So, I got my labs back a week or so ago and everything was normal except for very low vitamin D, some individual low thyroid scores, way high thyroid antibodies, high triglycerides, and bad blood sugars.
So, I’ll start with those bad blood sugars since they concern me the most. I have had a fasting glucose of 100 before. I have had HbA1C’s of up to 5.9, but today I had an FBG of 99 and an HbA1C of 6 and I am a believer now- it’s official… I am pre-diabetic. I had a doctor tell me that a few years ago and I scoffed at him and that diagnosis, but it hit home today and I accepted it for the gift that it is. So, even before speaking to my new hormone guru, I knew what needed to be done. I have a plan; and it is to kick that bitch’s ass before she gets into my house. Step one: I downloaded a bunch of books onto my Nook about reversing diabetes and keeping blood sugar stable with diet and exercise. Step two: I started exercising like I should have been exercising all along. My first weekly goal was to walk/jog 10 miles and I beat that goal with 2 days to spare. Step 3: increase veggies and fruits and decrease high GI foods and eliminate as much sugar as possible. I have been trying to have protein at every meal and cut out sweets, but apparently sugar is my drug of choice and it is not easy. I especially love sugar when it teams up with bad fat and white flour, like it does in donuts, but I am working on it.
So, yesterday, my appt day arrived where I got to drive 90 minutes to Greensboro and talk to this new holistic provider. Once again, she is a Nurse Practitioner [pretty much the same thing or better than a PA and much more useful than most doctors] who specializes in gynecology and endocrinology. She was trained out west and she is very much a healthy approach, clean living over a prescription provider. She does sell supplements in her practice, but she is not a charlatan. She is very quick and well-read and knowledgeable about what she treats. She did not try to sell me anything, she assessed my labs with laser precision and gave me a diet and some prescriptions for supplements and natural preparations to take away.
I thought she was going to tell me to decrease my thyroid because my TSH was so low, but she didn’t! She stressed the insignificance of this value, especially in relation to the individual thyroid values like Free T4 and T3 and said since those were low I could actually increase my Armour. I have been on natural thyroid for at least 15 years and my life is worth living because of it- no exaggeration. I was a mess on Synthroid. I have said it to many: it was like I was existing in this flat, gray world that suddenly burst into color like in the Wizard of Oz when I started on natural thyroid replacement. I do self-titrate some, but have been afraid to ramp it up much to prevent going hyperthyroid. It is also important to note that I have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is the type of hypothyroidism that is autoimmune in nature and usually runs in families along the maternal line. My body literally views my thyroid gland as a foreign and unwanted presence and is doing its level best to annihilate it. Tammy commented that my antibody titers were the highest she has seen and asked if I grew up next to a toxic river. So, given the level of my antibodies combined with a low Free T4 and T3, she said feel free to go crazy on the Armour. I currently take 2 grains a day, one in the morning and one in the evening and sometimes titrate down to one in the morning and 1/2 in the evening. So, I was ecstatic when Tammy said I could increase Armour. I could take 2 in the morning and 1 in the evening or up to 4 grains a day with scores like mine. Hot damn, maybe I can lose some lbs now, since clearly, I struggle to lose weight even when I am restricting calories now. So, that was the first good news.
Next good news: Tammy did not lecture me concerning my bad sugar scores. She pointed them out and suggested that I begin by doing a yeast free diet for a few weeks to rest my adrenals and to rid myself of sugar/yeast which apparently causes all kinds of ill effects: bloating, fatigue, mental fog, digestive issues, etc… She also suggested that gluten free might the way to go from now on since many people with hypothyroidism are gluten intolerant and at the very least it would help with my blood sugar issues and overall general health. I knew this and we discussed the book Wheat Belly which talks about the genetic mutations in wheat nowadays that makes it much higher in gluten and much more damaging to anyone with celiac disease or allergies or intolerances.
Next good news/bad news: my vitamin D levels were bottomed out to the extent that it looks like I might be genetically predisposed to this malady. I was like, “okay, what does low D cause?” She said: impaired sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity [oh noooo], increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer”.. basically all kinds of heinous things. So, she prescribed 10,000 IU’s that I am to take 2x a week. So, the bad news is that I have low D but the good news is that after treatment, I may utilize sugar and become less insulin resistant. That is great because insulin provides keys to my cells so that sugar can go into the cells and be used and not stored in my liver and turned into fat when the keys don’t fit.
We finally got around to talking about my female hormones, which is why I was there, and Tammy agreed that I am a quarter of the way to menopause, well into almost halfway [which means I will need to change the blog name again soon]. My estrogen is still good [yay], but my progesterone and testosterone are low and so she suggested prescribing bioidentical creams of each for me to get some hormonal balance in this area. I suggested that she put them into the same cream, but she said that this would not work because testosterone is energizing and so it needed to be applied in the morning. Progesterone is sedating and should be applied at night before bedtime. I sort of balked at the testosterone, because I was thinking I already have less hair in places I want it and more hair in places I don’t, but she said that is due more to imbalance that a predominance of one, and shared that testosterone deficiency causes lowered libido, brain fog, depression, low energy, fatigue, and belly fat. She said she can look at a man and tell if his testosterone is low by looking at his belly. So, with that, I was in. These creams must be compounded so she faxed them to the local pharmacy that has those capabilities.
Finally, she suggested that with antibody levels as high as mine and the fact that my thyroid is autoimmune in nature, which makes me more susceptible to other autoimmune disorders like MS, diabetes, and ALS [eeekk], that I might like to try the off label usage of a drug called Naltrexone. This is an opiate blocker that is prescribed in higher doses for heroin addicts and alcoholics, but in lower doses has shown promise in strengthening the immune system and assisting in lowering antibodies and reducing symptoms in MS and other autoimmune diseases. I agreed to research it and possibly give it a try. I have the prescription and I think I am going to give it a shot since the side effects are low and it could help in a number of ways. The main side effect is increased or vivid dreaming, and that along with the testosterone cream I am applying at night might prove exciting. If you are interested in researching this yourself, google low dose Naltrexone or LDN along with your personal autoimmune disorder keyword.