So, the other day I mentioned that my TSH levels are way down and my free T4 levels are slightly lowered. The doctors have lowered my prescription of Armour Thyroid back to the previous level, and hopefully that helps. But I got to wondering why my thyroid took such a dramatic dip so suddenly. I mean, it could have been the medication, but it could be a lot of things too. Medication doesn’t work in a bubble. I have to look at this thing holistically…
Definition of holistically: in a way that treats the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
In other words, totally not the woo “science” that sells snake oil and vitamins as a cure all for everything from bruises to cancer. If you follow such people, I’m sorry for you, but I don’t believe in that clap-trap.
Anyway, I never depend on medications alone to treat my problems, though they do play a big part in the treatment of things that *need* medications. Things like thyroid issues and bipolar — in my humble opinion — need medication and no one will convince me otherwise. I’ve tried other approaches to treating my bipolar without medicine. They didn’t work. The meds work. I’ll stick to using them. The thyroid meds help — I’ll keep using them. But — and this is a big but — I will also treat my whole self. I don’t work because while my bipolar meds do keep me sane, working with other people in certain situations can and will cause me to have breakthrough episodes of mania, which leads to depression and a vicious vicious cycle of… well bipolar rapid cycling. It’s not pretty. I don’t like going through it. So I avoid situations where it can happen. I also don’t work because I cannot take the medications for my fibromyalgia and function as a normal human being. So there’s that. But I’m going off on a tangent. Sorry about that.
So, back to what I was talking about… I got to thinking about what I’ve been doing in my life these past months and realized that there were probably a few things going on with me that exasperated the issue with my thyroid. Now, I take my thyroid meds at night because they do make me sleepy no matter what, and I’m supposed to take them on an empty stomach. Normally, I have a strict rule not to eat after about 8 pm in the evening for two reasons. One, it helps me digest everything I’ve eaten during the day and two because I take my meds about 10 pm and (as I just mentioned) I’m supposed to take them on an empty stomach. For some reason over the last few weeks, I’ve just… forgotten that rule. I don’t even know why. I’ve been eating willy-nilly, even as late as 9 pm. That might have had something to do with the change in my thyroid levels. Maybe. I dunno. I’m only guessing here. You know?
I also did some research online and found something called iodine deficiency. From that website: Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential component of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). According to the stuff I found, iodine deficiency is actually pretty common, but happily enough, is easily turned around just by eating the right foods. Especially here in the USA because we have iodized salt. I think that might be part of the culprit because I have not been cooking for myself these past few months — because, tired! You know how it works, dear reader. I got tired, so I didn’t cook, then I didn’t eat the right foods, so I got even more tired, so I continued not cooking, and the cycle continued. See, I used to eat a lot of eggs and leafy greens, which are a good source of iodine, but lately I just haven’t been. Now, do I know if I have iodine deficiency? No, not at all. But it won’t hurt to start cooking for myself again, and eating an egg (or salad) a day with a little salt will hardly kill me.
Also, carbs. Now I’m not a low-carb fanatic, but damn me, dear reader, if I haven’t been eating a ton of what we used to call “empty” carbohydrates — as opposed to what we used to call complex carbohydrates. My caloric intake didn’t go any higher than before — that I can tell, I stopped counting really — but I guaran-damn-tee you that my carb intake was through the roof. I was eating all kinds of crackers, cookies, chips, jams and jellies, breads… blah blah blah… Honestly, it was carb city over in my house. That and Diet Coke. For years and years I went without one Diet Coke then suddenly I was drinking the stuff like there was no tomorrow. I don’t know what came over me. I craved carbs and Diet Coke like they were going out of style. I know for a fact that the carb craving at least is a side effect of the Seroquel, which I take for my bipolar. I know this because it’s happened before, like way back when I first started taking it. But I can’t tell y’all why it hit me again so suddenly and so hard. Maybe they changed an inactive ingredient or something. I dunno. But I’ve controlled that side effect before, and have even lost weight — a lot of weight while taking Seroquel. I can control it again. Interesting note here that I didn’t notice before (see image), Seroquel also messes with the thyroid. Huh. I’ll have to bring this up next time I go to the doctor’s. Let me tell you something, dear reader, I will not stop taking the Seroquel despite the side effects. I’d rather be fat and sane than skinny and bonkers. I’ll tell y’all that right here and right now.
Anyway, I’m back to monitoring my food intake, which totally helps keep me in check when it comes to what I’m putting in my mouth. That’s another thing that I’d let slide these past few months. I was just too tired to bother. Having a phone app for it helps — myfitnesspal if anyone’s interested. There’s a widget in my sidebar that shows how much weight I haven’t lost. I totally plateaued at 256 pounds. Sigh. But if you read the little image above, I probably have Seroquel to blame for that too. Ha! I have to eat less than most people just to maintain the weight I’m at. Grumble grumble grumble. Anyway, I’ve ordered a couple of books to read up on the whole thyroid matter. I just now as I was typing this got a call from my doctor’s office to follow up in a couple of weeks to talk about all of this — meds, lifestyle, thyroid, the whole shebang.
I hope that I’m not boring y’all with all of this. I read somewhere that the thyroid is the spark plug for the body. If it’s not working correctly, nothing else works quite right. That’s why I don’t want to mess around with the woo and snake oil. Same with my bipolar. Everything else that’s going amiss in my body is… important but not as important. Like, I can kind of deal with the fibromyalgia, the IBS, the migraines, and all that rot, but the bipolar and thyroid? They’ve gotta be taken care of or everything else just goes to shit.