Up and down


Just got my latest labs and my counts are showing that I’m hyper once again. TSH is back to 0.02 and Free T4 is 3.9. As a result, my doc is putting me back on 10 mg of methimazole daily. I’m going to try and see if he will agree to 5 mg a day instead as the 10 mg got me to being hypo. Since I being off the prescription, I did manage to drop 10 lb. over the last 6 wks and I have noticed that my hands have been feeling warmer as they normally have been before the methimazole. If I have to stay at 10 mg, I think I have to start a new exercise regimen and do something aerobic on a more regular basis to keep the weight in check.

This is pretty disheartening and a setback for trying to reach remission. But despite all of this, I’m still feeling rather normal and it hasn’t really slowed me down from doing my normal routine, knock on wood. I’ll have another follow-up in 6 wks time but for now, I’m just going to enjoy a long vacation starting this weekend (Alaskan cruise, Vancouver and then Seattle).


I should be in thyroid storm but I’m not

15 June 2016

The latest labs are in and I have no right to be functional. TSH is at 62.0!!! Yes, you read that right, 62, which means I should be in a thyroid storm.

What’s a thyroid storm? If what I’m finding online is correct, it’s an acute, life-threatening condition characterized with high levels of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include hypertension (nope, blood pressure 110/72), tachycardia (heart rate over 100, nope, 68 bpm), fever (nope, not running a fever), and abnormalities of the neurological and gastro intestinal systems (you may have me there on the neurological side but I’m not experiencing any problems with #2, if you know what I mean).

I have no explanation for how and why I’m feeling ok in spite of my completely whacked TSH levels. I just very thankful that my body is holding up as well as it has and hope it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. One of my close friends affectionately calls me a ‘rock’ but sometimes I wonder if she is referring to the object between my ears or because I’m tolerant to extremes (not bothered by cold or hot, generally high tolerance to pain – see reference to object between the ears, etc).

As predicted, I’ve been notified to stay off the methimazole and get another test in a month and a half’s time. The challenge here is that is just about when I will be off for a 2 week vacation with mom, cruising down the coast of Alaska to Vancouver, with stays in Vancouver and Seattle before returning home. More than likely, I will do another test before leaving and then prepare a medical kit of sorts to address whichever condition I may be in at the time. Hopefully, I will not need anything and stay symptom free as I am now.

Life is so interesting and unpredictable. The journey continues!


So it’s been awhile since my last post…

10 June 2016

I admit I’ve been pretty lazy about updating my blog, mainly because I didn’t have much to report. My health has been holding up, although back in Feb, my thyroid hormone level had swung completely in the opposite direction (TSH at 8.9!). While I was able to get my labs back, I had a snafu with a follow-up message regarding my prescription that I didn’t receive until my check up today. After the labs came in, the doctor sent a note telling me to reduce my methimazole intake by half to 5 mg a day. Whoops as I’ve been continuing at 10 for the last 4 months now!

Despite that, as I said, my health has been fairly steady, with the only notable change being creeping weight gain. That’s been going on since recovering from the initial dramatic weight loss and I had always put the blame on the methimazole. I’m up to around 203 lb. now, which is pretty close to my heaviest weight which was when I was still seriously working out with weights. My doctor is actually surprised that I’m not more screwed up and not exhibiting other physical signs of trouble. We’ll find out how screwed up my thyroid levels are when my new blood test comes back next week. But other than that, did I mention that my health has been relatively stable? Pulse 68 and blood pressure was 110/72, surprisingly good for carrying all that extra weight and without putting any serious effort towards a consistent exercise routine. Counting my lucky stars….

For now, my doctor said I should just stop taking the methimzaole (yes! – that was my goal) starting now. We’ll reassess once the blood test comes back but I’m guessing that it will continue to show that I’m too hypo and will likely stay off methimazole for at least another 4 months and then get another read to see if I’m within a ‘normal’ range again. The other good news was that he said I shouldn’t have to be concerned about iodine intake now and can resume eating whatever I want. Bonus as I have a big summer vacation planned with mom to go on a whale watching cruise from Alaska to Vancouver, followed by a short stay in Vancouver and then another in Seattle before flying home. It was going to be pretty darn tough to avoid seafood and now I don’t have to!

As for my journey going Mercury-free, I did experience one set back which led to having a root canal and crown put on for one of the tooth that had a big Mercury filling replaced. Apparently, the new filling came too close to the nerve, which eventually abcessed. Other than when I had the kidney stone, probably the second worst pain I had to endure only because it was so constant and caused my entire left side of the mouth to become inflamed. It was bad enough that I had to be put under antibiotics to get the infection under control so they could proceed with a root canal. Chewing, cold, hot, or anything on that side of the mouth pretty much caused excruciating pain. But that’s done now (as of Memorial Day weekend) so all I need to do is keep staying healthy.


Bio energetic assessment follow-up


Apologies, but been very busy with work as of late. I just wanted to give a quick follow-up regarding the my replacement fillings after having all the Mercury removed and completing my ozone treatment. I visited my bio energetic practioner a week and a half ago to see if the infection under my implant has healed. I’m happy to report that the tests are now registering normal, meaning the cavitation and the infection are no longer present. Woo-hoo!

I do have to say that despite my last blood test results, I have been symptom free these last several months, knock wood. I’ll be having another blood test run soon after the new year to see where I go from here.

Thanks for all the support you are giving and keep the positive energy coming. Merry Christmas and to a healthier New Year! Cheers!

Mercury free!

10 Nov 2015

Just a quick update that I finally completed replacing the last two mercury amalgam fillings and I have been declared mercury free! I will continue to monitor my health for any potential exposure from the final removal but am feeling confident that I’ll be fine as with the previous three visits. Also received the final ozone treatment for the infection under the implant and will have a follow-up in a month’s time to check its status.

Thinking about how strong of a connection there is to my feeling well vs what my blood test shows…hard to say but happy that whatever changes I’ve been making have been having a positive effect so far.

Progression or regression?

8 Nov 2015

It’s herd to say whether I’m progressing to remission or if I’m regressing. I say this only because I continue to feel fine and have been doing a number of things to work towards remission for my Graves’ Disease but my physical health is contradicted by my blood tests.

The major focus of late is to address my mercury amalgam fillings and replace them with a composite I’m won’t be sensitive towards. Three of the five teeth are complete and I have my final two to go in one last swing this coming week. I’m also getting ozone treatment for the infection under my implant and will get the final dose with my next visit. I’ll follow-up on how well that treatment went in a few weeks to assess the results.

I also had another follow-up with my endocrinologist this past week and have had another blood test completed. I relayed to my doctor how I’ve been feeling and he can physically see that I’m doing ok. We talk some more about potential treatment since my previous blood work was showing that I still have a hyperactive thyroid with a TSH level of 0.03. But since I’m not showing any physical symptoms for being hyperthyroidic, he recommended that I at least stay the course with my prescription of 10 mg methimazole daily. We also have a further discussion about alternative treatments and we talk about RAI, surgery, or long term treatment using methimazole. He re-affirmed that he prefers not using RAI, leaving surgery or methimazole for me. I’ve already expressed my aversion to both surgery and long term use of methimazole and I bring up the topic of alternative treatment with either L Carnitine or Lugol’s plus lithium. He absolutely said “No” to Lugol’s iodine and said that iodine is the last thing anyone with Graves’ should take (his analogy is that it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire). As far as Carnitine and lithium, he said that both were still unproven even though I sited a German study for Carnitine and a Walter Reed Army Medical study on lithium. I tabled the discussion but am continuing to do more research on this.

Later in the week, the new blood test result came in and it was back to 0.01! I’m stunned as this is where I was a the height of my Graves’ episode earlier this year, yet, right now, I’m not showing any signs of Graves’. I’m not feeling excessively warm, I’m not losing any weight (I’ve been pretty stable for the last 3 months in the mid 180’s), none of the muscle shakes, no feeling of being suffocated, and none of the acne on the back of my neck. I honestly don’t know what to make of this.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for continuing to feel well but I will be staying vigilant and keep close watch on my physical health.

Am I getting better?

02 Oct 2015

It’s been an interesting week. Late last week, I went in to get another blood test to see where I was with regards to my TSH levels. Back at the height of my episode, I registered a 0.01 and that was really bad. A few months ago, I tested at 0.3(2), a marked improvement and at the bottom of the normal range (0.3 to 3.0 being ‘normal’). I got my test results back this Tuesday (29 Sep) and was stunned to learn that I was regressing, or at least that is what the blood test was saying with a TSH back down to 0.03. Now the only reason I went to go for another blood test was because I was feeling good, but was noticing that my weight was slowing creeping back to where I was before I got sick (back to within 10 lb. of my pre-Grave’s weight) and I was consistently clocking below the ‘normal’ human body temperature of 98.6 °F (readings between 97.0 and 98.0 were common from visiting my functional medicine practitioner and when I was having blood drawn). I am also renowned for having “warm hands and a cold heart” but my hands are definitely cooler than I remember. That being said, I was hoping to show that my TSH would be more in that normal range and that I could further reduce my prescription of methimazole from the 10 mg a day by half. Instead, my endocrinologist is now beginning to suggest additional treatment (I believe he means RAI or surgery, which I am fully set against). He wanted to see if I wanted to move my scheduled appointment up from next month to this month but I decided to stay with my current schedule. The reason for putting him off was to see if adding back two of the herbal supplements I stopped taking will help (and maybe validate their effectiveness). I thought the combined effect with the methimazole was really slowing me down too much (I’ll just say that where my regular BM would be 2-3 times a day, I was getting down to having only 1) will send my TSH heading back in the right direction. At the time I was also at 20 mg a day so maybe at 10 mg plus the supplements (lemon balm and bugleweed), the effect on my BM won’t be as bad. We’ll see.

I also went in to have the first of my mercury fillings replaced (tooth #19) on Wednesday. Other than the extra precaution of dealing with a hazardous material, the experience was really not all that different from a routine visit to take care of a cavity. They took more care to cover my head and supplied me with oxygen while they were removing the filling. There was also the presence of an air handler to evacuate any mercury vapors from drilling out the filling. I am taking some additional supplements (zeolite and serrazimes) to help with detoxification and supporting my immune system. Honestly, I can’t tell if these are helping or not but so far, I’m not feeling any negative side effects from any mercury exposure since the removal. I also received my first ozone treatment to the infection under my molar implant. No reported change there yet either. I’ll know more after completing all four ozone treatments and then going back for another bioenergetic assessment.

During my dentist visit, I also received the results of my materials reactivity test – all 150+ pages of any compound that might be used for dental work. This goes hand in hand with trying to identify if any of my recent dental work includes materials that I’m reactive to. Based on the bioenergetic assessment done last month, I think my dentist ruled out any issues with my bicuspid implant but wanted to investigate the implant and crown for my left molar. I previously received information on the crown and it goes by the trade name of ‘Evolution Lite’, which turns out to be a material that ‘may not be suitable’ for me, per the material reactivity test. There’s only two elements (Gallium and Rubidium) in the porcelain that are on my no no list but still, these only account for a couple of percent of the total material. Even my dentist doesn’t feel too strongly about me being affected. There was also the question about whether the implant was pure titanium or not and it seems like it is. It goes by the trade name of NobelActive and made of ‘commercially pure’ titanium. However the infection started, it doesn’t look like it’s because of the materials used.

As I said, I continue to feel good and I’m not exhibiting signs of being hyperthyroidic despite having a TSH of 0.03. I think I know my body better than my endocrinologist does and I’ll continue to monitor myself for symptoms. I’m hoping the recent blood test was an anomaly – possibly due to me not fasting as I’ve done with my previous tests (they said I could have the test run without the fast). I’ll make sure to not eat 8 hrs before I have another test done.

Keeping a stiff upper lip!

Am I sensitive to gluten?

28 Sep 2015

As I’m curious to get to root causes to my Graves’ disease, I had some further tests performed to determine what I’m allergic to and to really determine if I have a gluten intolerance. I got my results back last week and the good news is, I’m negative for Celiac and don’t have a gluten sensitivity. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t have antibodies present for gluten, I do, but the levels are ‘very low’ to ‘low’.

The tests checks for IgG and IgE (immunoglobulin G and E) levels. IgG are the types of antibodies that most people will associate with vaccinations and provide the long term protection against infection (flu, measles, chicken pox, etc.). It’s also the type of antibody that you want to measure for food sensitivity that may lead to an autoimmune disease. IgE are the antibodies that gives you an immediate allergic response like with cat allergies and hay fever.

Cutting to the chase, I tested for low reactivity towards: asparagus, cow’s milk, navy bean, string bean, bean sprout, egg white, parmesan cheese, tuna, clam, egg yolk, pinto bean, wheat bran, cottage cheese, lactalbumin (a milk protein), red snapper, and yeast. I was aware of my milk allergy as I couldn’t drink milk as a kid and didn’t start to eat cheese until I was into my teens. I’m surprised at the list of other foods as I’m not aware of being symptomatic when eating those foods. I will have to keep an eye on this list as it does include wheat bran and yeast but I should be good so long as I rotate what I eat.

Foods that I tested very low for include: alfalfa, broccoli, buckwheat, casein, cashew, cheddar cheese, cherry, chocolate, coffee, corn, corn gluten, crab, flax seed, gluten, goat’s milk, kidney bean, oyster, peanut, rice, rye, salmon, shrimp, sole, soy, triticale (a hybrid wheat/rye), trout, walnut, watermelon, wheat, and watermelon. Now that’s a pretty extensive list but again no real worries unless I overdo eating any one of these foods. The two items that stand out on this list are rice and soy – this will be pretty hard for me to avoid on a daily basis because I’m Chinese. Gluten pops up on this list too but so long as I keep a balanced diet and rotate through these foods, shouldn’t be too much of a concern for me. Longer term, I probably will need to move away from eating too much gluten or rice (kind of ironic as rice is often promoted as a substitute for gluten).

As for IgE reactivity, the only real surprise is I tested high for egg white to go along with my cow’s milk allergy. Another surprise, I am apparently moderately allergic to hazelnut (nooooo! I love my Toberlerone and Ferrer Roche!). Other foods where I tested very low to low allergic to are: bean sprout, cashew, cherry, flax seed, mung bean, navy bean, parmesan cheese, triticale, watermelon, and wheat bran. I eat some of these foods on a regular basis and have not noticed any reactions but since they have been identified, I’ll try to be more observant to see if my body is reacting and I’m just not noticing.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with the findings, particularly since I don’t have to go gluten free. I could probably benefit from going gluten free since I do have some reactivity but not enough to require an immediate lifestyle change. What I’ll wind up doing is to be more mindful of how much gluten and other foods I’m sensitive too I eat and try to rotate more of the foods I’m not sensitive to into my diet.

This week, I’ll have the first of my mercury amalgam fillings replaced and I will get my first ozone treatment for the infection under one of my implants. Wish me luck!

Getting ready to replace one mercury filling

07 Sep 2015

As I continue to research what path I’m taking to maintain my health, I have pretty much decided to go ahead and replace my mercury amalgam fillings. I know the evidence isn’t fully there to support their removal but I have researched enough to convince me that it’s not healthy to continue me having them in my mouth.

If you recall, my mercury free dentist (I’ll refer to him as my biological dentist going forward as that seems to be the description used by the profession) performed a few tests, one including an optical scan to test for nutrient and antioxidant levels in my body and my results came up in the marginal zone. Based on that result, I decided to go for a more detailed micronutrient blood test with my naturopath and I have a more definitive assessment of where my deficiencies are. Overall, my results were surprisingly good in most areas and only identified 3 nutrients where I was under or borderline for being considered deficient. My B complex vitamins, amino acids, metabolites, other vitamins (D, A and K), antioxidants, and minerals were all good with the exception of Oleic Acid (only 3% below the reference range), copper and CoQ10 (both at the bottom of the good reference range).

My results might be good because I do consider myself to eating a fairly balanced diet and I also take a daily multivitamin supplement. I won’t make any changes to my diet until other tests I’m taking to check for any potential food allergies, including gluten sensitivities, come back so more to follow when I get those results.

I will change my vitamin and supplement protocol only because my biological dentist does have a specific protocol that he wants me to follow one month from when he will remove and replace my first amalgam. Most of this is to maintain and improve my nutrient levels so I will switch from my generics to higher grade compounds accessible to the profession. These will include:

  • Co Q 10
  • Multiprobiotic
  • Glutathione Plus
  • NAC (N Acetyl Cysteine)
  • Molybdenum
  • Vitamin C
  • B complex with metafolic
  • Protection III multi vitamin with no copper or iron (even though I’m slightly copper deficient, my biological dentist ask I exclude it)

I will also take a couple enzymes (lymph drainage and protease) to help begin clearing my body of toxins and digest proteins.

Along with the nutrient testing, I did decide to follow-up on the bioenergetic assessment and see how I’m reacting to my recent dental work (extractions, implants and crowns). The test, without getting overly technical, is what I would describe as computerized acupuncture. Using electrodes, the practitioner, passes micro currents through pressure points on my hand that map back to mouth and teeth. The three teeth being evaluated are for my right upper second bicuspid (implant with crown), lower left wisdom tooth (extract), and lower left second molar (implant and crown). This test revealed cavitation under the second molar implant with signs of infection. The test is also reading positive for nickel, which I find surprising since the dentist who did this work tells me the implant is pure titanium, and I know that I am sensitive to nickel and don’t think I would have healed properly if present. I do have a significant mercury amalgam filling in my first molar so it’s possible it’s picking it up from that tooth. In any case, the prescription for treating the infection is injecting the site with ozone (1 cc a week for 4 weeks). This will be performed by my biological dentist when I go in to replace my first filling.

What’s interesting here is the infection and cavitation. I don’t feel anything and it (the resulting cavitation or bone loss) may not even show up in the x-rays of the area. It is worth noting that I have not had any health issues prior to all my recent dental work. I don’t fault my prior dentists as I did not experience any problems with healing after those extractions and implant. Who knows when and how the infection started but it is a potential cause for my compromised immune system and leading ultimately to me coming down with Graves’ disease. The infection has been around long enough to cause a cavitation so it could be the type of long term inflammation, like what happens with gluten, to trigger an autoimmune response. I will continue looking at this angle plus whatever is discovered from my food sensitivity testing to see where I go next.

Personally, I’m pulling for not finding any food sensitivities and zeroing in on the infection as the root cause to my Graves’. How autoimmune diseases start is still not well understood and the cause is likely to be different for anyone who does come down with one. Be diligent, do your research and ask lots of questions before settling in on any prescribed treatment.


Mercury amalgam fillings and nutrient testing

14 Aug 2015

Visited with my mercury free dentist Wednesday and that was pretty interesting. Among being a dentist, I think he described himself as being a ‘bioethical’ dentist and what he is promoting closely aligns with what I’m finding are services covered under functional medicine. While my intention was to do an initial evaluation about removing and replacing my fillings, it turns out that it’s not as simple as that. He too is interested in whole body health and did a ‘biophotonic’ scan to test the overall antioxidant level in my body. More on that in a bit. We also talked about my implants and crowns, which I had no idea could contain nickel, a metal that I know I’m sensitive to (when I was younger and was prescribed corrective lenses, I decided to try hip wire frame glasses when I started reaching middle and high school – needless to say, I broke out like crazy and eventually had to switch back to the old fashioned plastic turtle frames). So now on top of the nutrient scan, I was in need of a material sensitivity test and also in the process of connecting with my other dentists about the composition of my implants (pure titanium or an alloy?) and crown (composition of the ceramic/porcelain may contain nickel). And I’m also asked to take a ‘bioenergetic’ assessment to measure my aura/electromagnetic field/meridians, which can be used to identify underlying health issues in my organs. How many tests was that now? Well other than the nutrient scan, there was only one other test that I actually had completed during my visit, which was to measure the mercury vapor levels in my mouth.

The nutritional scan didn’t require any blood work and basically used light to evaluate my antioxidant levels. This done by placing the left hand on top of a scanner for a minute or less. Scores can run in 10,000 to 19,000 (bad), 20,000 to 29,000 (also bad), 30,000 to 39,000 (marginal – this is where I scored a 33,000), 40,000 to 49,000 (good), and 50,000+ (optimal). Me being the marginal person that I am, I was recommended to take supplements to improve my results and of course the supplements are tied to the manufacturer of the scanner.

Now to the heart of the matter – the mercury vapor scan. The doctor relays to me that that OSHA threshold limit value (TVL) for mercury vapor is around 25 micrograms/ cubic meter (assuming time weighted average or TVA over 8 hrs). My resting rate (non eating) was measured at 70 micrograms and then he had me chew gum to simulate eating and remeasured me for a value of 107 micrograms! I am a walking superfund site! At the very least, I know I’m leaching a lot of mercury vapors. I had to dig deeper to verify what the OSHA limits meant and if there were other data points I needed to look at.

When I do the research, the OSHA numbers are guidelines and the actual number posted in their site is 0.1 mg/cubic meter (if I’m reading their table correctly) or 100 micrograms. Looking at the CDC site, they are promoting a permissable exposure limit (PEL) of 0.05 mg/cubic meter, and which makes me distinctly over if at rest or while eating. The rate of emission was probably lower when the fillings were new but these bad boys have been with me for 40 plus years and given the numbers, I have to say, their time with me is limited.

Stepping back for a second here, why am I so focused on mercury and my recent dental work? It all has to do with metal toxicity. Mercury, fluoride, chloride and other metals affect thyroid health by interfering with iodine uptake needed to sustain a healthy thyroid gland, regardless if you are hyper or hypo. And for me to get to remission with Graves’, these are just some of the steps I have to take to get me there.

I also had a follow-up visit with my naturopath doctor yesterday and I discussed some of the treatment options the dentist presented to me. She’s heard of this antioxidant scanner and provided me additional insight as to how it works. She didn’t completely poo-poo it but she did tell me that the marketing is such that it is also setup to look for a marker that is contained in the supplements that they are trying to get you to take. Not completely honest but it seems you get dinged if you don’t take their brand of supplements. Nevertheless, I do decide to take an actual blood test to check on the whole spectrum of vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies. She also offers the materials test I covered above to identify heavy metal and environmental toxicity and I opt to take that test (porphyrins profile) with her and provide a layer of independent testing from my dentist. Don’t get me wrong, I thought he was great in walking me through all the different things I should consider, but me, as a doubting Thomas to start, I needed to have my own peace of mind in reaching a conclusion. I think it’s invaluable to get these second and third opinions.

I’ll start getting those test results back in a few weeks and still have other tests to schedule. Removing and replacing the fillings will take time as we’ll do one and see how I react afterwards. But I can’t get those scheduled without some of the other test results, mostly to confirm if I’ll be reactive to certain types of material and determine what the composition of my replacement fillings will be.

As for my health, still feeling good. BP was 120/74 at the dentists and a measured temp of 98.1F. My resting pulse is in the 60-70 range and weight is holding at about +20 from my low. Very pleased with my overall progress to date and am continuing to explore next steps to sustain my health (inching ever closer to the gluten free decision point).