I was one of those people who thought only other people had health problems. I sailed through my 40s feeling like I did in my 20s, then suddenly in my early 50s all that changed. I gained a great deal of weight, was constantly tired, had to push to accomplish anything, and the worst thing was I seemed incapable of understanding anything. This would have been bad enough if I had stayed on track with my old job, but I had not only changed jobs, I had gone back to college to get a degree.
My first embarrassing experience was when I had to learn to use the computer at my new job. I had a computer at home and had been comfortable with learning different programs but suddenly I couldn’t comprehend anything. I wrote notes to remind me the steps I had to take in ringing up a sale and was able to struggle through, but even with the repetition of more sales I couldn’t grasp how to use the store’s computer program without referring to my notes.
College was even worse. I’m reasonably intelligent but there were days I was in such a fog that the simplest assignment would take me hours. It got so bad that I had to drop out for a semester and thought that it might be the end of my dream of getting a college degree.
During this time I had gone to several doctors who told me that my problem was stress. I certainly couldn’t disagree with that but I had always worked under stress and had never had a problem with retaining information. As for my weight, although they didn’t say so I could see the doctors figured if I ate less I’d lose weight. I tried to tell these doctors that although I couldn’t push myself to be as active as I had been, I hadn’t suddenly started eating more and was actually gaining weight eating less.
Finally, at least four years after I initially noticed a problem I found a doctor who took a blood test and found that by this time I had extremely low thyroid. She gave me Levothyroxine samples and told me to start with a large dose to address my low thyroid levels.
I was looking forward to finally becoming myself but if anything I got worse. Now I was ready to fight anyone who looked at me twice. I went back to the doctor and she gave me a prescription for Synthoid. The Synthoid was a bit better but I still had problems with retaining information and still tired easily.
It was then that a friend told me that synthetic thyroid medicines didn’t work for everyone since they added the component T4 but did not add T3. She suggested that I ask to try natural thyroid medicine known as Amour. The doctor did not want to give me this medicine but I persisted, finally, she grudgingly agreed. The difference was dramatic. My brain fog cleared and I was able to comprehend things that a couple of weeks before I wouldn’t have even attempted.
I am now almost ten years into thyroid problems, and I am now doing reasonably well at keeping on an even keel. I have left the doctor who originally diagnosed me because she wouldn’t listen when the prescription she wanted me to take didn’t work for me. I ask for copies of my blood tests and argue with my present doctor when she says that the only component that has to be in range is T4, or when it’s suggested that I go back to Synthoid.
From my experience I believe that many doctors don’t understand the thyroid as much as they should. In itself that would not be a terrible problem if they were willing to listen to their patients and learn with them. As for myself I have learned that I have to be my own advocate. If I start getting mad at little things for no reason, or getting tired for no reason I know I have to change or adjust my medicine.
After my experience with thyroid I would tell anyone who suddenly feels different from their normal to ask their doctor to immediately take a blood test for thyroid.