The Weekly Ramble: The Hyperthyroidism Edition

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The weekly ramble: where I blog like it’s 2004. This week I’m talking about hyperthyroidism and how it basically ruined my week.

The Weekly Ramble: The Hyperthyroidism Edition

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For years I’ve felt that I was dodging a bullet labeled, “Medical Catastrophe.” Mild hypochondriac that I am, I have “survived” a wealth of ailments in my mind, cancer and beyond.

This week the bullet hit, and it wasn’t just in my imagination.

I’ve been diagnosed with autoimmune-driven hyperthyroidism. As I type, the doctor doesn’t have all the tests to say that it’s Graves’ Disease, but from where I sit, it looks grave. And yes, I’m feeling a little melodramatic this week.

I don’t do medicine; six-babies-no-anesthesia-kind-of-no-medicine. I try to eat healthy food. I exercise. I go to bed at 9 pm most nights. Maybe it’s a case of too little too late. It would appear that my body is attacking itself. And it makes me really sad.

I went to the doc for pain in my hands, and opened a can of worms. I’ve had a lot of random symptoms that now all make sense. Along the way, I’ve prayed, reminding myself and giving in to the Father, that my body is His.

This is so hard, when you know He doesn’t always do what we want Him to do!

Hyperthyroidism? Ugh

I started the meds on Wednesday, and while I don’t feel miraculous better two days later, I do have moments of lucidness that surprise me. Maybe I was really out of it.

One of the other bummers of the week is that I wasn’t supposed to see the particular endocrinologist I saw last week. (We’ll call her Dr. Crunchy because she’s an integrative endocrinologist who I hoped would have some brilliant diet-related ways to manage this illness.) Dr. Crunchy’s office said they took my insurance; my GP’s office said I could go ahead and see her. The powers that be say that it was” unauthorized”. It’s possible that they will pay for last week’s visits and labs, but, it’s not currently possible for me to go back to her for my follow-up.

Dr. Crunchy still put me on the meds. No hope for managing through diet, she said. She conceded that the meds were a band-aid, but one that I need for the time being. She is consulting with me about supplements that I can take to hopefully help my body. It may be a placebo, but when you face a drastic change to your life and a minor “medical catastrophe”, you do what you can, right? I’m on Day Two of a gluten-free diet. Let’s see how long I last.

The Weekly Ramble: The Hyperthyroidism Edition

Gluten-free-if-you-use-the-right-taco-seasoning Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde

So, I wait until Sept 1st before I can see the Irishman she recommended who is actually approved by my insurance and who probably won’t be all that crunchy. And yes, I think he really is Irish. And now he has a secret agent name like the rest of us!

In the meantime, I am on the meds, hoping I won’t go blind, lose my hair, or have damage to my liver. Fun stuff, I tell ya! And yes, I told you I was being melodramatic.

I have stepped away from the Google. I already know what it says! 😉

I’ve put out feelers to blogging friends who I know have dealt with this kind of stuff or who can point me in the right direction. I don’t know exactly what I have other than the aforementioned “hyperthyroidism with autoimmune processes”, but I know my body needs help, so I’m going to do what I can.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening on Life as MOM:

Here’s what’s been happening on Good Cheap Eats:

Coming soon:

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  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m praying for you!!!

  2. Given all you’re going through, I think you are handling everything very well. Many prayers for grace and strength!

  3. Michelle S. says:

    Oh Jessica, l am so sad for you. Big prayers coming to you from Atascadero!

  4. I was diagnosed with Graves disease 10 years ago. I put up with the symptoms for a really long time. I was overweight and thought my symptoms were a result of that. I threw up like I was doing a ‘last chance workout’ from walking across a room. I could barely get up off the floor after sitting down on it. My legs would barely carry me. I had 5 kids ages 4 and under. But I went to the doctor for a regular check up and she called me back immediately and said I had to go to an endo ASAP. So I did. I got a lot of pressure from people who said I should handle it with diet and so I wasn’t consistent with taking my meds. My thyroid eventually got tired of fighting against my immune system and now it barely functions so I’m on thyroid meds to give me the hormones that my thyroid won’t produce.

    I feel your pain. 🙂 You’ll be okay though! Prayers coming your way!

    • Thanks for sharing your story. The only “success stories” I’ve read with Graves are those who took the meds and made lifestyle changes, so that is my plan. Thanks for praying!

  5. I’m hypo with the autoimmune business. Tried doing without the meds. Just diet didn’t keep me off the couch. Meds did help. Takes some time to find the range that works best for each person. Take heart, be consistent. Too high and too low – both ranges have us feeling rotten and having trouble thinking. Really believe you will feel better in time. Praying for you.

    • Thanks for sharing! I think the issue with hyper, unfortunately, is that these meds can kill your liver and your ability to fight infection. I “feel” fine, but now I have other things to worry about. lol.

  6. Kathy in Illinois says:

    I had bloodwork once and my thyroid was high, but the doctor said to wait 6 months and get more blood tests. I did and it was normal and has been ever since. I know this won’t help you, but want you to know I know a little bit about it. I’m praying for you, Jessica. You are a special person and God loves you and you will learn to deal with what He gives you.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  7. Oh Jessica, I’m sorry, but you will survive this and live a better life now that’s it’s be identified aND your getting treatment. I have hypo and my tsh at diagnosis was 180 I thought I was dying! But 20 years later I have more energy and feel better than ever. I do take that little pill everyday and I’m thankful for it. I would die a painful death without it. It’s the only medicine I take I don’t like pills either. Just know your numbers go to both an endo doc and holistic and after a while it’s much easier to manage. Going through initial diagnosis and treatment is very hard but all those crazy symptoms will eventually go away. For the next 6-12 months don’t expect to be as productive, the meds can make you feel yucky until you get it right. Take care of yourself and slow down for now. I’m 60 yo. And feel great…I’m praying for you j

    • I am very thankful for modern medicine all the while keeping in mind that we humans don’t yet know everything.

      Unrelated, I would never have thought you were 60. Your facebook pic says 45 tops to me. 🙂 Thanks for the encouraging words.

  8. Praying for you!

  9. Can I suggest you take a page from your own book and think what you would say to a woman who had her heart set on natural childbirth without meds and was forced to have a c/section, or some other intervention? You can try to do it on your own, but thank heavens the alternatives are there when you need them!

    I know you know this, and you’re coping well [even if you’re being melodramatic!] but you need to get back on track here and find a way to feel better for yourself and your family even if it’s not ideal – no shame, no regrets.

    You’ve got my prayers, both for effective treatment with low side effects, but also for the RIGHT doctor to be available and fiscally doable, maybe the irishman will surprise you LOL.

    • Oh goodness. I’m not doing it on my own. I started the meds the next morning once I read that you could lose hair with or without the meds. Hilarious that that would be the deal breaker for me. Pride goes before the fall. My hair has been the one good trait I could claim all my life. Haha!

      I have low expectations from the Irishman because then I can’t be disappointed. He can only pleasantly surprise me. 😉

  10. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism about 6 years ago. They talked about putting me on radioactive iodine to kill my thyroid but I was eventually able to see a more naturally minded dr. He put me on a drug called PTU that stops your thyroid and then it restarts when you stop the ptu. I also took an herbal suppliment called thr thyroid support. It worked and I’m back to my normal self, you can expect at least 6 months to recover though it may take longer 🙂 best of luck and prayers!

    • Thanks so much. Most people are hypo and since the two are so different, you can’t really compare the experiences. Thanks for the input! I will ask the doc about PTU. I know that methimazole is the recommended one of the two meds, but I’ll see if I can find out why.

  11. I’m sorry to hear this, Jessica. I’m also a 100% natural child birth, no drugs, no meds kind of person and I really sympathize with what you’re going through. Our youngest daughter was diagnosed with a dislocated left hip at 15 months old and the three surgeries she’s had since to fix it have been very hard on me. Sadly, diet can’t fix everything, but I sure wish it could. <3 Hugs. You'll be in my thoughts.

  12. It takes a little bit to feel the effect of the meds. Be patient with yourself (yes, I know that’s hard!). Praying for you!!

    • Thanks. I have moments of lucidness that surprise me, so perhaps I was feeling symptoms more than I thought? If Dr. Crunchy was right about a sore throat being a symptom of thyroiditis, then I’ve had this at least since London (which would be October). I chalked it up to allergies. Hmph!

  13. I am so sorry to hear this, my friend. (I feel like I know you so well through your blog) I will be praying for you and your family. I wish I had great advice to give you, just know that God is still on the throne and you still belong to Him.

  14. Dear Jessica, may God be with you and give you both peace with the situation and good health!

  15. Hi Jessica, I am sorry to hear of your problem too. I will pray for you get better soon.

  16. My husband was diagnosed with Graves disease in 2000. He had to have the radioactive iodine to “zap” his thyroid and is on daily meds. His levels have been stable for years so at this point it ‘s just a yearly blood test to check his numbers and a daily pill.

  17. I was diagnosed with Graves in 2009. It’s been a roller coaster for sure! is a great medical resource run by endocrinologists. I went the medication route. I had a bad reaction to methimazole but did fine on PTU for a while. Had my second child and PTU made my white blood cells drop and my spleen enlarge. (rare side effect.) I went into remission for 2 yrs after that. When I came out of remission, the only option was RAI – radioactive iodine. (Or surgery but that would take months) Now I have a mostly non functioning thryroid and take thyroid replacement. I liked the med route best honestly. However, make sure you get some sort of medical treatment. Supplements cannot fix this and untreated Graves is dangerous.(50% chance of death. No joke) Supplements can help I’m sure but run them by your Endo first as they can interact. It sucks and I am sorry. I was just diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease – lupus. Hang in there! This is totally manageable and even with the ups and downs… relatively easy to treat. 🙂 Once you’re stable, you will feel much better and remission is possible. 🙂

  18. Hi Jessica. Hoping you checked out Andrea Beaman at
    I think her story will help you. Praying you feel better soon!

  19. Praying for you, my dear friend. We’re going through some unknown health issues with David currently, and I know how you feel. I believe I share many of your same thoughts. Just want you to know I love you and praying for you. Even from California, you continue to inspire me to be a better mom!

  20. Brooke Kingston says:

    Jessica, I’m sorry to read of guys diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease in 2006. Six months on oral meds snapped me into remission, where I’ve been ever since. I have my TSH tested every six months and have enjoyed happy news for years; remission is possible. Praying for you in you health journey!

  21. Jessica, as are all your fans, I’m praying for you!

    It’s hard to get a diagnosis like this, I know, since I was diagnosed with Graves disease 28 years ago. I was given the choice of surgery or iodine ablation (where you drink radioactive iodine and destroy your thyroid). I chose the iodine, so my thyroid basically doesn’t function anymore. I’m on medication that has to be adjusted frequently.

    However discouraging that sounds, I’ve had five children since that diagnosis, so life still goes on! Five years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. If I had known then that gluten was so connected to both thyroid disease and celiac disease (and type I diabetes, which I also have), I would’ve gone gluten-free a long time ago. But when I was diagnosed with Graves disease, gluten was not even on the radar.

    You will find your new even keel, and you will grapple with God, and you will go through a grieving process as you make changes you might not want to make. BUT your faith will grow stronger, and you will have a new way to connect to others. The conclusion I’ve reached, although it’s not a very comfortable one, is that God can only refine me through these conditions that I have. So I will accept, and learn to be grateful for, what He is doing, and pray that it reveals Him more clearly.

  22. I have celiac disease – an autoimmune disease. I eat gluten free because, well, if I don’t I’ll die. (Not right away-obviously-but celiac disease, untreated, can destroy you!)

    I know all the autoimmune stuff is related (I also have pernicious anemia) and yeah, it sucks. And grieve – for the gluten (because everything I’ve read/heard says that gluten free DOES help!), the life you had, etc.

    If you want to talk, email me. A new norm can be difficult but you can do it. 🙂

    • Thanks, Brandi! It definitely is a grieving process. I’m thankful that I’ve had a little experience reading labels, eating paleo/GF. I just don’t like it being forced upon me, you know? 😉 I will definitely consider you a resource. Thanks so much!

      • Nope, me either! I’m going out of my way today to get some safe corn tortillas (they aren’t really a “thing” in the UK.. but the Mexican import store has them!)

        But, to be honest, I save a lot of money not eating out as much (ha!) Love cooking now 🙂

  23. Jessica, I’m sorry to read this as well. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you learn to navigate this new normal for you. I have a friend whose 12-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with Graves too.

    I’ve posted many times that I cook with multiple allergies in mind. I fully understand the grieving process too. I remember when my daughter was first diagnosed with multiple food allergies of peanut, milk, egg, soy, strawberries, and a probable celiac. I cried as I looked in my pantry — and this was back before there were many products you could buy. I baked bread three times a week for her, learned how to keep her safe.

    I love the recipes that you post here and get many ideas that are easily modified. You can do it!!

  24. Hi Jessica,
    I’m not sure if this would be of help to you, but we went to a nutritional therapist who does this mft technique while i was pregnant with our 6th, and it helped immensely. she was the healthiest baby since our first! I won’t bore you with long story, but short one is I wasn’t healthy enough. You might check it out to see if there is a practitioner in your area for the mft technique, you don’t have anything to lose 🙂
    Prayers for you,

  25. Prayers are being sent your way that the medication does the trick. My thoughts are with you.

  26. i almost died from my untreated Graves. I don’t like taking much medication either, but I can’t live without the meds. (I start shooting high again when we try to get me weaned off). 5 years of methimazole and I’ve never had problems with it affecting my liver. I started feeling better after a month; I don’t know how long it took to get back to normal because it just kept improving so I stopped noticing. It certainly took 4 years to get my hair back. I’ve never found anything else that actually works, so hopefully you too will be able to accept that sometimes better living through chemistry really is better living. Good luck!

  27. Jessica, I’m a little behind so just seeing this now. I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It can definitely feel like a mind-boggling setback, particularly when you’ve been seemingly doing everything right – nutrition, exercise, etc. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about six years ago. I spent five years on the meds even though I was opposed to it, seeing no other choice. Last year, at a friend’s encouragement, I met with a naturopathic doctor who explained the thyroid medicine bypasses your thyroid but does nothing to support the organ itself. I have been off of the thyroid medicine since last December, and my thyroid is functioning in the normal range, and my symptoms have all gone away, although losing the weight is going the slowest. 🙂 But I feel like *ME* again – I have the energy to exercise regularly, play vigorously with my kids, etc. Dave Frahm is his name. He’s on Facebook, and uses that as his primary mode of communication. He posts a great deal of health information in his notes section on Facebook: He utilizes a technique known as Muscle Response Testing (MRT), which is also explained in his notes.

    Lifting you in prayer that the Lord will help you to find a solution soon!
    Blessings, and thank you for all the hard work you do to write your blogs and help others!

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