September 11, 2001, the day of the notorious terrorist attack of 9-11, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was only 24 years old and I sat in the doctor’s office terrified of what was unfolding and worried if people would figure out my identity as a Muslim Arab as the news and the live feeds played on loop on the TVs towering above us. Twenty-four years old is young for a diagnosis of slow functioning thyroid, but I had been on birth control pills for a few years prior for acne. At that point I had been served only allopathic/orthodox narratives on health and disease and had consumed a lot of chemical drugging and interventions. All I learned that day and for the few years after was that the thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the throat that regulates one's metabolism through hormones. It wasn’t until years later when I became a homeopath that I realized that the contraceptive pill resulted in migraines, my thyroid disease, and weakened immune system which eventually led to my being bed ridden for 3 months with mononucleosis.
As per the allopathic/orthodox paradigm of listening to the doctor without asking any questions, I started taking levothyroxine, the standard allopathic/orthodox treatment for hypothyroid, but stopped about a two years later when my labs came back normal. Nobody told me that I needed to continue the medicine and I definitely didn’t feel any different, so I just stopped taking it.
Fast forward a few years later, I’m living in Egypt and my results from a physical show that again my thyroid is low functioning. I went to endocrinologist in Egypt and felt so humiliated-- the doctor didn’t look at me once! Not once did he even make eye contact with me. He stared at his computer the entire time I was there, which was only about 15 minutes. He said that I needed to get back on synthroid and I will be on it for the rest of my life. I left that meeting thinking, “what a jerk!” I didn’t want to listen to him not because he was a medical doctor but because he was a medical doctor that didn’t give a shit about me, or even pretend to. How was my health at the center of this story when the doctor didn’t even look at me? So as most people do in my generation, I hit google for help.
Thanks to the motivation this apathetic medical doctor ignited in me, I stumbled across an open door by the name of a website called Stop The Thyroid Madness (STTM). It was a door that led to many more open doors. It was through this website that I came to discover that allopathic/orthodox medicine is not the absolute truth, it too is just a story on health and disease. And their story is a fragmented one-sided reductionist vision of the human body that centers the doctor and pharmaceutical medicines, not the patients or the sick. As I read alternative narratives on thyroid dysfunction on this website, it dawned on me that there are many narratives on health and disease and that health and disease are rather complex ever changing subjective realities with multiple narratives and sciences, including very ancient time-tested ones.
On the STTM website I found that like me, many people do not feel better when taking a synthetic isolated thyroid medication like levothyroxine, despite our labs being “normal.” It is important to note here that lab result ranges are what normal is for sick people not healthy people and do not reflect optimal levels. Functional medicine works with optimal ranges not “normal” ranges. I also found a ton of other resources, research and understandings on thyroid disease.
This new discovery had me really excited and I now knew to never accept anything in the area of health, disease and medicine without questioning it and researching it myself. I have a few more stories of failures and even abuse under the hands of allopathic/orthodox medical doctors but that’s for another post. Ultimately, it was the inhumane treatment of medical professionals coupled with the failures of allopathic/orthodox synthetic medicines that brought me into the sciences and practices of the healing arts and natural medicines.
It is also important to mention that optimal thyroid function requires a healthy liver, where over 500 transactions take place and all hormones are produced and converted. Getting to the bottom of any chronic disease or ailment requires WHOLE healing and balancing more than one organ system and function. In traditional prophetic/sufi medicine the thyroid is not one of the glands that are actually checked through pulse analysis as its function is dependent on larger glands or organs, particularly the liver, gut and adrenals.
If you have thyroid dysfunction or suspect that you may, HTMA + Nutritional/Mineral Balancing can help you get to the bottom of things. HTMA results do not always correlate with blood lab results because hair analysis is a tissue test, tissues are more stable whereas blood levels change throughout the day. Often blood tests will be normal (or say the opposite of what the hair test says) but hair analysis is very accurate for this purpose of measuring thyroid function. [The HTMA will tell us a lot more than just what's happening with your thyroid and you can receive a 30% discount of the service by entering coupon code Ramadan2019 at check, expires June 3, 2019].
I'm not going to get into the narratives on thyroid and modes of treatment because if you haven't already checked it out, Stop The Thyroid Madness is still an excellent website and resource for thyroid disease and it will hopefully open doors for you too.