Before and after photos pf switching to NDT are powerful and scream volumes.
In my Facebook support group, members have told me they find them really helpful and motivating to look at. So, I committed to taking photos of myself throughout my thyroid journey, to show the difference NDT has had on me, too. You can see these below.
Taken in March 2015.
The picture to the right makes me feel sad whenever I look at it.
I was at my worst, symptoms-wise, when I took this photo. I felt like no one believed how awful I really felt. I was lost, confused and pretty darn scared. I was overwhelmingly exhausted, my body ached like the worst flu I’d ever had, and so I KNEW something wasn’t right. I’d been feeling this way since September 2014 and it was only getting worse.
Doctors eventually ran a load of tests in April 2015, after I hadn’t gotten any better 7 months later, and it came back with my TSH being too high, around a 9, when the range used was about 1-5, and I was also anaemic. I was put on iron tablets for the anaemia but thyroid medication was withheld. I was told to wait another two months and see if the iron tablets ‘fix it’. Then we’d look at thyroid medication.
Iron tablets were never going to ‘fix it’, so I was forced to live another couple more months miserably. Of course, I felt nothing but worse, two months later. At that point, my TSH was even higher, and I was put on Levothyroxine for my thyroid (July 2015).
The most noticeable differences in how I looked here, compared to when I was a healthy twenty year old, include the huge bags under my eyes, uneven skin tone, pinky-purple lash lines, thinned eyebrows, and a gaunt look to my face. I generally look very sick.
Taken in October 2015.
I’d been on Levothyroxine for nearly 4 months when this photo was taken. My face had started getting puffier and my symptoms only got worse.You can see I still had the big bags under my eyes but my eyebrows were growing back a little. My skin was looking somewhat better. I was gaining weight, too.
I had over 20 total symptoms by this point, meaning I had gained more than when I was just tired back in March before being put on Levothyroxine.
I was gaining more and more symptoms on Levothyroxine.
These include, but are not limited to: Tiredness, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, brain fog, confusion, long recovery period, brittle hair and nails, sensitivity to cold (cold hands and feet), poor appetite, inability to lose weight, slow in movement, thoughts and speech, hoarse voice, thinned eyebrows, constipation, acid reflux, hormonal migraines, anxiety, dry and tight skin, heavy periods, joint Stiffness and pain, hot flushes, depression, numbness in limbs, weight gain (two stone in under six months), inability to lose weight, very emotional all the time, wind, restless legs, constantly itchy and sore scalp and worsening fatigue.
Doctors carried on telling me that my TSH was ‘in range’ so I was being ‘optimally treated’. They told me all these symptoms were all in my head and that I had to ‘let them go’. I read on-line and in books about why I could still be feeling unwell with a ‘fine’ TSH, and I started to realise that going by TSH alone wasn’t the correct way to measure how I was doing on my thyroid meds. You can read more on that here. I started looking at NDT too, and began hearing that it had a higher success rate than Levothyroxine.
Taken in January 2016
By November, I decided I wanted to try a medicine that made a lot more sense to me than Levothyroxine; NDT. However, doctors wouldn’t prescribe it so I self-sourced.
I started it mid-December, and I was seeing results within a couple of weeks. By January, I was feeling significantly better, and all but one symptom had gone; my fatigue. I was so pleased that I was able to exercise and workout again, that I took this photo.
All of those symptoms mentioned above, besides the fatigue, had gone.
I also found out in January that I had adrenal fatigue, likely the culprit for my ongoing fatigue, so I started working on fixing this by trying a few supplements. Needless to say though, I was feeling LOADS better just by switching to NDT.
As well as all those other symptoms now going one by one, I was losing the weight I gained while on Levothyroxine, and I was getting my life back, gaining control again.
You can see in the photo that my skin is more even and healthy looking, the puffiness in my face has gone, the bags under my eyes are a lot better and I generally look a lot healthier than before.
Taken in July 2016
I was still on NDT and doing well, although still had adrenal fatigue but quality of life was good and I was generally doing well day -to-day. I was able to live without my hypothyroidism being a conscious thought or problem.
This is how I’ve looked since, and I don’t think there is any improvement to be had in terms of looking any healthier. You can see it in my skin, eyes, face shape etc. that I was much healthier on the NDT compared to nothing at all a year earlier, or Levothyroxine just eight months prior. I’d been on NDT for 8 months and I was already lots better in how I looked and felt.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.