Health

I Have Hashimoto’s Disease – Now What? Part 1

If you were just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, welcome to my blog, and to the Hashimoto’s “club”, which currently has about 14 million “members” in the United States alone (isn’t that crazy?!).

Congratulations on taking charge of your health and stepping toward complete healing! I hope that by sharing my story and tips on how to deal with your diagnosis, as well as giving you an idea of where to begin your journey, you’ll leave here with hope and the motivation to love yourself back to good health. You’re not alone in this. You (wecan get better!

I Have Hashimoto's Disease - Now What?

I Have Hashimoto’s Disease – Now What?

MY STORY

I’m a mom, and feeling exhausted isn’t anything out of the ordinary for me. Since I gave birth to my first child, I’ve been living in a perpetual state of exhaustion! But the “maternal fatigue” I’d experienced so far, was nothing like what I’d been living through the last couple of years. After I had my second child, things started to get a little “blurry”:

  • My weight was creeping up steadily
  • My hair became alarmingly thinner
  • I started needing to drink coffee regularly
  • My skin was spotty, dry, and dull
  • I was having more (and stronger) heart palpitations
  • My mind was starting to go blank mid sentence
  • Brain fog was my constant companion

(Of course, my well meaning family and friends loved to explain away my symptoms by saying, “well, just remember, you ARE getting older…” {insert eye roll here} )

I thought maybe I wasn’t “doing enough”. So, I bought creams for my face, took supplements for my hair, played brain games, and trained like a maniac to run my first Tough Mudder. I excelled at Weight Watchers, but when that stopped working for me, I counted my macros. Then, I tried more protein, but when I wasn’t seeing results, I tried no protein. Everything I did to reverse the “aging process” and weight gain had no lasting results. Defeated by the fact that no amount of energy or effort on my part was changing what was happening to my body, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep feeling like a failure.

I was so tired of fighting this losing battle, I decided there was no point in being “healthy” anymore, since nothing I did made a difference. So I ate what I wanted, refused to exercise, and stopped caring for myself. I walked around in sweats with my hair pulled up in a sloppy bun most days of the week. I was miserable inside and out.

HOW I GOT MY DIAGNOSIS

One day, I happened to start “comparing notes” with a girlfriend, and I couldn’t believe how similar our symptoms were – it was like talking to my long, lost twin sister. The more she shared, the more encouraged and hopeful I became – I’m not a freak of nature! She told me that through testing, she learned she was vitamin deficient and low in hormones. But after only two weeks of being on a protocol created by her doctor, she was feeling 100% better. Two weeks?! I wanted in! I made an appointment with her FMD (functional medical doctor), believing my life was finally going to get back on track.

At my first appointment, I got my micronutrient profile, adrenals, and several panels tested (they ended up taking NINE vials of blood). It takes three weeks for adrenal results to get back from the lab, so I met my doctor one month later to get my results. I was fully expecting to give me the same diagnosis as my friend. Instead, he dropped the bomb, and told me I had Hashimoto’s instead.

I was in shock – and not the kind of shock you see in the movies, with mouth agape, hand over chest. Nope. I was in that uncomfortable smile / inappropriate giggling kind of shock. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that diagnosis. My doctor started talking about what steps were next, blah blah blah, gluten free, blah blah blah, and I’m sitting there smiling my awkward smile, nodding my head, saying, “Uh huh. Uh huh… Uh huh…”

W H A T  I S  E V E N  H A P P E N I N G  R I G H T  N O W ? ? ?

Chrissy Teigen

I had heard about Hashimoto’s disease in passing over the years, but I had no idea what it was about. When my doctor read me my test results, I still didn’t understand the weight that that diagnosis would have in my life. He was serious about what he was telling me, but all I was doing was staring at his face, thinking, “Why’s his face so serious? Can’t he just fix me with vitamins and hormones so I can get on with my life?”

Nope.

 

DEALING WITH YOUR HASHIMOTO’S DIAGNOSIS:
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE

Do you want to see what I did in the privacy of my own bedroom when I got home from my appointment?

via GIPHY

 
If you did something similar, great! You’re normal! Once you’re calm enough to pick yourself up off the floor and wipe away your tears, here are some things you can do to empower yourself and steer you away from having one too many pity parties.

1. Set Up A Support System

Healing your body can be challenging, but it can be an incredible time of self discovery. You’re going to need someone to share these moments with. Whether it’s your spouse, your best friend, or even a friend you’ve made on a Hashimoto’s online forum, support is important. Find someone you trust and ask them if they are able to support you in such a way – and don’t forget to give them a choice! It takes a lot of time and energy to empathize with a friend. You want someone who will be able to stay positive and be honest with you. You don’t want someone who’ll be hard to reach or make you feel worse after talking with them!

2. Do Your Research… But Research Wisely

G.I. Joe said it best, didn’t he? “Knowing is half the battle.” Well, since I like to win, I did what any typical Type A person would do: I over researched everything and unnecessarily stressed myself out. The information you want and need is out there and it isn’t going anywhere. So read one article/post/book at a time, and take breaks! Let your mind absorb the information and digest it correctly. You are not required to know everything about Hashimoto’s Disease RIGHT THIS SECOND. If you’re anything like me, you can easily go from one read to another, then all of a sudden it’s 2:00am, you have all the diseases in the world, and you’re like: how’d I get here? Don’t be like me.

When you start learning about this disease and the symptoms that come with it, you will fall into these three categories:

1. Oh my gosh, me, too!
2. Eh, not me
3. Heck no, I’m so lucky I’m not that bad!

Everything that you read about Hashimoto’s Disease isn’t happening or going to happen to you. YOU ARE NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. There will be tons of things that will and will not relate to your body or your experience. We can’t go around comparing how illness manifests itself in our bodies versus other people. I did that and made myself depressed, anxious, and scared. It was all my own fault because I read too much, and assumed everything was going to happen to me. Again, don’t be like me.

RESOURCES

Probably the most important piece of advice I can give you in this post, is to please do yourself a favor and read this blog post about the importance of healing our bodies from a mind, body, and spirit perspective, by Jessica from AIP Lifestyle. She is one of my favorite autoimmune bloggers out there. Her post really made me lay everything out on the table, and I hope it does the same for you.

All that being said, there are plenty of other wonderful resources available to the autoimmune and Hashimoto’s community, both in book form and online. The following is a list of and handful of great books and blogs that have been enormously helpful to me. My list isn’t the end all be all, but I thought these would be a good jumping off point for you in this early stage of your wellness path:

BOOKS ABOUT HASHIMOTO’S AND/OR THE AIP (AUTOIMMUNE PROTOCOL) LIFESTYLE

Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? (When My Lab Tests Are Normal)
By Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS
(Dr. Kharrazian also has a great site with loads of information)

The Loving Diet” by Jessica Flanigan

The Paleo Approach” by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

BLOGS

AIP Lifestyle with Jessica Flanigan

Autoimmune Paleo with Mickey Tresscott and Angie Alt

The Paleo Mom with Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

Hashimoto’s 411
(They also have a very active Facebook group. The members are very knowledgeable, kind, and helpful)

Phoenix Helix with Eileen Laird

3. Write Down The Reasons Why You Want To Get Better

It’s one thing to do what you can to heal your body, it’s another to KEEP doing it. I had a week recently, where I felt I wasn’t healing as fast as I wanted and expected. I was so frustrated, I wanted to give up! But of course I couldn’t. Giving up meant going back to worsening symptoms. And I had to admit, that though my diet was restrictive (I still miss coffee. I still miss chocolate. I still miss eggs.), my symptoms were actually inching their way toward improvement. That crossroad reminded me why I wanted to get better, and it wasn’t about not having my favorite foods, or the freedom to pick something up to eat on a whim. Staying on track was helping me reach my ultimate goal of healing: no pain, no burden on my family, no exorbitant doctor bills, and setting myself up for the best quality of life now and as a senior.

I have the power to do something, and I owe it to myself to do it. Writing it down, and looking at my goal every day will help me in those moments of weakness. Maybe it’ll help you, too. Keep your list on your refridgerator. Take a picture of it and keep it on your phone so you have it with you on the go. Whatever it takes to remind you of how important it is to stay on task, do it.

4. Create A Personalized Strategy (Or “Steps I’m Going To Take To Get Better”)

What does creating a personalized strategy look like? For me, my top two bullet points were finding a doctor who would work with me and addressing my diet. It may or may not be the same for you. Maybe the first steps in your strategy are simply to give up soda and get more sleep. Baby steps are still steps, and the more steps you take, the closer you get to your goals. Your strategy should be as easy as you need it to be to accomplish the goal of getting better. You know what you are willing to do, so go and do it!

So those are the tips I have for you. I hope they help you in these beginning stages. Take your time and reread it if you need to. On this journey, you will get to know very well who you are as a person – your limits, how your mind works, what your body likes. You’re gonna get deep and intimate with yourself… and it’s going to be a good thing! Get support, do some research, and here’s to your good health! Take care!

Stay tuned for Part 2! I’ll discuss my personal protocol
and tips for living the AIP Lifestyle!

 

Psalms 30:2 (NLT)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge