My Struggle with Hypothyroidism
I decided to write this book after my own struggles with hypothyroidism. Throughout medical school I had been getting progressively more tired each year and by the time I finished residency, it took almost all I had just to make it through the day. I had a lot of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism but they were overshadowed by the expectancy that it was "normal" for medical students and residents to feel tired and stressed.
To give a few specifics about my symptoms:
• I was tired all of the time. I woke up tired and I went to bed tired. I could force myself to make it through the day but by the time I made it home, I had no energy for, or patience with my wife and son. I would crawl into bed as soon as possible.
• I was freezing all of the time. I had to wear sweaters everywhere. I would have to blow warm air into my hands and rub them together so as to not shock patients with my ice cold hands.
• My hands were so dry that in spite of heavy doses of moisturizer at bedtime and gloves to concentrate the moisturizer overnight, they would still crack and bleed.
• Brain fog was probably the most disheartening symptom. I couldn’t think clearly, and I began to have trouble functioning optimally when dealing with difficult cases. Sometimes I would forgot what a patient had said and would have to ask them to repeat it multiple times. I knew I was capable of providing exceptional quality care so I tried to push myself through it but I just seemed to run out of energy -- cycling back to being tired all the time.
Of course, every time we would do my TSH test, it was normal. I was stumped. All of the symptoms pointed to hypothyroidism but my tests were normal. So, I started reading everything I could find about thyroid dysfunction. After extensive research, I was quite surprised by the realization that evaluations for thyroid problems currently taught in medical school and practiced by most physicians, were missing a huge number of people with thyroid dysfunction -- me among them.
I checked more comprehensive blood tests, including my Free T3 and Reverse T3, and found that my numbers were NOT normal. After addressing some of my underlying problems, I finally began to feel better. My energy started to return, I wasn’t so cold all of the time, my skin regained moisture, and my brain fog finally lifted.
Since then, I have dedicated my time to learning as much about thyroid dysfunction as possible, with one goal in mind: to help as many patients as possible. And, that is really what I am all about. Looking back, I feel that God blessed me with those struggles so that I could truly relate to the confusion and frustration so many people are experiencing with this malady. I am grateful that my first-hand experience has provided an opportunity to bring greater compassion, understanding, and relief to the many still suffering. I have since helped thousands of thyroid patients feel better by adopting a more integrative approach to thyroid assessment and treatment.
Part of me, was hesitant to write this book. I know that, to some degree, it will be met with skepticism and be dismissed. I certainly hope it will not generate outright hostility. I know that this approach challenges some traditional perceptions of science and medicine.
After much thought and prayer, I believe God was guiding me to help others with the type of undiagnosed thyroid problem I experienced by providing information on a more effective alternative. Most physicians truly care about helping their patients and I believe they will be open to considering alternatives that will enable them to do this with greater success. I think it is the best use of my skills in service of those suffering from thyroid dysfunction. I know I change lives every day through the wisdom God has granted me. I hope this book will be at the forefront of a trend to change the way we diagnose and treat hypothyroidism.