This is the short version of my story from diagnosis to removing toxins from our home and being on a lower dose of medication. This contains personal (perhaps graphic) info, so please bear that in mind before reading on.
November 2009: Diagnosed with hypothyroidism, put on 55 mcg levothyroxine, no improvement in symptoms
February 2010: Levothyroxine dose increased to 75 mcg
May 2010: Started experiencing break-through bleeding, thrush, GI upset, painful intercourse in addition to typical hypothyroidism symptoms
June 2010: Went to ER for pelvic pain and bloody discharge, nothing found, was told to see a gynecologist
August 2010: Saw new gynecologist, was told that birth control pills and thyroid pills can interfere with each other, and issues may clear up with increase of estrogen in birth control pills. New birth control slowly made things worse: pelvic pain increased, intercourse and bowel movements were excruciating, and mood swings worsened.
January 2011: Called OBGYN because I couldn’t take it anymore. She said stop taking birth control since hubby was in Iraq, 10 days later things got much better! No more pelvic pain, mood swings, and brain fog lifted. Still had some other symptoms, but life was bearable again!
November 2011: General practitioner switched practices, I changed doctors without researching because I was pretty busy. New doctor ordered blood work, and increased my dose from 75 mcg to 125 mcg.
January 2012: New symptoms arose: immune system depressed (strep throat, ear infection, stomach bug and two upper respiratory infections over the course of a few months), mid-cycle pain/nausea, increased pain/bleeding during menstruation, no tolerance for stress or exercise. Cystic acne along jaw, sweating & shaking after applying personal care, cosmetics & perfume. Ignored it because I was busy with work, two hour commute and accounting classes.
September 2012: While out to dinner with my family, couldn’t concentrate because my uterus felt like it was on fire, cramps were horrible, and in less than three hours a super absorbency tampon, a panty liner, my underwear, and my upper inner thighs were soaked with blood.
October 2012: Saw gynecologist again, had more blood work, received a letter stating my thyroid was fine and she wasn’t sure what else to do. Decided I would research if lifestyle changes could improve my symptoms. Started obsessively reading about thyroid, bio-identical hormones, endocrine disrupting chemicals, natural remedies, vitamins, etc. Decided to cut my thyroid pills in half. Some brain fog lifted and energy increased a little.
November 2012: Added selenium, magnesium, zinc, tyrosine, coq10, glutathione, extra A & B vitamins & tea with ashwagandha. Within a few weeks I had more energy and less cramps. Still had some issues with severe bleeding (but not as bad as before). Went back to gyno for ultrasound & results showed uterine fibroid.
December 2012: Replaced personal care with natural & nontoxic versions. Eliminated all sources of synthetic fragrances (perfume, air freshener, detergents, plug ins, candles). No more sweating, shaking, and acne cleared rapidly
March 2013: Switched to Armour thyroid, replaced household cleaners with less toxic ones when we moved closer to my job, decided not to heat food in plastic and to stop using nonstick cookware
May 2013: Armour dose too high, gave me palpitations, reduced, but not enough
July 2013: Asked doctor to lower Armour dose again, he refused & tried to put me back on synthetic. I weaned myself off medication
August 2013: Saw new doctor who prescribed lifestyle changes (most of which I had already implemented), was put on natural adrenal and thyroid supplements. Noticed acne and ovulation pain again, eliminated tyrosine and it cleared.
September 2013: Once things calmed down, cleaned up diet. Continued avoiding gluten, dairy, unfermented soy, refined sugar, fluoride in drinking water and started avoiding artificial flavors, colors, preservatives. Added regular practice of Kundalini yoga – now all lifestyle changes are in place. Dropped 11 lbs without really trying
January 2014: dry skin and depression become issues, doctor puts me on 15 mg Armour. Things get better
July 2014: We moved, so I had to see new doctor, and also got to see an endocrinologist. Continuing with lifestyle modifications, blood work is normal, most symptoms resolved, and still on 15 mg Armour (but no longer on adrenal/thyroid supplements)