I am currently 38 years old. Between the ages of 26-30 I was my ideal weight. Extremely fit, 110lbs, 5'2", with low body fat percentage. I was a total athlete and active for 2-3 hours every day. No known thyroid problems. Life was great!
Around age 30 - one day I got my period went I shouldn't have. I had flawless gynecological history and had regular cycles my whole life so I chalked it up to a random occurrence. Then it happened again a couple of weeks later…and again…and it seemed like I was always experiencing PMS and getting my period every couple of weeks for several months. I went to a doctor who put me on birth control pills to control the bleeding instead of ask the question, "WHY was she bleeding?" I didn’t ask the question either - I trusted the doctor and took the pills even though I felt yucky on them. The first set of birth control pills worked for a month…but then I bled through them. Long story short - I went through about 3 different birth control pills and bled through all of them while gaining horrific weight despite working out 2 hours a day and eating really well. I was freezing - my temperature was 96 degrees and I was cold all of the time. I was exhausted and depressed. I started to get ACNE even though I had flawless skin my whole life. I was unknowingly very HYPO, anemic with restless legs…exhausted, bloated, fat, and miserable in every way with constant bleeding and cramping. Life was horrific and I barely left my apartment. I cried multiple times a day - I could hardly stand being in my own body…and I had ZERO control of it. One doctor MIS-diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). My hypothyroid state eventually caused a polyp and fibroid on my uterine lining which caused more bleeding…becoming more and more anemic. Every hypo symptom on planet earth hit me. I went through 15 doctors and spent thousands of dollars on doctors who didn't take insurance …some of whom were famous authors and hormone doctors to Hollywood celebrities. No one was testing my thyroid correctly and no one knew what was wrong with me. Finally a doctor tested my Free T3 and Free T4 (FT3 & FT4) and both were at the bottom of the range.
Due to my experience with so many doctors hurting, not helping me…I researched 24-7 to find my answers online. Life was ground to a halt and my days were filled with physical misery, living in a body I could not control. I was severely depressed and a blob of a human being. Thankfully I found th NTH Yahoo group (Natural Thyroid Hormone) and posted my thyroid labs. (**That Yahoo group was started by Janie Bowthorpe in 2006 and she later wrote an amazing book titled STOP THE THYROID MADNESS). I was on that Yahoo group every day…Janie the moderators gave me advice that saved my life. I obtained Armour thyroid medication and dosed myself with the inputs from thyroid patients who had been down a similar route while getting blood work done on my own. At the same time I began taking supplements and large doses of iron per the groups advice (Not one doctor I saw understood the IRON COMPONENT with thyroid hormones and how crucial it is to have optimal levels - only Janie and her Yahoo group knew about this back in 2006). I started Armour and IRON in 2006 and felt better in a couple of months. After a year on Armour I was feeling normal again. And life kept getting better and better. I lost the awful HYPO weight and life returned to normal. My menstrual cycle was perfect again and I spent the next 6 years on Armour feeling pretty damn good until I developed THYROID RESISTANCE/RT3 problems and became seriously hypo again in the Summer of 2011.
I lived very well for about 6 years on Armour and then I suddenly started to fall down the hypo staircase again. It became obvious around JULY/AUGUST 2011 that something was seriously wrong. I was on 4 grains of Armour per day. My iron dropped, my hair was falling out and feeling 'rubber-band-ish'. My high sex drive dropped. Dry, cracked skin formed and lingered on heels, ankles and forefingers. I rapidly gained weight and fat - especially around my middle. I am a VERY HAPPY PERSON and I started to become majorly Depressed with awful brain fog. Horrible PMS and painful fibrocystic breasts. Bowel irregularity and gas. Bloating and a distended lower stomach (like a pregnancy pouch). I was horrified to realize that I was HYPO again WHILE ON THYROID MEDICATION! My thyroid labs looked PERFECT on paper!
I went searching online and found Janie Bowthorpe again and the RT3 Yahoo group. They told me about the Reverse T3 test (RT3) and helped me understand what was happening...that I had become resistant to the thyroid medication and that the T4 in my medication was converting to the inactive RT3 and not into the ACTIVE T3. The RT3 was blocking my cell receptors and keeping me hypo as the T3 pooled in my blood, barely keeping me alive. The RT3/FT3 ratio test came back in harmony with my symptoms…I had a very severe RT3 problem. I went to my general doctor who I thought was knowledgeable about thyroid health because I had educated her years before…but she looked and me and said it was "too complicated" for her! I saw another doctor who told me I just needed to take more Armour, despite the T4 converting to RT3. He clearly had no idea. I called over 20 doctors on the phone to interview them to see if they knew about thyroid resistance and how to solve it…not ONE of them understood RT3 issues or how to fix it. I live in Los Angeles - a city full of world renowned and famous hormone-health doctors. Not one had a clue and the few that did, were using Wilson's T3 protocol with Sustained Release T3. And those doctors cost about $500 for the 1st visit not including labs or follow ups…and they did not accept any health insurance.
Realizing that I was learning my 2nd lesson over the years about NOT trusting nor relying on doctors to get me healthy…I, AGAIN for the second time in life…followed the advice of Janie Bowthorpe from the STOP THE THYROID MADNESS website and also consulted the RT3 Yahoo Group. I went about fixing MYSELF. For a few months after discovering my resistance - I did a liver cleansing program while successfully correcting the underlying factors of RT3 problems such as adrenal health and low iron. I wanted to see if I could naturally correct the problem. Despite getting all of my vitamin/mineral levels optimized over many months…I was still hypo and making RT3, gaining weight, and feeling horribly hypo as each day passed. I probably gained 30-35 pounds in 3 months while still managing to exercise 2 hours a day and severely limit my calories. Life was miserable.
About 7 months after discovering my resistance issues and trying to resolve the underlying causes and factors of it - I decided to quit my Armour medication altogether (I weaned down from 4 grains over a couple of months). I eventually went off thyroid medication for ONE MONTH….I did this to see if my own thyroid would kick back in after all of these years and to get rid of as much T4 that I could in case I had to start taking T3. At first, I felt better off of the Armour but by the end of that month I was feeling cold and hypo, gaining more weight again. I got my thyroid tested and sure enough…I was very hypo. In fact, I was just as hypo as I was in 2006 when I was first diagnosed. They were almost the exact same labs…both the Free T3 and Free T4 were at the bottom of the range.
After a month OFF thyroid medication, I decided to start T3-only in APRIL 2012. Initially, I was only interested in clearing my RT3 problems up and then going back on a T4/T3 combo like Armour or compounded T4/T3. However, after my first week on T3 - I knew it would be a lifetime! Within 3 days, my untreatable, dry, cracked skin on my forefingers disappeared! I was no longer depressed all of a sudden. I felt physical and mental energy for the first time in 9 months. I knew T3 was my answer and that I would never go back to risking the horrible-hypo state that RT3/resistance brings.
I instantly felt better on T3 even though I started on a very low dose. I joined the Yahoo RT3 group for guidance on dosing and I tracked my temps, pulse, and blood pressure 4x a day. I consulted with Janie Bowthorpe over the phone on the above same subjects and she told me about Paul Robinson's book.
Janie and her NTH Yahoo Group SAVED MY LIFE back in 2006 and just saved me again in 2012 by telling me about Paul Robinson's book. Paul's book completely changed my life! Reading RECOVERING WITH T3 was one of the best things I could've done for my LIFE and health. Although I DO NOT FOLLOW the "Circadian Method" of dosing that Paul invented and follows himself…I used all of Paul Robinson's knowledge and guidance in his "Recovering with T3" book to adjust and fine-tune my T3 dosing schedule.
As I write this success story, it is AUGUST 2012 - one year after discovering my resistance issues and battling an 8-month resurgence of hypothyroidism. I have been on T3 for 4 months and WOW I FEEL GREAT! I am currently on 112.5 mcg of T3 and I can report that I feel better than I did when I was feeling good on 4 grains of ARMOUR for those 6 years.
I have lost MOST OF THE WEIGHT THAT I GAINED! My metabolism has kicked in. The best part is - I have no more sugar or carb cravings! I have energy and mental focus all day long. Every hypo symptom is gone! I am probably only a few months away from reaching my perfect weight and percentage of body fat. My life is amazing and it feels like I was never hypo at all. ALL SYMPTOMS GONE! Feeling better and better in my BIKINI! I just completed my first TEN MILE stand up paddleboard race on the Pacific Ocean. I have my life back. My skin is great! No more sore, painful boobs! No more distended 'pregnant' looking stomach. I am fitting back into my clothes. I feel GREAT IN MY OWN SKIN!!!
I treated myself through the advice and info in Paul's book, 3 phone consultations with Janie Bowthorpe, and some advice from the YAHOO RT3 Group. I experienced NO TISSUE OVERSTIMULATION or problems during my dosing process because I increased my doses only by 6.25 mcg and only increased when I needed it. I monitored my blood pressure, temperature and pulse 4x a day for the first 3 months on T3. I tracked symptoms. I got my own blood work done and I had Janie and the RT3 Group look at my lab results. During the T3 dosing process, I initially increased my dose every 3 days, sometimes every 5-7, and on my last increase…I waited about 3 weeks. I made sound dosing decisions based on my vitals and symptoms. One time I increased a dose and I felt really yucky and my adrenals/temps were very wobbly so I reversed the increase, waited for a week and tried the increase again…it was fine and I had no problems.
I completely fixed myself for the second time in 7 years without the monitoring or help of ANY DOCTORS! However, Janie Bowthorpe, Paul Robinson, and the RT3 Yahoo group were all critical in my path to health. Through their wisdom and my own intuition and knowledge, I got well. VERY, VERY WELL. I took the right supplements to get my iron in good shape and my adrenals healthy. I ordered my own T3 online and carefully dosed and approached the whole situation cautiously. I monitored my temps, pulse and BP constantly and recorded everything in detail. I ate extremely well and cut out all caffeine and sugar (except for fruit). I rarely drank alcohol to begin with but I made sure not to have any alcohol during my path to wellness. I got a ton of rest. I exercised 6x a week - but I took it easy and didn't push myself like usual. I got my own blood work done privately and discussed my lab results with Janie and the RT3 group. I read Paul's book about 3 times. Of course the constant monitoring and research was a pain in the butt and took major discipline - but the payoff was beyond worth it!
The reason I will probably never go back to a T4/T3 combo is this: I never want to risk not knowing at any given moment whether the T4 in my body is converting into RT3. More importantly, I feel great on T3 and feel no need to add T4 back into my body.
I currently take 112.5 mcg of T3 split into 4 doses: 7am (37.5mcg), 11am (25mcg), 3pm (25mcg),, and 8:30pm (25mcg),. I use my iPhone's multiple alarms to alert me when it's time for my next dose. I carry a keychain pill container so that I always have a bunch of T3 on me at all times. Currently I take the following supplements daily and some of them every other day: Lugol's Iodine (for breast/general health), Celtic Sea Salt, Vitamin C (1500-2000 per day), B-Complex (1-2x a day), Magnesium Citrate (400-600mg) daily, Vitamin E, Omega-3 Fish Oil with CoQ10, 5-10mg of DHEA, Milk Thistle, Rhodiola Tincture/Liquid (for adrenal health), Trace Minerals.
For everyone out there struggling with similar problems - you can do this YOURSELF. You can. I am living proof that one can essentially 'be their own doctor' and cure their own hypothyroidism! I did it TWICE in 8 years! Paul did it! Janie did it! To everyone out there suffering with thyroid problems - you can get yourself well in 3-9 months!!! It is absolutely possible. I DID IT IN 3!!! It takes patience, hard work, consistency, attention to detail, research, and WILLPOWER. It only took me 3 MONTHS to get well after 9 months of living in a HYPO nightmare. I have been on T3 only for 4 months now and it KEEPS GETTING BETTER and BETTER!
The most important part of my journey back to wellness - was the guidance of Paul Robinson and Janie Bowthorpe who have LIVED THROUGH IT and know more about thyroid health than 99% of the doctors out there. Paul's book RECOVERING WITH T3 is my new bible and I am so grateful that Paul Robinson wrote it and shared it with the world. THANK YOU PAUL - you have saved my life and I am sure countless others!