Hashimoto’s: The Diagnosis
So a little bit of a backstory for ya’ll:
I have been a relatively “healthy” person all of my life. I have never required an overnight stay in a hospital and had no known health issues other than seasonal allergies. I have been lively and full of energy up until a few years ago.
For the last two or three years I have noticed I have become increasingly fatigued but just kind of attributed it to aging and also my stressful job. I woke up with dull headaches and would never feel refreshed after waking ( even if I slept 10-12 hours). I felt like I was always running on fumes. My head regularly felt a bit foggy and my memory seemed to be declining. I found it hard to concentrate and focus. While reading, I would notice myself re-reading the same line over and over. It was terrible. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with conversations and therefore just felt like a fly on the wall, listening to other people talk. I was always freezing cold…like ICE cold and could not warm up. I would have a bath most nights just to warm myself up. My hair was extremely dry and brittle. I felt like a scarecrow most days. I had mystery aches and pains that boggled my mind. How could I be sore if I didn’t do any exercise the night before?! Was this what aging felt like?!?! There were a few times when I even completely slept through my alarm and was late for work. (This is very embarrassing when you are a 30 year old). I knew something was terribly wrong but I could not pinpoint what it was. Was I depressed? Lazy? Did I have sleep apnea?
I was tested for sleep apnea and the test came back negative. The search continued….
I tried to go on with life and act like everything was normal but I knew deep down it wasn’t. I was beyond frustrated. I would explain my symptoms to the doctors but the symptoms were so vague that they just said it is a part of aging or just dismissed me completely. Ugh!
Since 2012 I have been told my thyroid was abnormal on and off. The doctors always just said that it is normal for the thyroid levels to fluctuate and that we would just take a “wait and see” approach. I have always been opposed to medication so I was just relived to know I didn’t need to take any.
If you know anything about the thyroid, you know it is very finicky and fluctuates immensely depending on whether you are stressed, run down or sick.
Looking back and trying to piece the puzzle together I have had my thyroid levels tested 8 times in the last 6 years and four of those times the level has come back as ABNORMAL.
January 1, 2018 I quit smoking and was SOOO proud of myself. Although I considered myself a healthy person previously, I had smoked since I was about 17. I felt like a walking contradiction. I cared about healthy foods and exercise a lot but then I smoked cancer sticks. It just didn’t add up. I was so happy to have finally kicked the habit.
In about March, 2018 I started training for my first ever half marathon. 2018 was chalking up to be a fabulous year!! I am not naturally a runner. I know a lot of people say that but I trained very, very hard and had to REALLY push myself to train on days when I had ZERO energy. All of my hard work paid off and I completed my first half marathon on May 26, 2018.
The day after the marathon I woke up with hardly any voice at all and I was EXHAUSTED ( not surprisingly). I worked through it, like I always do, but felt very out of sorts. The week after, I booked an appointment to have some blood drawn and the following week I booked an appointment to see my family doctor. (This fatigue could not be normal.)
On June 7th she diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; a chronic autoimmune condition where my immune system attacks my thyroid. This was confirmed by a blood test showing positive Anti-TPO antibodies. She informed me of this diagnosis so casually. Little did I know how much her words would affect my life. She informed me that my body was attacking my thyroid and this would progressively get worse until my thyroid would no longer produce the required hormones on its own. I would need to take a synthetic thyroid hormone instead. When I asked her if diet and stress played a role in the dysfunction of my thyroid she said no. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! The general public is well aware that stress affects almost every aspect of your health and so does the food you ingest daily. I was also deeply disturbed by the lack of knowledge conventional doctors have in regards to nutrition and looking at health in a holistic manner. Everything is connected after all (more on this later).
From that point forward, I took it upon myself to do my own research, question everything and heal the root cause. I knew I would not get to the root cause with the help of my doctor. I needed to be my own health advocate.
I remember walking home from my appointment feeling so hopeless, defeated and discouraged, tears streaming down my face. Hearing the words “you have an autoimmune disease and will have to take a pill every day for the rest of your life” was a huge kick in the face. But as strange as it was, I was sort of relieved to know there was a valid reason for all the ambiguous symptoms I had been experiencing. I WASN’T CRAZY!
Now (August 2018) I have turned my focus to healing. I know a pill alone cannot heal me but I am determined to heal with diet and lifestyle changes.
This is just the beginning of my story and I hope you follow along. Invisible illnesses can leave you feeling puzzled and alone. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I did so I am starting this community to spread awareness. My hope is to get others chatting, supporting and empowering each other. Hashimoto’s does not have to be a life sentence and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I would love if you reached out to chat and tell me all about yourself and your story.