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Graves’ Disease – My Diagnosis Part 1

UPDATE: October 25, 2011.  My antibody test came back <0.51 which according to my doctor’s office, and this site: ClinLab Navigator, my results are negative for Graves’ Disease.

My diagnosis of Graves’ Disease is based on the results of my blood tests which indicates my Thyroxine (T4) Free is high. The range is 0.82 – 1.77 and I’m at 1.85.

Synthroid is only T4, is a synthetic drug and is commonly the drug of choice for doctors to prescribe when a patient has hypothyroidism.  I am opposed to taking Synthroid as I have heard for years it does not work well and leaves the patient with many symptoms of hypothyroidism.  One of the first things I told my doctor is that I did not want to take Synthroid, but instead wanted to take Armour.  Armour contains mostly T4 with some T3 which works a lot better for many people.

I was pretty shocked to hear that I have Graves’ which is hyperthyroidism, since I have symptoms of hypothyroidism. I have thought for years that I had hypothyroidism, and here now I find that I have the opposite problem. And I learned that Armour would not be the medication that I would need to take.

I went in on Friday to have more blood taken as there is a third antibody test [Thyrotropin Receptor Antibody] that can be done which will tell us that I do have Graves’ and it will allow us to monitor my treatment.

I’m learning for hyperthyroidism, or Graves’, the treatment of choice is only T3.  Since my body is not converting T4 into T3, I have to take T3 to get the T3 that I need to stop the hypothyroid symptoms. This is my best explanation in layman’s terms.

I haven’t had a lot of time to research, but I have been doing what I can and have been reading Stop the Thyroid Madness: a Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment which I would definitely recommend that you get a copy of if you think you have thyroid issues.

After my doctor’s appointment I felt pretty bummed out because my doctor was unable to tell me why I don’t have the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.  She also stated that I do not have a reverse T3 problem.  And yet with more research, I find that I do indeed have a reverse T3 problem.  I will try to explain this a bit more in a later post. She did mention that she could prescribe T3 (which would be a product called Cytomel).  This will address my reverse T3 problem.  I was feeling frustrated that I have to be in this position, to either educate her, or move on to try and find another doctor, but at the Stop the Thyroid Madness site I learned that she is actually considered by their standards to be a “good doc” with a “bonus”. Here is their criteria.  A good doctor:

  • willingly prescribes natural desiccated thyroid (or T3-only when you need to lower your RT3 levels)
  • uses the labs free T3 and free T4
  • is willing to let you dose by the elimination of symptoms rather than the inadequate TSH
  • And a real bonus is one who understands adrenal dysfunction and how to treat it

She does prescribe natural dessicated thyroid and T3 only.  She does test free T3 and free T4. I know she doesn’t go by TSH.  She does understand adrenal dysfunction and has her own concept of how to treat it, but we differ slightly. She has told me several times already that she thinks I’m on a “pretty high dose” of HC.  I say nothing, she doesn’t push, she just makes the statement.  I don’t plan to stay on this dose for the rest of my life, and this amount seems to be working well for me.

So, I think I will just need to learn to work with her.  It just feels stressful, although I did work up my nerve and speak my mind about needing to have some control over my treatment.  She asked me if I had any questions on what my labs were reporting, and her choice of treatment.  It was really hard to make myself say anything, but I finally said I did have a question.  I told her that I would like to do some research and consult with my friends, and what was going to happen if I decided to do something different than what she wanted me to do?  She said that was my right to do so. She was very nice in how she said that, completely calm and soothing.  I responded, “Well, I can’t write my own prescriptions though,” and she responded, “You’ll tell me what you want to try and I will help you get that.”  On that, I reached over and shook hands with her and said, “Deal.”  She seemed surprised by my actions.

I left her office with the two products she recommended.  This time it cost me $41 (the first visit I left with one product and I do not recall its cost but I could not use it as it lowers cortisol).  When I got home I found these products will not be helpful to me.  The first was a thyroid cofactor from a very reputable company, but the product enhances production of T4!  If you have followed me thus far, you know I have too much T4, so I don’t want to take something that promotes it.  Also, it contains Ashwagandha Root, a product that is helpful to already strong adrenal glands, and we already know mine are in a weakened state.  The second product was a brown bottle without any clue as to what it contained inside, and after I left the office I realized I should find out the ingredients list!  It also contained Ashwagandha, among other things so I won’t be taking that either.  Unfortunately as it was to be used at bedtime to help me sleep. I was looking forward to trying it.

Also at the Stop the Thyroid Madness site they mentioned that naturopath’s have a tendency to push the products that they sell in the office.  So far this seems to be my experience. Armed with this information, I will try to be stronger next time and take the names of the products she wants me to take but to research them once I get home and see if they will work for me or not. A close friend of mine told me she just tells them she is on a limited budget and she will need to research the product first.  This is a very real truth for me as we are in a bind financially.

Tomorrow I will tell you more of what I am doing. I was making one post but it was turning into a novelette.

Thanks for staying with me this far.  I want to say if you think you have an adrenal problem, please look into getting a saliva test before you do anything else.  Ideally you take six samples of saliva to get a good idea to how your body is functioning. These tests can be purchased online some starting at around $100.

Now, for a GAPS moment.  I have been out of sauerkraut for the last two weeks!  Shame, shame on me!  I have just been so awful busy and tired and actually this weekend I have been worn out.  I worked overtime at work again, and then on Friday I went six places!  The bank, I got my hair cut, a thrift store right by the hair salon that I’d never seen before, two grocery stores, got my blood drawn and I got my old lab reports from my old doctor’s office.  I guess that’s seven places.

I made a point to spend most of yesterday in bed and I slept well last night, but have been tired today.  I did however, force myself to make three jars of sauerkraut.  I usually like to use my mandolin but this time I told myself it was either use the food processor or I wasn’t getting anything done.  It was a much faster process, I was able to use a blade that cut the cabbage thinly like I prefer and I made a batch of one green and one purple cabbage, two green cabbages and a third batch that was supposed to be kimchi but instead was loosely based on the recipe since I didn’t have all the ingredients.  Here’s a photo of the three jars in the cupboard:

Kimchi, Ruby and Plain Sauerkraut

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