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    How long it takes you to feel well again depends on several factors. Probably the most important is how long you had hyperthyroid levels of hormone. The entire period when you were hyperthyroid caused your body to malfunction; damage is done. Bone and muscle are lost, for example. When we get effective treatment, hormone levels are stabilized in the normal zone eventually. Until that happens, the body is still malfunctioning, however slightly. But when you get controlled, normal levels of thyroid hormone, your body can begin to heal.

    After RAI, we typically go hypothyroid and then are started on replacement hormone. The process of finding the right dose of replacement hormone takes additional time. The hormone begins to work immediately, but the levels may not be right. Until the levels are right, and stay there, you should not expect to feel “normal.”

    But, during this process, you might begin to detect progress towards feeling more normal. Do not look for absolute normal, but look for signs that your condition is improving. For example, you might be able to sleep a bit more at night, or you might not feel quite as tingly/jangly.

    For strength issues, however, some exercise will ultimately be necessary. We lose actual muscle mass while hyperthyroid. This helps to explain the sense of weakness, and the lack of stamina. When we regain normal levels of hormone, muscle slowly starts to return. But it is not strong muscle until we train it. Eventually — and you need to wait for your doctor to give you the OK to exercise again — you will need to work at strengthening the returned muscle. Please do not start exercise unless your doctor says it is OK. Then, take baby steps. In my case, for example, I could not lift any weights at first — I had to lift paperback books. IT seems ludicrous to “pump paper” but I was so weak that was all I could manage. It took a few weeks before I “graduated” to 1 pound weights. That is what I mean by baby steps. You need to be disciplined, and do a bit of exercise each day, but you need to listen to your body, as far as how much is OK. The exercise level should not exhaust you. Some folks start out trying to do whatever they were doing before they got sick and it can be frustrating.

    Anyway, there’s no clear answer to how long. But by being patient, by getting constant good nutrition, by getting smart exercise once it is cleared, you should start seeing progress towards feeling OK again. Think in terms of months, not weeks. I know it is hard when the people in your life expect you to feel wonderful, and you still feel ill. Most of us have dealt with that problem in some way. So feel free to come online and “talk” and hopefully that will help you feel not so alone in things.

    I do hope you see steady progress soon.
    Bobbi — NGDF Online Facilitator