My Personal Health Journey and Experience With Functional Medicine

February 5th, 2013

After serving 2.5 years in the Peace Corps in rural Paraguay, I decided to become a doctor.  During my second year of medical school, I was having panic attacks, tremors, and insomnia.  I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease in which my thyroid was attacking itself and causing it to become overactive.

I first did nothing.  I then tried Chinese Medicine and was eating lots of fermented foods, whole grains, and terrible tasting powdered herbs.  That did not help at all.

I finally decided to do the conventional medicine called PTU, which inhibits my thyroid from making so much hormone.  After a few weeks, I felt terrible.  I returned to my doctor for lab testing and found that my liver was being damaged by the medication and I had something called toxic hepatitis.  I was ordered to stop the medication and to strict bed rest.  Fearing for my health, my life, and the possibility of having to drop out of medical school, I opted to have my thyroid ablated.

Watch the video above to hear how my journey unfolds….

 

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  • It is very encouraging to hear about functional medicine. I have never heard the term before. But, It definitely seems more viable than traditional medicine. I agree that everyone is different. I recently found out about a special diet for women with PCOS called the low amylose diet. I have the syndrome, and am wondering what I can learn about it from you. I don’t have the money to come see you, but I would if I lived closer.

    • AmyMyersMD

      Alea I would recommend a gluten-free and low carb diet for PCOS. I wrote an eBOOK with the program I have all my patients go through and my nutritionist does guided ‘cleanse’ based on this book each month — we have one starting Feb 11th. I would recommend those resources to you as well. They can be found at http://www.AustinUltraHealth.com/store

      • Lubna Siddique Kiran

        Dear Dr Myers,
        God bless you. Could I please join you on fb?
        Thanks

  • Emmy Cameron

    Hi, it was very interesting to hear, especially to know that you have Graves Disease. I also had the radio active iodine. Have you had any problems with your eyes? You are the first person I have heard other than myself that has this disease.

    • no I did not have any issues with my eyes.

    • AmyMyersMD

      no I did not have any problem with my eyes.

      • Emmy Cameron

        You don’t have any problem with dry eyes? I have really dry eyes and there are days that they are dryer than normal and it’s hard to keep my eyes open. I was told since I had the radio active iodine, I probably won’t have to worry about them protruding.
        My original Dr. didn’t think I had a problem, I thought I was going through menopause. So because of this I went probably two yrs without being treated. After being treated for about two yrs, I was having trouble again & had all the symptoms back. Again he kept ignoring me until I talked to the Internal Specialist, who sent me for blood work. My tsh was off, so because my Dr. wouldn’t listen, all my organs had slowed down, so it took another 3 months to get back on track.
        It was nice to find your page. I changed Drs. but she still doesn’t want to refer me to an Endocrinologist. So it has been pretty lonely going through this on my own, as there’s no one to talk to that can relate to this.
        Thanks for listening, look forward to your next blog!

        Emmy

        Subject: [dramymyers] Re: My Personal Health Journey and Experience With Functional Medicine

        • thank you! Come over to facebook if you’re not already there and LIKE AmyMyersMD I post a ton of stuff there as well!

  • What an informative video blog describing your fascinating journey from early childhood to a career as a specialist in functional medicine. Your path has taken your from your childhood roots with parents who were tuned into a healthy lifestyle, to the Peace Corps in Paraguay, to studying traditional allopathic medicine, to working in emergency pediatric ER services, to studying with Andrew Weil, to studying with the Institute of Functional Medicine, to directing your own medical group at Austin Functional Medicine in Austin. The path you have taken is fascinating. It is very helpful to know that there is more than one choice out there. Thank you for the good work you are doing in the world.

  • jesica

    Hi Amy, as i read you´ve worked in paraguay, do you read any spanish? Im from argentina. I have hyperandrogenism, PCOS, something wrong with my adrenals too ( my doctor checked for hiperplasia suprarrenal congenita, it was not, though my 17 hydroxy progesterone is very high), and hipotyroidism. I´ve been struggling with my energy levels, fatigue, mood swings, depression for years. Im reading your blog looking for some hope. Gracias, Jesica.

  • Amanda Whaley-Stultz

    I was just diagnosed with Graves disease. After I turned 21 my health has went down hill. From endometriosis, breast biopsy, anemia, gall beater removed, allergies to everything, and now this. I’m trying to decide on treatment. I’ve had the same trouble with the medicines. So I’m starting to think removal of my thyroid wound be best. Please help. Advice?

    • Tina Leonard Samson

      Hi Amanda – I was just diagnosed a few weeks ago….my symptoms started after 21…I also had my gallbladder removed. it was a long road to getting diagnosed. I started the meds but so far, little change. what did you end up deciding?

    • I just reversed Grave’s in one of my patients. PLease come see me 512-383-5343

  • Paula Soileau

    enjoyed hearing about your story. and i am a huge supporter of functional medicine! also nice to know you’re from NOLA – I grew up in La and lived in NOLA for 12 years – now in Austin but still no place like NO!

  • Gayle Krampl

    Thank you for posting this. It feels really good to know that there are people out there that are truly practising holistic medicine. I have Graves Disease also. I also have thyroid eye disease and have had double vision for just about a year now. I am on long term disability from my job as a nursing instructor. The endrogrinologist I saw wanted to do radio active iodine tx and I refused. Recent research is now showing that this can make thyroid eye disease worse so I am glad I made that choice. Now they want to take out my thyroid and I am refusing this also because they are not treating me holistically. They are only treating symptoms and not the cause. I have been going to massage therapists, chiropractor, natural therapist, and even for an intuitive reading. I also have diverticulosis and was very interested in how you mentioned that gluten could be a culprit for Graves. Because I am on a very limited budget, I would be unable to come see you (which makes me very sad!). Is there anyone in Alberta that you would recommend? I am enjoying your posts on FB. Please keep up the great work. Cheers. Gayle Krampl RN, BN, MScN

    • I don’t know anyone. Get my eBook The Myers Way and do the AI protocol

  • Nancy O’Brien

    My husband and I have recently found a Dr. certified in allopathic and homeopathic medicine and we’re so thankful for his thoroughness in testing us (in our 60s and 80s). He has just been diagnosed with autoimmune disease that’s attacking his thyroid for many years probably since he’s had hypothyroidism for nearly 10 years. I’m trying to learn everything I can to see what path to healing the Lord will direct us to. So glad I found your blog and have more info in my arsenal. Thank you!

  • Barbara J. Peiker

    Dr. Myers, your video was very interesting and motivational to me. It’s amazing how my life story is similar to yours. I grew in the most Southern tip of Mississippi near the Louisiana Stateline and lived in Hammond, LA for 7+ years. My mother died of Pancreatic Cancer also. I have Hyperthyroidism and have been on and off Methimazole 5
    mg. for several years now. I’m very pro-active in my health care and that’s why I’ve not agreed to have my thyroid ablated. My doctor tried to have me kill off my thyroid now for many years, however each time I went for iodine testing, my thyroid levels were normal.
    Please tell me how to get additional information that could lead to different treatments for my thyroid. I’ve asked my treating physician several times “how and what can I do to cure this thyroid problem” and he doesn’t have any answers other than meds or ablating the thyroid.
    If there are other treatments, I would jump at the opportunity.
    Thank you,

    • I would come see me if you can. I have reversed Graves in several people. Or get my eBook The Myers Way and do the Ai protocol. My AI book will be published by Harper One March 2015

  • Theresa

    What an awesome, generous woman you are! I’m passing this video along to two people who have Graves. I have Hashimoto’s and RNP antibodies (and my skin is obviously suffering). I’ve read Datis Kharrazian’s “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?” book, along with many other things, viewed webinars, etc, and–due to the brain fog of the Hashimoto’s and the lack of being able to find a doctor like you locally–I’ve not been able to put the information into play on my own. I’m hoping you’ve blogged about Hashimoto’s. I’ll look and watch for that. Bless your heart for clearly having a genuine desire to help people.

    • Thank you, Theresa! I have some other thyroid posts on my blog, just do a search for “thyroid” and they should come up!

  • Linda

    Your information is great and I would love to be able to jump into this and get control of my health again. Unfortunately this seems so overwhelming and expensive for me. Any ideas on where to start on a shoestring budget? Inflammation and Tinea Versicolor are the key issues for me now. thank you 🙂

  • Tati Monge

    Hello, Dr. Myers!

    My husband has been at many doctors and what they found out lately that his T cells are high. Basically as I understand his immune system is attacking himself. Also his right back hurts already for 1 year. Doctors cant find anything wrong with him except his humongous amount of T cells!! (that keeps growing). I know it might sound as a creepy story but that is what is going on. Soon he will go to MRI at Cedar Sinai at Beverly Hills to get scanned that part that hurts. Do you have any ideas? Does this sound as autoimmune disease? Also no tracers of cancer has been found or neither any poison (Dr. took his hair samples as well and nothing has been found).
    Thank you, Dr very much for your feedback.

    • It could be autoimmune–I definitely think he should see a functional medicine doctor like me. You can find one in your area here: http://www.functionalmedicine.org

      I hope he starts to feel better soon!

      • Tati Monge

        Thank you, Doctor Myers. if for example it is autoimmune… can he have kids? he went to endocrinologist and it gave results that because of high amount of T cells his sperm is not moving. its disabled. I understand that now we are trying to find the reason what caused it but it bothers me what if …. Also is autoimmune system disorder/disease treatable to the end? Sorry for ignorant questions….

  • Christen

    Thank you for this video. My mother also has Graves’ and had her thyroid irradiated. Would it still help her to follow a diet for an autoimmune disease?

  • KellMass

    Forgive me if this is addressed past the Toxin chapter in your book, I have a two and one year old that keep me busy, limiting my time to read. I have Graves’ disease and had my thyroid removed. I did not want RAI, and I wanted to have children sooner than later….so the methimazole I was taking was not going to cut it. I regret not researching more about my disease. Currently, I am gluten, corn, and soy free. I have adrenal issues. I went very hypo after the birth of my one year old, but never felt fully rested. I take levothyroxine, and just added t3. I was wondering what you think about NDT? I have read some literature that claims it could cause antibodies to flair up. Currently, mine are very low.

    • Dr. Amy Myers

      LDN? I am not sure what NDT is…

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