May 25th is World Thyroid Day and I wanted to use this opportunity to share a very personal story with all of you. As I mentioned before in my blog, I suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve been battling this disease since 2013. And my diagnosis was purely coincidental. I never presented any symptoms or signs that I was sick. It took a visit to the dermatologist, who ordered tests and scans, to realize that I had an autoimmune disease that was impairing my thyroid function.
So, given that today is World Thyroid Day, I wanted to use my personal situation to raise awareness in all of you guys.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies flat against the windpipe in the throat. The primary hormones that it produces, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), are vital in helping to regulate the rate at which the body uses energy.
The body uses a feedback system in which thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulates the thyroid to produce T4 and T3 as needed. This system helps maintain a relatively stable amount of the thyroid hormones in the blood. When thyroid antibodies interfere with this process, they can lead to chronic conditions and autoimmune disorders associated with hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) or hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland), such as Grave’s Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
It’s vital and crucial to get your thyroid blood tests, especially your Free T3, Free T4 and TSH; and your thyroid antibodies-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibody (TGAb)-.
After my lab results came and I saw my hormone levels were completely off I remember crying so much. I got scared because I new my life was going to change completely. I was forced to deal with an unknown situation. But as the years passed, and I accepted my reality, I started to put things together. There was a reason for me not feeling completely healthy before, or why I slept all day long and never felt rested. I remember once, maybe three years before my diagnosis, that I told my family that I felt little lumps in my neck and that I thought it was my thyroid. But they dismissed my concerns and told me it was probably my bony trachea.
The first three years of my disease, I took a conventional approach to treatment. I went to the first Endocrinologist, who prescribed 100mcg of Synthroid. No lifestyle or dietary changes. Just a synthetic hormone replacement. And I felt terrible. My body ached, my hair was falling out, my skin got dry, I was exhausted all the time and my body was puffy. I cried all the time because I wasn’t feeling any better after months of treatment. I took new lab tests and SURPRISE! my hormone levels were completely worse than the first time.
By the time I went to see the third Endocrinologist, and had received the same conventional treatment of synthetic hormone, I’d lost all hope. I went into a severe state of depression and had to seek therapy. I wasn’t getting any better. My condition only seemed to get worse and the doctors couldn’t seem to find a solution or any way to get me healthy again.
So, I went online and decide to seek any information that could help me get better. I came across Dr. Izabella Wentz, who wrote the book Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. After reading it I got a new understanding of my situation and all the things I could do to get better. It also gave me hope that Dr. Izabella went through the same thing and she understood my situation as well. I knew the advice she gave was real because she had been in the same place as I. After a couple of years battling Hashimoto’s, I started implementing some changes to my diet and lifestyle as well as incorporating supplements. I haven’t healed completely but I’m in the road to recovery. I have some good days and some bad days as well. But I’m doing the best I can to get better. I’m constantly educating myself on the disease and trying to live a clean, natural and relaxing lifestyle.
It’s important to listen to your body. If you start to see changes like extreme tiredness, body aches, skin problems, depression, anxiety, and weight gain, get your thyroid blood tests. Sometimes you’ll need to get a thyroid scan to determine if you have any nodules. Also, it’s a good thing to check your other hormones as well (Cortisol, Insulin, Leptin, Estrogen, Testosterone) since an imbalance in thyroid hormone can also impact these as well.
Thyroid diseases cannot be cured by diet alone, but the right combination of exercise, nutrients and medication can help manage the functioning of the thyroid gland and alleviate the suffering.
If you have an autoimmune thyroid condition:
Avoid gluten, soy, dairy, sugar and processed foods.
Don’t use chemicals to clean your house, do laundry, or wash dishes.
Address your nutrient, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Treat any form of emotional stress.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Drink plenty of water.
Get proper medication and dosage.
Get regular check-ups (blood tests, thyroid scans).
Resources to learn more about the thyroid and Hashimoto's
I hope this post can shed some light on a very important organ like the thyroid. There are many diseases that can affect the thyroid gland causing it to make either too much or too little of the hormones. We seem to be facing an epidemy of thyroid diseases in recent years. That’s why I urge you guys to get tested, educate yourselves and live a clean, natural and relaxed lifestyle. Please share this post so we can spread awareness regarding thyroid health. Thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. This post is just me sharing my personal journey while dealing with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The information shared in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.