Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Positive changes on thyroid medication

with 2 comments

Sorry guys, I’m badly neglecting this blog, the community, and emails sent to me. I just have other things I’m doing.

I thought I’d run through some of the positive and negative changes I’ve seen since I started treatment for hypothyroidism way back on the 20th of May this year.

First off, my immune system is not great. My seasonal grass pollen allergy has just been going on and on for weeks and weeks now. Last year I didn’t have any allergies at all (yeah, I know it was wet, but still…). I don’t know what’s going on there, whether there’s some sort of immune remodulation going on or what. My partner’s workplace has come down with swine flu, so I’m crapping myself that he’s going to catch it and bring it home to me. I’m really still too ill to get swine flu at the moment.

I don’t understand why I started to get the anxiety attacks after I started the 25mcg dose of thyroxine. The tablets did contain acacia extract, and I was eating a lot of oats, and probably my adrenals were knackered too. One other reason may be to do with B12, which I have started supplementing regularly. Before now, I would not have tolerated a regular supplement of B12, it would have made me very irritable and snappy and given me mini-seizures/jumpiness at night. I seem to be tolerating it quite well now, and I think I need it, as since I’ve been taking it I’ve increased in confidence and sense of well-being, and I’m less prone to back pain. I wonder whether the “anxiety” attacks were caused by dysautonomia – when the autonomic nervous system goes haywire. Sometimes that can be caused by a B12 deficiency, though undoubtedly also by a thyroid problem!

Once I got my dose upped to 50mcg of thyroxine, my breathing and faint spells got a lot better. My temperature was very erratic due to the anxiety/adrenal problem, but since I’ve been on the higher dose, I’ve only had one anxiety attack, and that was certainly psychological because I got anxious about having to go and negotiate with my somewhat negligent GP again, who rightly should have tested my cortisol before giving me thyroxine. (My current strategy is avoidance, I’m doing okay, so I’m not rocking the boat about getting cortisol blood tests done). I’m also experiencing less adrenaline bursts at night than I was, and much more endurance during the day. My temperature has stabilised anyway, but it’s still very low, usually 36.2. I NEVER want to experience another anxiety attack in my life. They are horrendous things to experience. I felt like I was in hell.

Since I started taking Armour thyroid (about six days ago now), I have developed more endurance and energy, and some interesting brain changes have taken place. I’ve mentioned before that I have ADD, the variety known as Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. Well, I’ve noticed that my thought processes have increased in speed, especially at night. My “good patch”, which is between about 10pm and 2am in the morning, has been stretching on forever. I keep looking at the clock and I’m surprised by how much I’ve got done or how much thinking I’ve done in a short time.

In many respects, I feel like I would have felt six months ago, before I went downhill: still very food intolerant, still having the occasional rough day, but emotionally and physically stable. In other respects, I feel slightly better, for example, these brain changes, and having some random bursts of energy now and then – I had the urge to jump up and down for no reason the other day. I can’t remember having that kind of spare energy before. Since taking Armour, the tinnitus I was experiencing at night and in the morning has 90% gone. I had started to get halitosis. That went very quickly.

My heart seems stronger. I’m not sure how to explain this properly, it just feels less irritable and weak. I still get ectopic beats now and then, and palpitations as soon as I’m under any emotional stress, but they aren’t nearly as bad. I’ve been able to take small amounts of magnesium now and then without experiencing the “instant pseudo-heart attack” effect – the squeezing in my left arm, sense of doom, and funny heart beat I was having. I don’t seem to need calcium as much to keep my heart beat regular, in fact, I think I may need some magnesium to stop my heart from feeling too “strong” in the beat now and then (calcium controls heart contraction, magnesium the release, and they antagonise each other). When I started taking the Armour, it made my heart feel “strong” in the beat, which makes sense because T3 has some control over calcium channel influx or some such thing – I took some magnesium and felt better for it, it didn’t come back.

I’ve been doing unusual things for someone as aspie as me, for example, I decided that I actually like wearing jewellery – I’ve never worn jewellery before in my life. I used to find things like bracelets, watches and earrings unbearable to wear because of hypersensation. Polyester and wool don’t drive me nearly as crazy anymore either.

I’m becoming more organised and business-like. I’m taking more pride in my appearance. I feel more confident and more able to cope with people. Usually, I’m too scared to make phone calls and I’m intimidated by many social situations. I’ve been making quite a few phone calls. I’ve done things I would never normally do – for example, I went into a pawn shop and bought a bracelet! Places like pawn shops are foreign territory to me. So are designer clothes shops. I even tried to extend the olive branch to an old friend I fell out with. Though said olive branch appears to have been snapped in two and handed back for reasons of her own, to be honest, I’m not that bothered. Before, this kind of thing would have devastated me – did devastate me at the time. But whatever, there are plenty more soul mates in the sea, and I have plans to go out and make lots of lovely friends when I’m back on my feet. Before, I would have been too petrified and stressed by the idea to consider that as an option.

My weight is stable and not increasing on 1,800 kcals per day. I actually only weigh 8 stone 11 lbs at the moment, pretty good going for me. Normally I gain about 4lbs when I come off a diet, but I haven’t gained anything back at all. I think I’ve lost a significant amount of mucin build up from my arms and legs in particular. I always had these annoying chubby limbs, no matter how thin I was. It turns out the problem was mucin, not fat, and I’ve lost a significant amount of bulk from my arms in particular. I actually have slim arms, hands and wrists! My skin became loose on my upper arms, which was a bit horrible because I could see how skinny my muscles actually were under all of that water weight. The skin has started to snap back already, thank heavens. My skin is smoother and my cellulite is very much reduced (I now firmly believe cellulite is caused by mucin build up, not fat!). Did I mention that I had started to take on a somewhat creamy yellow tint to my skin? This is due to poor conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A. I’m still kinda yellow, but rather pinker than I was.

Here’s something amazing: my voice is changing. It’s always been rather low, and I’ve never been able to sing because it breaks easily and becomes hoarse. Though I have a perfect ear, I can’t keep a tune and my larynx muscles seem to have a will of their own. As a result, singing is something I only do in the privacy of my own car, as I’m torture to my own ears. Well a few days ago I sang my little heart out on the way back from a wedding, and I was amazed by how smooth, strong and sweet my singing voice sounded. Of course, I still can’t keep a tune, but I can keep it a lot better than I could. This gives me encouragement that if my larynx muscles are improving of their own accord, then my heart muscle is too.

I started to develop a bunion last year, despite always wearing flat shoes, and this was certainly due to mechanical stress – walking a cocker spaniel that pulls on the lead does not help one’s feet. I’m sure this also relates to my thyroid though. Just today I’ve had another flare-up of that, which is the first time since I started thyroid medication.

I’m still very food intolerant. I’ve tried a few things cautiously – mild cheddar cheese, which still gives me nightmares, though hasn’t really affected my skin or made me itch like it used to. Gluten still bothers me, demotivating me and giving me back pain, I currently have a lovely gluten withdrawal migraine. One shot of whisky combined with an anxiety attack last week made me vomit in the night. I ate some melon at the wedding I mentioned, and that gave me a happy-high (hence the singing) and made me feel a bit rough the next day. I am optimistic that all of this will change when my temperature gets back up to normal. The good Dr S assured me it would. “My patients are always convinced that their food intolerances won’t get better, but they always do,” he said. Roll on my dose increase on Thursday.


Written by alienrobotgirl

15 July, 2009 at 1:26 am

Posted in Thyroid

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for the update! Glad to hear about the positive changes. Have you heard about the reformulation of Armour?


    18 July, 2009 at 6:38 pm

  2. I have indeed. I have no idea whether I’m on the old ones or the new ones, I just know they’ve made a big difference for me!


    22 July, 2009 at 12:49 am

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