Personal Thyroid Stories from Readers

Readers Share Their Personal Thyroid Stories

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I receive hundreds of emails each week, and many people write in to share their own personal thyroid stories. Here are just a few stories sent in by readers.(Note: these stories are provided for information purposes, and I do not necessarily endorse the actions or treatments these readers describe.)

Chinese Medicine Works for Graves' Disease!

by Julie

I wanted to just take a minute to share some very positive news with you that may offer encouragement to others seeking holistic solutions to their thyroid disease.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease. In retrospect, I realize now that my symptoms at that time were quite severe. I had lost a lot of weight, was hypertensive, and my thyroid was about 3 times the normal size. My doctor advised me to get on antithyroid medicine right away (I was nursing at the time so there were no other options), so I did that, but had adverse symptoms, like headaches and sudden weight gain--20 pounds in about a month! Those symptoms combined with my personal belief in holistic health pushed me to seek an "alternative" approach and stop taking the antithyroid meds (I only took those for about 6 weeks).

I started seeing a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine, and consequently began acupuncture combined with herbal therapy. I saw the positive effects immediately, but it took a little longer to get everything balanced again. I was getting fairly intensive treatment over the course of about 5 months, and then I started to go only intermittently.

A year after I was diagnosed with Graves', I went back to an endo for a check-up and was told my disease could now be categorized as subclinical, and that I should just keep up the good work and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't flare up again. Another year later, my lab results put me in the normal range!

Realizing that this approach may not work for everyone, I hope that it gives encouragement to some folks who believe in natural, holistic healing. I cannot express enough how very positive this course of treatment has always felt for me. Rather than feeling pushed into treatment options that I didn't feel were well understood but bore a lot of risk, acupuncture and herbal therapy has always felt intuitively right. It only makes sense that disease is a result of imbalances of chemistry or energy within the body, and so we should regain balance rather than treat the symptoms. It has been an awakening experience for me. I have learned again how important it is to believe in my own intuition and trust the body's ability to heal itself.

Again, I hope my experience offers some encouragement to others who are dissatisfied with the treatment options offered to them.

(Footnote: I would add that in addition to going to a licensed acupuncturist, I would personally recommend seeing a doctor who studied medicine in China.

Their philosophies about medicine are interwoven with their life philosophies and it may be difficult to grasp this from our culture.)

Ringo Starr Lives Under My Chair

by Elsie

With thyroid disease, I don't know which to add and which to leave out. The gist is that my personality changed so that even I began to notice that I wasn't me.

I began to snap more than usual. I just chalked it up to the silly young adults that were at the place that I was working at the time, but then one night a co-worker said "boy you sure are breathing fast" and it just so happened I was sitting there thinking that very same thing. I let that it go -- time passed and one day I was watching my favorite soap and it seemed like the TV got low. I called my husband and told him I was feeling funny.

Went to doctor and he said I had high blood pressure gave some pills. Mean while I started coughing one day -- coughed for about a month -- got real scared. Then boom, a lump appeared on the right side of my throat. "Man," I said, "throat cancer!" Panic for real then. Went back to the doctor he said that my thyroid was acting up. He had me take some test. When the shaking started I was beyond myself -- the quack said I was depressed and sent me home with a bag of antidepressant samples. I threw them in the trash on the way home and went to another doctor in another state -- this one said I had a goiter and it appeared to be growing rather slowly but I should think about getting it removed -- money I didn't have flashed across my mind so I just let it go for a couple years.

I was really hard to go anywhere cause the jitters couldn't'wait for long periods of time but I managed. Then one day I was sitting in a chair crocheting when it felt like someone was playing drums on my bottom. The breaking point for hubby was my yelling "Watch out you are going to run into that car!" when we were where nowhere near it.

He said you need to go see a doctor. I said no, I'll be alright. So the thumping on the backside got to be feeling like Ringo Starr was under the chair so I finally got up the nerve to go see a specialist. He said the goiter has to go, make plans to visit the hospital in a couple days. So, to end this story I had the right side of my thyroid removed, stayed in the hospital for two days and have the driest throat this side of the Mississippi and can't sing soprano and sometimes I sound like a just swallowed a frog. But those things aren't half as bad as the scare on my throat and the feeling that something has wrapped itself around the front of my neck.! Well, Ringo no longer lives under the chair and I no longer think we are zooming down the road.

Subacute Thyroiditis

or "What's that fire in my neck and why does it hurt so much?"
by Debbe

My trial by fire, so to speak, with subacute thryoiditis started in January 1997. At first I thought I just had the flu because I felt achy, hot, and had absolutely no energy to do anything but lie flat in bed. My throat even hurt if I sat up in bed. It was like an extreme sore throat that never got better.

And the weakness was awful. I couldn't get through taking a shower without giving out of breath. It was a strange feeling allright! Supposedly no one knows what causes thyroiditis but it might be a virus or germ left over from a recent cold or URI.

I went to my family doctor who examined me and said my thyroid was enlarged and that I had thyroiditis, which means "inflammation of the thyroid." Well, I never knew that little gland controlled so much activity in my body. It controls heat sensitivity and metabolism to name a couple.

I was hot, then cold, chills, then fever. My fever went up to 103F and I stayed in bed for almost a week. My doctor gave me antiinflammatory drugs and said, "This will go away soon. Your thyroid will even itself out and you'll be back to normal."

Sorry to say, this was not the case. I went to an endocrinologist and he said the same thing, that I would have to wait it out. I asked for a thyroid scan, for by this time I had been doing some research on the internet and in the library and I knew the scan should tell if my thyroid gland was damaged. So I took a radioactive pill and went back the next day to have the scan. This was normal.

I was still feeling very draggy, however, so the endo put me on a Medrol dose pack, which is high powered prednisone over an 8 day period. This helped but one cannot sleep on high doses of prednisone and I was already tired. I was also taking Percocet for pain. At work I used to be energetic and move around a lot-- I could barely sit in my chair all day! I also gained about 20 puffy looking pounds and I was already overweight!

Well, my thyroid has still not resolved itself 2 years later. I am on a small dose of Synthroid and still struggling with weight gain and energy. That's my account of subacute thyroiditis.

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