I’m almost through my first full week of the low-iodine diet. All things considered, it’s not that bad, but it’s certainly not fun. I pretty much can’t eat in restaurants. I can’t have anything with salt, because it might be iodized salt. I can’t have anything with seafood or sea-based products (such as sea salt, seaweed, or seaweed extracts). I can’t have dairy products. I can’t have soy products, such as soy sauce. No egg yolks or anything containing them. No bread products that contain iodized salt or iodine based dough conditioners (whatever those are). There are lots more restrictions.
Pretty much, my diet this week has consisted of: unsalted walnuts, unsalted sunflower seeds, oranges, apples, bananas, celery, home-cooked chicken, home-cooked pot roast, veggies, a special bread from a bakery that doesn’t use iodized salt, homemade popcorn with unsalted margarine and non-iodized salt, rice, and pasta.
Unfortunately, since I’m off the thyroid medication, too, I don’t think I’ve actually lost any weight on this diet. Being off the thyroid medication is the worst part of this by far. I get horrendous muscle cramps for virtually no reason. For example, one day this week at work I moved my arm slightly (not rapidly, not holding anything, etc.) and suddenly the muscles under my arm and on my rib cage under my armpit absolutely throbbed in pain. I don’t think I’ve had that much pain in years, and it took the better part of an hour to go away.
Another added “benefit” to being off the synthetic hormone is that I’m really sensitive to cold temperatures, which is just great in December in Ohio. What makes it more fun is that I’m in a recently-renovated area of our office complex at work. This new area has a heating system that the engineers are still working the bugs out of. This afternoon, a co-worker measured the temperature and humidity in our area, which was 70 degrees with 24% humidity. He said the calculations say that feels like 64-65 degrees. Everyone in the area, none of whom are hypothyroid, is complaining about the cold. My hands and toes have been so cold the last couple of weeks that at times I can’t even feel them.
When I got in the car, I was so cold I started shivering. That shivering activity set the muscles in my chest off with yet-another cramping spasm. The pain continued at a decreasing level until we got home.
While making dinner, one of our cats was lying on the floor nearby, hoping for a handout. I stepped on his tail and he let out a screech. I reacted instantly to lift my foot and get off him. That caused my leg muscles to spasm, which made me double over in pain. Doubling over caused my shoulder, the muscles under my arm, and muscles under my armpit to all cramp in extreme pain. By the time the pain subsided, my dinner had pretty much gone cold.
As if the muscle cramps weren’t enough, I get short of breath often, my leg muscles feel really weak, I’ve had memory lapses, headaches, dry skin, and have to be careful not to be “short” (mean/rude/impolite) to others.
The diet will continue until 12/22, when I’ll revert to a normal diet again and start taking the replacement thyroid hormone again. I’m looking forward to that.
On Tuesday and Wednesday next week, I’ll be taking small doses of radioactive iodine. Thursday I’ll undergo a radiation scan to see where the iodine went. Friday (12/19), I’ll take the “full-size” dose of radioactive iodine. That will begin a six-day period of keeping at least 6 feet from other people and pets. Fortunately, that period will end on 12/25, so I’ll be able to spend time with the family then, be back to a normal diet, and taking replacement thyroid hormone once again. I ought to feel a lot better then than I do right now.