On January 12th, 2018, I shared my book review for Thyroid Healing by Anthony William, and I also shared my story about how I’ve struggled with anxiety and autoimmune disease. If you haven’t seen the original post and would like to read it, you can find it by clicking here. You can also follow all of my updates by clicking the link at the top of the page.
Wow! I’m super late with this update. I’ve received multiple emails requesting an update and hadn’t planned on it being this late. A month ago I started writing it up and it seemed like every time I sat down to write up my update, something would happen and I’d be pulled away. Sorry!
This update is considerably long, but hopefully you can bear with me.
I’m happy to say that I don’t have any major negative happenings to report other than the return of some 1-3am anxiety, a few palpitations, and a few headaches. Right now I’m on the same medication dose as last time (137mcg daily alternating 150mcg every third day), and things have been fairly stable. My weight is obviously where it’s going to stay now and I’m unsure if I’ll ever get down to just taking 137mcg daily. My doctor suggested trying to take 150mcg just two days every week, and taking 137mcg all other days, which I recently tried, and it was disastrous! I was having adrenaline rushes in the middle of the night, muscle cramps, and I couldn’t sleep. After trying that dose for two weeks, I quickly switched back to alternating 150mcg every third day again. Unless my thyroid can pick up the slack, which isn’t likely, I may have to continue alternating forever. Getting down to 137mcg daily is a goal for me because alternating this medication is for the birds; I don’t like it one bit. I’m back on the higher dose now and have been for about 4 weeks. (See my recent labs from Friday, Oct 10th below)
I’ve seen my doctor multiple times since my last update. Here are my lab reports for my last few visits:
April 5th – TSH 2.27 – FT4 1.79H
July 10th – TSH 3.9 – FT4 1.84H
I was really irritated about my FT4 being high. Why is it always high? My doctor can’t even tell me why. I think it’s possible my body isn’t converting the T4 to T3 as it should. When I last reported in January my TSH was 11ish which was way too high, but my FT4 was just fine. I’ve been stable for the last seven months without any major symptoms to report besides the occasional heart palpitations, which seem to be sporadic but still; I believe this high FT4 could be causing some of my issues too. When something is off with my body it seems to trigger a chain of events. I’ve noticed significant patterns as time has gone on and it seems to coincide with monthly cycles too. I just turned 42; I’m obviously going to be dealing with hormones for some time yet. I have no way of proving that they’re hormone related, but I can go significant amounts of time without palpitations in between, so I’m assuming this could be part of that problem. One thing’s for sure: I’m extremely sensitive to thyroid hormones and hormones in general. At 42, maybe it’s possible I could be heading into perimenopause. As I mentioned above, after trying to lower my dose (even with how minute the change was) my labs came back wonky yesterday. Here they are below, and this is after going back to the normal dose I was on for four weeks.
My FT4 is perfect, but my TSH is too high. So I’m basically back to where I was in April. Another 4-6 weeks and I’m sure I’ll be back to where I was in July. I’ll see my doc in November and likely he’ll schedule me in for another visit in March or April.
Speaking of my doctor, I found it hilarious when my endocrinologist finally after thirteen years suggested a gluten-free diet. I love my doctor, but it is insane how far behind they are with these studies, after all, gluten-free for autoimmune thyroid patients is something that was suggested in multiple books written just after I was diagnosed in 2006. If only I would’ve taken it more seriously, because before I found Medical Medium, I was still allowing myself some gluten. There seems to be a definitive link between gluten and Hashimoto’s sufferers. I’m beating the dead horse here, but had I quit when first diagnosed, maybe it would’ve prevented this major thyroid damage I have today?
I also had a conversation with him about the function of my thyroid. He’s told me twice now that my thyroid isn’t functioning at all. His theory is that if my thyroid were functioning, I wouldn’t have to be on such high doses of thyroid hormone replacement (Synthroid). This is disheartening, but like I mentioned last update: if it’s true, I have to be at peace with it. Feeling my best is what’s most important. I’m thinking about finding a new doctor though, which isn’t going to be easy. They are few and far between where I live. Sometimes I get the feeling that my endocrinologist just isn’t knowledgable enough.
What am I doing now?
I’m still on protocol C, which is the most in- depth. I’ve added in some other stuff and also discontinued a few things. Here’s what I’m doing…
- I’m still drinking a little over 16 ounces of celery juice EVERY SINGLE MORNING a half hour before breakfast.
- Thyroid Healing smoothie roughly 5 days a week, but rather than use mango every time, I’m still subbing in cherries and blueberries every other day. I’m also using oranges on and off.
- Thyroid Healing juice most nights which includes celery, apple, ginger, and parsley. I’m still adding in turmeric as well. The only difference is that some nights I’ll just make 16 ounces of celery juice and do that instead to switch it up a bit.
- I haven’t had gluten, dairy, pork, eggs, canola, or any of the other problematic foods mentioned in the book for 22 months now. Very rarely I’ve had organic corn, but very rare and in small amounts. When I eat corn, I have symptoms.
- Lemon water twice a day (some days only once), and I’ve stopped the ginger water.
- I’ve used many of the recipes from all books by Anthony William. I recently finished reading his 5th book, Celery Juice.
- I’m taking a break from the Hawaiian spirulina, evening primrose oil, and licorice. I’m still taking L-lysine, ashwagandha, liquid zinc, and all of my other usual supplements including olive leaf extract and selenium. I’ve also switched over to Ester-C rather than using the Perque C Powder. Not sure how I feel about the Ester C yet, but I’m thinking Perque is better.
- I’m still using my essential oils once a week or so. This always seems to slow down in summer. A big one I’m using now is rose. More below…
- I’m only doing Epsom salt baths once or twice a month if that, but it’s starting to pick up now that it’s getting cold. I look forward to this about every other day in winter, but in summer it slows down.
- I’m spending time practicing meditation and in prayer, but not enough. I’m also still working on emotional healing. This is ongoing.
- Sleep is huge and I’m still trying to get plenty of it. Here over the past few weeks I’ve had sleep interruptions and what a huge difference it makes in how my day goes.
- Exercise: I bought a good rebounder which is amazing (more below). I also use my treadmill when I can.
I’ve hardly had any headaches all summer, and summer has been fairly symptom-free for the most part. A week after trying to lower my dose I started getting headaches again, and one cycle-related migraine, which makes sense with my sensitivities. It does make me wonder about when winter rolls in: will I start feeling worse symptoms again? I know stress is a huge factor though. When my oldest son left for L.A. last April, I came down with a horrible cold within days after not being sick for almost a year and a half. It was bizarre and took me forever to get over it. This was a little setback for me. Stress seems to play a role with everything in my body, and my body is still super sensitive. Stress is just dumb…anxiety is dumb…if only I could figure out a way to master controlling it! Looking back now, I really had nothing to stress about all year…because no matter how much I worried or stressed, it wasn’t going to change things. My next step is to learn transcendental meditation. The problem is: there aren’t any classes in my area. After doing the research, I do believe it would help me tremendously.
We bought a Bellicon rebounder which has been such a huge blessing. We had a rebounder previously, but it was old and not easy on the joints like a rebounder should be. Walking/running on my treadmill still upsets my joints (even though it’s fairly soft), so it was time for a change. This rebounder has fixed multiple problems with my body, but mainly balance. Since I’ve been rebounding, I’m not getting car sickness anymore. It was so bad to the point where I would get car sickness even when I drove! We went to an amusement park last month and I was able to go on the carousel with my youngest daughter and not get dizzy. That’s huge! A rebounder is something I highly recommend for people who have balance or joint issues because it’s helped me so much. This is also another tool that works great with anxiety.
Speaking of balance, I’ve been following some functional medicine doctors who’ve been researching Hashimoto’s over the past 10+ years. Not only do they talk about viruses, emotions, genes, and all the same causes Anthony William relates to having Hashimoto’s, but they talk about how Hashimoto’s can affect the brain. Basically, the immune system attacks the cerebellum and decreases blood flow to the frontal lobes. They also talk about stress hormones and how bad they are for people with Hashimoto’s because it keeps your body in fight or flight mode all the time which fuels the immune system. Gluten is something else they mention…I guess a theory is that the entire reason Hashimoto’s sufferers have gluten sensitivity is because gluten’s molecules are very similar to the thyroid’s molecules. The immune system gets confused and kills the thyroid. Isn’t that interesting? Of course, there are other factors: family predisposition, epigenetics, stress, and foods. There’s so much to learn about this disease even though it’s been around since the early 1900’s. As time goes on, more discoveries will be made, and I imagine they’ll have better treatments.
How am I dealing with the anxiety?
Anxiety has been moderate again and seemed to go way up after this last dose decrease. I seem to have just as much anxiety and panic when my thyroid hormones are low. I also had a bit of a cold, which was short-lived, but then I felt sick after my flu shot for a few days. Sickness always increases my anxiety. When the anxiety gets high, I head straight for rose essential oil.
I cannot recommend a better essential oil for anxiety. Others I’ve used include lavender, vetiver, and chamomile, but rose works the best for me. I use it along with a little coconut oil on the inside of my wrists and on my chest.
Praying has helped me so much. When I’m out of touch with my faith, I have so many more issues. This disease can be such a struggle for me, and it still is even after nearly two years on this protocol (and many years before that doing other protocols). I get discouraged at times…like the other day I was driving by this liquor store and watched this older man wearing compression stockings come out with a bunch of beer. It made me sad, not because I see people enjoying their lives, but because I feel like I deserve to be healthy enough to live mine in peace. I think about my dad and other people in my family who consistently trash their bodies and live without disease, it seems unfair, and sometimes I ask God: why me? Don’t get me wrong: nobody deserves disease, but it’s these types of thoughts that come into my head when I’m out of touch with my faith.
I’m going to share a few of the Bible verses I read outloud daily. These are especially helpful when I’m dealing with anxiety. I keep them taped on the wall in my closet and hang out in there if I need to.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Matthew 6: 25-34
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I also remind myself:
- Anxiety is uncomfortable: It’s been here before, but it won’t last. The storm will pass.
- I can get through it on my own: I do have control over my emotions.
- My brain is strong: when I panic, it’s just my brain’s process of getting me to safety. Panic (fight or flight) is just our body’s natural mechanism for survival. My brain has memorized this behavior and it’s just happening at inappropriate times.
Listening to music, playing piano, painting, and staying busy with my children always helps too. Sometimes it takes a lot of distraction to prevent my brain from searching and analyzing. I do still blame this disease, but know my brain has memorized these bad behaviors and I become susceptible every single time my thyroid is off.
Organic celery had become quite difficult to obtain in the last six months or so, but now it’s back and prices have gone back down. It appears that even more people are turning to celery juice! According to Anthony William earlier this the summer: once the farmers catch up, the prices will level out. This is true and exactly what happened.
We ended up growing a bunch of our own, but it didn’t turn out as excellent as I’d hoped.
The hot summer hasn’t helped it either. Our stalks aren’t as thick and juicy, but they’re great for cooking. I always find homegrown celery especially delicious for soups.
Here are some of the things I’m eating:
Smoothie bowls which are basically the heavy metal detox smoothie or just a basic green smoothie. Sometimes I add in cherries or wild blueberries too.
I really love just eating a whole potato, peel and all. Japanese sweet potatoes are especially delicious.
Celery juice of course! One of the questions I had before reading this book was: how long do I have to drink celery juice? Anthony William considers celery juice part of a healthy lifestyle and it should be continued. Good information to know.
I grab food throughout the day including:
- Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
- Nuts: cashews, almonds, and walnuts
- Fruits and vegetables, mainly raw.
- Organic dried fruit: figs, dates, raisins.
- Rice: rice is the only grain I eat. Sparingly
- Grain-free crackers
- Red raspberry leaf tea
Dark chocolate does have to be limited (for me) because it is a stimulant.
Having salads is common and I do still occasionally put some meat in it, whether it be chicken or grass-fed beef. I rarely ever eat meat anymore, but I’m not free of it yet.
What I do is make my own salad dressing with organic ingredients. Western French is my favorite, so here’s the recipe I use.
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 small onions, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- Add it all to a high speed blender and blend it up…it’s that easy. This makes just under a quart or so. I store mine in a quart jar in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
Anthony William’s mango salsa is delicious. I’ll eat this with grain-free chips.
I hope to do a separate post on this soon, but a treat we have once a week is this chocolate avocado tart. Its gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and incredibly delicious. The sweetener used is real maple syrup.
If we happen to be out and about, the only food I allow myself to eat is a southwest grilled chicken salad from McDonald’s with no cheese, corn, or croutons. Most of the time I’ll take stuff with me in the car to avoid the need: pistachios, bananas, raisins, figs, lemon water, etc.
I love eating seasoned baked potato fries. All you do is cut them up, toss them in olive oil, and add whatever seasonings you like. These here are Japanese sweet potatoes.
I also like to do something similar with brussels sprouts. These are roasted in the oven just like the potatoes above. A dinner of these with a simple baked/boiled potato is very satisfying.
Eventually, I hope to do a ‘what I eat in a day’ post. My thyroid doesn’t appear to be healing, but I’ll be sticking to the protocol and have no plans to change things up at this point. There’s really no way to know what condition my thyroid is in without having another thyroid ultrasound and I don’t want to pay for that at this point. I’m not sure if maybe I’ll switch things up or not as time goes on, but I do know for certain that I will not be eating any of the problematic foods mentioned, and I’ll do the celery juice every morning.
So, I hope you enjoyed reading my update. I received a few emails requesting this update over the last few months and I want to apologize again for the wait. I’ll try to be more regular. My next endocrinologist appt. isn’t until November, and I know I’ll be staying on this dose, so I’ll likely do an update that month unless something changes. Until then, take care!