Blog posts here have been fewer and farther between — what’s the excuse? Well, the end of the school year is a busy time, but that isn’t exactly it. Lots of repeat recipes in the kitchen could be part of the culprit, but that’s not entirely why either. I’ve been having some issues with my thyroid. Yep — my thyroid. It is a very small gland, but man…does it control a lot of stuff.
Anyone who has a sluggish to non-existent thyroid or those with an overactive thyroid can tell you just how many things this little gland is an integral part of. From metabolism to headaches, heart palpitations and low blood pressure/high cholesterol — this sucker does it all.
So — I’ve been treating my hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) since my last pregnancy in 2011. I’m not sure what my TSH level was when I started taking synthetic thyroid hormones back then, but since then, it has always tested in the normal range while on medication. However, I still had lots of symptoms — super dry skin, cracking fingers, dry hair, hair that falls out and breaks, exhaustion and all the fun that comes with it, massive menstrual cramps and all the fun that comes with that (btw…I’m not a friggen wimp either). This fall I asked my doctor to switch me to the natural, desiccated thyroid which from what I’ve read can help with symptoms even if you are testing in the normal range because it not only supplies T3 but also T4 hormones, unlike the synthetic that only supplies you with T3. (p.s. if you need to know what all this stuff is, just ask and I can clarify…but I don’t want to bore people with too many intricacies of thyroid medication).
The natural stuff was wonderful at first! I had more energy than I’ve had in years. My joints didn’t hurt as much, I was happier, motivated to do other things (hell– I started this blog during that time). It was awesome, but slowly I slipped back to where I was before and then things got worse.
I’d say for the last three or four months though, I felt terrible. I didn’t really put two and two together, because like I said before, the thyroid is connected to everything. I was feeling moody, dizzy, anxious, so exhausted that one weekend I slept for 12 hours (from 7pm on the couch until 7am) and I still work up tired — the worst part would be the lack of motivation. Everything became more difficult to do, including just posting weekly to this blog.
Finally, after ignoring my doctor’s orders to get my TSH level checked, I dragged my butt in for a blood draw. Guess what? My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone that tries to wake up your thyroid gland) that usually is in the conservatively normal range of .5-5.0 was at 18! That is almost four times over the very high, high normal, which indicates that I was probably getting very little thyroid hormone in my body and all the functions that it affects were feeling it. No wonder I felt like I was literally breaking down mentally and physically.
This was a little over a month ago and my doctor upped my medication. I was tested again recently through my work for free. I’ve gone down a little from 18 to 12.6, but that is still way out of range. My doctor wants me to wait another two weeks and get tested again to see if it continues to go down, and then my medication will be adjusted accordingly. I will also get my tpo antibodies tested to see if this is a larger, autoimmune issue called Hashimoto’s Disease. My father, brother, and sisters all have some level of hypothyroidism and one sister has confirmed Hashimoto’s, so I suspect this may be the cause as well.
The whole point of this post is what I have planned for summer projects. Project #1 — in order to decrease the amount of medication I will have to take for the rest of my life and to feel better, I am officially going to eliminate gluten from my diet for at least two months.
Today is day one!
Lunch today — chicken salad, loaded with veggies and herbs on GF corn tortillas lightly fried in coconut oil with fresh baby greens from my garden.
I suspect there will be many more meals that are similar to this one in my future. I’m going to attempt GF baking and breads, so we shall see how that goes. I’ll miss my wheat flour, but I’m hoping this summer project is a step in the right direction for my health and the health of my family, too.
Wish me luck!
p.s. Project #2 is top-to-bottom home improvement in order to get our house market-ready. This GF life better help me with my motivation 😉