Graves’ Disease – My Diagnosis Part 2

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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.

Yesterday I told you about my diagnosis, and some of the misgivings that went along with learning that I have Graves' Disease.

I was pretty bummed out and stressed over what to do. What to do.  What to do.

If you've been faithfully reading my blog, you'll know that I feel a lot of angst that GAPS alone has not healed me thoroughly.  I was doing so awesome the first year. It will be two years in December, and the stress I have been through this entire year has been extremely detrimental to my health.  I also don't feel that GAPS alone is going to take care of my thyroid issue that has been ongoing, at least for a decade, if not longer.  I had hoped to find a natural way to heal, (meaning that I would rather not take prescription medication) but according to Mary Sholom it is unlikely.

Also, Bee, who I get the impression is pretty radically against medications (I could be wrong on that but that is my impression) has a page with information on thyroid and adrenal malfunction. Knowing this makes me feel a little better that I'm just not giving up and giving in.

For one thing, if I could quit my job and if my stress at home suddenly vanished, I would most definitely go on doing nothing but GAPS because that is my typical way to handle things.  Shove my head right into the sand – which is what I've been doing all these years except for the two times I did actually ask for testing from “regular” doctors.  And it's probably a good thing they did nothing because they likely would have prescribed Synthroid.  Unfortunately, I cannot quit my job, because currently I am the main breadwinner.  I am actually hoping and praying my husband quits his main business because it has caused both us much stress and anguish in 2011.  He has been working as hard as he could, going without sleep and running on pure adrenaline and I have been worried sick about him.  His schedule for the entire year has been like this:

  • Work 7 days a week
  • 2-3 hours of sleep three nights a week
  • 4-5 hours of sleep two nights a week
  • 8-10 hours of sleep one night
  • At least one all-nighter each week
  • One day a month collapse and sleep 12-24 hours

He has lost far too much weight, he looks gaunt and sickly.    I have never seen him look this bad and I honestly don't know how he keeps going.  I have been trying to get him to stop, and finally I started to think maybe he's sick and can't stop himself.  And in fact, I had started to think that he had hyperthyroidism because he does have many of the symptoms!  And here I turn out to have the very thing I suspected of him.  I am hoping to get him to at least have some blood work done.

But back to me… yesterday I mentioned that my naturopath is not too keen on the amount of HC I'm on.  She thinks it's “pretty high” but from my research I am just slightly above the recommended low dose.  There is a way to find out if I'm at the right dose, and that is to take my temperature.   I need to take my temperature three times a day, after being awake for three hours to get an average.  For example, if I get up at 4am, I'm to take my temperature at 7am, 10am and 1pm. When my temperature is within a certain range (I'm seeing .1 in one place and .3 in another so I'm not exactly sure which is right or how I'm confused) for five days, I'm at the correct dosage to support my adrenals. This from the Stop the Thyroid Madness site:

You can determine your thyroid and adrenal status by following Dr. Rind with a temperature graph. You simply take your temp 3 times a day, starting three hours after you wake up, and every three hours after that, to equal three temps. (If you have eaten or exercised right before it’s time to take your temp, wait 20 more minutes.) Then average them for that day. Do this for AT LEAST 5 days. If your averaged temp is fluctuating from day to day more than .2 to .3 (says Rind in a telephone conversation with me), you need adrenal support. Your daily average temps should lean towards the .2. Summary: If your temps are fluctuating but overall low, you need more adrenal support and thyroid. If your temps are fluctuating but averaging 98.6, you just need adrenal support. If it is steady but low, you need more thyroid and adrenals are likely fine. (We note that mercury thermometers are the most accurate.)

For those already on cortisol, the above temperature test (comparing at LEAST 5 days of averages) is ideal to know if you are on enough. In other words, if each averaged temp is more than .2-.3 from each other (and several are .3 apart), you are not on enough cortisol, patients have learned.

That is pretty awesome if you ask me.  If thyroid or adrenal issues are suspect, one can determine what is going on by taking one's temperature!  However, please do not self-diagnose as adrenal dysfunction can be caused by low or high cortisol, and thyroid dysfunction can be hypo-or-hyper as I've learned.  Which really to be honest with you blew me away to learn that I have the opposite problem of what I've suspected for years.

I have lots more to say on this.  Like the post I promised to talk about the reverse T3 problem.  But that will have to wait for another day. I've also come up with a plan to hopefully relieve some stress at my job, but I'll tell you about that another day, too.

Yours Truly,

Starlene

 

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15 comments to Graves’ Disease – My Diagnosis Part 2

  • Tiffany

    Oh Starlene,

    I am so sorry to hear about your trials! I understand so much of what you are going through…figuring all this out (especially thyroid and adrenal stuff!) is SO confusing! Your last several posts are helping me and giving me a new direction to explore, so thank you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Tiffany, thank you. I think it is going to be okay… eventually, at least I hope! LOL! I know I need to reduce stress as much as possible and that is hard to do in itself. Actually just the work I’m having to do to try to figure out what to do is stressful all in itself! I’m glad you are finding my posts of help… everything I am writing about is fairly new to me, I have not heard about a lot of it ever before, so I thought it was important to share. I mean, I’ve heard of some of the books I’m reading, but thought it would be so simple, just get Armour and voila! Back to normal! But it isn’t that simple and that in itself is also a little disappointing that is has to be such a maze to weave my way through. On the bright side, I am certain that GAPS has helped my thyroid function better as I review the “Long and Pathetic list of symptoms of Hypothyroidism” over at Stop the Thyroid Madness I see that many of my symptoms that I found relief on in the first six months that remain gone, were actually hypothyroid issues! Like my aching feet! I did not know that. And as far as I can tell I don’t have brain fog, but now I’m starting to think this feels “normal” but I might soon have even more clarity. Anyway, you are welcome and I hope you are able to figure out your situation easily. LOL. I wouldn’t advise waiting two decades before doing something. 🙂 I just thought it was “normal” for me to be so unmotivated all my life… anyway… I will keep updating to let you and my readers know how it goes. Best, Starlene

    [Reply]

  • Sandi

    Hi Starlene, I’ve been wondering what was going on with you. I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but at least now you know what you’re dealing with. I hope you’ll be able to find ways to manage the stress and the illness. Just take it a day at a time. I found out I’ve got hashimoto’s and I’m confused and bewildered too. I printed out a lot of stuff from STTM but it’s overwhelming all at once . If I take a section a day, I’ll be alright! Hope you get a ggod nights rest – sweet dreams! Sandi

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Sandi, I’m so sorry I did not see this comment from you but just found it today. I’m sorry you are having to deal with a Hashimoto’s diagnosis, I didn’t think I had it but I learned if you have any antibodies you do have it and even if you don’t have antibodies you still might have it! I do have antibodies, very low amounts, but from what I’m understanding that means it is under control. I am reading a new book and trying to put a blog post together today (that’s how I found your comment!). The book is here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1600376703?tag=gpj-1-20. I have been spending a lot of time at Stop the Thyroid Madness too and I got the book and have been reading it. Have you figured out what you are going to do for your diagnosis? I’m also doing the leptin reset, hoping that will do me some good, but now in reading Dr. Kharrazian’s book I’m wondering how much good it will be able to do when it comes to my thyroid issues… will have to read again from this new angle.

    [Reply]

  • Thanks so much for sharing your journey…I as well am “researching” a lot of the same stuff for me as well. Have suspected a thyroid issue for a while and been taking my temp for a while…we will see..;)

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Alicia, you’re welcome, I hope I’ve been of some help. Although I truly feel I’m fumbling and stumbling along. I would recommend the Stop The Thyroid Madness book for sure though. I feel most calm when I read through to see what I should be doing (there is so much on the Internet to read it becomes a real jumble). I just learned on Monday that I’ve become more “hypo” and really need to start on the T3 medication and my doctor is on vacation until November 21st! Guess I just have “woman” up and push myself until she calls to “check in”. Maybe I’ll start drinking coffee again. Something has to be done. I’m really flagging badly. If you feel so inclined, prayers that I can make it through this time of change with strength and grace will be greatly appreciated.

    [Reply]

    Alicia Reply:

    @Starlene, Starlene, I will definitely be praying for you…. (((HUGS)))

    [Reply]

  • Abby

    Hi Starlene,
    When I hear you talk about how,”I just thought it was “normal” for me to be so unmotivated all my life… anyway… “,
    it amazes me because well I only see some of the things you do in your life and it seems like a whole bunch. Unless you have a cleaning lady and cook, you are doing a tremendous amount of work and different tasks. I’ve learned these things from your blog and the Gaps forum. Wow! You have super, super high expectations of yourself I guess. I don’t know I wonder if you are kind of hard on yourself. Have you ever written down all the things you do in a day. I see you as very, very productive person.
    Abby
    P.S. Take away the cleaning lady and the cook you still do a great many things!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Abby, haha. No cleaning woman or cook here. I seriously need a cleaning woman or man. Someone, any gender. Help! I had to let our broadband provider in last week and I truly thought I would die from embarrassment. It’s usually pretty cluttered here… but since I’ve been feeling so poorly the vacuum hasn’t been run in several weeks and it’s just a nightmare. I can’t do a thing about it though. I’m just spent. You know people tell me that I’m actually very productive… and when they describe their life to me I realize I am but I just have so much I want to do and have to do and can’t get it done, and just feel like I’m falling behind chronically, all the time. Thank you Abby for your kind words. How is your daughter doing?

    [Reply]

  • Abby

    HI Starlene,
    Oh, I’ve been there when the house is a total wreck and you have to let the person in that came knocking at the door and yes I’ve been totally mortified. I think only people who have been sick or who have taken care of someone who is sick can relate to the upside down house phenomenon.

    My daughter is slowly, slowly getting better. So there’s progress. My daughter is 17 years old and in her 6 month of GAPS. She was on Intro. for several months and she reacted to biokult probiotic so we’ve had to go slow to increase the probiotic but she’s up to nearly 2 capsules. We need to get up to the 8-10 amount and so maybe by February she’ll be there. Then we have to keep this up for 6 months minimum. I am working hard to increase ferments any way I can. She is an adult and had these problems since she was born, ear infections at 7 months, so I am anticipating 2-3 years to start to see amazing things. I won’t feel that I have done the protocol unless I wait this 2-3 year time span. After this time span I am thinking another couple years after that to keep the progress going. I want her to have a happy life and healthy children. Will it all work out? Who knows, but I have to do this. I am her mother an I have besides, well the one upstairs, the ultimate responsibility to help in any way I know how.
    Abby
    P.S. Sorry long winded and heavy!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi @Abby, OH, no worries, you weren’t long winded or heavy at all! You are such a warrior mama for your daughter, it sounds like she is making improvements, slowly but surely. I hope she realizes how precious you are to work this hard for her health. Oh, and the house thing is just so awful. I’ve never been much of a housekeeper, and I used to depend on these “bursts of energy” I would get, similar to the nesting urges we women sometimes experience before the baby is due to be born? The bursts of energy would come just days before my cycle would start. But in the last few years those bursts of energy have farther and fewer between and it’s been harder and harder to keep up. I’m just so glad we live in a rural area because there’s little danger of visitors dropping in. 🙂 I’m just really hoping I will feel more energetic in the coming months. That would be great to have some energy again! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • Starlene,
    I’ve been reading in interest, because I feel like something is up with my thyroid too. Your Graves diagnosis got me thinking. I often feel ‘wired’ but retain a lot of fluid, I don’t lose weight despite having no appetite and eating little. I am really not sure which diagnosis fits me though, having read through the symptoms for both. Maybe it’s time to get tested. I really don’t want to be medicated though.

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi @Natalia, so good to hear from you, how are you doing?!! Boy do I hear you on the medication part of things! I was SOOO thrilled when because of GAPS I was able to get off my asthma medication! So have you heard about leptin resistance? I happened upon Dr. Jack Kruse’s website http://jackkruse.com/why-is-oprah-still-obese-leptin-part-3/ and he has a program to reset leptin resistance to leptin sensitivity, and he also indicates on his blog (within comments) that thyroid conditions can be healed, at least in his experience. Would you consider yourself underweight? He seems to think leptin resistance can wreak a lot of havoc with the human body. He also mentions GAPS on his blog in several places, and he seems knowledgeable about thyroid and adrenal issues. I mention him because I saw on his blog that he says in his experience people can go off thyroid meds by doing his protocol. I am sure I am leptin resistant and am thinking about trying his suggestions but not just right now. The meal plan lines up pretty good with GAPS so that’s a plus. 🙂

    I think the best thing you could do right now would be to start taking your temperature and get your averages for five days in a row. That is supposed to give an indication of whether you have adrenal or thyroid issues. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about this stuff in the last two weeks! I am actually becoming able to speak fluently about thyroid condition. BTW, if you want to get tested it is possible to order right on the Internet. I found this pretty amazing. It’s not terribly expensive either. The Stop The Thyroid Madness site has information here on the tests you should run and links to labs where you can order: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/recommended-labwork/ I would be very interested to hear if you learn anything back, if you do have tests done. If nothing else, it would be a learning experience! I know it has been for me lately. Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

    Natalia Reply:

    Hi @Starlene!!, I’m doing ok, trying to wrap my head around all of this oxalate madness. There have been a lot of posts on the low oxalate yahoo group about oxalate damaging the thyroid, and I definitely feel all of my thyroid-type symptoms when I’m dumping. So I’m not sure if it is oxalates causing it or if I do have a thyroid problem. I get temp spikes with dumping so I think recording my temp would be a bit of a doozy indicator! I will look in to the leptin reset thing. I have heard about it a lot in the Marks Daily Apple community. I don’t consider myself underweight anymore. I don’t lose weight at all now. But then again some days I feel a lot heavier and frumpier than others..one day I’m skinny the next day I’m not…fluid is a big problem for me. I have all types of hyper symptoms too- overactivity, insomnia, racing thoughts, lack of periods, some other not-so-fun stuff!
    Thanks for the recommendations!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    @Natalia, I have been taking my temps for several days now, and it is blowing my mind how much they can vary throughout the day, but still come in at my “normal” average. For example last Thursday my temps were 98.4°F for the first one, and 97.5°F for the second. I thought no way will my average be 98.3°F with that low second temp. But then I’ll be darned if my third temp (three hours later) wasn’t 99.0°F so my average for the day was 98.3°F! Your racing thoughts, insomnia also sound like high or low cortisol symptoms. Well that is the fun thing about temperature taking… if yours end up being all over the place from one day to the next and low, that indicates adrenal dysfunction *and* thyroid issues. If they are steady and overall low, then your adrenals are okay but thyroid issues. Let me know how it turns out, if you do decide to take your temps. At minimum, this is great life experience for your chosen career, eh? 🙂

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