothyroid patients)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Sore feet (plantar fascitis); painful soles of feet
  • now how do I put this one politely….a cold bum, butt, derriere, fanny, gluteus maximus, haunches, hindquarters, posterior, rear, and/or cheeks. Yup, really exists.
  • colitis
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • painful bladder
  • Extreme hunger, especially at nighttime
  • Dysphagia, which is nerve damage and causes the inability to swallow fluid, food or your own saliva and leads to “aspiration pneumonia”.
I would say I had at least 90% of the things on this list and every time I saw a doctor he told me basically eat right, exercise and relax.     

It took me reading sites like the following:

To figure out I was not ok.   I definitely without a doubt was hypothyroid.   Dr. Doke told me no way was I hypothyroid according to his knowledge when I had a tsh of 5.86.   As I did my research I found out he had no clue what he was talking about and according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists TSH levels over 3.0 are considered hypothyroid.    Dr. Doke or any other Dr. I saw had no clue about this.   

More important TSH level isn't the tell all about thyroid conditions.   What matters are your symptoms, your free t4 level, free t3 level, if you have thyroid antibodies or reverse t3.   TSH means absolutely nothing.   I called Dr. Doke about my findings and he told me he doesn't believe in testing free t3 and that I can not believe everything I read online.     At that point I knew it was time to move on and find someone who had a clue about thyroid disorders.  I needed to get better before I got worse.  

I did some research/ made some phone calls and found Dr. Syed here in Midland .   He agreed to test me and gave my a full thyroid panel and told me to come back in 2 weeks for the results.   I knew.  I knew what I had.  Sure enough 2 weeks go by and I go back to Dr Syed who confirmed what I knew all along.....I was hypothyroid.   Not only that BUT...also diabetic, had high triglycerides and also low progesterone on top of a few other issues.   What caused all this????? Years of my hypothyroid being misdiagnosed.   If I was treated back 20 years ago things sure would be different today.   

How does being hypothyroid affect your cholesterol?  Here is a good article to read...

How does it affect diabetes?

Need to get Hannah to ballet so I will end it here ...for now....I will be back writing about what lab work needs to be done to get your thyroid diagnosed properly, what thyroid hormones are and how they work in your body.  

Let me just end this by saying if you suspect you have thyroid problems....either an over active or underactive thyroid...go with your gut.    Don't take no from a doctor.   If you have been diagnosed and don't feel as good as you know you should feel do your research.  Don't settle for anything but optimal treatment.   You can feel better.   You can feel human.  It just takes you advocating for yourself.