It’s been a year since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. It’s been a tough year; filled with educating myself, lots of trial and error, and tons of reading whatever I could get my hands on. I’ve struggled with the emotional effects of the diagnosis, being so tired I could hardly get out of bed, not being able to remember my own name some days, the drastic diet changes, and the seemingly endless weight gain and bloating. And you know what? I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
So as I mentioned previously, before I left Nashville I had my last appointment with my functional medicine practitioner there. (She’s awesome, BTW, if you’re in the Nashville are and looking for someone to help!) We had my bloodwork drawn up, and my saliva hormone test done. We do both of those every six months, which helps me to have a good amount of time to make some new lifestyle changes and have them take effect. For instance, every time I eat gluten, it can take at least six full months for the body to heal from the damage done from the gluten. (So, if you’re not on a 100% gluten free diet, then you’re not giving your body the chance to heal from an autoimmune disease.) By having my bloodwork done every six months, it gives me a chance to see the smaller changes build up, and how my body is slowly healing itself.
And it is! My labs showed that my thyroid levels are normal. And y’all, not even normal, but they are in the optimal range! (If you see any natural doctor, you are probably aware of the difference between the normal ‘clinical’ range and the ‘optimal’ range.) My metabolic functions are normal again, my adrenal fatigue is healing and my adrenal glands are producing cortisol again, and the best part is– my thyroid antibodies are one point away from my Hashimoto’s being in remission. ONE POINT!! I seriously started crying when she told me all of my lab results. How amazing is it that God created our bodies to heal themselves if we provide the right tools for them to do so?
Autoimmune Diseases can be healed!
So here are the specific things that I have been doing to facilitate my own healing:
- I follow the Paleo diet (when I’m not giving AIP a shot, you can read about my Autoimmune Paleo journey here, here and here). I’ll outline the paleo details below.
- I completely avoid gluten, as well as rice, almonds, cashews, & hazelnuts because of my allergies to them. I also avoid peanuts (because they’re a legume, they have loads of pesticides sprayed on them, and also because they generally have a lot of toxic mold on them). If I want a substitute for peanut butter, I get this sunflower seed butter. YUM! 🙂 I rarely eat other grains, such as oats.
- I avoid dairy as much as possible. I have cheese occasionally. I drink coconut milk in my protein shakes, since I can’t have almond milk. And yes, I have protein shakes for breakfast quite often. This is the organic, plant-based protein powder I buy.
- I avoid corn most of the time. It’s a grain, not a vegetable, and I’ve found that it seriously bloats me.
- I try to eat vegetables with every meal, though sometimes that’s only throwing some organic spinach in the blender with my protein shake. 😉
- I try to take an exercise class or do something fairly active 2-3 times per week. I don’t do more than that because too much exercise (or too much intensity) is actually counterproductive to healing adrenal malfunction. If you feel totally wiped out after exercise, you’ve done too much.
- I try to get to bed early (my goal is 9, but realistically I’m usually in bed by 10), so I can get at least a solid 8 hours before the kids are up in the morning.
- I use essential oils. Specifically, I use frankincense, lemongrass, and endoflex on my thyroid daily. I also use many others depending on how I’m feeling and what I may be needing.
- I take supplements to support my body in it’s healing. The supplements may vary for you, but I take digestive enzymes, ashwagandha, holy basil leaf, turmeric, adrenal glandular, vitamin b12, buffered vitamin C, DHEA, selenium, omega 3, GABA, magnesium, and vitamin D. I take various doses throughout the day, but someone who is a great resource in many of these supplements is Dr. Izabella Wentz, the Thyroid Pharmacist.
Now obviously, this doesn’t mean I can stop all of the work I’m doing. Not by a long shot. If I want to keep healing, it means that I have to keep going. Working hard, making the right decisions, and continue educating myself. With autoimmune thyroid disease, I will always be gluten free. I will need to be vigilant about staying away from soy (which is known to cause problems with the thyroid), and I will need to continue to make the best choices I can when it comes to what food I am fueling my body with. It’s always possible that my Hashimoto’s will get worse, that I’ll get new or worse symptoms, or even develop a new autoimmune disease (since once you have one then it’s more likely you’ll develop more). But this is where I am right now. And I’m so happy to finally start seeing all of my work paying off. The diet changes, the supplements, the medical bills, the lab work… Reading articles upon articles for hours, trying to connect the dots. It’s starting to pay off!
One additional thing- if you’ve been dealing with an autoimmune disease or any illness for a while and you’re getting frustrated, please don’t give up! Don’t let this post be discouraging, there are so many factors involved with our individual bodies. My antibodies weren’t that high when we discovered my Hashimoto’s, so it’s likely that it was new to me. That gives me a huge advantage in the healing process over someone who lived with it for 10 years before being diagnosed. I know this, and I’m not pretending to know the secret to healing your body in one year. I am writing this to be encouraging to you, and to let you know that given the right circumstances, the right decisions, and the right amount of time for you, then your body can heal itself. We don’t all have the same circumstances, decisions, and amount of time. Our bodies all work differently. You can’t compare the results of your journey to mine, because we didn’t start at the same time and make every same decision. But it is possible 🙂 And possibility (and a bit of determination) is all it takes for miraculous things to happen!
Have you had to go through a healing journey? How long did it take before you started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?
I am not a doctor and this information should not be considered medical advice. You should seek the advice of your own medical professional for your own situation.