Image Courtesy of sxc.hu and BA1969 (immune system added)
It’s been a couple weeks, but I wanted to give you an update of what’s going on in my life.
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So, we are slowly getting all of the tests done that I need. We have the bulk of the lab work done and back. The last thing I need to do is get the adrenal test completed and mailed back. That’s all on me since I’m doing the saliva test (which sounds ridiculously complicated as I read and re-read the instructions). I plan on doing that test on Monday, so I can stick it in the mail on Tuesday.
As I expected, I have Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease. We got that blood work back and my antibodies are off the charts. I don’t know why my gut told me that’s what I should expect, but I did. Does it sound weird that I was almost excited to see that diagnosis? Finally, I can put a name to what’s wrong with me. And, I can better understand what I need to do moving forward.
According to the Stop the Thyroid Madness website, which is an amazingly awesome resource if you are suffering from any sort of thyroid disorder, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is:
an autoimmune thyroid disease based on a dysfunctional immune system in which your thyroid is being attacked by your immune system via antibodies, attempting to destroy your gland as if it’s some vile enemy. It may start out silently, but the attack will eventually cause an inflammation and gradual destruction of your thyroid gland and can go on for years with miserable side effects to match. It can also cause nodules or lumps. It may be the most common thyroid disease, especially with women. Gut problems can go along with Hashimotos disease, and should be addressed.
They hit the nail on the head with that last sentence. Gut problems should be addressed.
Because this is an autoimmune disease, that means that my immune system is out of whack, which also means that my gut health is out of whack. Since true health begins in the gut, that is one of the first lines of defense when it comes to treating Hashimoto’s, or any autoimmune disease, for that matter.
Working on the Gut
Thankfully, I am already off to a good start on this gut healing journey, since I started on the Blood Sugar Control Challenge with my Nutritional Therapist, Lydia from Divine Health, back on August 1st. Making the necessary changes to my diet in order to treat Hashimoto’s wasn’t any problem, because I had already done pretty much everything I needed to do! On August 1st, I eliminated:
- Gluten (gluten is directly tied to Hashimoto’s)
- Dairy (dairy is often tied directly to Hashimoto’s if there is a casein allergy)
And, I started eating a lower-carb diet.
Oh no! There’s that dreaded word again. Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t start in on an anti-low carb tirade on me, OK? Please? Thanks!
I feel better when I’m low-carb. And, this is nothing new to me. I have known this for many years, but honestly, I was not diligent enough to stick with it — I do love my baked goodies and sweets. Well now, I don’t have a choice. I am eating lots of healthy meats, fats, and vegetables. I get my carbs from my veggies, my fermented drinks (like water kefir and kombucha), this awesome coconut bread, some soaked nuts and seeds, lots of coconut milk, and the occasional bowl of berries topped with tons of coconut oil and coconut milk. That is a decadent treat in my book!
But, I’m digressing, as I have a tendency to do.
Now that we know what’s wrong with me — autoimmune disease — we can now figure out a plan to rebuild my immune system and get things under control. I am working with a team of professionals and I feel pretty damn lucky. I’ve got an MD who I can see and get lab work done and he can get most of it covered by insurance. He is mainly focused on blood sugar and weight loss. I don’t feel like I can get much thyroid and adrenal support from him, which is why I have also started working with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who specializes in thyroid disorders. In addition to those two doctors, I am working with my amazing Nutritional Therapist, Lydia. Between the three of them, I am feeling like I’m in good hands. Plus, I am doing SOOOOOOOO much independent research, it’s not even funny.
I have to do this little shout-out here. I have this amazing, amazing, AMAZING local friend, Lori, who is consistently helping me. She is such a wealth of knowledge. Do you ever feel like people are brought into your life at a specific time for a specific reason? Well, that is how I feel about Lori. She is probably one of the main reasons that I am finally getting the confidence to deal with all of this. In reality, I haven’t know Lori very long — only since late Spring of this year. But, in all honesty, I feel like I’ve known her for years. I seriously would not be in the place I am right now without her inspiring me. And I hope she reads this so that she can see just how much I appreciate, and rely on, our friendship. ♥
And, there I go again … digressing.
In regards to how we’re treating my recent diagnosis, these are the things we’re working on now. These are our first steps, so to speak:
- We’ve eliminated the most common allergens (gluten, dairy, legumes, grains).
- We’re working on aiding digestion, by adding regular bone broth and gelatin, fermented vegetables and beverages, as well as some hydochloric acid. Read this great post on hydrochloric acid from Divine Health.
- We’ve upped my coconut oil intake from 4-6 tbsp. per day to a whopping 8-12 tbsp. per day! Whew! That’s a lot of coconut oil! Coconut oil is great for thyroid health, metabolism, and a host of other things.
- I’m working on getting enough quality sleep — in bed by 10pm at the latest. I’m striving for 9pm to 9:30pm most nights.
- I’m making sure to get regular exercise in, which in my case is walking, yoga, and body weight strength training. Nothing crazy and strenuous, considering that could burn my adrenals out even more.
- I’ll be starting on a new high-quality multi-vitamin, recommended by Lydia in this post, for some overall wellness support.
- Managing my blood sugar. Remember how I spoke about blood sugar a couple weeks ago? Remember how I told you that according to that glucose tolerance test that the MD made me do, I was Type II diabetic? Well, I have a blood glucose monitor that I have been using for the last week at home. I’ve been taking my readings when I wake up (fasting), 15 minutes before breakfast, 2 hours after breakfast, 15 minutes before lunch, 2 hours after lunch, 15 minutes before dinner, and 2 hours after dinner. My readings are all in the normal range. So, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. And, it proves that the glucose tolerance tests are not a good gauge of someone’s blood sugar health. Lydia told me that from the very start of all of this, long before I had the test done.
The one thing I still need to work on is setting aside more time for me. I really need to assess all the things I need to do each week and stay focused so that I can reduce stress, as well as reduce the amount of time I am in front of the computer. Focus is often hard for me, because I suffer from brain fog. That is one symptom that I really notice about the thyroid issue. I need to find more time for me to disconnect, relax, meditate, and all those other wonderful things that happen when we’re not tied to our computers! If someone wants to book me a trip here, that would be rad. —>
Also, once we get the results back from my adrenal test, we can better figure out how we need to best support my adrenals and thyroid. I’ll discuss that stuff in a separate post.
There is SO much more that I want to write, but this post is already way longer than I expected and I’m tired! I’m going to wrap things up here, but I want to hear from you. Do you have Hashimoto’s? How are you treating it? I love hearing your stories and experiences and there is always something new for me to learn from you, so please share below (if you’re comfortable of course).
Want to read about my journey so far? Check out these posts:
Let’s Get Personal: Simplyfying Life, Facing Adrenal Fatigue, and Taking a Stand for My Thyroid
Let’s Get Personal: Why Start Now?
Let’s Get Personal: Getting My Ducks in a Row
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