Thyroid Ultrasound and Biopsy

Today was the day. My bi-yearly thyroid ultrasound. I’m very used to the process, by now. Can’t tell you how many thyroid ultrasounds I’ve had, but I’m here to provide you with information on how one of these visits goes. For starters, it took me ten minutes to check-in, as the place was busy. I really like the imaging office I go to, as it’s warm and cozy and the staff are always nice. Once I checked in, I sat and waited roughly five minutes before they called my name.

Finally, I hear my name and I was led back to a dark room where I was prepped for what has become a procedure that will forever be a part of my life. It takes all of 20-30 minutes for the ultrasound tech to capture everything needed for the doctor to review. The TV screen on the wall makes it easy for my husband to see what exactly the ultrasound tech is looking at. Unfortunately, due to the positioning of my head and neck, I’m unable to view the screen. It’s all painless. To give you an idea of the position of my head and neck during a thyroid ultrasound, please refer to the image below.


Once the ultrasound was complete, I was moved to a private lounge two doors down, where my husband and I sat anxiously to await the doctor to see if a biopsy is needed. After a thirty-minute wait, in walks the doctor and explains that everything looks stable. My thyroid nodule didn’t grow since the last ultrasound so no biopsy is needed. Hooray! I hate the biopsies. Because my lump is on the back right side of my thyroid gland near my trachea (windpipe), they always have a difficult time trying to pierce the lump without piercing my trachea. When the needle pushes into the lump, it essentially pushes the nodule against my trachea causing a radiating pain into my chest. Seriously, a very uncomfortable and awkward pain. I’ve had the internal pain last for up to three days before. Below is a video posted on YouTube by the Cleveland Clinic on the procedure of a fine-needle biopsy of a thyroid nodule. If you don’t like needles, I’d highly recommend that you not watch the video.

The doctor went on to say I still have the same swollen lymph nodes, plus there is a new one on the right side.  The doctor’s recommendation: have the lymph nodes biopsied to be cautious. I agreed with the doctor, as to take a preventative approach. I’ve been living with swollen lymph nodes for two years or more. Some days I can feel them, other’s I can’t, but I know they are there.

My next step is to schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist or Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, who will order the biopsy of my swollen lymph nodes. As it’s not something else I want to deal with, being preventative is the best approach. I look forward to more doctor appointments in 2015 (sigh).


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Synthroid vs. Pig Thyroid


Oink, oink. Have you tried Pig Thyroid, also known as desiccated thyroid or Armour Thyroid? Well, I did just that. I’ve been waiting for an appointment with a doctor who prescribes it, but given the long wait for a new Endocrinologist, I decided to talk to my primary care physician about it.  I walked right into my doctor’s office and plead my case. After two years on synthetic, lab produced Synthroid, I was ready for a change.  I flat-out told my doctor I wanted to give Armour a try. As a patient, I’m entitled to options and a good doctor will listen to what a patient wants, one would think. Miraculously, my family doctor agreed to let me try Pig Thyroid, a  more natural form of treatment. Desiccated Pig Thyroid or  more commonly known as Armour Thyroid, is made from pig thyroid glands. Only USDA inspected, grain-fed pigs are used.

Armour Thyroid is a thyroid hormone replacement used for thyroid disorders and contains both T3 and T4 hormone versus Synthroid that only contains T4 hormone.  T4 is thyroxine and T3 is known as triiodothyronine. The issue with Synthroid is that it only offers the body T4. Now T4 is supposed to make T3 but without regular blood testing how can we be sure T4 is converting into T3? Too much or too little of these hormones can cause ill effects and a multitude of symptoms. This begins my story of Synthroid versus Armour.

For almost the past year, I’ve been taking 100mcg of Synthroid. Do I feel 100%? No. In fact, everyday is a toss-up. One day I wake up and feel like I could rule the world. Other days I wake up…well, I’m up but can’t get out of bed for the life of me. And so that’s how it goes living with thyroid disease. It’s been a huge adjustment, not only for myself but for my family, as well. They, too, struggle with my disease. My husband and daughter have been extremely supportive and when I need to stay in bed and sleep, they let me. There are days I sleep for 15 to 20 hours, at a time. How on earth can a person sleep that long? I’m not quite sure, but those of us with hypothyroidism sure can knock  sleeping out of the park!

As I said, it was time for a change and trying a new medication might be the answer. Or so I thought. About a month ago, I finally got my wish and was prescribed Armour thyroid (desiccated pig thyroid) by my family doctor. The first week I had noticeable energy. I also noticed mild headaches. Into the second week, I still had a boost of energy but the headaches became increasingly worse. By the end of the second week, I felt like I was going to die. My head felt like a 10lb sack of potatoes and I could  no longer fake a smile. I couldn’t see straight and my blood pressure had spiked to unsafe levels. Ugh. Just what I need. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, but so does high blood pressure. The two were a lethal combination. Help!!!

Now, to discuss the conversion between Synthroid and Armour. As I stated, I’ve been taking 100mcg (micrograms) of Synthroid for the last year. My doctor prescribed me 30mg or 1/2 grain of Armour Thyroid. See the conversion below:


I was prescribed 30mg or 1/2 grain of Armour Thyroid. That’s equivalent to 50mcg of Synthroid. I started taking 50mcg of Synthroid two years ago, at first diagnosis. Every six months my doctor increased my dose. I’m by no means a doctor but considering I’ve been taking 100mcg of Synthroid for the last year, shouldn’t I have been prescribed the Armour equivalent of 60mg or 1 grain? Remember me saying that too little or too much thyroid hormone replacement can cause ill affects? Yep. Ill effects all right. I felt like death was ensuing me.

Needless to say, blood pressure is nothing to mess with and with mine being 160/110, it was pertinent that I be taken off  Armour Thyroid. I’m back on 100mcg of Synthroid and already feeling much better. I’m back at it in the gym and cooking for the family, again. Has anybody had ill effects from taking Armour Thyroid? If so, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

For now, I’ll stick to my Paleolithic diet and daily exercise.

I know what works for one person doesn’t work for all, but at least I gave Armour a try. Remember that show Baywatch? A former Baywatch actress, Gena Lee Nolin is one of the biggest advocates of hypothyroidism. She takes Armour Thyroid and loves it. Check out her site here for some really great resources.

As always, go to my Pinterest page and follow my Hypothyroid Board!

Ravenous Girl

After more than seven years of crappy medical treatment and doctors who can’t seem to effectively treat my autoimmune hypothyroid disease, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. Brave of me? I think so. I know my body better than any doctor ever will and if a doctor isn’t going to listen and effectively treat my symptoms, I will seek answers on my own.  I’ve fired my second Endocrinologist and await an appointment with a doctor who prescribes alternative options to thyroid treatment. I’m at my whit’s end with this disease and seek alternatives to heal and feel better. I can’t take the symptoms any longer. After hearing about the Paleo lifestyle, I have finally decided to give it a whirl mixed with daily exercise. Heck, why not? It can’t hurt right? I’m optimistic and willing to try anything. The diet itself is said to help heal the gut, which is where autoimmune diseases begin. A Paleo lifestyle can reduce inflammation in the intestines, slowing the progression of autoimmune diseases, allowing healing and overall wellness. I am ravenous. I’m hungry for answers.


What exactly is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs. Thyroid hormone regulates:

  • metabolism
  • the way the body uses energy
  • affects every organ in the body

Hypothyroidism left untreated can cause a multitude of health issues:thyroid

  • infertility problems
  • miscarriages
  • birth defects
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • death

The most common type of  Hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s lymphocyctic thyroiditis, an auto-immune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland.  Essentially, the immune system recognizes the thyroid gland as something that shouldn’t be in the body, similar to when the immune system is fighting  off a cold or the flu. Here’s an analogy to help you better understand how the immune system kills the thyroid gland. Imagine a water balloon as your thyroid gland. Now imagine that your hand is your immune system. If you take your hand and put pressure on the water balloon, what’s inside will slowly be released. Once you put enough pressure on the water balloon that it bursts, there is no more water inside. In comparison, the immune system puts pressure on the thyroid gland and when it does it is slowly squeezing thyroid hormones out. We are born with a certain amount of thyroid hormone to last us our lifetime and once the hormones start to disappear, hormone replacement is required.

Why Paleo?

paleocollageAaahhhh, Paleo. The lifestyle of hunters and gatherers. The lifestyle that existed well before any modern day disease. Clean eating. High protein. Fresh fruits and veggies. A Paleo lifestyle is simply clean eating. For more information about living a Paleo lifestyle, visit my friends at Paleo Leap.

There are many reports and claims from hypothyroid patients that it’s difficult to lose weight and they lack an overall healthy disposition. After joining several hypothyroid support groups,  I learned of the Paleo lifestyle. Through these support groups, I have listened to other patients speak of their trials with diet plans and exercise, all who claim nothing works. Recently, a few patients caught my attention to their claim that a Paleo lifestyle helped them lose weight and experience an increase in overall health and wellness.

The Paleo lifestyle is said to help with inflammation in the intestines, which is said to be where Auto-Immune diseases begin, due to a breakdown of the micro-villi that help keep toxins from entering the bloodstream. Gluten is the leading culprit in damage of the micro-villi.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Gluten, as everything Gluten-free is the craze these days. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and is found in many foods. But a Gluten-free diet isn’t necessarily healthy. Many food items that claim to be “Gluten-free” are still processed. With that said, there is a link between gluten sensitivity and Auto-Immune diseases such as Celiac’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hashimoto’s to name a few. Over 80 autoimmune diseases exist in our world today.  So cutting gluten out of our diets completely might possibly reduce the number of autoimmune diseases being diagnosed in the world!

Check out my Pinterest page and follow my Paleo board for some really great Paleo recipes!