Accepting a “NORMAL” Thyroid Test Reading May Be Hazardous To Your Health!

Accepting a “NORMAL” Thyroid Test Reading May Be Hazardous To Your Health!

My story begins with my lifelong struggle with insomnia.  For people who suffer from insomnia, there is nothing more important than finding a way to sleep.  After all, the inability to sleep, feeling tired all the time and the frustration of failing to sleep night after night takes its toll. For most insomniacs, getting a doctor to actually look for the root cause of insomnia is close to impossible.  I started having difficulty sleeping when I was 23 years old.  I never had difficulty falling asleep but I could almost set my clock on the time I would always wake up, which was around 2am.  It was always the same thing,I couldn’t turn off my thoughts which were just racing around in my head, sometimes I would type out my thoughts, which was really annoying.  I could never really hang onto a thought as I would be onto the next topic and on and on…  I tried praying but I couldn’t even get past the first couple of sentences and my mind would wander off to another another subject.  I would toss and turn and turn some more until around 5:00 or 6:00 am when I would fall back to sleep, however never very soundly.  This is not a prescription for being well rested!   

This went on for years and no matter how many times I would ask my doctor why can’t I get a decent nights sleep, I would be told to avoid chocolate, don’t drink anything with caffeine in the afternoon or evening, don’t exercise just before going to sleep (who can exercise when your exhausted?).  I followed the doctor’s instructions but it made no difference. I tried using Melatonin as well as a number of herbs that were supposed to help me sleep.  In addition to my insomnia, I also had difficulty getting pregnant and actually had 2 miscarriages before carrying to term, I could eat like a horse and not gain weight and I was extremely sensitive to heat or cold.  In fact, I was a poster child for Hyperthyroidism but my tests were always “Normal”.

In addition to insomnia, a faulty thyroid may cause you to feel depressed, become irritable and have trouble concentrating at work. You may lose interest in sex, have irregular menstrual periods or become infertile.  Your hair may turn coarse and dry, or may even start to fall out.  Your skin may turn pale and rough, you may develop headaches and always feel tired. You may suffer from constipation or diarrhea or develop goiter, which is a swollen thyroid gland.  Now, over 25  years later and and in my 50s, my blood pressure is high, my pulse rate was over 100 rested.  My doctor ordered a thyroid test and again, it came back in the “NORMAL” range.  Not once did the doctor discuss, suggest or prescribe any thyroid supplements.  One Sunday morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I looked up into the mirror and noticed that my right eye was popping out of my head.  Not in a cartoon way, but it was noticibly larger than my left eye.  I thought I was imagining things but went back to the mirror over and over again that day and each time I freaked out a little more.  I thought it was my blood pressure causing my eye to pop out so I quickly downed another dose of blood pressure medication, I took an aspirin just in case my blood was not thin enough and I was having some type of stroke. 

On Monday morning, I camped in my doctor’s office until I could be seen.  I was told that the most common cause of “Unilateral Propotosis” (bulging eye) is Graves Disease, Thyroid Eye Disease, tumors or bleeding.  The preliminary diagnosis was Graves Disease, which is a form of Hyperthyroidism.  What a surprise.  I had been telling my doctors that I thought I had an abnormal thyroid for years, but what do I know?  I now had one eye bulging out of my head and had to face choosing a method of treatment.  My options, were 1) take an antithyroid medication (which could take years to see any improvement), 2) Radioactive Iodine Treatment (which is administered orally and the iodine targets and enters the Thyroid where it radiates the thyroid cells, damaging and killing it. The thyroid function slows down, reversing the hyperthyroidism); or 3) surgically remove the Thyroid Gland. 

What truly amazes me is that my doctors never once mentioned that the dysfunction of thyroid gland is the root cause of insomnia and even though I presented several other symptoms of thyroid disease, they totally relied on the test results. They never mentioned Thyroid supplements and unfortunately for me, for most of my life, the internet didn’t exist so I didn’t have access to the information that now is available to anyone looking for it.  Had I known that there were supplements that work by stimulating the body to produce normal levels of thyroxine, I may have avoided the consequence of getting Graves Disease.  When your thyroid is working against you, looking and feeling better is like trying to exercise with no energy!

If you recognize yourself in any of this, please consider taking a thyroid supplement and when you speak to your doctor, ask him/her to test your thyroid levels.  If it comes back as “NORMAL” ask the doctor how many people are tested to be considered Normal?  Is it 10,000 out of a million, one in ten?  There is a lot of room for error, I can tell you that from personal experience.  What is normal for You, is the question?  Had I been more assertive, I might not have to live the rest of my life taking a synthetic hormone and having to look at myself in the mirror wishing that both eyes were normal. 

Rose ONeil is a wife and mother of 2 grown sons.  She has Graves Disease and is sharing her experience in hopes that others may become more assertive when speaking with their doctors.  To get more information on thyroid supplements, please visit 

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