From my early teenage years, I struggled with being very cold. In addition, I also had a lot of dizzy spells where I saw black and white dots. Doctors did not realize the importance at that time. I also struggled with long, heavy, and painful menstrual cycles and recurring cysts on my ovaries. I had the cysts surgically drained many times and eventually, surgically removed. I had to go on birth control starting at the age of 13 (until I was 40) to keep cysts at bay and to regulate cycles and mood.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a little over 21 years ago (1990) when I was pregnant and put on a high dose Levaxin (synthetic thyroid medication available in here in Norway ). This was the best pregnancy I ever had. My levels were monitored, and my baby was frequently checked for proper growth. However, soon after giving birth and being on Levaxin (even at doses of 100-175mg), I never fully recovered and my health deteriorated.
All of my symptoms were insidious and came on very suddenly. The symptoms were also sporadic with periods of flares: Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) started during the first year I was taking Levaxin. The ear specialist said I just had to live with it and that it could not be cured. I had Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, rheumatic ailments, and eye problems that came and went. Regarding the eyes, I had a kind of film over the eyes, blurred vision, and was light-sensitive for many years. In recent years, I had pressure in the eye and on the verge of glaucoma, but it came and went through the years. Ophthalmologists were not sure why the high pressure in one eye was sporadic. I was prescribed eye drops for glaucoma, but this made matters MUCH worse, and I had many side effects that affected my thyroid metabolism. I stopped taking it and after starting Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication (NDT), the pressure in the eye went away.
Prior to NDT and while on Levaxin, I had cold hands and feet. I could not tolerate the cold. I was depressed for no reason and had no sense of humor. Apathetic, indifferent, melancholy, and antisocial when I was really hypothyroid. Brainfog! I could not talk coherently during phone calls and lost words in conversations. Memory loss was terrible. Burning hands and feet, swollen eyelids, lips, tongue, bluish hands, and sometimes the toes. Tingling from my head down to my feet. I could not read books, newspapers, etc. because of poor concentration. I had “turkey neck”, hair loss, and my hair was as dry as steel wool and cracking. I had trouble breathing and even went on asthma medicine for a while. I had a lot of colds and sinus infections that lasted for several months. Bloated and painful gut, and appearing as if I was pregnant. I struggled with constipation and could not go to the bathroom for days. Brittle, soft, splitting, and thin nails. Dry skin that flaked and cracked. Burning/nerve sensation under the skin. I had a fever-feeling without actually having a fever. With trembling and weak legs, I walked like an old lady, and the stairs were the worst! I lost more things on the floor since my hands could not grip onto things.
By the Summer of 2009, I had acute inflammation of the upper arm which kept me from lifting my arm and I was partially paralyzed. I took a random cortisol blood test that showed I had a value of over 1400. No doctor could figure out why. After receiving my cortisol result, I began to research and read, but was unable to remember or to register what I was reading because I was so sick.
The most wretched period was between 2009 -2011 with the following acute symptoms:
- Acute paralysis of the upper arm, then the other arm.
- Acute groin and hip pain (ended up in the emergency room because of this)
- Acute knee pain and could not bend the knee.
- Acute paralysis in half of the face, neck, and tongue.
- Acute visual disturbances that changed from day to day, as well as, pressure in the eye,
plus many of the symptoms that I mentioned previously were back.
I was finally ordered to have an ultrasound of the gland performed for the first time in 2010. It showed that there was little left of the gland. I also had an MRI, X-ray, CT-scan to check my head, adrenals, and kidneys. Results were normal. I was referred to a neurologist, rheumatologist, and endocrinologist. All results normal. These specialists did not know what was going on in my body. They only recommended that I take pills for symptoms (such as Lyrica for Fibromyalgia pain) and to take strong painkillers. And what was even worse, I was not allowed to see an endocrinologist even when my doctor specifically ordered it because my values were “normal”. Doctors should look at the whole person and symptoms, NOT just the blood tests! I was apathetic, indifferent, and antisocial in that period when no one, not even me, understood what was happening in my body. Little did I know that it was Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis that was attacking my body during that period and Levaxin (the synthetic thyroid medication) was not the right medication for me.
Why could doctors not see this? Why didn’t they prescribe NDT instead of synthetic thyroid medication? I personally think that doctors are “afraid” of NDT because they are only taught about Levaxin in medical school. So many times I had asked if there are other medications other than Levaxin. The doctors said “no” or only shook their heads and said, “Sorry, unfortunately not”. Then, about 2-3 years ago with my own research, I discovered that NDT was available. I was so hypothyroid at that time and had previously relied so much on doctors who said they knew the best treatment.
I keep thinking what life I could have had if I had been healthy for all those years. Just think if the doctors had prescribed NDT to me long ago. I tried Lio (T3-only medication), 20 mcg several times a day, but none of the doctors told me that I should start slowly. Inevitably, it was a terrible experience for me because of the wrong dosing instructions. I took the dose 2-3 times a day. My body went into mega-shock and I experienced shaking, tremors, unsteady legs, obsessions and I felt like I had a hang-over non-stop. Had the doctors known that Lio is fast-acting and patients MUST start at a low dose, such as 2.5 mcg, so the patient can get used to it (then increase the dose that is needed), THEN maybe I would have tolerated it and would have felt healthy again. I feel that I have lost many years due to doctors relying ONLY on blood-tests. I think they only tested TSH and FT4 for years instead of looking at all the other tests for thyroid dysfunction and listening to symptoms. Many doctors do not understand all of the symptoms that are related to thyroid disease and metabolism. I asked many times, “Could it be that all of my problems are related to my metabolism and a poor functioning endocrine system?” “NO, your blood samples are fine,” said the doctors for so many years.
I am so happy that I took the plunge and tried NDT. I started on NDT on the first of April 2012. Now, I finally feel happy and my symptoms have almost completely resolved. I never would have thought that NDT could have such a profound and wonderful difference. Almost all of my problems, complaints, and symptoms disappeared after a few weeks. I take 4 grains of NDT every night before I go to bed. I have no overdose symptoms and feel terrific during the day.
I am currently paying out of pocket for NDT as I live in Norway and NDT is not easily available by “blue prescription”. I will NEVER go back to Levaxin again! I will gladly pay out of my own wallet for the life it has given back to me. I, and many others, have noticed huge improvements and progress in health after starting NDT. Patients who are still ill should not be forced to fight to get treated with NDT when they are miserably ill on synthetic medication such as Levaxin!