Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thyroid Hormones & Bone Marrow Biopsies

Sorry, all. I know I'm long overdue to post a blog that actually contains educational information about a natural health topic. This one does, but is being written primarily to allow me to vent a bit. Thanks for supporting me through this. I want to stress that I am very committed to treating myself and any health issues I may have using completely natural methods. Because of the natural supplements I have used for many years, my thyroid gland (which "died" in 1994) is regenerating and has begun producing hormones again. Unfortunately, my thyroid gland has not yet regenerated to the point that I can function without taking prescription thyroid hormones. Luckily, there are natural medications available via prescription. The most popular natural thyroid med, Armour Thyroid, disappeared off store shelves about four months ago, leaving approximately two million US thyroid patients unable to get this necessary medication.

The thyroid gland produces several different hormones, the most important being the T3 and T4 hormones. Mainstream thyroid medications such as Synthroid only contain the T4 hormone. Although most people's bodies easily convert T4 to T3, a large number of patients' bodies are unable to convert the T4 to T3. Mine is one of those bodies. The beauty of Armour Thyroid, which is made from desiccated thyroid glands of bovine origin, is that it provides the patient with both thyroid hormones. At my lowest point in my thyroid journey, I was on Synthroid but was almost bedridden due to crippling exhaustion. My neurological symptoms were so extreme that I was incorrectly diagnosed with MS three times. I had ballooned up to almost 200 pounds and was unable to function normally. All of these issues were caused because my body had too much T4 and almost zero T3. I had to go to four doctors before finding one willing to prescribe Armour. My symptoms disappeared after one month on Armour.

Then Armour disappeared.

I am blessed to live near a compounding pharmacy that can custom compound a medication very similar to Armour. I've now been on that med for about four months. The problem I'm experiencing is that the dose of Armour I was on when Armour disappeared was not the correct dose, so my current Endocrinologist and I are basically starting from scratch in figuring out what dosages I need of the T4 and T3 hormones. Among other issues, one of the side effects of having low thyroid levels for over 6 months is that my metabolism and my body's ability to digest and absorb protein have been negatively impacted. This has caused the iron level in my blood to be almost zero, a level deemed "impressive" by my doctor. Lucky me. In addition, my body is not producing normal amounts of several types of red blood cells, which naturally affects the oxygen content of my blood. I am counteracting this using an oxygenating product called Cell Food. I am also taking high doses of Hawthorne Berry to ensure my heart and circulatory system are working at the highest efficiency possible. I hate to think how badly I would feel if I did not eat an all-organic, whole food diet and if I were not using supplements to support my body.

I had another Endocrinology appointment today. My ferritin (a form of iron) levels are so low my doctor wanted to do a bone marrow biopsy to rule out much more severe issues. I refused. I went down that road twelve years ago during another phase of extreme thyroid issues. I appreciate my doctor's concern, but know that my blood count issues are all related to my current thyroid insufficiency. She didn't agree, but she hasn't received the same training or done the same research I have. I'm ok with that. Although my symptoms have been indicating that my thyroid levels are currently way too high, she found that my reflexes are all extremely slow, which is indicative of low hormone levels. My speech is also a bit slurred, also indicative of low levels.

She commented that she can't believe I'm working or even able to get out of bed with blood counts as low as mine. Lucky me, again. I didn't mention that I'm carrying a full practice load, still working as a consultant at a health food store, and still have four children, two dogs and a husband. LOL. Needless to say, getting out of bed is a challenge. Being tired is easily dealt with. The achiness, constant headache, bitchiness (forgive my use of the word ... it's the only one that works), brain fog, slurred speech, dizziness and skipped heart beats are a bit tougher to deal with, but I'm forging ahead. If I had my druthers, I'd probably spend all day every day wrapped in a quilt sleeping and watching old movies. That's just not an option for me. I've been pulling myself up by my bootstraps and doing what needs to be done every day. On my "off" days, I'm a bit of a slug. A really, really lazy slug.

My doc and I worked together to devise a plan which I'm confident will work. Instead of taking T3 and T4 combined in one capsule, she's going to phone in scripts for separate doses of T3 and T4. That will enable us to easily change the level of each. I will get blood work much more frequently so that we can keep much closer track of where my levels are.

My TSH level, which should never be above 4.5, is still in the high 70s. (That earned me another "impressive," LOL.) I'm confident all of my numbers will soon return to normal. Until then, I'm honestly thankful that God is allowing me to experience this. I know that what I'm going through is preparing me to help others with greater compassion, knowledge and wisdom. I'm looking forward to ending this lesson. :)

Thanks for letting me vent a bit. Take time today to give thanks for your health and live in a way that protects it!


  1. Thank you, Pam, for sharing in this blog post. It was informative too. I can only imagine some of your frustration. You are a trooper and your journey helps and will help so many people. Much love and healing light to you, Adrienne

    PS Why did Armour go off the market?

  2. Thanks, Adrienne! It's all a learning and growth experience. The common story is that Armour cannot get their raw materials. There are other stories circulating that involve the FDA, but I can't confirm any of those. It is a real shame, as most people aren't having good luck with the alternatives.

  3. Thyroid problems are a bitch, huh? Sorry it's been so hard for you to get what you need for yourself. Do you know why Armour went off the market? I had suspected it was due to swine flu since it was derived from pigs.

  4. Hi,

    Sorry your suffering. I suffer with Grave's Disease, had RAI, and still suffer.

    My passion is to try and help in changing the way people with thyroid disorders are being treated. Please check out my latest blog post regarding this and tell me what you think.

    Feel better

  5. Oh, my raging thyroid feels for yours. Thanks you, all the people who have been nice to me when i have not. I was wondering, my thyroid problems are from hashimotos... can this also be reversed? in your opinion. Thanks,
    eileen dickey, washington.

  6. Thanks, Bitt! No, the raw material shortage is not related to H1N1. There are several stories floating around, most of which focus on the FDA pulling a fast one. See my previous comment for details. Regardless of the reason, it's caused a lot of heartache and health problems for 2 million people! Thanks for your support!

  7. Hi, Chyvonne! Thanks so much! Your blog is great. I think our best approach is to continually educate the public so that they know how to be their own advocate with their doctor. That is the approach I'm taking. I teach multiple classes on thyroid health and always include information on how to best discuss thyroid issues with mainstream MDs. The combined momentum of the grassroots efforts you mention in your blog will be heard ... someday. We just have to keep fighting! I'm writing a book, too. Someday I hope that this era in thyroid treatment will be regarded as the "dark time" in medical history.

  8. Hi, Dickeybirds! My heart goes out to you. Hashi's is one of the toughest thyroid diseases to live with. I strongly believe that our bodies can reverse ANYTHING if they're given what they need. Hashi's is tricky, and it cannot be reversed overnight, but I've good luck with several clients. It takes patience, persistence and a strong faith that you CAN heal. Thanks so much for your support. My heart is with you!

  9. Hi Pam! I know I'm a bit late in commenting but I just found your blog today... I just showed my students "Simply Raw" last week, and have been looking into the Rainbow Green diet. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos (my TSH was in the 70s too) a couple of years ago and refused to take meds for a long time. But I started taking Armour thyroid last year, and was doing really well on it until it suddenly wasn't available anymore. I took a synthetic pill for a couple of months but I think it actually made me worse. This winter has been really hard, so I totally know what you're going through! I am hoping to help my thyroid out a bit with Phase 1 of Rainbow Green... but adding some superfoods to stimulate the thyroid. Anyway, thanks for your post! Hope all is well :) Emily

  10. Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today...................................................

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  12. Desiccated bovine capsule is the right supplement that could provide great benefits including weight reduction and much better vigor.

  13. Thank you for your kind recommendation. Unfortunately, bovine thyroid supplements (and desiccated bovine liver) were not strong enough for the severity of my condition. My body was absolutely producing nothing, so the bovine supplements were insufficient. Trust me when I say I tried every natural option possible. I'm thankful the natural supplements I was using prevented me from being far sicker. Thanks for your recommendation.

  14. I think the natural and biological sources of vitamins and minerals are best compared with other packaging and plastic products. Always try to push things you need in your home. It is not only going to be cheaper, but it will be much more beneficial to your health and your family.


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