Chronic fatigue, horrible hair loss, irregular periods, brain fog, dry skin, migraines, difficulty breathing, sudden attacks of fear from nowhere – these are only a few symptoms I was fighting with daily in my life. Addicted to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID – painkillers containing ibuprofen, I was taking at least 3-4 daily, because could not stand my headaches. What this medicines can cause you can read here), I was asking myself: how long can I stand this?
In 2014 before my final exam at the University (Master’s thesis defend), I had extremely difficult time to memorize anything for the exam as well as from mine own (!) thesis. I had complete ‘brain fog’.
Brain fog is not a medically recognized term but is a commonly used phrase that sums up feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of focus and mental clarity. Having brain fog is fairly common, but it’s not normal.
All day, all night
Let’s have a look how my day usually looked like: 7 AM wake up & go to work, 5 PM come back home, 6 PM start reading my materials and then about an hour later I was sleeping like a baby… on the book! Waking up (in panic) in the middle of the night (because I was blaming myself I did not learn anything) and going back to sleep to wake up at 7 AM and go to work… 5 days a week the same cycle. On weekends I was just skipping a part of going to work. In general I could sleep all the time, anywhere: from metro, library, ending up on my desk. All night + half of the day. Also at work I usually had at least 4 coffees to survive, because I was sleepy! Does it sound normal to you? Is it really how young student life should look alike?
I went to a doctor to have my blood tests done. My dad suggested to check my thyroid (my dad is not a doctor either, but he reads a lot about health, because he was struggling too). They checked my TSH (lab norms 0.27-4.20, my result 3.95), my iron (because we read it may cause fatigue) was 38, norm is between 37-145 (btw isn’t it crazy there are 108 points between?) anyway, the doctor said I am totally fine.
What? How come? I feel like I am 84 being 24 and they claim it is normal!? No way – I thought
I knew it couldn’t be okay, but if the qualified doctors say (I confirmed it with at least 4 – everywhere the same diagnose – You are fine, just get some rest). None of them prescribe me meds, so what could I do?
a. believe them and do nothing
(just keep feeling like on a zombie mode on, having a hard time functioning)
b. start looking for a reason on my own
Of course I chose option b. Blogs, books, articles, observations. I spent hours on it, but before it happened I went to have my blood tests done again, because I started to feel even worse. I was almost sure I am hypothyroid, just had to confirm. My blood tests this time shown that I am suffering from hypothyroidism for sure – my TSH has grown above the norms, in fact my T3 and T4 hormones were also not in normal amounts. This time it was obvious that my TSH is growing dangerously with no control, I have deficiency of T4 hormone which I should deliver to my body as soon as possible.
What is the reason? How to make my thyroid producing hormones again? Was I sick the whole life and didn’t know about it?… I had so many questions in my mind. As I wrote above, I chose to look for the answers myself, because unfortunately the only thing doctors did, was prescribing me synthetic T4 hormone. I am thankful for that, because for that time it was needed, but how is it possible that with one little pill all of my problems mentioned at the beginning of this article will fade away? How come the pill will work by itself if I do not change my lifestyle, diet, anything?
Have you ever heard about diet giving you muscles without exercising them?
If yes, please let me know. As I expected, my problem never were resolved and never will be resolve just by taking hormones.
Your numbers or your well being?
On the blog goodmorning thyroid (original http://www.goodmorning-tarczyca.blogspot.com) I read that thyroid problems must be the result of something. Taking synthetic hormones will help you temporarily, however after some time your problems will come back, despite perfect levels of thyroid hormones in blood (TSH, T3, T4). I experienced such a situation. I started taking my synthetic hormones from 0.25 mg and 6 months later I reached to 100 mg (under control of the doctors). I had perfect numbers in my blood test, doctors were so happy. But did I feel better? Not really. This was the moment when I decided to treat me and my thyroid, not my laboratory numbers. Treat the cause, not the side effect which was underactive thyroid gland. I am really thankful to all bloggers, books authors, people not afraid of speaking loud that sometimes medicine incorrectly relies on laboratory numbers instead of real human feelings, because I would not be aware since today.
I decided to treat me and my thyroid, not my laboratory numbers.