What Awareness Means To Me Cyndi Woodruff
I have watched you since you were a regular guest on Oprah. I, listened to your XM Radio show. Now, I watch your TV show.
I happened to see you on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts. You were discussing hypothyroidism and what the symptoms and treatments may be.
I want to thank you for talking so candidly about natural thyroid hormone replacement. (Armour Thyroid), Many physicians, including intelligent and competent Endocrinologists STILL don’t understand the benefits of a natural medication. I have to take two medications (Levoxyl and Cytomel) to accomplish what NTH could do. The Cytomel, I have to take twice a day. I have one of those endo docs who feel that the Armour Thyroid solution is not ‘consistent’ or ‘stable’.
I was one of those patients who had a ‘normal’ TSH. Ironically, I used to work at the Endocrinology office that I am now a patient at!, So, I was a bit familiar with the symptoms. I was never a nap taker, and suddenly, I would have to actually leave work to go home to sleep…..taking, at times, FOUR hour naps!, While still going to bed at 9 or 10pm. I was working a full-time job and then a few hours a week at one of our local “Curves” gyms….I was very active and loved to work out. However—-I started rapidly gaining weight…with NO change in my diet or exercise routine. My skin was very dry, my periods irregular, my hair was falling out, and my left upper row of eyelashes fell out. (I know…I’m strange!, It’s usually eyebrows!, Not me….every time my thyroid decides to mess with me a bit, not only do I gain a few pounds, I lose those same eyelashes!!)
I kept going to my family physician and in a period of 9 months, I had gained SIXTY pounds. I was so depressed and exhausted. I quit both of my jobs. My “physician” told me that it was just my ‘age’ and stress. At this time, I went to my Nurse Practitioner (Gyn) for my annual Pap and exam. I hadn’t seen her in a year…..so when she walked in to the exam room, she sat down and said, “Cyndi, what is going on???” She’s known me for 15 yrs…she knew that this was not ‘typical’ for me. She asked if any thyroid tests had been conducted. I said, “Yes, in fact, about 7 of them. My TSH is in the normal range.”, So, she (correctly) ran a full thyroid panel. My Free T3 was ‘off’–slightly.
At this point, I took control. I called the office manager of the endo practice and faxed her my lab results. She took them to one of the physicians and he said, “Yes….she has a thyroid problem and with her symptoms, get her in here.”
I THOUGHT, as you suggested this morning, that **abbracadabbra**!!, All my problems were now solved and fixed.
NOT SO FAST, Dr. Oz. While I applaud you for even speaking about natural thyroid replacement hormones, I am going to tell you that this is NOT an easy disease to treat. It may be for the physician….”Here’s your prescription….see ya.”, It is anything but easy for the patient. I have been treated now for about 3 or 4 years. I am all the way up to 175 mcg of Levoxyl and 10 mcg of Cytomel/twice a day. This is an ongoing battle with autoimmune disease. (My physician says I likely have Hashimoto’s—nope, never been tested!!)
Most importantly, I cannot take off the weight. I don’t do carbs. You don’t agree with that, but I have found that the pounds creep on if I include ANY. So, I eat lean meats and some fish with LOTS of veggies. I do NO sugar, not even any whole grains. NONE. I take supplements that are ‘supposed’ to help….zinc, selenium, Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, and even Rhodiola.
I have found some awesome support and education through a couple of online forums. A most helpful person is Mary Shomon…a hypothyroid patient, herself; she is a marvelous patient advocate. Another source of help is www.dearthyroid.org. Liz and Katie have formed a very welcoming atmosphere for patients to retreat to. We understand each other, listen, offer support, advice, etc….
I workout 6 mornings per week. Right now, I am using the P90X DVD’s. No weight loss. So, yes, I fight to stay ‘happy’….my 30 year marriage is suffering…..I’m not ‘attractive’, I guess. Life will never be the same as before I was hit with this disease. After so many years of believing that I could ‘conquer’ it, I find that I cannot.
So, thank you for bringing awareness to this very common and very serious autoimmune disorder. There are millions of us actually suffering…..
Tags: autoimmune disease community, autoimmune disease support, autoimmune diseases awareness month March, autoimmune literary community, awareness for autoimmune diseases, Cyndi Woodruff, Hashimoto's autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's patient, thyroid cancer patients writing about awareness