In Part 1 I talked about beginning to suspect I was hypothyroid, researching it, and telling my doctor about it--and about his response. Here I'll talk about what happened after I started taking Armour Thyroid.
When I first started taking thyroid, it was actually about 4 years ago. I took it for a few months, and almost immediately I noticed that the skin on my hands and feet started getting softer. (In fact, I remember the bottoms of my feet being completely soft--no rough spots at all...amazing!) That skin hadn't been soft since...well, I couldn't even remember when! Of course, the relative softness of skin isn't the only barometer of thyroid levels, but it's long been one of my key indicators. But as I continued taking thyroid, my hands and feet started to get rough again. So I did a little more research, and I came across the web site of a doctor who talked a lot about thyroid and related issues. He said that if you start on thyroid, get better for a while, and then get worse again...you may have "adrenal fatigue" in addition to hypothyroidism. He said that it's like the thyroid gland has to put out enough thyroid and the adrenal gland has to be able to handle what the thyroid gland's putting out...implying that if either side of that equation remains broken, you're still gonna have problems. So I started thinking I might be adrenal fatigued...or that in any case the thyroid replacement therapy wasn't working, since some of my symptoms had returned while I was still on it. Aaaand, after only a few months, I stopped taking thyroid. Big mistake.
Since then I've read what Dr. Andrew Weil (an integrative medicine expert whose work I trust) has to say about "adrenal fatigue," and he sees it as suspect at best.
Anyway, when I went back to my doctor again this past January to see if I could get back on thyroid, he tested me again, and lo and behold, this time there was nothing subclinical about it: I had full-blown hypothyroidism. I've heard recently from a well-respected thyroid author that delaying getting treatment can make one's hypothyroidism worse (duh) and/or eventually lead to other (serious) health problems. Thankfully I caught before I contracted some other horrible condition!
My lesson learned: Research is fine, but run it by your doctor first!
So my doctor put me back on Armour, and I've been on it consistently ever since. And here is where it gets really good: Thyroid replacement therapy is making a huge difference in my life! Let me count the ways:
- The skin on my hands, feet, and elbows is better by leaps and bounds. The bottoms of my feet are actually--still--soft! And my elbows? Holy cow, have they changed! They used to be visibly dry, rough, even hard. I could exfoliate and/or lotion those babies and the next day...it was like I hadn't even done anything. Now, the dry/rough/dead skin patches are GONE and my elbows are soft!
- MY HAIR IS BETTER! It seems like every time I look in the mirror I can tell that my hair is just a little bit better. As in: it looks more filled in. YAY!!!
- My depression is noticeably less. I don't have near as many uncontrollable sobbing episodes as I used to. (Yes, I have these--and have for years.) In fact! I don't feel like I need my antidepressant anymore and stopped taking it months ago. Note: I should not have stopped taking it suddenly. This is not recommended. Having said that, my doctor is cool with my not taking it from here on out.
- Ever since I can remember I've had what my doctor just told me is foliculitis on my arms. (Now, the only thing I don't understand about that is "foliculitis" is defined as an infection of the hair follicles, and what I have has never behaved like an infection. But maybe it is and has been low grade all along, who knows.) Anyway it looked like small red spots. Well: they are getting smaller and less noticeable. In fact one time recently when I looked at my arms closely in the mirror, it looked like the pores on them were getting smaller and closing in on themselves--probably because they're finally getting what they need!
- A few months ago I had an upper respiratory infection. Now, I get these usually once or twice a year and for ages I've had to get an antibiotic to finally get over it. But this time, I could tell that I was progressing through the symptoms more quickly, so I didn't even go to my doc. for it. And eventually, it went away on its own.
I am SO thrilled with the way thyroid replacement therapy has improved my body and my life...Yay!!!