Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fibro Woes and Thyroid Lows

I haven't written a post in one week. It wasn't fibro that took me down - it was my misbehavin' thyroid gland. Did you know as many as 75% of fibromites also have thyroid imbalances? I don't know about you but I think that is an incredibly high proportion of people presenting with a hormonal imbalance under the umbrella of fibromyalgia.

Typically, my thyroid has been stable with the exception of two post-partum outbursts. One thing I've learned about living with a moody gland is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is where my doc and I disagree. My doctor believes if a patient is stable on a medication, the patient should subsequently cut back to the smallest dosage possible. Obviously, she is a proponent of the less is more school of thought. Makes sense to me - NOT. I need two swollen hands to count the number of times my doctor has tweaked my meds to disastrous results.

Seriously, my medications outnumber the Tupperware containers in the kitchen cupboard. My heart rate is high and Inderal (a beta-blocker)was prescribed. I'm still agitated but at least the Inderal is resting comfortably between the Divalproex and Synthroid.

I won't lie...having fibromyalgia in addition to a thyroid disorder is not a pretty pairing. An underactive thyroid can mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia. While one is endocrine in nature and the other is a musculoskeletal problem, they are two separate medical issues. Symptoms often associated with too little thyroid hormone, such as fatigue, low energy, body aches and pains are also symptoms of fibromyalgia. If one doesn't take you down, the other is quite content to provide back-up. No good-cop/bad cop scenario here. Fortunately, a wayward thyroid is easily treatable. Fibromyalgia? Not so much.

If you are dealing with these two health thieves simultaneously, it is imperative to get your hormonal issues under control. The fibro can then be treated on a symptomatic basis.

My thyroid was stable for several years. A blood test in March of this year showed a mildly abnormal level of T3 (one of the thyroid hormones). My doctor decided to treat it and altered my medications. Big mistake. I went from feeling healthy (other than the fibro) to having major depression, weakness and exhaustion in less than two weeks. My speech slowed and I had difficulty forming coherent sentences. I systematically shut down. My husband took me to my doctor as I was not capable of thinking or speaking for myself. I wasn't the only one left speechless when my doctor saw the near catatonic state I was in. I can only imagine what she must have been thinking to herself - how many different ways can you say holy f**k! What have I done?

My husband filled my prescription as I walked slowly to the car. I watched the traffic on the street with suicidal thoughts consuming my brain. If I'd had enough strength I would have walked into the stream of cars whizzing past. Despite the depression, a part of me saw the black humour in not being fast enough to hurl myself in front of a speeding car.

I recovered slowly but my thyroid levels have not yet returned to normal. I'm still struggling to find equilibrium. My doctor continues to tinker with my medications trying to find the right balance; the Holy Grail of hormones.

Last week, I narrowly missed another thyroid-crash as the result of further tweaking. Luckily for me I have a wise guardian angel named Chuck. He intervened and caught me in mid-fall. The hardest part for me to accept is that none of this should have happened at all. My doctor should have let well enough alone. Shamefully, she was the direct cause of my needless suffering not once, but twice.

And the little thyroid that could continues to do anything it wants.


  1. Dear Cathy,
    You have a very nice blog. I'm wondering if you would like to syndicate it on We have strong traffic and it would certainly benefit both sites. Please contact me for more details. I don't want to turn your blog into a solicitation forum!

  2. Thank heavens for the angels living among us! Perhaps he can discover the link between the two conditions?

  3. Hello John,

    Yes, I would be interested in syndication on I have a few questions first, however. Would I be able to use a hyperlink or a short summary of my blog so it does not show as being duplicated on the net? Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the compliment.

  4. That would be great if a link between fibro and many other ailments could be found, Anon. And yes, I totally believe in guardian angels - the visible and invisible ones. Thanks for reading.

  5. Your story sounds so similar to mine, Cathy...
    I see a definite link to HSP & Fibro, in my case also......and your belief in guardian angels-they are who & what guides my 61 yr old life:-))
    Thanks for your amazing talent to express all that's going on with us !!!!

  6. Catherine - you are such a good writer. You can pen your ideas both creatively and make your thoughts easily understood. Not always easy to do. Keep up the good work.


  7. Susanne, thanks for your encouraging words. I appreciate the comment. Chuck, I'm working on it! Your sentiments mean a lot to me.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story....I have a under active Thyriod it all started in 1992 after a car accident I did not get treated for it untill 1996 the in 1997 I was in another car accient ( I have to say these car accident were not my fault each time I was stationary first one waiting to turn right 2nd one stop for a car accident that had already Happened & each time it was someone on there mobile while drive that drove into he back of us)after that I got Fibro & CFS OH & whiplash it took the doctors untill 2003 to say I had these & try & treat them.... the docotor just kep saying it as depression :(

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