Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Navigating health systems....trusting your gut.

As I have written about recently, I've been meditating, in order to help myself feel better and to give my body the space and tranquility it needs for healing. However, there's other things apart from meditation that I am doing for my Self as a part of my journey to feel well. I find that discussing what's going on for me with someone who can understand helps alot. It might be a psychologist, doctor, reiki practitioner, naturopath or chinese doctor. As I've written about recently, I have decided not to simply leave my health in the hands of a specialist, but to be pro-active in learning more about hyperthyroidism and the possible causes and cures.

I am trying to support my healing in a really holistic way. Fortunately my alternative health practitioners are open to working with conventional western medicine and employ an open mind and allow their intuition to offer me guidance. I appreciate this hugely, because I know just how powerful intuition can be. I know that science has it's place and is incredibly important; which is why I wouldn't deny it. But I certainly do question why some doctors and specialists are choosy about which science they listen to, I also think critically about the ways in which they come to learn their particular science; who taught them? Who decided what was to be a part of the curriculum and what wasn't? Which pharmaceutical companies are involved in doctor's ongoing education?

I know it's controversial to talk in this way, but I don't expect anyone reading this to share my views, I don't propose to know it all. But I do want to talk about my wonderings about the whole western medicine deal. This has come up for me this week because I called my GP to discuss with her about my belief that my condition has come about as a result of drinking the soy product Bonsoy. For those who don't know, Bonsoy was recalled just before Christmas last year after 10+ people became ill after drinking the product over an extended period of time. The people who consumed the product all had thyroid conditions as a result of the excess iodine. Just one eighth of a cup of Bonsoy contained more than the safe levels of iodine that we should consume in one day. I drank an average of 2-3 cups of Bonsoy a day for about 2 years. She was very dismissive of what I had to say; debating the science of it and telling me that the most common cause of overactive thyroids in young women is Grave's disease.

Ok, Doctor, I may not have a degree in Medicine, but I am thinking that if it is now known that 25+ people know for sure that their thyroids made them sick after drinking Bonsoy, and I don't have a family history of thyroid disease, and I was drinking 24+ times the amount of iodine that I should have in a day for about 2 years, and the medication for Grave's disease didn't work as expected in my first month of treatment...is it not just as likely that excess iodine consumption has called my illness?

My final suggestion to the Dr was that my naturopath believed it likely that I had an excess of iodine in my system. The Dr then completely undermined the field of Naturopathy by telling me that they don't go to University and don't study bio-chemistry. And finally, warned me not to take any herbs from the Naturopath. She said I could see the Naturopath if it made me feel better to talk to her, but other than that, not to take on any advice from anyone other than my specialist. Uh, Dr, I can see a psychologist to talk, I see a Naturopath for a natural and holistic approach to healing and to learn from their wisdom. Just in case anyone is wondering, Naturopath's study for their degree, full time it takes four years.

So you can imagine how I felt after the conversation with the Dr, incredibly disappointed. She was afraid I was going to give up on the western medicine approach and 'go off with the pixies' or something. No, I am an intelligent young woman, trying to learn as much as I can about my condition so as I can make informed choices, because I want to get to the bottom of this and I want to be well! This means I'm going to explore various avenues for my own healing. I also listen to my own intuition and to people I trust around me. Two health professionals suggested I see the Naturopath that I did because they told me she has helped people with thryoid issues before; she is also personally experienced because she works with a western medicine Dr to help with her own thyroid issue.

I don't claim to have all of the answers, but I am definitely asking questions. Yes, I can get conflicting answers and it is sad when someone you like and wish to trust gives you advice that goes against what your believe in and what your gut is telling you. I am choosing to trust myself, while playing it as safe as I can and keeping the people with the knowledge close to me.

For now I don't have lots of answers, but I think all the questions are helping me to get closer. I also feel a sense of calm about things and trust that I am headed in the right direction with the right people. I also trust in myself and ability to listen to my own intution. Intuition might not be in the dictionary for GP's, but I am sure keeping it in mine!

If you've got a thought on this topic, please share them with me, I'd love to hear from you.

P.S Here's a link to find Doctors in your state who have studied at the Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine. I'm going to find one in Melbourne and see what they can offer, I shall let you know here!

Like The Answer Is Writing? You might also like my other blog, Inner Beam.


  1. I totally understand how you feel. From my experience in dealing with my Thyroid disease, regular doctors & endocrinologists take a more traditional approach, where a doctor who specialises in Environmental Medicine will take the whole person & environmental factors into consideration. In my opinion these doctors are far better than your traditional doctor. I am not sure where you live, but in Brisbane I have seen 2 and they are both great.

  2. Thank-you Thank-you, I am so glad you mentioned that; I was just expressing my frustration about all this to my Mum tonight and we decided I need to book in to see a GP who specialises in Environmental Medicine and Thyroid issues. I live in Melbourne and have looked them up before; tomorrow I plan to book in. My only worry was that they wouldn't be as specialised as an Endocrinologist. Given your experience, what do you think? I am thinking I will need to go down the path of having a Radioactive Iodine Uptake scan on my thyroid, because that would shed light on what's going on and would indicate if excess iodine is causing troubles.


  3. I have an underactive so it is a bit different, but I would go and see an Environmental doctor and find out what he/she has to say. They will send you off for a barrage of tests, loads more than your doctor or Endocrinologist will, and you get more of an overall health snapshot. The environmental doctor will also be able to recommend an Endocrinologist who is happy to worth together. Hope that makes sense? x

  4. Ok, excellent, sounds like a good way to go. Thanks so much for your advice. At least mentioning an Environmental GP shouldn't put my current GP and Specialist into a spin like Naturopathy seems to. (I hope!)

  5. Hi Sarah,
    I was very interested to read your story. I was diagnosed with iodine induced thyrotoxicosis early this year after drinking Bonsoy daily for several years.
    My doctor performed a blood test for thyroid antibodies and a urinary iodine analysis. The results of these tests made it very clear that I do not have an autoimmune disease such as Graves and that my hyperthyroidism was caused by excess iodine consumption.
    If you do decide to see your GP again perhaps it would be worth asking for these tests. You could also provide her with a copy of the information sheet for medical practitioners regarding the Bonsoy recall which was issued by the chief health officer. It is readily available on the net.
    After reacting very badly to thyroid meds I decided to go down the natural path with a supplement and regular blood tests to keep track of my progress.
    Much like you said about trusting your intuition, I have every faith that as my body eliminates the excess iodine my thyroid function will return to normal.
    I would of course advise against this strategy if you are still experiencing severe heart palpitations as it would be too dangerous.
    I wish you all the best in your recovery.

  6. Thanks M for sharing your story; I truly appreciate it. I didn't know that an iodine urine test could be performed, I believed that a radioactive iodine uptake scan was the only way to find out. The information you have shared is invaluable. One of the other things is, I don't have the thyroid antibodies that suggest Graves disease, however the specialist tells me that 1 in 5 women don't.

    I am currently taking Carbimazole, is this the same medication as was prescribed for you to help with excess iodine? If and when I get confirmation that excess iodine is the problem I would also cease taking medication and go the natural way.

    Thanks for your well wishes, I wish the same for you. Thyroid issues can be a rough road. I hope you will keep me updated on how things go for you.


  7. hi again Sarah,
    I am not sure if the urine test will show much now because you presumably haven't had Bonsoy for almost 10 months.
    I was put on Propythiouracil initially but it made me so sick that I had to stop it after two weeks. My GP then told me it would have to be Neomercazole and if that didn't work a thyroidectomy (drastic!!!).
    I decided to wait for a while before starting the Neomercazole and sure enough my TFT results have been improving ever since. I have been taking a supplement called Acetyl L-Carnitine as well as Amino Acid Chelated Magnesium which have really helped with my symptoms.
    Meditation, relaxation and getting enough sleep also make a big difference.
    Have you noticed any improvement in your TFT results? My results fluctuated a bit early on which was confusing especially when I was starting to feel better.
    Your endo is probably right about the thyroid antibodies, I was told that 95% of Grave's patients tested positive for thyroid antibodies but statistics are constantly being revised aren't they?
    If you haven't already, I recommend you visit the Bonsoy Debacle website:


    You will find lots of information for and from people suffering thyroid disorders as a result of Bonsoy consumption as well as details of the forthcoming class action.
    The Medical Journal of Australia's recent article on Bonsoy and thyroid illness is available on the site and would be worthwhile sharing with your GP and endo if they are still skeptical.
    Let me know if there is anything I can help you with,

  8. Thanks M again, for sharing more with me, I truly appreciate it. I have had a look at the site and shared a little of my story there too. It was great to hear from others, because it is easy to feel alone in all of this- particularly when you're not well enough to go out and connect with people & friends.

    Something that caught my attention was the number of people saying that they'd had sugar cravings, me too, big time. It's a bit weird for me because I generally eat well. Because I've lost so much weight this year I'd given myself license to be pigging out a bit on sweet things (also because my appetite wasn't huge it's easier to eat yummy things). Are you on Twitter? If so we could keep in contact there.

    I'm interested to know over what time period you were/have been unwell and how long it took for your T3 & T4 levels to come down? And last but not least, are you feeling better now? E-mail me if you'd prefer?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...