In my last blogs, I told you about how I was misdiagnosed with a hypothyroidism and how as a result, I’ll probably have to stay on thyroid medications for the rest of my life.
I take 2 medicines every day—Armour Thyroid and Levoxyl. They are pretty common thyroid drugs, and they work for me. But as I’ve found out through talking with other people, when it comes to treating the thyroid, one size does not fit all.
For example, I have a dear friend with a thyroid condition (a real one, not a misdiagnosed one like I had), and what I take doesn’t have the same effect on her. She has to take something else, and take it differently than I do.
And in the beginning, when I was first misdiagnosed, my physician put me on Synthroid, but it caused my energy level to completely tank, and later on I read that it can actually cause pituitary tumors. Needless to say, I was pretty happy to stop taking it. The Levoxyl works well, but the Synthroid did not. These medications are not a “one size fits all” by any stretch of the imagination.
Another thing to keep in mind if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition is that the drugs you take don’t start working overnight. It’s not like when you have a sinus infection and your doctor gives you a Z-pack and by the next morning life is rosy again. It’s not a “take a pill and you’ll be fine in the morning” situation—not so much! It can involve a lot of trial and error. It takes time, patience, and sometimes a change or two of dosages and/or drugs to get your thyroid levels back in balance. It’s important to go back to your doctor after about six weeks and have other blood tests drawn, and make sure your levels are evening out.
I’d also like to offer a few tips for dealing with thyroid medication. With our busy lives, it can be hard to remember to take medicines on time, but with thyroid medication, you absolutely have to take it regularly and under certain conditions. For example, you have to take it on an empty stomach, about an hour before you eat or drink anything.
What has worked for me is to keep my medicine in a container near my bedside, so I take it before I get out of bed in the morning. I keep a bottle of water on my nightstand too so I can just wake up, take the medication, and wash it down. Of course, if you have little ones at home you’ll want to keep your medicines out of their reach, but you can still work it into your morning routine by keeping the bottle in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom where you first go after waking up.
Then for my mid-afternoon dose, I have the alarm on my cell phone set for 3 p.m., and again, I keep a pill box with me. Again, I always keep a bottle of water with me so it’s easy to take the medication.
If for some reason, you miss a dose, please don’t take it later on, and please don’t ever double up a dose. Just wait until your next dose is due and take it at the scheduled time.
So to recap, if you are dealing with a thyroid condition, chart your symptoms, and chart your progress. Work with your physician to get things ship-shape and for you to start feeling better. And please don’t be shy about asking for help and additional checkups and tests. You deserve to feel well!
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