Hi all! It’s fall and it’s my favorite time of the year. The weather turns cool and crisp. The leaves start changing colors. The gorgeous Rocky Mountains start getting some snow on them. Love, love, love Fall in Colorado! This is the time of year that makes me feel re-energized. I try to take advantage of the weather and take as many walks as possible, before the snow starts flying!
It is also a great time for reflection, at least for me. It has been awhile, so I thought it was time for me to post an update. I have been meaning to do updates every two weeks, but things have been hectic and I have been tired! If you want to read about my healing journey thus far, check out these posts:
- Let’s Get Personal: Simplifying 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
- Let’s Get Personal: Blood Sugar Control is Vital and How Lowering Your Carbs Can Boost Fertility
- Let’s Get Personal: Hashimoto’s Disease and Dealing With a Broken Immune System
What’s Been Going On In My Life?
As many of you know, I have been working with my Nutritional Therapist, Lydia from Divine Health, for a little over two months now. I contacted her back in July, because I wanted to start addressing some health problems that I have been having. Towards the middle of this summer, I was finally confident enough and in a place in my life where I could face them head on (though, it has been far from easy at times). I have gotten to know Lydia through the blogging network that we are both part of – the Nourished Living Network – and was confident in her skills and knowledge to help me.
In this post, I want to discuss a little bit about where I’ve been and where I’m going, as well as show you how Lydia has helped me and give a little public shout out to her for all of her hard work and help.
A Little About Me
A little refresher about me. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 6 years ago and was put on the regular T4 prescription that almost all other hypothyroid patients are put on. For the first few years, I felt OK. I never really had a lot of symptoms of low thyroid (that I noticed), it was just that my TSH was not “normal”. However, this year, it hit me pretty hard that women with thyroid issues have a much harder time conceiving than other women. My husband and I hope to start a family in the next few years and that was motivation for me to finally stop living in denial and start addressing the issues. I had never had any advanced tests run, other than your standard tests that you get with your annual physical each year. So, I honestly had no idea what was going on with my body. All I knew is that I had a thyroid problem and that I was having more of the symptoms of low thyroid – brain fog, mood swings, hair loss, fatigue, etc.
In August, I finally got the courage and went to my doctor for my annual physical. I had them run all of the thyroid tests that Lydia and I had discussed, which included thyroid antibody tests. The tests that we ran were:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase AB (antibodies)
- Thyroglobulin AB (antibodies)
- Vitamin D levels
There were a few tests that my doctor refused to do, but I can always get those done on my own. The one that he didn’t run that I would like to run at some point is my iron labs (Ferritin, % Saturation, TIBC and serum iron), as my Naturopath thinks that I might be high iron. My MD poo-pooed the adrenal tests, so I did have to do that one on my own. Everyone had their own opinion of what the most important labs are to run, but this gives us a great starting point and keeps the costs manageable.
My TSH is not as high as it has been in the past, but it still needs to be lower. My reverse T3 is very high, while my Free T3 is very low. My Free T4 was smack dab in the the middle of their “normal” range. My vitamin D levels were also in the middle of their range. And, the thyroid antibody results were off the charts. With that, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease. I was not really surprised with this diagnosis. I was however overwhelmed with the amount of information out there about how to treat it. At that moment, I was very happy to have someone who could help guide me.
Taking the First Healing Steps
As Lydia educated me about the workings of an autoimmune disease, the thyroid, etc., I began learning that because the thyroid is so complex, there is always going to be adrenal and pituitary issues that go along with the thyroid issues. We did the saliva cortisol test and did see that there are some adrenal issues that need to be addressed as well. My morning cortisol levels are very, very high. My noon reading is slightly depressed, and my afternoon and evening readings are normal. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but there are some areas that need work, primarily that morning reading. Your adrenals are so important to thyroid health, that this really is the next step in my healing journey. One of the first things we did was introduce a high-quality Vitamin C to my supplementation, because Vitamin C is one of the most important adrenal nutrients.
The first thing that we did was eliminated all possible allergens: gluten, grains, dairy, and legumes. Any time there is an autoimmune disease, you want to eliminate allergens that are known to create inflammation and overall body upset.
At the same time, we eliminated all sugar (even non-sugars like stevia and xylitol), in order to really get my blood sugar stable. Blood sugar issues often go hand-in-hand with adrenal and thyroid issues. Also, your blood sugar is the 2nd most tightly regulated system in the body, so if it’s out of whack, then everything else is out of whack.
Next, we started adding in carefully selected supplements. I don’t like taking lots of supplements, but when you are treating specific issues, there is no way around it. We are gradually adding specific supplements in, so that we don’t overwhelm my system.
The thing that I appreciate most about Lydia is her very systematic approach to illness. She sees the body as a whole, yet at the same time, she sees that there are many separate systems of the body that must be running smoothly in order for the whole body to be healthy. One of the most important things that I have learned from her is that you must, must, must fix the foundation, before you can ever fix a specific illness. I went to her wanting to heal my Hashimoto’s disease and have since realized that in order to do that, we need to fix a lot of other areas of my body that are out of whack. I had no idea how tightly things were connected! Like I said, her approach is systematic, so she identified the places that we needed to start, and has been working on helping me fix and strengthen my foundation. She knows that the ultimate goal is to get my thyroid issues addressed, but she also knows that in order to do that, we have to start at the bottom and work our way up. These are things that I never knew, so if it were not for her guidance, I would be floundering out in the wide open ocean, all alone!
So, Where Are We Now?
I am a long way from optimum health, but I am closer now than I was this time last year. And, I am certain that this same time next year, I will be looking back in amazement of how far I’ve come. The last couple months have not been easy. Nothing about this has been easy. I have been inundated with information — lots of which is conflicting because it comes from a wide array of sources. While I appreciate that I have Google, friends, and family who share information with me, I have to admit, it’s overwhelming, because everyone has their own opinion. I have been becoming more in-tune with my body and more aware of my symptoms. Mentally and emotionally, all of this has taken a toll too (more on that below).
The phrase that I keep reminding myself is “Let go and let Lydia“. Seems silly, but if you knew me, you would understand why I have to repeat that to myself. I am rather high-strung. Partially by personality, and partially (I think) due to my adrenal and thyroid issues. I am the type of person who feels that they have to be in control of every little thing in my life, and when things happen beyond my control, I don’t handle it very well. I am one who feels like I need to have all of the answers right now. But, when things like this come along, you realize that you are not, and cannot, be completely in control of everything. You have to learn to let go and just make the best decisions you can each day. It’s also important to let people help you, which is also not an easy thing for me!
Healing the body is a slow process and there is no magical pill to fix it all, much to my disappointment. I have always been an overachiever, so even when it comes to my health, I continuously feel like I could be doing more. Whenever I go to Lydia about all the things that I feel like I should be doing, Lydia assures me that we are already being rather aggressive in my treatment, and encourages me to take comfort in that fact. Doing too much, too fast can set you up for failure in the long-term. In just the last two months, we have made some very drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle and I am learning to be OK with where I am at this moment.
Recently, Lydia told me that she feels like we need to spend some time on my emotional and mental healing that it sunk in. Healing the body can be stressful and overwhelming and scary. It can wreak havoc on your mind (if you let it, which I do) and there really is a good deal of emotional healing that must go along with the physical healing. Our body is so complex, it’s amazing any of us function at all. In my case, I have some personal (mental) roadblocks that need to be addressed before much more healing can take place. And, you know what? Lydia understands this and is helping me identify tools that will help me work through those issues, because she knows how vital the mental healing is to the healing of the body. Again, this is something that I would not have known, if it wasn’t for her insight!
Since starting work with Lydia, I have seen noticeable improvements in my health. I have started to lose weight, which I never in a million years felt that I would. From my heaviest point about two years ago, I am down 30 pounds. In the last couple months, I have lost around 15 pounds. The nice thing about this is that the weight has come off without me trying. I believe that it has happened because I have eliminated allergens (which can inhibit your body from losing weight), I have upped my coconut oil intake (I’m writing a more detailed post on that), and I have started taking some very high-quality supplements that seem to be giving me vital nutrients that I was missing.
I have also noticed improvement in my energy levels and my focus (granted, I have my good days and my bad days, but that’s to be expected). I have noticed improvements in my gut health (helped by an increase in probiotic foods, elimination of allergens, and supplementing hydrochloric acid). We are still at the very beginning of my healing journey, so I know that there are many more improvements to come. I just have to be patient and have faith that my body is healing. There’s a lot going on inside of me that I can’t see or feel, but I know that I am finally on the right track and that I will achieve optimum wellness and my health goals.
Lydia is kind, gentle, and systematic. She is my cheerleader. She is my support. She is my friend. If I did not have her and her expertise, I would not be in the place I am today. As a matter of fact, I might still be avoiding my health issues, just hoping they’d go away. Choosing to face whatever health problems we might have is scary. But, it’s a lot less scary when you have someone to guide you and support you through it.
I cannot speak more highly of my experience of working with Lydia. I also cannot speak more strongly about the need for you to contact her. If you are facing any sort of health issue and are feeling alone and overwhelmed, then you owe it to yourself to at least speak with her once. Sure, we all can research stuff on Google, but how far does that really get us? If you’re like me, it gets confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming. Why not save that energy and let Lydia, who has professional training and an education in this arena, help us? Let go and let Lydia. Come on, say it with me.
If you are interested in taking charge of your health and you want to learn more about how Lydia can help you, I encourage you to contact her to learn more about how her skills can help you achieve total wellness. She is able to help clients with a wide variety of health issues and will tailor a wellness plan that is specific to your needs. Learn more about her Nutritional Wellness Coaching here.