During my time as an undergraduate at Imperial College, I worked in a laboratory that was attached to a cyclotron where they produced radioactive compounds, which we would then analyse or use in the lab. This was back in 1960 when security was not quite as strict as it is now. One day, in particular, was much more exciting than usual. A technician had been walking along the corridor that circumvented the cyclotron, and he had a Geiger counter in his hand that was switched on. Suddenly, it registered way off scale. It transpired that around 10:30 am that morning someone had been transporting ‘hot’ (radioactive) iodine and some must have escaped and fallen on the floor. The discovery was made shortly before 4.00 pm, more than five hours later. As a ‘go-for’ student I had been running along that corridor many times during those preceding hours.
One of my jobs at the end of each day was to collect the wrist, waist and lapel radiation badges from each staff member, including my own, and read and record the results. That day several people had levels above the desired threshold. However, when I reported these findings, I was assured that the levels would be averaged out over the month and so would almost certainly fall below the threshold. My readings were way above those levels, but they pointed out to me that I would only be there for a few more weeks and, averaged out over the year, my exposure would be low. Because the thyroid gland readily absorbs iodine, we were given iodine tablets to swallow and a potassium iodide solution mixed with orange juice which tasted horrid to drink. However, some six or more hours later, any damage caused by the radiation had probably already been done. As a student, I was unaware of the dangers of radiation at that time. I was more excited about the drama of the story I could tell, than about fears for my health. Little did I know.
A few years later, while working in Australia, I woke up one morning with literally no energy. It took me half an hour, as I recall, to crawl to the telephone to get help. When help arrived, my diagnosis was a virtually inactive thyroid gland. My doctor explained that this was unusual, but he suspected that my thyroid gland must have been damaged either by the radioactive iodine or by the large amount of iodine I had been given after being exposed to the radiation. I was put on a treatment of high dose thyroxine to substitute for my seemingly inactive thyroid gland and soon regained my energy. I was advised that I would have to take this for life, but that if I did it should be OK.
Not long after, I was working in South Africa and was introduced to a medical doctor who worked with the Anthroposophical philosophy and used low potency remedies produced by Wala in Germany. He told me of one remedy, Thyroidea Thymus, and suggested that it might help me. He advised me to allow 10 of the tiny pillules to dissolve under my tongue three times a day, half an hour before meals. He instructed me to continue with the medical thyroxine for two or three months at the same time but suggested that by then, the Thyroidea should have re-stimulated my thyroid gland and I would gradually be able to reduce the dose of thyroxine. This is exactly what happened. Initially, if I forgot to take the Thyroxine, I would slip back into severe energy slumps. However, after three months I was able to give up the medical drug completely and rely entirely on Thyroidea alone. On occasion when I would forget to take Thyroidea, I noticed a reduction in my energy levels. Then gradually, after about three years or so, I found I could give that up too without any impact on my energy levels. By this time I was living in Sydney, where I no longer had access to these remedies so I simply did what seemed to make the most sense and took them until it became obvious that I no longer needed them.
I went on to qualify as a Naturopath and have since been able to help hundreds of clients suffering from an underactive thyroid by using Thyroidea Thymus. Eventually, I had the opportunity to visit the European company that made this product and was able to share the successes I have had in using and recommending their product. To my surprise, they explained that they typically recommended this product for an over-active thyroid gland, rather than an under-active one! They went on to explain that the main action of Thyroidea Thymus was to normalise the thyroid gland without any adverse effects.
It is important to note, however, that no-one should self-diagnose and take these remedies, no matter how harmless they are, without advice from a qualified practitioner. If an unexpected problem does arise, the first course of action should be to discuss this with the practitioner. It is possible that there may be underlying imbalances in the body that could lead to unwanted symptoms which is why it is important for the practitioner to have a complete understanding of your health by taking a full case history.