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Adventures in Hashi-land by Megan Usko

Hello friends!  I have missed being here at zenthyroid.com but am so grateful for our amazing community to always connect with on Facebook and Twitter.  This guest post is written by a wonderful woman that I met through the Twitter thyroid community – Megan Usko, a.k.a. @Ladyzip15.  Megan is always so sweet and supportive and is one of those kind of people who make Twitter a nicer place.  I am grateful that Megan has generously offered to share her thyroid story here and talk about how she has gotten on the path to feeling better.

Megan has found that an over-the-counter thyroid glandular has helped her to feel better!  I believe that it is vital for each of us to find out what treatment will work best for us as we are all individuals with different needs and situations.  I definitely recommend finding a doctor who will work with you to figure that out if you can.  While it can be really challenging to find a great doctor who will listen to us, there are resources out there to use.

ThyroidChange has created a list of patient-recommended docs.  All the docs on this list SHOULD do complete thyroid testing and be open to thyroid treatment options.  You deserve a doctor who will do this!  Hypothyroid Mom has created this awesome resource to help you find a great doctor too.  If you cannot find a doctor, feel free to contact me and I will help you however I can.

Take it away Megan….

On the left: December 2011 right when symptoms were starting.  On the right: December 2013 on Tirosint after almost 2 years.
On the left: December 2011 right when symptoms were starting. On the right: December 2013 on Tirosint after almost 2 years.

I think back & believe some symptoms started right after I had my child in 2002. Back then I had frequent migraines & unexplained skin rashes. Both were treated as individual issues to resolve. I had no big red flags until late fall/winter 2011/12. I turned 40 & suddenly had this overwhelming fatigue. I played college basketball & kept in shape by swimming, weight lifting, running & Zumba and did most of it at 5:00am before work every day. I never changed clothes sizes from high school and I was getting into the obstacle course races to work towards a goal. Suddenly, I was skipping workouts because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed.

In early spring 2012, I discovered my warm weather clothes didn’t come close to fitting (we have 2 wardrobes here in Ohio). I went to my family physician, who begrudgingly did the basic thyroid panel (after much discussion as there was skepticism about how much I was exercising & that this could just be middle age stuff) & discovered I was hypothyroid and had gained 25 pounds in that year. I started levothyroxine & immediately got an itchy rash from head to toe. I was switched to Synthroid, which made me feel like I had morning sickness every day. Finally, I was given Tirosint.

In the meantime, I went to an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s & Vitamin D deficiency. She helped me with some energy recovery with the Vitamin D, but I still felt like a zombie on Tirosint & I couldn’t lose a pound despite trying a gluten free diet. Fast forward to this past winter when I started reading about Armour which gave me a gut feeling that my body needed T3 (thanks to Hypothyroid Mom, Mary Shomon & Gena Lee Nolin’s Facebook pages and Twitter feeds). I asked my endo to try Armour & was armed with some charting of daily continued symptoms. The answer was adamantly NO.

Out for a run on June 1st, 2014. I was so happy to see my face! ;)
Out for a run on June 1st, 2014. I was so happy to see my face! 😉

I kept talking to friends and asking questions of the “experts” and stumbled on a porcine-derived natural dessicated thyroid medication that did not require a prescription. On May 1st of this year I started it and within 3 days I felt like a brand new person. My energy is almost completely back! I am sleeping better! My favorite part is my face puffiness decreased a bit within a month! I want to exercise and can handle staying active and busy throughout the day. There hasn’t been much weight loss but I am thankful for the renewed energy and my LIFE!

One word about Hashi that I hardly see: IF you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, then any siblings (children & parents too!) should be tested. I have 3 siblings – one was tested & she has it too. I know the other two have it but they are not wanting to face it. My grandmother had this undiagnosed (she always talked about migraines, not being able to lose a pound, taking necessary naps, etc…and she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 65) and my mom’s sister & her daughter have it as well. Encourage your family members to get tested!

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.zenthyroid.com/2014/06/30/adventures-hashi-land-megan-usko/

24 comments

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  1. Elaine

    I’ve missed the Zenthyroid posts, but this issue was worth the wait. Megan you have an inspiring story! Not only does your journey provide optimism to those who share your health issues; but changes the way you look at life, which can only be lessons from which your children can learn. Best always!

    1. Mikelle

      Thanks mama – you are truly the BEST. You are so supportive and kind. Love you!

  2. Miss Diagnoses

    Wow, that is amazing! Megan, I am so very happy for you! And you look amazing too! I would never have thought of a non-prescription med. There truly is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Hashimoto’s! Mikelle, thanks for posting the Hypothyroid Mom link as well. I have my endo appointment next week and am making a list for him about my very mixed Armour experience. Brain fog slightly better, mood swings way worse, weight loss nada, facial swelling much better, hair loss better … but the agitated mood thing is really too much. The tight feeling in the chest went away though! Completely! It’s weird–normally I would just ask to switch drugs, but I am conflicted about whether to try another NDT (which I might be able to talk him into, or I might need to find another doc) or compounded (which the LLMD would do). Mikelle, I am loving this interview series about different people’s healing journeys. I need inspiration! And congrats again Megan! 🙂

    1. Mikelle

      I am really looking forward to hearing about your endo appointment next week. Figuring out the meds situation seems like the ultimate riddle sometimes. It is so hard to figure out what to do when things aren’t working the way they should and med changes can take weeks before we can even tell if they are working. Increase, decrease, switch altogether???? Making the list for the appointment is a wise thing to do. I hope that he will have some insight for you about the symptoms. Great news about the chest tightness going away – that can be so stressful. I agree with you – it is good to hear about the healing journeys of others. I feel like I get so much insight from hearing what other people have been through and how they have found healing. Hugs to you!

  3. Kelly Shadix

    I’m thrilled for Megan! She listened to her body and persevered through the ups and downs, and found the right NDT that works for her. We are both from Ohio and are big OSU fans. Like Megan I grew up very athletic and always tried to stay in shape. Thyroid disease/hoshimoto’s is a slippery slope and it’s hard to find that balance. Glad Megan is on her way to finding a “new normal” with this disease. I love following Megan on twitter. And hope to hear more from her on her journey.

    1. Mikelle

      I am thrilled for Megan too! It is great to get a first hand report about the glandulars. There is no doubt that there are so many different paths for us to find healing. Probably as many paths as people 🙂 Thank you so much Kelly for letting me know about Megan’s story which led to her amazing post! Our Twitter family is so special 🙂

  4. Megan U

    Thank you so much Elaine! I was thrilled to be asked to tell my story. Mikelle is one of my heroes of this thyroid world on Twitter. I felt so encouraged to make a change for my health & be brave instead of continuing down the same, miserable path for my health.

  5. Megan U

    Miss Diagnoses that is a quandary in the symptoms! You are so fortunate to have a doctor who listens! Please update us after your appointment!

  6. Megan U

    O-H! Love following you too & I appreciate the kind words. So far this is not equating to weight loss but I feel “normal” just being able to exercise regularly. Thank you for all the encouragement during this journey!

  7. Melody

    Can you share or email me the over the counter product you tried?

  8. Megan U

    Melody I sure will. What is your email address?

    1. Mikelle

      Melody, I will send Megan your email address. I know you provided it when you left your comment but it is kept private in the system. ~Mikelle

      1. Melody Gough

        Thank you!

        1. Mikelle

          Of course! Please feel free to contact me as well for anything you need. The contact form on this site should go directly to my email. Best wishes 🙂

  9. TIM MCFADDEN

    can you email me the name of the natural medicine you are taking? tks tim

  10. Megan U

    Melody I thought I would just post it out here since Mikelle doesn’t mind. It’s called Allergy Research Group Thyroid Glandular & it is made at an organic farm in New Zealand. It’s only 40mg & I have started with 2 capsules a day. It’s still a big bargain for me at $17/100 capsule bottle when my Tirosint was $70/28 pills! Really though feeling better is the most important! I have a friend who takes Armour & she compared the ingredients & they are the same. Here is a link to the website: http://www.allergyresearchgroup.com/Thyroid-Natural-Glandular-100-Capsules-p-332.html I order them froma natural online pharmacy that always has free shipping.

  11. Shirley

    Thank you for being an inspiration to me Megan!! Thanks for the info and educational links you’ve shared with me that have heloed me get on my road to recovery!

  12. Michael

    Hi Megan Glad you are getting better . Also don’t forget to do Paleo diet , i hear it is very good for hypothyroidism / hashimoto . may i know what is the medication you take that makes you getting better ?
    Michael recently posted…Hypothyroidism Causes – 10 Things You Should KnowMy Profile

  13. Jim Lawrence

    HI all, thank you for this thread. I found it on der Goog searching for an equivalent dose of the Allergy Research Thyroid glandular that I just started taking today to see if it could be compared to Thyro-Gold, which I’ve taken for the last year+ and which has been better and more consistent for me than the Natur-Throid I was taking…until I broke out into a systemic rash that made my life fairly miserable for several weeks…until I switched to Thyro Gold and it went away and hasn’t returned.
    Up until then, I’d loved the Nature-Throid as my MD, who had no art in the process, started me on Levothyroxine and I was like a zombie…it was worse than nothing at all (I’d had fatigue and no energy for a few weeks leading up to the diagnosis). the Levo was just a non starter for me and I told him it wasn’t working. Being a country doctor but unfortunately steeped in “medical science is gospel!” mindset, he said it was better than Armour for example and I should just get used to it.
    I asked him to prescribe Natur-Throid which I’d researched and discovered, he had never heard about it. He’s a good guy too, my doc, but regrettably rigid, he doesn’t believe there is such a thing as candidiasis or chronic fatigue either! And he’s younger than I am.
    Anyway, Natur-Throid restored me to the human race in 3 days flat. But then something about it changed, I don’t know of course what, and the rash was the main indicator.
    I was going through a lot of stress at the time as well with the attempot to sell our house for four years straight and that may have been a factor.
    But I jumped ship, desperate to get rid of the bumps and itching all over my body, and tried Natur Throid…just popped the first two pills the first day, that was too much, and went with one pill a day and have been doing that ever since.
    So why, you may ask, am i looking for an equivalent to Thyro Gold with Allergy Research Thyroid?
    I’m in Germany, I’m going to run out of Thyro before I go back to the states, and Thyro doesn’t ship to Germany. Tioo many problems with customs apparently.
    So I bought the Allergy Research here as that’s readily available. It has a different smell than Thyro. And a different dosage of 40 mg. Maybe I’m repeating myself.
    But since I have no idea whether the two products are in any way compatible, I’m shooting in the dark.

    I’ve taken two 40 mg of Allergy Research Thyroid today so it’s a little early to tell. I feel a big foggy but I didn’t get a full night’s sleep so that could be a factor, also I am cutting sugar out of my diet and it’s my second day, so those are factors already (do feel better though around the sugar thign, which I’ve had a craving for all my life). Digestively the Allergy Research Thyroid seems just fine other than a mild “beefy” burp now and then, haha.

    If anyone has any suggestions they’d like to share, I’d be grateful, and thanks in advance.

    cheers and thyroid success to all…and thank you to Megan for your chronicle of your experiences. It makes me feel sad to realize medical science is in some ways still back in the horse and buggy days – especially with doctor’s insularity against considering new or challenging ideas, in large part I”m guessing because of fear of medical malpractice. The legal climate in our country has not treated doctors well and who can blame them for being overly cautious?

    all the best

    JIm

    1. Mikelle

      Thank you for sharing your medication adventures, Jim! It sounds like you have been through a lot and have gained quite a bit of first-hand knowledge. Really interesting about the Nature-Throid and the rash. I do wish that companies would let us know when they changed their formulation. I heave heard of others having similiar experiences. I was on Nature-Throid also and switched to WP-Thyroid when that first came out. I wonder if that is when RLC changed Nature-Throid? Anyway, we would love if you came back and shared your experience with the new glandular. Good luck with cutting out sugar too!

      1. Jim Lawrence

        Thank you Mikelle, it’s been a challenge as you know it can be.

        I heard from Tammy at Thyro-Gold today – I’d asked her to help me figure out what dosage might take of the Allergy Research Thyroid (ANT) caps which are 40 mg. Thyro-G’s caps are 150 mg but of course there’s a lot of difference in how their formulated…or potentially so anyway.

        Although neither of us found a breakdown of the Allergy Research product, she sent me the components and percentages of Thyro-Gold:

        “I’m so sorry to hear of your predicament. I tried to see what I could find about the NDT that you located in Germany and I don’t see the information that I would need -the incremental breakdown of the hormones. If the 40mg is consistent with a 4:1 ratio of T4/T3 then the 40mg would seem low to me.

        It’s just so difficult to compare one product to another mainly because the mg can be the total weight measurement of the tablet or capsule and not necessarily the increments of the specific hormones.

        Our Thyro-gold 150mg consists of 50mcg T4 and 12.5mcg T3 plus the added T2, T1 and calcitonin per capsule. I know this might not help you with knowing how much to take of the product that you have found but it will give you the exact dosing of what you were taking of the Thyro-Gold.

        Gee, I wish that we didn’t have so much trouble getting Thyro-Gold into Germany. It is very difficult and many times, the package is returned to the shipping center – maybe they require a tax upon pick up or something.

        I’m sorry if this email isn’t helpful but I am pleased that you are happy with our Thyro-Gold.”

        As you can see, Tammy is a wonderful human being. She’s not only carried on the work of her husband, who died unexpectedly a couple years ago, but is so helpful and caring.

        For my report, I took three caps (40 mg each) of the ANT caps today, two this morning, one in the afternoon. I’ve also cut out sugar the last three days entirely and didn’t have any coffee today…usually it’s 1 to 1 1/2 cups…and I felt great all day. Did a fair amount of physical work, my head felt clear all day and my mood was good.

        Honestly, I can’t say it was the ANT but I’m not ruling it out.
        I’ll check back in in a week or so and let you know how it’s holding up. Then when I go back to the Thyro-Gold I’ll monitor how I’m feeling with that too.

        And once I”m back in the states, I’ll have some blood work to end all the guessing…

        HOpe all’s well with you Mikelle and all of us challenged by this malady.

        cheers

        jim

        1. Mikelle

          Wow, thank you for taking the time to share all of this information here. I look forward to your update!

    2. Marc

      Dear Jim,

      how are you doing with Thyroid from Allergy research. I’m also living in Germany and have the same problem to get any other products. So I’m taking Thyroid from AR at the moment. I’m doing well with it. My practitioner told me, that one capsule contains approx. 66 μgr of T4 and approx. 16 μgr of T3. After three days of taking this product my body temperature raised from 36,2°C to 37°C. Before I used just a synthetic T4 and I didn’t work for me. Also because of my poor adrenal glands. So, I’m also substituting cortisone.

      How are you experience with this product so far?

      best regards

      Marc

  14. Jim Lawrence

    I’m sorry, I read over my post of Tues and realized I made a mistake. In the middle I said I ‘jumped ship’ and tried the Nature-Throid but that was a mistake, I changed to Thyro-Gold and it’s been just fine ever since.

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