Suzanne Root, Thyroid Thrivers
52 years old
Hypothyroid post RAI,
hyperthyroid, Adrenal Fatigue
WHO knew I would soon be taking RAI and getting rid of one of my body parts?
I began having what I thought were hot flashes, along with muscle weakness, insomnia, leg cramps, extreme mood swings, that I deduced were from peri-menopause. I had just turned 49 years old, after all. I had cataract symptoms in my right eye, as well. At the time, we had no medical insurance and I didn’t seek immediate medical diagnosis. Not to mention, I was under extreme amount of personal stress at the time. WHO knew I would soon be taking RAI and getting rid of one of my body parts?
I had no clue what the problem was, I immediately thought of cancer.
A few months later, we got insurance and I went to the GP, mainly because I had so much leg weakness and muscle pain from exercising, trying to lose the excess weight I had gained. I could only work out once a week because my recovery process was too long. Actually, it was getting to the point where I could hardly even walk, much less do some bench presses or a Zumba class. The severe pain in my knees, led me to believe I had arthritis. The GP’s office did some blood work. When I returned, I was told I had hyperthyroid and they were going to refer me to an endocrinologist. I had no clue what the problem was, I immediately thought of cancer.
Thankfully, the endocronologist did many tests. However, it turned out that I had 2 nodules on my thyroid. After a fine needle biopsy, I was told the nodules were benign but that they had to be treated. Surgery or radioactive iodine treatment were my only 2 options. I remember thinking, “How scary, that these are the best 2 courses of action for my health.” I opted to do the RAI. I literally ‘killed’ my thyroid gland, because you believe in your doctor and the fact that they have your best interest at heart, right? Hmmm…..I’m just not so sure anymore.
After that, my body became hypothyroid. What? Weren’t my previous symptoms the reason I had no more thyroid?
Shots that were supposed to help my knee problems, were given. Unfortunately, they didn’t. I was feeling sad, overwhelmed and stressed, so the doctor told me I needed to take antidepressants, which made me feel worse, not better. My cataracts, however, were graciously and successfully treated. So, that was a win in my column. Yay, me! Obviously, or not, they couldn’t help me with all of my symptoms. I felt like I was a crotchety 80 year old woman (that could SEE), with no real zest for life, left in me.
At this point, the endocrinologist said my tests were fine, normal. She said I was good to go and that I didn’t need to see her anymore. On the way out the door, when she saw the difficulty I had trying to get out of the chair, she mentioned that, “I was a little stiff, wasn’t I?!” Sadly, that was it. She said nothing more, had nothing else to offer or give me. No additional advice about nutrition, diet, exercise or supplements and I had many hypothyroid symptoms. These ‘issues’ went overlooked as I slowly and laboriously made my way to the door.
I learned about Stop the Thyroid Madness, from a friend and read the book. I cried and cried after reading the first few paragraphs. This story was about me. After reading that book, I knew that there were other options and that the RAI treatment, may not have been the best plan. What could I do? It was over and done with. So, I decided to take a stand with my health and learn everything I could. I dove into researching and expounding on what the book had taught me. A nurse practitioner friend, gave me a prescription for NDT. After 5 days on the medication, I had a menstrual cycle although I hadn’t had one for 9 full months. I didn’t feel any better in any of the other areas, but I was hopeful. At least there had been some change.
90 mg of the NDT, is the most I have been able to take. I am still, very symptomatic. I want to feel better. I’ll even take just feeling ‘good’ some days. So, learning and advocating for myself, led me to see my gynecologist for some estrogen and other hormones replacements, hoping this might help. But, I began having heart palpitations and started to feel hyperthyroid, again. Off those hormones I went.
I was at the end of my rope. Frustration and depression were just a few of the emotions I can remember having at the time. I had all these symptoms, so I found an endocrinologist, a professional, someone who was a specialist in this area of expertise, right? Listening to their advice, I took the extremely, evasive RAI pill and now had no more thyroid gland. The decision was based on what my doctor recommended so why was I still feeling awful after all of this? It FELT like I still had that butterfly-shaped gland Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ , since my symptoms weren’t alleviated. So, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the point of killing it, in the first place?!
This was all very confusing and disheartening. After some time spent searching, I found a new general practitioner. Fingers crossed, I hoped for the best. In spite of all my explanations and history, he just followed the same regiment. He, along with the rest, tried to talk me out of taking NDT. Synthetic Synthroid, was his recommendation for me. Well, I wasn’t having any of that!
Finally, my husband and I decided that we would try a different approach. We opted to fork over cash, instead of using insurance and go to a natural doctor (ND). Adrenal Fatigue was one of the first things she mentioned and I new I had come to the right place. I had done my own research, during all this time, and was pretty sure I had this. My STTM book taught me about this, as well as many other things, but no one ever wanted to talk about it. They didn’t ‘believe’ adrenal fatigue was real, but it is and I am living proof.
I am now waiting for results from a cortisol test as well as taking some cortisol supplements. Actually, I supplement with many vitamins, herbs, adaptogens for my hypothyroidism, now. An extensive food sensitivity test, revealed I needed to stop eating grapes (wine) 😳 , wheat and soy. I was eating most of those things daily, so this new plan was a real eye-opener for me.
My ND said, looking at the initial blood tests, I might never have been hyperthyroid but reacting to Adrenal Fatigue. Seriously? I believe, that the doctors were treating the symptoms, not the disease, and as a result, I no longer have a thyroid. Avoiding killing my thyroid, should have been their first concern, but it wasn’t. I often think, “Could taking the RAI treatment have been avoided?” Now, we’ll never know.
Thank goodness for the internet, online support groups, helpful books and websites like this, to help educate those that might be in the same situation. I just wanted others to know that a second opinion with a natural, functional, osteopathy doctor or other ‘thinking-out-of-the-box’ type of professional might be a good idea and worth the consideration. Especially, when faced with a situation such as mine, a thyroid treatment that could change the rest of your life.
Update: I’m still working on my healing journey. My cortisol level was a flat line, very low, concluding that I, do indeed, have adrenal fatigue. The AF has sent me back to Synthroid, which is strange, but this time with Cytomel. I trust that this new doctor has my good health and wellness, in mind, so I’m OK with taking it. It is only for a short time. Until I can get the AF under control and hopefully work up to a medication level that helps me feel better. I am very weak and have a lot of symptoms. My symptoms and weakness could be thyroid related and/or AF. On that note, some could be peri-menopause.
I’m dealing with a lot! But I wanted to share and let others know they are not alone. Ask me anything, I am so happy to talk to anyone about RAI, thyroid, adrenal fatigue, you name it!
My current medications & supplements: (always up for change, too)
- Synthroid/Cytomel (levels are always changing)
- Adrenal Complex 2 caps 3x before 1pm. (2 when I wake, 2 at 10 and 2 at lunch)
- Vitamin C 2000mg (1000mg when I wake and 1000mg at lunch)
- Vitamin D3 5000iu B Complex #12 (Thorne research)
- Black Cohosh (1 when I wake, 1 at lunch)
- Elemental iron ultra 65mg x2 between meals
- Black Cohosh
- Super Mangnesium 400mg
- Selenium 200mg x2
- Kelp 150mcg
- Potassium gluconate 99mg x2
- Cortosol Manager (with adaptogens) 2 at bedtime
- Melatonin 3mg (2 to 3 at bedtime)
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
Questions or anything to say to SUZY? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!