Read about my own personal experience with thyroid disease and how lifestyle medicine transformed my health.
Having thyroid disease does not mean you should give up on living the most vibrant and fullest life of your dreams.
My experience with thyroid disease is quite different to many Hashimoto’s patients in that I was diagnosed as a child - I was around 10 years old. I believe that I kept getting recurrent throat infections and had a virus that wouldn’t budge. First doctors thought it was glandular fever but then my thyroid labs came back off the charts. I do remember always feeling tired and cold as a child, but just thought this was normal. I know I hated walking anywhere and I still wanted to get in the push-chair at 4 years old! Once diagnosed with ‘hypothyroidism’ I was given a small pill to take every day for the rest of my life. I was told that that was it. That was the treatment. That everything would be fine. Just a pill a day and that will solve it. Nothing at all to be concerned about or to look out for. No warning about the autoimmune component and that if left, will get progressively worse - or the fact that this may affect my fertility when I’m older. Just that the pills can cause some unpleasant symptoms, but if you get them then that’s a normal side-effect and ‘nothing to worry about’. And that was it.
Years and years of worsening and debilitating symptoms followed. Despite going to my doctor about these, I was told it was ‘nothing to do with the thyroid issue’ and that was it. I was continuously told my thyroid lab results were ‘within range’ and ‘normal’. But I didn’t FEEL normal. Over the years I experienced IBS, silent reflux (LPR), multiple food sensitivities and allergies, the feeling of a lump in my throat, crippling fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, headaches, hypotension, heart palpitations, weight loss, weight gain, itchy rashes and spots on my skin, recurrent mouth ulcers, recurrent UTIs, irregular periods, depression, anxiety, joint stiffness, aching limbs and hair loss, amongst others.
However, I was being told time and time again that what I was experiencing in my body wasn’t true. I began to doubt myself. I stopped going to the doctors about symptoms. I began to think maybe it all really was just ‘all in my head’…
‘Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.’
- J.K. Rowling
At the age of 26, the number of food sensitivities and allergies came to an all-time high. Everything made my throat swell and I was choking on every meal. It’s almost as if my body had been screaming at me for all those years and I had not been able to listen to it as no doctor or person would ever listen to or validate me. So I numbed out the screaming voice. I distracted myself from the symptoms and numbed myself with alcohol and sugary, floury food. But doing so had made my gut health worse. When my body wouldn't accept food, it really was saying ‘no’. I no longer had a choice. I couldn't ignore it any more. It was at this point when I hit my ‘rock-bottom’.
I had to make a choice - give up altogether or to look for an alternative option. It was through researching alternative options that I came across Dr Izabella Wentz’s book ‘Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause’ and it changed my life. Upon reading the book I realised that the tiny pill I had been taking everyday was NOT solving the autoimmune attack. I didn’t even realise I had an autoimmune disease - I was only told I had ‘hypothyroidism’!
I followed Wentz’s guidance and made dietary and lifestyle changes that completely transformed my health. From healing gut infections and cleaning up my diet to minimising toxins and implementing self-care practices to improve my mental health - I was addressing the root causes and one-by-one my symptoms lessened and even started to completely disappear! For the first time in my life I had VITALITY - I had ENERGY. I didn’t actually realise how sick I was until I began to feel better. I could now walk without feeling like I was wading through thick mud. The grey dark cloud that had been hanging over me for as long as I could remember LIFTED AWAY. I had clarity for the first time. It was magnificent.
Now witnessing the power that we have over our health by making lifestyle changes - I am motivated to spread the word and to help others. I am so passionate about getting this message out to all thyroid patients and I feel so strongly that no one should be suffering with thyroid disease. No one should think that there is no other way out. There is a way out - a way to better heath - and it is totally possible to do. I’m not saying its going to be easy, and it will most likely take time. But it is SO worth it when your symptoms start lessening or disappearing and antibodies start to go down! You have a right to live the most vibrant and fullest life of your dreams. Traditional medicine alone is not enough.
I started this blog to share as much knowledge as I can about holistic health and thyroid disease. I talk about ways to help you heal naturally from a mind-body-spirit perspective. I believe that we can only truly heal once we address and balance all three of these areas. We can’t just focus on the physical and then ignore the mind or even our spirit. They are all connected, and they work together as a system. I hope that this blog can inspire you - even just a little, to feel empowered about your health and give you hope that it is possible to heal from thyroid disease.