Let’s be honest, writing or talking about health issues is not a fun topic most of us choose to focus on in our day to day life. Most of us don’t enjoy talking about our ailments, but conversation, support & education are necessary in order to heal.
My symptoms had been present for years, but because I “looked” healthy doctors were never able to properly diagnose me, nor was I ever tested for a thyroid condition. It took symptoms of 12+ hour days of sleeping, joint pain, foggy brain, forgetfulness, anxiety and several other symptoms for me to finally push doctors for more testing. I felt like I was falling apart!
My husband and I wanted to start a family, so I knew I had to get well before there was a chance I could have a healthy pregnancy or even take care of another human!
Talking to an OB/GYN & therapist finally routed me to a lab for the right tests & diagnosis that explained my chronic symptoms. I had never heard of hypothyroidism or Hashimotos and I consider myself pretty medically savvy. How did I miss this?!?
After reading the stats below you will understand exactly how I missed this and why I am sharing my story to raise awareness.
The National Institute of Health Estimates that as many as 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease and the number is rising. What’s scary is the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimates that number to be 50 million! This is due to the fact that the NIH only looks at 24 autoimmune diseases instead of the 80-100 researchers have identified and Americans are suffering from.
Hashimotos is the autoimmune disease that causes most cases of hypothyroidism. All of the endocrinologists I have seen continue to tell me there is nothing I can do for my autoimmune disease. Their solution is a thyroid pill I take daily and adjust to life with my symptoms. Stellar medical advice, right?!?
Those answers never sat well with me, so I have spent the last four years researching and educating myself on both Hashimotos and hypothyroidism. The statistics I have found, to put it bluntly, are depressing.
According to the American Thyroid Association, “An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease”. Up to 60% of those people are unaware they have a thyroid disease & women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. This one is the kicker…one in eight women will develop a thyroid disease in their lifetime! That is the same stat as breast cancer!
Seriously, with statistics like these why are doctors not testing patients’ thyroid levels (not just TSH) routinely?!? What is it about our diet, lifestyle and environment that is messing with endocrine system?!?
I have always been the type of person to be my own health advocate after a missed melanoma diagnosis when I was 22. Thankfully I went with my gut & had that mole removed, but my faith in doctors has never been strong ever since that day I was told, “Don’t worry about it” by the attending dermatology physician. Really? What would have happened to me if I “didn’t worry about it”?!
Fast forward to 2015 and I can honestly say I have never been 100% despite a “proper” diagnosis and taking my pill daily like the endocrinologists tell me. What gives? Why isn’t my answer in the pill they say fixes everything?
I know better than that, but sarcasm is what gets me through dealing with arrogant, a-hole doctors who have all the answers, yet I am still sick. Oh & other alternative remedies are hogwash according to most Western med docs and because they still don’t have an answer you are pretty much SOL. 😉 Not really, but this brings me back to why you must be your own advocate!
Are you wondering why after so many years of knowing the answer isn’t with Western medicine and learning the alternatives, why am I still sick? Well, because frankly I have always been able to “manage” and a huge lifestyle change just wasn’t something I was ready to commit to four years ago or even four months ago. I am a total foodie, love being out and about and have a super active toddler. Those three things don’t mesh well with a detox or major lifestyle change.
My view changed last August when my husband and I found out the exciting news we were expecting. Sadly, that short period of joy was taken away when I miscarried. We were both tremendously heartbroken, but knew it just wasn’t meant to be. What I did know at that moment was that I could no longer “manage” and had to find another way to heal not only my thyroid/autoimmune issues, but my body as a whole.
My quest for real answers led me back to my gut both literally and figuratively. I knew that to heal my autoimmune and thyroid issues I would have to address the root cause. That root cause just happened to be my gut, well, my leaky gut to be exact.
A couple years back, I read an amazing book by Dr. Izabella Wentz. Her Hashimotos story was something I could relate to and she was able to heal herself by finding her root cause. I knew exactly what I had to do, but the problem was I just did not want to commit to what it took to actually do that because, honestly, I was still “managing”.
Well, the last few months I am no longer “managing” and I am committed to getting well…completely! I will be following a treatment plan designed specifically to treat and heal a leaky gut. It is going to be a challenging month of detoxing, changing the way I eat, exercising, minimizing stress and consistently taking supplements my body needs to heal.
My focus is now on what can heal me and back to being my own advocate. There is a place for Western medicine, but with the statistics I listed above there is just no denying they don’t have it figured out.
Thyroid and autoimmune suffers are healing themselves with the help of doctors who choose to practice with alternatives that are healing people. Dr. Wentz, who I mentioned above has managed to put her Hashimotos into remission. She’s now helped thousands do the same!
Today, November 1st, I will start my treatment plan and blog about my progress weekly. I’m sure there will be reasons to celebrate and reasons to cry, but I will share my journey with you, unedited.
Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or your story. It’s a journey many of us feel we are on alone, but the more we share, heal and raise awareness the better the chances others will not have to suffer alone.
Sending Health & Wellness
P.S. Stay tuned for a post on how socially isolating a detox or lifestyle change can be! That’s another reason I have put this off, but I am determined to find ways to be social when you are restricted from so much.