This is what the last year and a half of my life has been like and what 22 years of misdiagnosed symptoms has led to. And 5 weeks ago, I was able to name the culprit that has been stealing my life, trapping me inside my own body, making me feel defeated and sending me into hiding. I’d like you to meet Hashimoto’s Disease.
In short, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the thyroid. It is often diagnostically undetected until the later stages of the disease once the thyroid has been damaged. However, a person can suffer a myriad of symptoms for DECADES without their thyroid levels going out of normal range. This is because the body is working so hard to keep thyroid hormone levels normal that other functions are essentially taxed and/or neglected.
For me, things really came to a head summer 2016. I noticed that I was exhausted all the time, no matter how much I slept, I couldn’t focus and my mind was constantly cloudy, I had mood issues that included anxiety, depression and irritability. I didn’t see any life in my face anymore and started to hate taking pictures. I had a lot of joint pain and my hands and feet were often swollen. My hair was falling out, literally entire sections of locs were just coming out. (I actually found another bag since filming that video so the total is approximately 200.)
And the one that had me and those closest to me truly baffled was the weight gain. Despite my clean diet and 6-day-a-week workouts, I started gaining weight. At first it was a few pounds so I thought maybe I’d had a few more cheats than normal so I cut them all out and the weight just kept coming. I was gaining 2-5 lbs a week, every week. For months I tried everything in my fitness and nutrition arsenal to get the weight off but I honestly would have settled for just stabilized. Each time I’d make a change I’d lose a couple of pounds at first and then they’d come back, sometimes bringing friends. After all of that, some unhelpful trips to the doctor and useless blood work (I’ll talk to you more about all of that another time), I honestly felt completely defeated.
Here I am, a fitness and nutrition coach who suddenly had an unexplained weight problem. Talk about being bad for business! And aside from that, the fatigue and brain fog were so bad that I felt completely unproductive in many areas of my life and my normally calm and even temperament had been replaced with anxiety and mood swings. I truly felt like a prisoner in my own body. And I have one of the most amazing support systems in the world, but still felt very alone. So, I retreated into myself.
Good news though. I can treat this homeopathically, which is my preference. And no, there is no conventional medicine alternative, for those who may think I’m anti-medicine. The truth is that conventional medicine’s solution to Hashimoto’s is to prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone to replace what your thyroid can’t. The dosage is increased as the damage becomes more severe and eventually the thyroid gets so damaged it has to be removed or no longer produces any hormone and your dosage is increased once again. That doesn’t address any of the symptoms that you may suffer NOR does it do anything to answer one really good question. Why did my body start attacking itself?
So, I’ve been treating myself since I named my villain 5 weeks ago, with the help of Dr. Izabella Wentz and her online resources and books. Hashimoto’s Protocol has become my healing Bible and I highly recommend it. I’ll talk about how I’ve been treating it much more in the coming weeks and months as I learn more and continue to heal, but just briefly, I have removed gluten, soy, dairy, sugar and caffeine from my diet as well as doing a liver cleanse that I’ll complete in a couple of days as well as some supplementation. Also, I simply don’t have the capacity to do as much and I need to allow my body some time and rest to heal, so I’ve had to find my “no”. Honestly it’s my new favorite word.
I will say that I have already lost 7.5 lbs, 3.2% body fat (and they’re continuing to trend downward), I have more energy (still not awesome, but improved), less brain fog, the glow has returned to my face, my joints don’t hurt like they did, and my hands and feet have returned to their normal size 😊. I’d love to take you on this journey with me so if you’re up for the trip, you can follow my new YouTube channel Conquering Hashimoto’s or hashtag #conqueringHashimotos for all of my updates. Thanks everyone for your support and I’ll talk to you soon.