I, William D. Trumbower MD, am a 69-year-old OB/GYN (no longer doing obstetrics or surgery), practicing in the, medium size, college town of Columbia, Missouri. I am blessed in my practice, as my eleven partners do not require me to take call any more. I am able to spend my time, in my office, performing annual exams on many people I have known for well over 30 years, as well as being able to concentrate on bioidentical hormones, thyroid, chronic fatigue and other areas that no one seems to be very interested in, probably because they are not extremely profitable.
I did not mean to be an alternative thyroid hormone physician. Nothing in my training would have given me any hint that this was to be my destiny. During my residency, I was obsessed with surgery, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical anesthesia. I was fortunate enough to to stay on the teaching faculty, at the University of Missouri – Columbia, for three years, as an assistant professor. I left the University of Missouri and entered private practice, in 1979.
I suppose I can trace much of my interest in alternative thinking to my parents, who were both extremely bright and well-read individuals. My father, who had been a captain, in World War I, was the product of a classic East coast education and seemed to know everything about everything. My mother was a registered nurse and she was the one who directed me into medicine, by forcing me to get a job, in the summer of my high school graduation, in 1963, as an orderly, at the University of Missouri Teaching Hospital, in Columbia, Missouri. When I think back to my youth, one of the turning points, at the age of 15, was reading Immanuel Velikovsky’s book’s Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval. I realized, after reading these books the important issue for me was not whether Dr. Velikovsky was right or wrong about his theories (I believe he was right, about most things), but how the scientific establishment dealt with someone who dared to question consensus views. This attitude of not accepting what everyone assumes is the truth has stuck with me for the rest of my life.
Another turning point, for me, and my career, occurred early in my private practice, in the 1980s, when I was confronted with patients with cyclic mood problems, which my training had not prepared me to deal with, at all. The only thing that I could think of, for people like this, was hysterectomy and putting them on Premarin. One of my patients directed me to the works of Dr. Katharina Dalton, in London, England. When I tried some of her techniques of supplemental natural progesterone, I was astonished to find that it worked remarkably well. As a result, my family and I took a trip to London, where I spent a week with Dr. Dalton learning her techniques. When I returned home, full of enthusiasm to share my new knowledge, I was shocked to find that most of my colleagues were very negative and wanted nothing to do with this information. It literally drew a line in the sand, with me on one side and most of my colleagues on the other. However, when I looked around, most of the patients were on my side of the line.
Because of my age, I did some of my training in the days before Synthroid dominated the market and natural products, such as Armour, were still in wide use. My mother was hypothyroid and I watched as her new doctors switched her to modern medicines, leaving her with a continued weight problem and fatigue. Because of this, I was open-minded enough to prescribe Armour, if patients requested it, but I really did not know much about it until I met another physician from Columbia, Missouri, Dr. Mark Starr. Mark was from Columbia and moved back here to start a practice. He is the author of the book Hypothyroidism Type 2. I realized that he had a lot to offer my patients and so I began to communicate with him. He is the one who directed me toward the work of Dr. Broda Barnes and opened my mind about thyroid. Since then, I have continued to read and study, extensively, about thyroid. My education was enhanced when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in the last decade.
Interestingly enough, one of my patients had brought me one of the first editions of Stop the Thyroid Madness, prior to my diagnosis. I actually used many of the techniques and suggestions, in the book, to guide me through my own hypothyroid treatments, including a trial of Synthroid, finding elevated reverse T3, having to use T3 only and, finally, settling on desiccated thyroid, which I have been on since that time.
When Janie Bowthorpe called me to ask me to write a chapter, for her new book, I was dumbfounded to find that anyone knew who I was. I was likewise astonished at the other authors in the new book, many of whom are people whose works I regularly read. My hope is that this chapter will provide a small overview of my view on thyroid disease and the general approaches that I take with it. I will end by saying that the most powerful tool that anyone has to control their health destiny is what they eat every day.
1601 E Broadway #100, Columbia, MO 65201