My Life Was Out Of Control
Right around the age of 20 my life came to a screeching halt with symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and pretty much stayed that way for the next 18 years. I was under treatment for hypothyroidism but never felt any better. My TSH was always off no matter how much my doctors adjusted the medication. Anxiety, depression, paranoia. There was a time in my life I would hide under the windows and peer out between the blinds if someone turned around in my drive way.
I ballooned from 140 lbs to 230 lbs over the course of 2 years and spent the next 10 putting on and taking off the same 30. I felt exhausted and defeated, my self esteem and self worth were at an all time low and I binge ate, crash dieted and partied to cope. I watched all my friends following their professional dreams, buying houses and growing up and I was still living and acting the same as we did in college… at 36. I didn’t know that anxiety, brain fog, weight gain, or the inability to see anything through to completion was caused by an autoimmune condition. I thought they were character flaws, which affected my self worth. It affected what I accepted and how I let others treat me.… you get where I’m going with this. I stayed in relationships that weren’t serving me, a career I didn’t want, and in friendships built on drinking instead of support. Basically, a total failure to thrive.
If all of that wasn't enough in 2018 I noticed my eyes were getting really red, itchy and puffy, and one of them was starting to get a little crazy looking in pictures. I thought it was just allergies, but I had recently moved and healthcare wasn’t my top priority. Hey, I had my Levothyroxine script, everything was fine, right? When I finally did get to a doctor, they took one look at me and sent me to an eye specialist. I was diagnosed with thyroid eye disease and it seemed like the second I got the diagnosis it just started getting worse. Retracted eye lids, bulging eyes, strabismus, almost daily migraines and glaucoma level pressure on top of all the other hypothyroid symptoms. Despite this my doctors told me two things: 1. I wasn’t experiencing the pain that I was claiming to experience (What?), and 2. I didn’t have an autoimmune condition. My GP actually laughed in my face when I asked if I could possible have Hashimoto’s.
If you’re interested, I’ve attached a video I made before I started training as a wellness coach talking about my experience with Thyroid Eye Disease.
That was my turning point.
I realized I was never going to get the help I needed from these doctors if my pain or health concerns were discounted and laughed at. I sought out a local nurse practitioner who specialized in thyroid and autoimmune issues and scheduled an appointment. For the first time in 18 years a doctor ordered a full thyroid panel and it was clear that I wasn’t converting T4 to T3, I had elevated thyroid antibodies, and sensitivities to additives in the standard levothyroxine you get from the pharmacy were blocking absorption of the medication. In short I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and my immune system was attacking both my thyroid and my eyes. That is pretty much when everything changed for me. My prescriptions were called in to a compounding pharmacy and I started the Autoimmune Protocol that day.
Day by day, as I started to heal, it was a revelation. I was in shock to see how committing to making changes in just 1 area of my life, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, started to affect more areas of my life in positive ways. My mindset changed, I started to feel better over all, my face wasn’t as red and puffy anymore, almost daily migraines became less frequent, my back and joints started to hurt less and weight and inflammation just melted off me. I started AIP at 200 lbs and 6 months in I had lost 50 lbs. My self worth and efficacy started to improve. I made commitments to myself and saw them through. Hashimoto’s was affecting me on so many levels it wasn’t until I started to feel better that I realized how deeply it ran. I became empowered. I don’t have depression or anxiety any more, I don’t have food addictions or cravings either. If I occasionally have brain fog or slurred speech I know I am having a flair and I need to make some lifestyle modifications (usually getting more sleep or seasonal medicine adjustment) and I easily maintaining my weight without counting calories or going hungry.
Paying It Forward
This journey has been so life changing for me I want to pay it forward by supporting others. I want to yell it from the mountain tops, “It doesn’t have to be this way, and it doesn’t have to be hard!”.
In 2021 I decided to work towards becoming a Certified Health and Wellness Coach (CWC) with Wellcoaches School of Coaching. I chose Wellcoaches because they are endorsed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), the Australasian College of Lifestyle Medicine and National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching Certification approved.
I am so excited for this new chapter in my life and look forward to making a difference in yours.