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Old 05-30-2009, 05:33 AM   #1
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Weight Gain After Thyroidectomy

I am having great dificulty finding support and forums that discuss weight gain after a thyroidectomy. Most thyroid websites and support forums are geared to those who have a thyroid.

I had a thyroidectomy in 1999. In ten years I have yet to find a doctor who can stop the weight gain. The Internist I am seeing now has come the closest, but in the past year due to the stress caused by a horiffic family tragedy I am gaining and can't seem to stop it.

I have spent thousands of dollars in the past ten years on gym memberships, trainers, dieticians, and nutritionists. If your doctor is advising you to eat less and exercise more as some of my doctors did then he or she has no concept of what this illness really is or how to treat it.

I have had my adrenals checked and found that they are working well.

Right after my thyroidectomy I used the Body Flex program and a very high protein diet and It worked..... for about a year, and then suddenly the weight began coming on again so I stopped.

My doctor recommended a personal trainer and a nutritionist. Several thousand dollars later I had made no headway with my weight. My trainer told me that the only women he had ever seen lose and maintain weight loss after a thyroidectomy worked out 3 hours per day. With a business, two kids, and a home to run there is no way I have three hours per day to work out.

When Shapely Secrets came out I started that. It seemed to work for a few months and then my body became used to it and it was no longer effective for me.

Has anyone found the answer to stopping weight gain after a thyroidectomy?

I am about to start a new approach to finding the correct thyroid dose. According to the research of the late Dr. Broda Barnes, Dr. Mark Starr, and the book, "Stop The Thyroid Madness Now", by Janie Bowthorpe, I plan to begin increasing my Armour thyroid dose by 1/4 grain every two weeks until the symptoms begin to go away. This approach seems to be the most sound approach I have found in my ten year journey. My doctor is willing to give it a shot since he knows nothing else has worked.

Has anyone else has an experience like mine?

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Old 05-30-2009, 06:28 AM   #2
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I think the answer lies in the treatment. I've not had my thyroid removed, but mine is the size of a shriveled up walnut and makes NO hormone at all..I have Hashimoto's. Many who've had the thyroid removed had Graves or Hashi's too.

Anyway, here's something to keep ya busy. Get copies of the following if you've had them (and when!):

Free T4
Free T3

You'll need to 'fugettaboutit' with TSH, that doesn't show much.

How much thyroid are you on now? What types and dosages have you been on? Armour will medicate with a VERY LOW TSH immediately on any small dose, and thus many docs rip the patient off of it too quickly. But it gives a 'lowish' FT4 and a 'highish' FT3 and many docs 'freak' and want to start dosing ya with T4 with it...that's not the point. The point is that MOST docs (not mine, thankfully) are used to seeing a high FT4, and low FT3...that's backazzwards, cuz most human bodies convert the T4 to T3. So Armour mimics our own very well.

Watch for low iron, low ferritin...you need to bring that up if it isn't now, and also low progesterone really complicates the whole thing...my doc did a 'block and replace' on me using progesterone (transdermal, compounded) and upping Armour steadily like your doc is gonna do. It worked wonderfully! Good luck on your thyroid (less.. in your case, lol) journey. You're level headed, willing to learn and you 'get it'...you should do well.

Pam
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:14 AM   #3
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Thanks, Pam. I was on 2.75 grains of Armour. I just went up this past Friday to 3 grains. After reading on Dr. Lowe that it is not uncommon for thyroid patients to need up to 7 grains of Armour per day I sought confirmation on that. I found it in Dr. Mark Starr's book, "Hypothyroidism, Type 2", and in "Stop The Thyroid Maddness Now".

When I was first diagnosed ten years ago my husband and I could find almost nothing on hypothyroidism. Now there is a plethora of information hypothyroidism, but almost nothing to help those of us who no longer have a thyroid.

In Dr. Starr's book (Dr. Mark Starr is a sports medicine doctor who has a special interest in thyroid) he says that it is not recommended for those who are hypothyroid to do strenuous exercise. He feels that this only depletes the already impaired adrenal function of his hypo patients. He recommends Yoga, QiGong, and isometric exercise for his thyroid patients. That seems to make a lot of sense to me as running and even walking was very stressful for me since I did not like exercise to begin with.( Possibly because i have been tired my entire life?)

Well, I am hoping for better days once I reach my optimum Armour dose.

I hope that others who have had a thyroidectomy will find this thread and share what has or has not worked for them.
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:03 AM   #4
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bfuser-

I certainly sympathize with your situation. I have Hashimoto's and am currently optimized, but when my T3 tanked a while ago, I gained 10 lbs in 2 weeks (despite eating carefully) and I was totally exhausted. That's how much we depend on having the correct thyroid hormones.

I, too, have read that too much exercise is not a good idea. For years, I've been swimming laps 3 days a week. I always planned to swim at least 5 days once I retired and had more time, but now I find that I'm too exhausted to swim more than those 3 days, and I don't feel guilty because I've learned that it's a good idea to limit exercise--and it's clear that my body is telling me the same thing.

It's great that you've found a doctor to assist you in getting optimally medicated. That's the key for any weight loss.
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:12 AM   #5
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Well, I guess my body just 'knew' to do weight lifting instead of cardio. Go figure. I couldn't use my lungs to do cardio (autoimmune lung deficiency) but I could lift...started with just a couple pounds and worked my way up. (Psst... folks wouldn't believe how much good, natural food a weight lifter can eat!).

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Old 05-30-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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Thanks, Leo. I appreciate your support. I used to love swimming. Something to slowly work back into again!

Pam, I just read your post about weight lifting...Please tell me more. Off to buy a light pair of ankle weights to wear around the house. Funny thing how our bodies know more than we do.
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Old 05-31-2009, 06:20 AM   #7
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I think there is still a 'Body For Life' website. But get the book 'Body For Life' (and don't flip...I started with three bound dumbbells and am now using 30 lb. in some exercises!)..ya just read it and do what it says 'within YOUR strength'. I did not use the nutrition from that book, I kind of went over to 'Muscle Matters' right here at LCF and the folks over there really helped me. Read the 'eats' part there, and it'll give you a clue. I can't ever have gluten/wheat, and about 49 other foods (like beans, oats sometimes, darn it all!) so I stay 'simple' in my meals. Weightlifting made me shed about 18 inches the first 12 weeks and I ate like a trooper! LOL Whole chickens would run from me, lol.

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Old 05-31-2009, 01:28 PM   #8
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Thanks, Pam! I will look into it!

Pam, I just went to the Body For Life website and there is no book or DVD. It looks like you just do the exercises on the website, and buy supplements called Myoplex. Is that the rtight site?

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:33 AM   #9
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No, the book is well known, it's called Body For Life and you can get a copy at the library too. You don't need to use just Myoplex either. I get my protein powder (whey only, NO SOY) from whoever has it on sale (Netrition has good prices!).

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Old 06-01-2009, 04:35 PM   #10
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Thanks, Pam...I saw my doc today and the good news is that thanks to my course work in Medical Qigong my BP was the lowest it has been in 10 years. The bad news is I gained another 4 pounds. The doctor agreed to try increaseing my Armour by 1/4 grain every two weeks until the hypo symptoms go away.

FINALLY!!!!!! Yay!!!!!

Hopefully after my next visit the weight will be in a downward trend.

Thanks for the info on Body For Life, Pam. I will look for it in the library tomorrrow.
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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Yay for you AND the doctor, lol.

Oh, wonderful on the BP..but my hypertension was from not enough T3. I hope it all works out for you!

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Old 06-02-2009, 04:45 PM   #12
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Thanks, Pam. You are a wealth of information, and encouragement.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:50 AM   #13
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How is it going?

Hi bfuser,

I just finished reading this thread with great interest. I had my thyroid removed about a month ago (due to large, non cancerous goiter that was choking me). How is the approach of increasing your Armour dosage gradually working out for you? My thyroid hormones are still not what they should be. I am very tired and have not lost any weight.

My post op blood test says my TSH is way too high 8.8, so my surgeon has increased dosage of levothyroxine T4 to 125 mcg daily. But I don't get it. It seems from what I read that T3 is what I need in my system for energy, BMR, heart rate, and so on. Levothyroxine does not become T3 in the body does it, without the thyroid to convert it? Other than taking Armour, how can I increase T3 in my system?

I am trying to find an endocrinologist in Memphis who will prescribe Armour. Of the three docs I have seen (2 endos and 1 surgeon) they all hate Armour and won't give it to their patients. If anyone knows of someone, please let me know.
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Old 08-20-2009, 06:48 AM   #14
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How far will you travel? Cuz there may be a couple good docs in TN, but not Memphis. Let me look at my list (and you CERTAINLY do NOT need an endocrinologist. Several different docs are good, but endo's seldom are (they do diabetes well).

Dr. Kevin Merigian, Wellness Arts, Old Dexter Road, TN 38016, 901-757-4646, The Stone Institute

Dr. Allan Redash M.D., 590 Hartsville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066 615-451-9810

Dr. Janet McNiel, Family Practice, 5917 Rutledge Pike, Knoxville, TN 37924, 865-525-2121

Dr. Mark Sherfey, 4355 Hanging Limb Hwy, Monterey, TN, 38574 (931)-839-7672, www.marksherfymd.com markasherfey@afo.net (This doc is more for adrenals...don't know about Armour).

The rest are patient recommendations...and they indicate Armour. You'll have to ask though, and Memphis is FULL patient recommendations of the 'Ohh, ahh, oooh, the great doctor LISTENED to me!!!" (The doc did nothing BUT listen).

Yanno, if you REALLY like the doc you're with (I left a doc after 12 years because of thyroid), you can ask for Cytomel (this is synthetic T3 to go WITH the T4 you are taking)...BUT you run the risk of not knowing your hormone levels cuz YOUR doc wants TSH to be the 'guessing game'. TSH is a test of the pituitary...and what it's telling the thyroid to DO...and you don't HAVE A THYROID.

You want Free T4 and Free T3 tests to determine where you are. If you're like MOST women, you'll want your FT4 about midway of range (not above usually), and your FT3 to be THREE QUARTERS of range. Yep...totally backwards from what your doctor is doing to you. The old med student books say that TSH is the gold standard, but that was 20 years ago.

Pam

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Old 08-20-2009, 08:49 AM   #15
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Hi bfuser,

I just finished reading this thread with great interest. I had my thyroid removed about a month ago (due to large, non cancerous goiter that was choking me). How is the approach of increasing your Armour dosage gradually working out for you? My thyroid hormones are still not what they should be. I am very tired and have not lost any weight.

My post op blood test says my TSH is way too high 8.8, so my surgeon has increased dosage of levothyroxine T4 to 125 mcg daily. But I don't get it. It seems from what I read that T3 is what I need in my system for energy, BMR, heart rate, and so on. Levothyroxine does not become T3 in the body does it, without the thyroid to convert it? Other than taking Armour, how can I increase T3 in my system?

I am trying to find an endocrinologist in Memphis who will prescribe Armour. Of the three docs I have seen (2 endos and 1 surgeon) they all hate Armour and won't give it to their patients. If anyone knows of someone, please let me know.
While you're working on getting a better doctor ask yours to add Cytomel (synthetic T3) to your Levo (Synthetic T4)
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:59 PM   #16
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Thanks folks for the tip on Cytomel. Of the docs mentioned above, only one is in Memphis, Dr. Kevin Merigian. But when I contacted his office, they are not taking new patients, and they do not file insurance (they said insurance will not cover their services).

Anyway, we are talking now to Dr. Asa Andrew's clinic in Nashville. My hubby wants to see them for his diabetes and me for the "no thyroid" issues. In the mean time my family doctor is working with me on the T4/T3 replacement therapy. Some of his patients use Armour. I thought after surgery I would finally be able to lose weight, but it seems I am gaining instead, and I am so TIRED I am barely civil. How long does this "adjustment" period last? My FP is making me wait a month on 125 mcg per day because he wants to run a full thyroid panel and my surgeon, bless his pointed head, ordered only the TSH, which is forcing me to wait a month so that my insurance will pay for the full panel that includes TSH. Why are they making me jump through all these hoops when there are days when I can hardly lift my arms? Sorry, I'm whining. Thanks all for your feedback.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:43 PM   #17
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I wouldn't work with that doctor AT ALL. I'd want a FT4, FT3 NOW. I wouldn't hesitate to start Armour or any other natural thyroid, nor would I EVER stay with a doctor who didn't do T3 testing. It took about seven months for me to feel the start of being well...and that was three months on T4 only and plainly I wasn't converting according to my test results of FT's. So, then it was ever increasing amounts of Armour until my labs were where they should be (FT4 midway of range or under, and FT3 3/4 or better or until the patient feels well). Um, you CAN get TSH, FT4, FT3 on your own. Online Lab Tests: blood work, blood testing and laboratory tests Thyroid panel II, they send you to a lab near you, use discount code: 12345 at checkout, and they report to you. Under 90 bucks.

Pam
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:21 PM   #18
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I am such a wreck. Just had a total thyroidectomy, going through menopause, and taking steroids for back and knee pain. I have felt like crap for so long and now I am gaining weight like crazy. Atkins has worked for me in the past but I am having a hard time getting started. I just want ot stay in bed. I am hungry all the time and nothing satisfies me.
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #19
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I sure can relate. I have been on Prednisone for a week for knee pain and I have eaten my way through it all. Starving all the times and sooooo bloated now. I am the walrus!
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:32 AM   #20
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more on tests

Hi Pam,

"So, then it was ever increasing amounts of Armour until my labs were where they should be (FT4 midway of range or under, and FT3 3/4 or better or until the patient feels well)."

I am in Memphis. I am lucky I can find an FP who will even consider Armour for me. Can you site any clinical studies or other respectable research or documentation that I can show him to establish what the range should be for me? I am going to see if I can find anything by resources already sited here (Dr. Broda Barnes, Dr. Mark Starr, and the book, "Stop The Thyroid Madness Now", by Janie Bowthorpe).

My blood work is scheduled for tomorrow. (We cannot afford even $90 for thyroid panel right now, so we have to use my health insurance, but thanks for the info.) The tests planned are full panel thryoid (TSH, T3, T4, and something else), cholesterol, and hormone levels including cortisol and testosterone. I have also asked him about calcium and D3 levels, since I am also taking those. Am I missing anything?

I want to be equipped with evidence when we discuss the results next week. My brain is not working well. I cannot "wake up" and I am morose and irritable, as well as not being able to concentrate and think clearly. Very bad for someone whose occupation is understanding new software and writing about it. I think I will ask him about some kind of anti-depression medication too, until we get the hormones straightened out. I am a bear (grrrrrrrr). Just ask my family.

Someone told me about a saliva test that she had done for measuring hormones. It cost $268. Anyone ever hear of it? It is supposed to be more reliable than blood work.

PS

How is the weight loss coming bfuser?
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:51 PM   #21
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the only test you should be doing saliva testing is the 4x a day cortisol. blood corisol level will only give you a snap shot of what your adrenals are doing at the very moment, not all day long. You could be having issues at another time and it wont be picked up.

The test you want are FREE t3 and FREE t3, make SURE that it's not the total, index etc.

If you have to site any evidence that natural hormone replacement is better he wont be the one you want scripting your meds..
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:21 AM   #22
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I gotta agree with Ileen. If ya can't get that out of him, he isn't worth seeing. If you can't afford the bucks for the tests it's gonna be difficult finding a doc who 'gets it'.

Why is the doc ordering T4, T3 when he's only gonna look at TSH? If that's what you're up against, it's not a good thing to stay with this doctor.

You also need ferritin and iron. And salivary hormone results are crap for most. (Don't lynch me, you one or two people who like them!).

If you are on birth control, or any type of soy diet (no soy!!!) or taking BHRT now, than you DO need Free T's, not just total T's. If you can't get natural hormones, than you need a doc who really looks at T3. But, you know all this, you're reading Janie's stuff!

Pam
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:36 PM   #23
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still frustrated

Well, I got my test results back, and though there is some improvement in the numbers, I still feel awful (you know, tired, unmotivated, tired, gaining weight, depressed, really tired, irritable, can't think, oh and did I say, TIRED?!). Now he says it's because I am 60. Except for not having a lump in my throat anymore and my neck doesn't ache, I feel worse than I did before surgery. After working a few hours, I have to hold my head up with my hands at my desk. I covered up the test results page with my hand and looked him in the eye and said, "Forget the test results. I don't feel good. What is going on?" He thought I needed an anti-depressant, which I had wondered about, so he prescribed Wellbutrin. When I wanted to switch to Armour too (he does have patients on Armour), he said he didn't want to make too many changes at once, and that my thyroid panel results were really very good, and then he gave me a choice, Armour or Wellbutrin. When I couldn't decide (duh...brain is not working), he wrote the scrip for Wellbutrin.

And before you all say, "Go see another doc," I do not know of any one else in Memphis I could go see who will even discuss Armour as an option. If you do, let me know. He did say in a month we'll see how I am doing.... (duh... TIRED!!!!!!!!) and switch to Armour then if I'm not feeling better on the Wellbutrin. But will feeling better on an anti-depressant address the THYROID HORMONE ISSUES? Right now he is thinking my issues are not thyroid hormone related. Here are my tests and results. You tell me.



He ran lipid panel (cholesterol was 256), FSH (about 15 pts above bottom of the range) and LH (which was low), calcium, and D3 also (in normal ranges), but I am limiting this discussion to thyroid panel, unless anyone wants to tell me what low luteinizing hormone (LH) means for a postmenopausal woman. We didn't get to discuss it.

PS I stopped taking Vytorin because it was making my legs ACHE. I am working on cholesterol with supplements (fish oil, kyolic garlic, niacin, extra B vitamins, and so on). I need to improve diet (still eat too much animal fat and protein I guess) and exercise (almost none because I am SO TIRED). It wears me out even to think about walking the dog. Since I have no thyroid, can I eat soy and raw broccoli? Thanks all for letting me vent.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:08 PM   #24
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My first thought is you should call him TOMORROW and get the Armour instead. Wellbutrin does Nothing for your thyroid. Nothing! FT3 doesn't look high enough in the range (2/3-3/4). You get that up and you'll probably feel better. Your FT4 could be lower also.

Also, since the thyroid interconnects with so many things in the body, I'd bet that those cholesterol numbers come down a bit, or more in line, when you get medicated better.

"Now he says it's because I am 60." What a bunch of crapola. Give me a freaking break. I was 60 in May. Granted, I wasn't medicated right at that time but that's when I gave the ultimatum about getting some Cytomel to my past doc to either give me some Cytomel or refer me to an endo (I've been on Levothroid for years). I was tired of being tired and falling asleep in the late afternoon, often. I got the referral And in June the Cytomel and there's a world of difference now in how I feel.

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:38 AM   #25
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look up and call a few compounding pharmacies and ask who script natural thyroid meds.. They know the drs' who do..

Any dr that blames your age isnt worth the minute.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:20 AM   #26
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good idea!

Talked to the one compounding pharmacy I found in the area and he referred me to a few folks. I have an appointment tomorrow with a Nurse Practitioner who may be able to help me.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:40 PM   #27
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Good news, hope it works out. My NP is great!
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:22 AM   #28
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Just wondernig how you are doing? I am now 9 months-post- total thyroidectomy, on 112 mcg Synthroid, just went through 2 back surgeries and taking lots of anti-inflammatories, muscle-relaxants, and pain pills.

I have gained 40 lbs, my pcp justs shakes his head, tells me to exercise and count calories.

I am coming to low-carb as it is the only thing that has ever worked for me

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Old 05-09-2010, 04:39 PM   #29
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Just wondernig how you are doing? I am now 9 months-post- total thyroidectomy, on 112 mcg Synthroid, just went through 2 back surgeries and taking lots of anti-inflammatories, muscle-relaxants, and pain pills.

I have gained 40 lbs, my pcp justs shakes his head, tells me to exercise and count calories.

I am coming to low-carb as it is the only thing that has ever worked for me

.
Lovechunks2... you look new to this forum. Please get a copy of your most recent labs including your FREET3 and FREET4 test results including the lab ranges. Your doctor has you on T4 only medicine. I STRONGLY suspect you need T3 added. Post a new thread in the thyroid forum with your test results.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:37 PM   #30
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WOE: Healthy Carb for Optimum Health
Start Date: 2/4/10
I had a total thyroidectomy last October and am losing weight. I am on the Synthroid/Ctyomel protocol. Like Kisha suggested post your latest labs with ranges-it sure sounds like you might not be optimized and/or your other meds might be playing a part in your weight gain. I do have to count calories and exercise but it is so worth as I am losing weight now.
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