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Finola’s Story

Thyroid Treatment:
Circadian T3 Method, T3

How I began to Recover from Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Issues (low cortisol) Using T3 and the Circadian T3 Method (CT3M)

Looking back with the knowledge I have now, I think I became borderline hypo when I was pregnant with my first child in 1994, but more importantly I think that I had a susceptibility to adrenal dysfunction well before that and it was that susceptibility which was the real cause of my problems.

I gained about 4 stones in the pregnancy (previously having been thin) and lost a lot of blood during the delivery. I should have been given a transfusion but due to the problems with infected blood supplies at that particular time it was decided that iron supplements would do.

I was tired and depressed for the next 18 months, and as we moved to Ireland from the UK, 8 weeks after my son’s birth, I didn’t get the continuity of post-natal care, which I probably would have if we hadn’t moved. I slowly recovered and put my tiredness down to having a child, living in foreign country, having no family support structure etc.

I put on even more weight with my second pregnancy, but didn’t suffer post-natal depression this time.

Then in 1997 my mother had a massive stroke, which left her paralysed down one side of her body (she was 60), and later that year, due to the actions and threats of a neighbour, we felt compelled to sell our home and move to another area in order to protect our small children.

I am mentioning these occurrences not to be dramatic but to illustrate how traumatic life-events, I now believe, can bring about system failures which produce thyroid and adrenal problems amongst others.

We moved to a different area and put the problems behind us and got on with family life.  I was pretty much ok healthwise, but it was in 2006 that things started to get frightening.  I began to get pins and needles in my feet, which I ignored and then the muscles in my legs would go into a spasm – which was painless – but I would have trouble controlling my movements, walking, getting into the car, even getting into a sitting position was really difficult sometimes.  This was all very alarming, but I was comforted that the muscles spasms only happened when

I was in situations which I found a little stressful, therefore ruling out a neurological problem, I felt.  I was also gaining weight now and had very dry skin and hair but this didn’t worry me at all really as my difficulties just getting around and my anxiety and fear about it all were becoming overwhelming. I went to see my GP and said that I felt there was an emotional component to my problems (this was ignored, unfortunately) not a neurological one, she ran various tests and as a kind of byproduct of these, discovered that my thyroid was under-active and that I had thyroid antibodies, so she prescribed Eltroxin (T4).

T4 Treatment

I began taking it and felt that I was a little less tired in the mornings but otherwise felt no improvement.  My GP sent me to see a neurologist then for brain and spinal scans, which proved negative. The neurologist saw that I indeed had problems walking and my Achilles reflex was slow and that I was indeed anxious and fearful, but no-one made the connection between these symptoms and my adrenals and the neurologist was unable to provide any treatment for any of the symptoms.

In the meantime I was desperately searching the net for any kind of help with my symptoms and I learned that lots of health problems I was having were due to the under  active thyroid, but could find nothing which explained my problems with my legs.

I asked my GP about getting my adrenals tested so I was sent to hospital for a range of tests including the one for Addisons but all proved negative.

I began to feel at this stage that I was being seen as just a batty middle-aged woman, but at least my GP didn’t offer anti-depressants! I continued taking Eltroxin and was continuing to decline in physical and psychological terms.  I began to have panic attacks and experience dizziness when standing still.  Family holidays were a complete nightmare for me and my husband and sons, as I couldn’t stand in queues without becoming distressed due to dizziness and acute anxiety; I couldn’t walk up or down stairs if there was no hand rail; I couldn’t cope with crowded busy places as I couldn’t change direction easily when walking; any small step or kerb was difficult for me to negotiate.

It is hard for me to explain the depths of fear I experienced and the difficulty I had dealing with the most insignificant physical tasks.  I couldn’t walk up or down my stairs at home if I was carrying something; I couldn’t stand on small kitchen steps to reach a high cupboard.

Before 2006 I used to do all the painting in the house and had painted the inside and outside of it – going up and down ladders and moving them about as I needed; we used to go hill-walking and I could go wherever my family went; I had been physically active, capable and completely confident in myself physically, if that makes sense, but that had all gone.

I had what I now see as a near complete physical and emotional collapse but through it all I always knew that it wasn’t due to an inability on my part to cope with trauma on a psychological level but something else, that it had to be something physically wrong which could be put right.  I am naturally a problem solver, a practical person, if there is something wrong I look for ways to put it right and I tend to depend on my own resources rather than look for outside help and I think that it was this tendency which has led to my ‘rescue’ from the horrible place I was in.

It was clear to me that the mainstream medics were clueless, due I believe to the over-specialisation and reliance on lab reference ranges which seems to be the norm in medicine today.

Simple, old-fashioned ‘doctoring’ based on the idea that the patient knows best how he/she feels and is treated accordingly is unfortunately rare.

I should say that although I was spending hours on the computer, chasing information all over the net, I was so foggy and slow in my thinking that I could only deal with very simple facts.

Gradually, though, I started taking B12, iron and magnesium and my muscle problems decreased somewhat and I became less anxious and as I became less anxious I was able to take in more complex information and at this stage I began taking an interest in sites specifically for thyroid sufferers.  I heard of NDT and doctors who were knowledgeable and experienced in treating thyroidal patients.

Armour Thyroid Treatment

I asked my GP to prescribe Armour Thyroid (natural desiccated thyroid) for me, she had never heard of it but was willing to write the script as she could see that I was improving and finding what I needed without her help.  I continued to get better but was still cold and tired and more important to me was still anxious and having balance problems – I needed a walking stick and couldn’t go anywhere on my own still.

The Armour helped with the thyroidal issues but I remained anxious.  At this stage (September 2011) I contacted Dr P and he was a revelation, when I finished speaking to him I cried my eyes out with relief, at last here was a professional who had answers and solutions for my problems!

He said that I had adrenal fatigue/insufficiency and suggested I add adrenal supplements and progesterone to my medications. Within a day of adding these to my daily routine my mood had improved dramatically and some of my physical problems had dissipated too.

Over the autumn I built up my dosage of armour but found that I was still getting symptoms of T4 toxicity.

T3 and Armour Treatment

I had read about T3 and heard of Paul Robinson and how T3 had made an enormous difference to his life and when his book  was published I bought and read it with interest.  Dr P was very encouraging when I asked him about trying T3 alongside the armour so I started with a small dose and built it up.

I began to feel that taking both armour and T3 didn’t make a lot of sense, so I discontinued the Armour and continued to medicate with pure T3 solely.

Pure T3 Treatment

I have been on pure T3 alone since Christmas and I am really now getting the full benefit of it.  I had read in Paul Robinson’s book that he used the Circadian T3 Method of dosing with T3 in order to emulate as much as possible the natural actions of the thyroid gland and to aid the adrenals to work.  This method made sense but I didn’t like the sound of the early hours wake-up to take the first dose of the day, so was taking the T3 basically when I remembered to do so, maybe twice daily.  It was working, but not as well as I had hoped, and I still had dizziness and balance issues.

The Circadian T3 Method

In the meantime I ran out of adrenal supplements and the anxiety came back with a vengeance and it all gave me a shock, so much so that I decided to try the circadian dosing and it is no exaggeration to say that the improvement in my feelings and thoughts was apparent later that same day only hours after the first 4.30am dose.

The circadian dosing has improved my adrenal function to the extent that, a week after starting it, when I had to go to a very busy hospital for routine tests I was able to negotiate steps without holding on to anything or anybody, I was able to queue without dizziness or panic, I was able to function like a ‘normal’ person.

This for me has been, to date, the single most important result of using T3.  I can now resume the independence which I lost in 2006, I can contemplate travelling abroad without fear, I can cope with social events again – they might be boring but at least I’m not terrified of falling over!

T3 has allowed me to regain the person I was before adrenal insufficiency and a troubled thyroid turned me into a terrified agoraphobic.

I am still doing some minor tweaking to get to the optimal dose to suit my own metabolic dysfunction, but that is a very small price to pay for being me again.  The process of arriving at where I am now has been one of growing up and taking responsibility for my own welfare – with help and support from many extremely knowledgeable fellow sufferers.

My dosing regime for T3 is as follows:-   4.30am – 25 mcg,  7.30am – 5mcg,  11.00am – 5mcg,  2.00pm – 5mcg,  5.00pm – 5mcg  I am still in the process of tweaking and trying slightly different doses at different times – I suspect that I may be one of the minority who benefit from taking a dose later in the evening.

I am writing this to inform any interested person how taking T3 has helped me and helped my family in the process – my kids and my husband had lost the person I used to be as well.

I am writing this in the hope that at some not too distant time T3 can be routinely offered to patients who don’t improve on T4, and that GPs will begin to treat the patient not the illness – if that makes sense.

Best wishes