Medication Basics


Hey, and welcome to the Thyroidcafe. Grab a seat and join me as we discuss the basics of medication. I’m thankful my local pharmacist let me interview her for this blog. She rattled off medication names long enough to dominate a Scrabble board and I grew in my knowledge. She explained each medication, who takes them and the best way to do so. Her information corroborated with the online studies I read. So I combined the information for you; I hope you like it. 

Hormone Basics

As I wrote previously ( ), knowing about your disease empowers you to make better choices for your health. Here is information to help:

  1.  Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) prompts your body to make T4, which in turn produces T3. The prevailing theory on thyroid treatment is that by adding T4, the body will produce T3.  
  1. When doctors take our “Thyroid Levels,” they usually measure Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Here is a table to keep in mind when reading your TSH panel. 
TSH Normal Thyroid Range: 0.4 – 4.0 mU/L TSH At Risk: 2.5 m U/L – 4 mU/L
TSH Ideal Range: 2.5 mU/L 

Who can take thyroid medication 

The medication we are discussing is for people with Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. Restrictions on who can take it depends on allergies. (For example, food colouring.) Also, morality as there are animal products in some pills. 

Medications available

There are two broad categories of thyroid medication, synthetic and desiccated. Synthetic medication has many brands (Lavothyroxine, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint and Unithroid.) All synthetic brands contain solely T4. Desiccated pills are derived from either bovine or swine. Some common brands are Armour Thyroid, Nature-Thyroid, WP Thyroid, NP Thyroid. Because of their source, they contain both T4 and T3. (See below for more information) My pharmacist noted, desiccated pills are almost always on backorder. So talk to your local pharmacist about supply. 

Which medication do I choose?

Most people start with synthetic pills. They are more reliable as T4 levels are lab tested. The pharmacist recommends Synthroid as it comes in small doses increments, giving more accuracy. Desiccated pills, or animal derived pills, contain both T4 and T3. They are controversial because their hormone levels are tested less frequently. However, some studies show that a subgroup of patients improvement in mood and cognitive function on Desiccate pills. Most online articles advocate for Desiccate pills and  I hope to try them. I will report back. To read more studies, click here Most studies conclude that if symptoms continue, it is good to try desiccated pills.  

How do I take  medication and missed doses?

Both types of thyroid medication are best taken first thing in the morning; as they must be taken on an empty stomach. Take your medication and then wait a half hour to eat or take other medicine. It is also important to take your pills at a consistent time each day. Missed pill should be taken as soon as possible.  My pharmacist suggested that if over a few hours late, skip that day and resume a normal schedule the next day. Do not double up your pills. 


These are the fundamentals of thyroid medication. It is a broad and deep subject. As we grow in the knowledge of our disease, we empower ourselves to take our health into our own hands. Knowing the medications, opens our options if symptoms reappear. Once we decide, taking our pills as prescribed enables us to benefit fully from them. Now. Can someone please tell me how to wait a half hour for my coffee?

Diagnosis Story: Part 3 Getting the Diagnosis


Hi, Welcome to the Thyroidcafe, I’m glad you could come. If you’re new, welcome, I hope you find a home here. I’m looking forward to the final installment of the Diagnosis Story. In part two, I introduced my husband. You may remember us as the fools who rushed in? Well, this fool had a little diamond on her left hand before long. In the other hand though, was the responsibility of caring for my terminally ill dad. The difficulty of this time were seen as the cause of my symptoms, until one day I took my health into my hands. A short and deceptive conversation later, I had a diagnosis and prescription in hand. 

The Wedding 

We decided to marry in haste. Being that my dad only had a matter of months, we arranged the wedding in just three months. One thing I wanted to get right was the dress. Despite this, the prospect of trying on dresses seemed like swimming through a pool of melted marshmallows. Exhaustion and brain fog detached me from this happy time. I tried to smile at the appropriate moments, tried to enjoy, but I was too tired. I did, in fact, sleep through many of the major choices made in wedding preparation. My husband stepped in, picking food, setting up decor, and organizing our family. With the kind help of my mom and future mother-in-law, I did get a dress. I hope they understand my gratitude. 

The Funeral 

One thing my family couldn’t help me with was my father’s illness. On our wedding day, he was too sick to attend. Because of the sensitive nature of this time, even I excused my symptoms of depression and exhaustion. My dad died December 12, 2008. Funeral arrangements and other end-of-life affairs are all a blur to me. The depth of my grief fueled an angry, determined fire in me; I needed to get healthy. 

The Hope

Anger is not something women generally speak about. One regret I have is not being open to my doctor about my mental health. I did open up to Google though. After entering my symptoms online, I scrolled through.  I came across a video. A man described symptoms. I found myself in each one. I fought back tears. Hashimoto’s disease. The prospect of a name for my struggle was such a relief. He ended the video saying “there is hope” and there is. 

The Deceptive Diagnosis

Having frequent visits to my doctor during this period, she was clearly annoyed to see me again. In my ignorance, I thought she would be happy that I figured out what was wrong. I was mistaken. She brushed me aside, rejecting my idea. On those sidelines, I made a plan. After she came back from a vacation, I vaguely referenced our thyroid conversation, inferring that she concluded I had Hashimoto’s disease. Then I politely asked for a prescription. I don’t remember if she took blood test or not. But after a lifetime, she gave me my diagnosis.  


Thyroid warriors fight twice. We fight life’s normal battles, and then we take up arms against chronic illness. After repeatedly being overlooked by the medical system, I took a risk and got my diagnosis. While this wasn’t the wisest choice, (I did find a new doctor, and was properly diagnosed) I learned a valuable lesson, my health is my responsibility. That is why Thyroidcafe, and places like it, are so important. So that all thyroid patients can know, there is hope. So thanks, for reading this and joining me in spreading awareness of thyroid diseases.

Diagnosis Story: Part 2 Dreams and Doctors


Thanks for coming for part two of my diagnosis journey. Read part one in the post entitled “Early Symptoms.” Though writing my story has been difficult, it has been enlightening to reflect on the events leading up to my diagnosis. As I share, I hope to inspire others to tell their thyroid story as well. This helps to create community and awareness about our disease. Thank-you to those who have already shared on our Facebook group. 

A Dream and a Nightmare

After breaking up with my boyfriend, (see previous post) my ambition of doing humanitarian aid was coming true. Arriving in Mexico City, I took a taxi, a four-hour bus ride, and then another taxi to Morelia; a picturesque city in central Mexico. Immediately greeted by the hospitality of the Mexican people, I felt this my destiny. Warm days turned into the rainy season, and my symptoms attacked again. At about one hundred pounds, my almost six-foot frame was skeletal. Exhaustion degraded me from barely walking, to bed bound, so I was taken to hospital. There I got no real answers. Dejected, I return to my bed, hoping my illness would pass. It was a humbling process to have the people I came to serve, help me.

Red Walls and Medication

There was an English speaking caregiver who often visited the orphanage. On one such visit, she suggested I see her doctor.  Driving through a residential area, we arrived at an apartment building. Greeted at the door, we were taken to a small home office. Red walls were covered in a near comical amount of Catholic shrines. A dark wood desk took up most of the room with an exam table pushed into the corner.  After a short exchange, the doctor asked me to lie on the table; I didn’t realize what was coming. A sharp needle in my bottom delivered an anonymous medication. I was sent back to the orphanage with half a dozen prescriptions and the little round doctors’ best intentions. After a week I could walk and eat, so I decided to go back to Canada.

Making it Home

I have no memories of the taxi rides, bus trip or flight home. Except for a brigade of soldiers coming to inspect the bus. They forced me out and I remember thinking I should be scared, but was unable to feel any emotion. Men in uniform asked to open my luggage. Finding the medication, they hotly debated what to do with me. I did somehow end up back on the bus, but how that situation was resolved, I still don’t know. I took great comfort arriving back in Canada. My family doctor ended up diagnosing me with an infection in my stomach lining, Mono and a few other infections. Relieved to have a diagnosis, I assumed all would get better.

It’s Not Your Thyroid

In time, I was well enough to work. Even so, I had memory loss and muscle weakness, so I returned to the doctor. She sent me to an endocrinologist, suspecting a thyroid problem. After blood work, the endocrinologist said my thyroid antibodies were in the two thousands. But continued to say that this in no way indicated a thyroid problem. As I left her office, something felt wrong, but I pushed it aside. Years later, a new family doctor would tell me that the endocrinologist in question was “a quack.” At the time though, I trusted her completely. Months later, I noticed a man at church. He had a loud laugh and a passion for God. My future husband and I started dating and, like happy fools, we rushed in. Our joy was soon halted however, when I had to sit him down and tell him, my dad had terminal cancer. 


Traveling to Mexico, I had chased a dream. Even though it didn’t work out as planned, the people will always have a place in my heart. Through the fog of my medicated mind, I made it back to Canada and even to an endocrinologist. The sadness of my missed diagnosis was butted up against meeting one of the most important people in my life, my husband. By the next flare up, my body had a recognizable pattern of symptoms, but one thing had changed. I had grown to become fiercely determined to find out, for myself, what was going on. (To be told in part three) So, how did you get your diagnosis? Did you fall through the cracks of the medical system? Tell me your story on our social media or comment below. Thank-you for taking the time to join me at the Thyroidcafe. 




Diagnosis Story: Part 1 Early Symptoms


Hey, welcome back to the Thyroidcafe. I see some new people, pull up a seat. At the Thyroidcafe, we build thyroid awareness, knowledge and community. So I will start by sharing my story. I will post my diagnosis story over the next two blogs and would love to hear yours. You can do so by commenting below or search “Thyroidcafe” on most social media platforms. Let’s share our stories to build community at the Thyroidcafe.

A baby without a backstory

My story starts without one. Adopted in 1987, my medical history was for government eyes only. Without a family history, my early symptoms seemed unlinked. My family traveled a lot and one summer we went to California. As I sat in my aunts’ 90s minivan, I read the outside temperature, 100 degrees. I asked for a sweater. Because of my defunct temperature guage, my family affectionately called me “the hothouse plant.” At one point, there was an unusual bump on the front of my neck. But generally, I was a happy, healthy child.

The Middle Years

In my teenage years, my symptoms became more obvious, but remained undiagnosed. Dry skin formed on my face and I struggled with my mental health, but many teenagers have these problems. One distinct symptom was the pain in my knees. I would rub them and take pain relievers to cope. Eventually I saw a physiotherapist. When she initially bandaged my knees, they felt better. With the promise of braces, I thought the problem was solved. However, when taking the bandages off, I was left with red welts and swelling from the adhesive. I decided not to go back. Eventually, my pain subsided, so I no longer pursued the matter.  Later I found out she had a reputation for her malpractice and they offered compensation. Music also marked my middle years, with joy. Choir was a bi-weekly event. Because of this, I noticed a change in my voice. I moved from soprano (high pitched) to alto, (low pitched). These changes were seen as normal or part of my quirky personality. I knew I was different; I just didn’t know I was sick.

As a Young Adult

After graduating high-school, things settled down for a time. I traveled, hiked and made a fated plan, move to Mexico. Then a boy interrupted, as they do. He and I moved to a new town. Upon pursuing a job, I couldn’t even muster the energy to write a resume. Fatigue crippled me into unemployment. When I got a job, I could not keep it because of my impaired short-term memory. I would stand, adding up change at the till. Losing track, I would start over, repeatedly. My short term memory was fading.  When I would come home to our apartment, the brown couch was my comfort and cage. My stomach ached due to constipation. So much so, I pulled my body to Emergency one morning. There the doctor X-rayed me and asked to follow up. Upon doing so, she questioned my digestion but investigated no further. This was the second of many times I fell through the healthcare cracks. In fairness, depression and social conditioning crippled my ability to accurately describe my symptoms. (See this link about being your own healthcare advocate Months passed, and as my plans to move to Mexico came closer, my health improved. Moving back to my dad’s house, I broke up with the boy and looked forward to Mexico. My ambitions were taking shape, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.


While the symptoms of my youth seemed random, I now see them as building. Like a ramp, they grew as I did. Soon, the zeal of my youth would disappear; no, rather changed into a fight for my health and my safety.  In the next blog I will share how “it”, the climax of my symptoms, happened, the dangerous journey home, and a deceptive diagnosis.

Your Guide to the Thyroidcafe


Hi, and welcome to the Thyroidcafe. I saved you a seat by the fire. I’m Meghan, I have been fighting Hashimoto’s disease for over a decade. In that time, I have learned a lot about fighting the thyroid battle. Yet, I know enough to know there is more to learn.  So I am excited to create this blog. This is where I can pass along my experience; we can create community and reach together towards a cure.

Who I am

I am Meghan. I fight every day to be the best thyroid warrior I can. My husband and I have four kids, three boys and a girl, however the king of our home is Cat, our aptly named cat. Our family lives in the Great White North, Canada. Where the maple syrup runs wild and so does the CBD oil! I became a Christian years ago and hold a most precious faith. But before that, I was diagnosed with a thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s disease. (a story for an upcoming post) and though I am far from perfect, I push on towards growing in my knowledge of this disease.

Why am I doing this?

Because I am passionate. About fighting thyroid problems, about learning more and about creating community. I do this because God has given me the gift of writing so I can help embolden and comfort those who are going through what I have. I am also excited to get to know more fellow warriors. One place where I have already found community is this Facebook group  As we share knowledge and raise awareness of this disease, we can reach towards a cure.

So, what’s this blog about?

Firstly, Thyroidcafe is a warm space for us to be together. Because of that, I created various social media spaces, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter . Here I will offer more detailed information about each blog post and (duh!) pics of food. While solidarity is important, we also need more knowledge. So on this blog I will share some solutions I have found, websites, products and the advice of medical experts.


I am a fellow thyroid fighter.  A passionate woman hoping to help grow community, knowledge, and ideally a cure for thyroid diseases. So grab a coffee and join me at the Thyroidcafe.