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Letters to Oprah
Assembled by Mary Shomon, Your Thyroid Guide

Oprah Awareness Campaign

"I am a highly intelligent woman who spent my youth coasting through school, taking all the top honors classes but never having to study to make my straight A+ grades. I graduated at the top of my class with twice as many honors credits as any of my peers. I had participated in so many extracurricular activities that I earned four separate letter jackets! My bedroom was filled with my trophies and awards.

On a full academic scholarship, I headed off to college where I majored in math. It was just as easy as high school; I rarely had to study to earn top grades even though I also worked part time. I graduated Magna Cum Laude and was active in numerous clubs and social service groups throughout my college years.

I married an Air Force officer and happily moved across the country with him. I worked part time and served on the board of our Officers' Wives Club; as a matter of fact, I held THREE board positions and wrote 2 different articles (on 2 different topics) for our monthly magazine (as well as being the asst editor). My life was rich and full and I never felt too busy or overwhelmed. It was easy.

I was thrilled to learn of my first pregnancy in 1992. I continued to work out at the gym throughout my pregnancy and actually completed more than 100 miles during my last trimester, earning a Century Club T-shirt from the Wives' club. But I also developed carpal tunnel syndrome and an awful ache in my knees.....

I had a beautiful baby boy and when he was nearly a year old, I became pregnant again. I didn't have the same energy I had before; I was tired more often and never made it to the gym even though my husband was happy to stay home with our son so I could work out. In Sep 94, I had another beautiful baby boy.

But I just didn't feel good at all. By Jan 95 I was in the doctor's office wondering why my hair was falling out, my skin was so dry it was cracking and bleeding, I was so tired all the time, and I was gaining weight even though I ate sensibly and was nursing my baby. My sister has thyroid disease and those are classic symptoms, so I asked my doctor for a thyroid test.

My bloodwork came back abnormal, indicating that I did indeed have thyroid disease. But my doctor brushed it off, saying "Oh, you just had a baby so this is irrelevant. It'll pass." He assured me that there was nothing to worry about.

I went home and dealt with it. I got pregnant again in Oct 95. During this pregnancy, my knees hurt so badly I could hardly walk. I developed such severe pain in my feet that I saw a podiatrist twice for treatment. My carpal tunnel was coming back. My skin was dry and scaly, cracked and bleeding. My hair became coarse, brittle and began to fall out. My body temperature was always well below 98 and sometimes even below 97 degrees. My memory started to suffer, which was crushing to a person who had always had the sharpest mind in the class. I had intermittent ear pain, tinnitus and numb arms. My eyes became so sensitive to light that I had to wear sunglasses even on a cloudy day. My face became puffy. I began to get very mildly depressed, feeling worthless. Although I am a stay-home mom who adores children and think mine are the greatest in the world, I began to lose interest in playing with them, instead spending hours sitting at my computer staring mindlessly at a solitaire game.

I had my baby in July 96, nursed him, and gained 20 pounds while nursing him (DURING my pregnancies, I would gain only 17-22 pounds and would lose all of it by my 6-week postpartum checkup. Yet while nursing the babies, I'd gain 10-20 pounds even though I'd eat carefully). My other debilitating symptoms didn't go away after having the baby, either. I became pregnant with our last child in June 97. During this pregnancy I developed such severe anemia the doctor wondered how I could even be alive! I also had higher blood pressure, and yet I had always had lower-than-normal blood pressure my whole life. My cholesterol also went way up. In addition, I still had all those other awful symptoms that I had during the previous pregancy.

I had this last baby in February 98. I weaned her in November 98. In the past, every time I'd wean a baby my milk would dry up completely within 2 weeks. But this time, I weaned her and my milk did not dry up. As a matter of fact, I am still lactating today, 2.5 years after weaning my last baby! It has never dried up in all that time--never.

So, between 1995 and 1999, I gained nearly 80 pounds and felt horrible. But I did not think it was my thyroid since my doctor had told me my thyroid was fine. Oh, and I also developed borderline hypoglycemia; if I got hungry but didn't eat immediately, I'd soon be so nauseated I'd have to lie down and try desperately not to throw up. Often I would dry-heave.

However, by the fall of '99 I was so miserable I thought I was dying. I had never had a menstrual cramp or heavy period in my life but suddenly I was menstruating so severely that it was out of control. 2 super-plus tampons and a maxipad per HOUR still didn't control my bleeding; it streamed unabated down my legs. I was cramping so severely I couldn't get out of bed--I'd never had a menstrual cramp before and this was far worse than labor! My hair fell out so much I had to sweep the bathroom floor every morning after brushing it. In the shower, I lost so much hair that I had to clean out the drain 2-3 times per shower to keep the water going down.

I was sleeping constantly. I'd get up at 7:30 and make lunches for my 2 oldest to take to school with their dad and then collapse on the sofa. I'd sleep all morning while the two little kids played around me. They'd beg for lunch around 11 so I'd drag myself from the sofa to feed them. Then I'd collapse again and sleep until 3:30 when I had to go pick the older boys up from school. As soon as we got back home, I'd collapse again until 5 when my husband got home. At that time, I'd get up to start dinner while he'd oversee homework. We'd eat, put the kids to bed, and then I'd sit like a zombie on the sofa folding laundry before collapsing back into bed by 10.

My skin was awful. It was thickened and scaly, coarse, cracked and bleeding. I developed what I thought was dandruff but no medicated shampoos helped. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was not dandruff. It was dry skin on my head! It got so dry, thickened, and scaly that my scalp began cracking open and coming off in big chunks, leaving bloody holes all over my head. I also developed little pimples all along my hair line (and I've never had acne in my life, even as a teenager). My husband told me I had begun to snore loudly. My memory was shot; I felt brain-dead and stupid. My eyes were super-sensitive to the light. My entire body, from head to toe, ached severely. It was like every cell in my body was in constant pain; it hurt just to exist, let alone move. I had large red patches on my skin--no one knew what they were. My right arm was so painful (whenever it wasn't numb) that I could barely use it.

I went to the doctor Jan 2000 for my annual gyn and requested a thyroid check too. My TSH was 8.0, well above normal and indicative of thyroid disease. We had moved by this time and my new doctor immediately began me on 75 mcg of synthroid (when I showed him my bloodwork from 1995, he was horrified that I hadn't received treatment. He said I had suffered horribly--and gained 80 pounds--for 5 years needlessly). Meanwhile, he did another blood test to see if I had thyroid antibodies in my bloodstream. I did, so I had Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroid disease, in which my own immune system is destroying my thryoid gland. There is no cure.

My husband immediately began intensive research on the internet to learn all he could about the disease. He read everything: medical journals, research studies, thyroid forums, alternative medicine websites--you name it. Meanwhile, my reaction to the synthroid was to give me severe constipation, destroy my libido, and make my hair fall out even more. My January menstruation hadn't been quite as bad as in 1999 (I had begun taking vitamin B complex and it helped), but when I started the synthroid my february menstruation was even worse.

By late March 00, my TSH had gone down to 1.8. The pimples were gone, the red patches on my skin were gone, my skin and scalp had improved some, and my hair was falling out at the rate of only one drainful per shower (instead of 2-3 drainfuls per shower). But I was still tired and still lactating. The doctor suggested we wait a bit to see what would happen.

By June 00 my TSH was down to 0.7. My skin had improved with the high humidity of the San Antonio summer (even before treatment, it always got better in the summertime). My menstrual cycle was under good control, but I was still lactating and still tired. Meanwhile, my husband had read that a healthy thyroid gland produces 5 different thyroid hormones (T0, T1, T2, T3, and T4). 80% of what your gland makes is T4, which is a stable compound that your cells convert into useable T3 as needed. However, 15% of the T3 your body needs comes directly from the thyroid gland. Some of your cells demand serum T3 straight from the thyroid; they cannot convert T4 into T3. Well, my gland didn't work. And Synthroid contains only T4! I told my doctor that perhaps I needed to have my T3 measured, that maybe I didn't have enough since synthroid wasn't providing any. And maybe my cells weren't converting the synthroid into T3; this could easily explain my unresolved symptoms.

Unfortunately, doctors are taught very little about thyroid disease in medical school. They are just told "give a TSH test and if it is over 5.0, give the patient a synthroid tablet to take daily." So when I suggested that my doctor measure my T3 levels, he said "Oh, they should be fine because synthroid IS T3." Well, he was wrong. It's pure 100% T4.

He recommended I go to an endocrinologist to figure out why I was lactating (my prolactin levels were normal). But we moved in July 2000 so I couldn't get in to see an endo beforehand.

We arrived here in late July. We found a house and got settled in, but I went way downhill during the month of August. My hair was coming out by huge handfuls; back to 2 drainfuls per shower. I could not stay awake; I'd barely get the kids to school and then sleep until noon. My skin was horribly dry in spite of the high humidity. The "dandruff" came back--with huge bloody holes in my head again where chunks of dry skin were coming off. My husband said I began to exhibit sleep apnea; he spent several nights lying awake listening to my breathing so he could shake me every time my breathing stopped. And I got a urinary tract infection (common for thyroid patients).

On 31 August 00 I went back to the doctor to tell him that my last doctor in Texas had recommended I see an endocrinologist. He quickly wrote out a referral and was about to send me home when I showed him my scalp and the big bloody holes in my head where the skin was coming off. That so horrified him he wrote out a new prescription for synthroid, for 100 mcg/day.

Well, a couple days later I noticed a strange mole on my shoulder. I went to the doctor to see it, and happened to get my appt with a different man from the one I saw the week before. He suspected skin cancer and gave me a dermatology referral. While he was examining me, I told him about my thyroid condition. He too did not know about T3 and T4, and all the other things we had read in our research. I told him I really wondered why no one had ever measured my T3 levels to determine if my body was converting my synthroid into useable form. So he looked up some stuff in one of his textbooks, realized I had a good point, and ordered full lab tests.

On 6 Sept those lab samples were drawn. My TSH was 2.6. My T4 levels were at a good amount, but my T3 levels were so low they were borderline. However, since they were still just barely within the "normal" range stated by the lab, my doctor said they were just fine. This blood profile, by the way, is classic for patients who take synthroid. The synthroid quickly lowers their TSH and raises their serum T4 levels, but their T3 levels are very low for 2 reasons: 1)their bodies are being deprived of the T3 which is normally excreted by the healthy thyroid gland 2)many of their cells are unable to convert the synthroid into T3.

By October, I had seen the dermatologist and he confirmed I had a skin cancer on my shoulder (basal cell carcinoma). He removed it, and shortly after that I found some research which showed that hypothyroid patients develop tumors..... Gee thanks. So I spend 5 years with untreated hypothyroidism and now I'm dealing with skin cancer.

In October, I wasn't sleeping as much and my skin wasn't cracked open quite as much. My hair was falling out a little less; I had to clean the shower drain only once per shower instead of twice. However, I started hurting severely all over my entire body. Every cell just ached horribly. And I began to develop some new symptoms I had never had before. My tongue became thickened and unwieldy; it was hard to control. I couldn't form the words I had in my head and I was biting my tongue and cheeks a lot. I would think one word and say something else. I also developed bad "brain fog;" my head was cloudy and I just simply couldn't think straight anymore.

By November, we did another blood draw and my TSH was down to 0.3. My husband had done further research and found a scientific study in a medical journal in which they gave some patients just synthroid while others were given synthroid plus oral T3. The patients on oral T3 felt better, did better on tests, and had less depression. The conclusions of the study were that it is clear the body needs the T3 which is produced directly by the thyroid gland so patients who had non-functioning glands and are taking only oral T4 are not getting what they need; they need oral T3 in addition to the oral T4 to make up for the T3 they are not getting from their glands.

But the doctor had given me an endocrinology referral so I simply bided my time until my appt on 7 Dec. We were sure that I'd finally get the care I needed; this endocrinologist I was to see was a woman so she'd understand a woman's body well (and thyroid disease is far more common to women than men).

I went to my endo appt with great anticipation. I walked in with my skin so thick and scaly I looked like an alligator. It was cracked open and bleeding; I left blood smears on the paperwork and the exam table. My scalp was coarse and scaly too. My hair was falling out everywhere. I hurt so bad from head to toe that I could barely walk. My tongue was thick and unresponsive. I was exhausted, couldn't think straight and having difficulty forming words. I had gained another 5 pounds since August so now my weight was 222. I was depressed and moody and felt like I wanted to just DIE.

She checked my reflexes and they were non-existent. But that was it. She looked no further at me at all; she ignored my skin and scalp and aching joints. Instead, she looked in my records and saw my old lab report from Sept (a 3-month-old report) and said "Oh, a TSH of 2.6. Well then you are fine." I said I sure didn't FEEL fine. I told her I was still lactating and had been for 2 solid years and she said "oh well these things take time." I showed her my bleeding dry skin and she said "but it is cold outside so that is normal!" even though HER skin wasn't thick and scaly and bleeding..... I told her I had gained weight all year long while taking synthroid and she said "oh well." She then informed me that she didn't need to see me again in person for 6 months. She said that I could get another TSH test in Jan 01 and have it faxed to her office, and that from now on there would be no reason for us to see one another; she would simply call me if she thought I needed anything. Then she wrote "Diagnosis: Hashimoto's" on my chart and charged my insurance company $225 for it! Good grief; I already knew I had Hashimoto's a year ago!

For Christmas we went to visit my family. But my knees were so painful I couldn't climb the stairs in my mom's or my sister's homes. My dear sister ran up the stairs for me whenever I needed anything. I felt awful and helpless. I was so depressed that I spent one whole day crying nonstop.

By Jan 01, I was really depressed and frustrated. My hair was coming out 2 drainsful per shower. The acne was starting up again all along my hairline. I ached severely all over. I was exhausted--I'd sleep all day if you let me. I had terrible difficulty thinking and speaking. My skin was still cracked and bleeding from dryness. The "dandruff" was getting even worse. And now something new: I was starting to get really cold all the time. I was badly constipated. Then the menstrual irregularities began to return and I got another urinary tract infection.

On 17 January, I saw a new doctor. I described my symptoms and he said "You need T3." He immediately switched me off of synthroid (pure T4) onto Armour natural thyroid. Armour contains T0, T1, T2, T3, and T4 in the proportions which the healthy thyroid gland produces them. I was thrilled; it was so obvious that synthroid did not work for me and yet I had spent a year suffering while the doctors forced me to take it. If I get a urinary tract infection and the doctor gives me a medicine which does not cure it, does he just make me keep taking it? No, he switches me to a different medication. Well, I have thyroid disease and I spent a year taking a medication which clearly did not make me better (the more I took, the worse symptoms I got). But no one would let me take a different thyroid preparation even though there are at least a dozen to choose from.

So I began to take Armour in a very small dose because my doctor had never put anyone on armour before and did not know how much I would need. His plan was to build me up slowly until my symptoms were fully alleviated. When I started taking Armour, I immediately felt 100% better; the depression cleared up by the second day! (the study we found showed that patients given oral T3 quit having depression; the brain is dependent upon serum T3; it cannot convert T4 into T3). The doctor has continued to increase my dosage slightly, looking for the right amount for me.

I now feel better than I have felt in 6 years and WAY better than I ever felt on synthroid. My skin is nearly normal; it is thin and pliable instead of thickened and scaly and cracked. It's still a little dry though. I have a couple other mild symptoms but mostly I feel normal much of the time. The doctor will be increasing my dose another notch next week so we can alleviate the last of these symptoms. In addition, I have discovered through my own experience and that of other thyroid patients I know that a woman's body demands more thyroid hormone during the menstrual cycle. When I go into that cycle, my hair falls out more (as well as numerous other symptoms). Now, it is NOT normal for your hair to fall out just because you are menstruating! Clearly my body demands more at that time of month. I am asking my doctor to give me a prescription for extra Armour to take at that time.

Another time your body demands more hormone is when you face stress. But if you have a non-functioning gland, you are dependent upon your doctor to give you more if you are in hard times.

That is my story and I think it raises important questions. First of all, why was I not given treatment beginning in 1995? The bloodwork clearly showed I had abnormal thyroid conditions. My TSH was a full point above the reference range and my T3 uptake index was well below the reference range. Not only that, but my sister was a hypothyroid patient, and family history of thyroid disease is a well-known risk factor. However in our research we have learned that many doctors regard hypothyroidism during a pregnancy or nursing to be "transient" and not warranting treatment. Well how do they KNOW it is transient? How many months or years or decades must a woman wait before they decide it isn't going to go away? And look at what happens to her during that time; she is gaining weight and her cholesterol levels are skyrocketing (so she is building up her arteries nicely), plus she is working on hypoglycemia (untreated hypothyroidism results in diabetes and heart disease, among other nasty things).

In addition, our research has shown us that women who develop postpartum hypothyroidism are much more likely to develop the lifelong autoimmune disease than women who do not develop postpartum hypothyroidism. So obviously, the fact that I clearly had the postpartum disease indicates that my doctors should have been checking my thyroid levels every few months, especially when I was pregnant and nursing my next two babies over the next 5 years. But they didn't.

I believe ALL pregnant and nursing women should be screened for thyroid disease. Why? Because I just read research in which they showed babies nursed by hypothyroid mothers suffer from hypothyrodism in the first few months. Why? Because the only hormone a nursing mother passes to her baby in her breast milk is the thyroid hormone (which is why so many women become hypothyroid while nursing). A baby who isn't getting enough will be small and sleep too much, plus has a lower IQ (this is from a double-blind study in which they tested the IQs of 5-6-yr-olds they had followed since birth, and the thryoid condition of the mothers). Well, I am mad. My last baby was born weighing 9#3oz and yet never grew much, so by the time she was 4-6 months old, people in the grocery store were asking me if she was a preemie. She also would often sleep up to 17 hours straight. And I was so sick with hypothyroid symptoms during those months I nursed her..... In addition, my first baby's eyes were so sensitive to sunlight that we could hardly take him outside. This light sensitivity is a hypothyroid symptom.... I am very angry! What kind of long-term damage has been done to my children by the doctor's failure to treat my condition?

So the doctors clearly have no idea which hypothyroidism is "transient" and which is going to stay with you for life. My doctor who brushed me off in Jan 95 should have checked my blood for Hashimoto's. Not only do women with postpartum thyroid disease often go on to develop permanent hypothyroidism, but their babies may be permanently damaged by their deficiency.

Another question this raises is the training of our doctors in thyroid disease. They are taught that the TSH test should be used alone. Unfortunately, this doesn't work. Synthroid (the most commonly prescribed thyroid preparation--95% of patients take it) will lower TSH rapidly even if the body does not convert the synthroid into a useable form. So the patient has tons of synthroid (T4) coursing through her bloodstream and thus has a healthy low TSH level--and is dying from hypothyroidism because her body is unable to use her medication. Doctors should be measuring patients' T3 levels too.

Another thing: we found a scientific study which shows that people also need the T2 that a healthy thyroid gland produces! This study showed that some cells use T2 to produce the enzyme which converts T4 into a useable form. So if you give a patient only T4, not all of her cells will be able to use it. Sure, SOME of her cells will be ok and will convert that T4 over, but she must have T2 for total health.

Another problem we thyroid patients are having: doctors rely too much on the labwork. Doctors have been treating thyroid disease for more than 100 years. Before we had labwork, they would examine the patient and her symptoms and then give her dessicated thyroid tablets , increasing the dosage until she felt good (by the way, Armour thyroid is dessicated thyroid). However, with the advent of these thyroid lab tests, doctors are ignoring a patient's symptoms and looking only at her labwork. I hold up that endocrinologist I saw last Dec as a prime example of this: she ignored my horrific symptoms, looked at an out-of-date lab test, proclaimed it "normal" and told me not to come back for 6 months. When I pointed out to her that the labwork was old, she said "Ok, have them draw another and fax it to me but I don't need to see you; we'll just handle your case over the phone." In other words, she had no interest in my symptoms or how I felt. She was interested only in my labwork.

I have had 6 different doctors look only at my labs and ignore my symptoms. Or they try to blame my symptoms on lupus or arthritis or anything else they can dream up even though every one of my problems is clearly a thyroid deficiency--all because my TSH test came back in "normal" ranges. Several have refused to do T3 tests so how they heck do they know if my body is using the medication at the cellular level? They don't! I was also told that I will ALWAYS feel yucky because I have an incurable disease so I need to just live with it. Well, guess what? I changed doctors and found someone who would switch me over to Armour (which contains ALL the hormones my gland would make if it could). And you know what? I no longer have all those horrific problems that the other doctors said I would just have to learn to live with.

Another problem that we seem to have is this: those "normal" ranges. First of all, the TSH "normal" range is typically 0.5 to 5. For many doctors, once they get you into that range they quit treating you no matter how awful your symptoms are. Well, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recently announced that they think a TSH above 3 is a matter of concern.

The second thing to consider about these "normal" ranges is that what feels good for Janey may feel awful to Susie. These doctors are working from the standpoint that once your blood test comes back showing that your TSH, T3, and T4 numbers are falling anywhere within the reference range, you are ok. Well guess what? Perhaps Janey feels really good when her T3 levels are at 1.98, but Susie feels as though she is dying. Susie needs her personal T3 levels to be at 2.9 before she is healthy and functioning normally. Those reference ranges should not be used as a treatment protocol! They are there simply to give the doctor a rough idea of why you might not be feeling well. If you feel horrible and are depressed and your brain is in a fog and your tongue isn't working and your T3 levels are right at the very bottom level of the reference range, the doctor should NOT look at the lab test and say "Oh gee Susie, that is still within the normal parameters so go home and deal with it." No, he should look at that lab test and say "gee whiz Susie! No wonder you feel so bad! Your T3 levels are at the rock bottom edge of our reference range! Obviously you need more T3 and would probably do much better if YOUR T3 levels were higher."

You see, those reference ranges don't mean that an individual will feel wonderful any time her bloodwork shows that she is anywhere within that range. Those reference ranges mean that some people have good health at the lower end of the range while others have good health at the higher end of the range and so typically your average person is going to fall somewhere in between these two numbers. Once the doctor draws the blood he must then go on to judge that patient as an individual; if she is somewhere within that range it doesn't mean she is cured. It just means that she is getting closer to the serum level which will make her feel her best.

There is also a belief among today's doctors that a person with thyroid disease is meant to always have unalleviated symptoms of her disease. Doctors did not use to believe that. 50 years ago when they gave patients dessicated thyroid, doses based solely on how the patient felt, doctors were so happy to see the patients feeling good again with all their symptoms cleared up (I own some medical textbooks from back then and that is what they say in the sections on thyroid disease). But today, doctors ignore the patients' symptoms and rely strictly on bloodwork. They quit helping the patient as soon as her bloodwork falls somewhere in the "normal" range no matter how bad she feels.

In addition, today's crop of doctors have been told to treat patients only with Synthroid rather than with natural thyroid. For 30 years now, patients have been taking pure T4, their bodies deprived of the other 4 thyroid hormones a healthy gland makes. These people then go on to live with hypothyroid symptoms for the rest of their lives because they are lacking in T0, T1, T2, and T3. So it has become a part of our medical lore that "thyroid patients never feel good!" When really it does not have to be that way. I am proof; I am now taking a preparation which contains all 5 thyroid hormones my body would make if it could, and my symptoms are going away! Am I unusual? No, before the invention and marketing of Synthroid, all women were given those 5 hormones and they felt great.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are two diseases which are new. Funnily enough, they came onto the scene right after Synthroid and the TSH test went into widespread use. Most people with fibromyalgia and CFS have hypothyroidism. Joint aches and fatigue are two of the most common hypothyroid symptoms. A few doctors are now examining this situation and have CURED their patients' fibromyalgia and CFS by administering T3. Don't forget that since the invention of the TSH test, doctors are giving the patients just enough medication to lower TSH to less than 5, leaving them undertreated. And remember, T3 is not present in Synthroid.... The combination of these two truths is what has created the diseases fibromyalgia and CFS.

Your show reaches so many people. Hypothyroidism is a deadly disease. It will kill you. It must be treated. Yet millions of women are undiagnosed. Millions of others have been brushed off, the way I was in 1995 just because I'd had a baby. Millions of others have had TSH tests showing a 3.5 or 4 or 4.5 and were sent home with the words "Oh, that's normal so there's nothing wrong with you." Millions of others are taking synthroid and are being put on anti-depressants because their bodies are deprived of T3, even though scientific research has shown that T3 will cure their depression. And millions of others are living half-lives; they are being treated for their hypothyroidism but they are being given just barely enough medication to keep them alive--but not enough to alleviate their symptoms. What's wrong with that, you ask? This is not just a quality of life issue. It's not just about wishing your hair would quit falling out. Hypothyroidism results in heart disease, diabetes, Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, PMS, infertility, dangerously high cholesterol, severe depression (including suicidal thoughts), obesity, heart failure, stroke, and death. So you see, this is a life-or-death matter. Patients who are being treated for thyroid disease but who still have symptoms are UNDERtreated. Their cholesterol levels are still building up, their blood is clotting too easily, their pancreases do not work properly, etc. You see, it's not just about whether my hair and skin looks good. Undertreated hypothyroidism is ravaging my insides too. My organs and glands--every cell in my body--is crying out for the correct hormones and proper levels. I am at risk for an early death.

And it's criminal. It doesn't have to be this way. The doctors of the past didn't treat their patients like this! There is no reason at all not to give me the proper levels of thyroid hormones. If I still have symptoms, change my medication until we get it right! But that's not what's happening in our medical system today. No, our doctors are just reading a lab test, ignoring physical symptoms and relying strictly on a single blood test (TSH) which several doctors are now suggesting has no basis at all in clinical reality. My endocrinologist is the poster child for this one, folks! She even said she'd treat me over the phone based on whatever lab results got faxed over to her!

So, should we just be left half-alive, our bodies slowly dying from thyroid deficiency, leaving us with diabetes and heart disease? Or should our doctors look past the bloodwork and recognise that we are all individuals? We each have a thyroid level which is right for us personally, and what is right for me is not necessarily what is right for you.

And that goes for medication too. When synthroid doesn't work, perhaps the doctor should quit blaming the patient and instead change her medication!

What a concept.

I think you should do a show on this topic. You could save millions of lives.

Thanks for your time.

PS All of those symptoms I described to you that I have experienced over the years are classic hypothyroid symptoms, including the anemia.... I didn't know that at the time, but have learned about it since then in my research over the last year."
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