Managing Hypothyroidism

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I wrote part one of this post ages ago here. And then life got busy, and kids are kids, and I was still learning and trying different things, so I didn’t feel ready to write this part yet. But now here it is. This is the practical stuff, the things that are are the difference between me being bedridden and being able to get things done and take care of my kids and pursue other interests.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid:
The website Stop The Thyroid Madness taught me so much about my condition and functioning. Through full thyroid panels we figured out that a large part of the reason I was getting sicker and sicker was because despite having enough T4 (which is what Synthroid contains) my thyroid was unable to convert it into adequate T3 – which is what your cells actually use. Once I got a prescription for NDT (Thyroid by Erfa in Canada) and got past the adjustment period I felt like a new person, I was able to make it through the day, my nerve pain was gone, many other symptoms vanished or greatly diminished! And the weight! It was incredible how fast all that baby weight that refused to fall off no matter how I ate or how much I pushed my body fell off. In a month of being on NDT I was below my pre-pregnancy weight without even trying!

Supplements:
After doing very well on NDT for some time, some symptoms started to become more predominant or had never really gone away. Because my thyroid levels were good, (or at least good enough that the Dr.was worried that increasing my prescription would tip me to hyper); I started looking into other things. I was taking probably at least 8 different supplements a day and not feeling much better for it. After switching to a high quality whole food supplements I was able to cut down on the amount of supplements I was taking with great results! I no longer needed a nap, my hair that had been falling out finally  started to grow back and not fall out by the handful every shower.

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Adrenal Fatigue:
The first 2 years of having my children was surrounded with a lot of stress, financial, legal, learning how to parent my oldest in a way that best met his needs, not to mention I don’t think I had ever really recovered after pregnancy and childbirth left me with adrenal fatigue. I have had to cut way back, I limit even walking as too many steps a day seems to set me back a day or two of difficulty functioning, I unscheduled our lives to reduce as much stress as possible, and I take products containing adaptogens to boost my cortisol.

Diet:
I did an experiment one summer and went completely gluten and dairy free and the results were great, I had more energy, less brain fog, was less moody! I am a strong believer now that inflammation is definitely an enemy of a thyroid disease sufferer. I will admit that at this point in life financially and time and energy wise, I am not completely gluten and dairy free, but I am probably 90% gluten free and 100% lactose free and function far better when intentional about keeping these things out of my diet.

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Essential Oils:
I am so blessed to have been introduced to essential oils when I was. Between using them to reduce the toxic/chemical load I and my family are exposed to (which I do believe also had a large impact on my not being able to function well), they have worked wonders for my personal mood and well being. One of the things that I have struggled with that as never quite gone away was depression and anxiety, both hypothyroid symptoms, both I have tried to address with diet and supplements, with varying degrees of success. But oils for grounding and mood and that support adrenal functioning have been vital to my healing and well being. Frankincense, Arborvitae, Rosemary, Peppermint and Wild Orange and the Grounding blend and Encouraging blend and the Cellular Repair blend have been my “life support” especially during this extraordinarily long winter, that emotionally ground me and pick me up to be able to handle the day with enough energy and patience to deal with the stressors that come with it.

All in all, I am greatful for all these tools that help me manage my symptoms. I would be lying if I said it was all great and I never suffer, in fact, I have been made acutely aware these past two years what chronic means. It will never go away, I will never be healed and have the life that I had before back;  but I am grateful for the knowledge out there that helps me manage and gives me hope that even in spite of my illness I CAN accomplish things in my life, I may never be as as active as I once was, but I CAN be the mother I want to be, I may never be able to handle high stress work environments, but I CAN be used by God to bless others – even in the midst of having to take care of myself very intentionally every day. If you are interested in what brands I use please contact me with your email address, I am happy to share with those who want more details. 

 

Hypothyroidism – My Journey thus far

3858108794b9892f451936c680e4c824With the promise of a future. I am finally able to talk about it… I have alluded to it, wondered about it, cried over it, not understood it, questioned God, questioned myself, questioned our medical system…and finally, feel like yes, it sucks, but no, it doesn’t have to be what defines me from here on out. Doesn’t have to be my stealer of joy and hope (although some days it still has a pretty hard push). I have learned so much over the past 8 months, about my illness, treatment and about how God still works.

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A little background
1990’s – Sometime before the year 2000 I was diagnosed hypothyroid as a child. Took a pill every day, never thought anything of it.

2000’s – I knew I was a moody teenage, but I was a teenager, I was suppose to be moody… As a young adult I started being able to recognize the lack of energy or the connection to depression or weight gain and sure enough every time I felt like something was off, my bloodwork would show a need for a dose increase. It was pretty easy to manage and I would hear here and there about how its a chronic illness and kind of thought, “hey its really not that bad, just take a pill and your fine, I don’t know what the big deal is about…people just want an excuse maybe”.

2013-2015 – Pregnancy was hard on my body. I had 0 energy, was sick for almost the whole time and my thyroid med doses kept going up and up, but I was assured this was normal and they would go back down after pregnancy. After the birth of my daughter, nothing seemed off, I was tired, but I was also not getting any sleep…and could excuse it. I was surprised when my post-partum bloodwork showed I needed another increase, but didn’t think too much of it. We began to care for another child, with some emotional needs that greatly effect daily life. I was exhausted, but had so much to deal with that I didn’t give it much attention.

It wasn’t until the baby was 12 months old that I began to think, “oh I feel like I need a dose increase” – was feeling extremely tired even though the kids were sleeping better at night and I was no longer nursing, I couldn’t blame those on how I was feeling. Depression was setting in, extreme moodswings, LESS energy then when my kids were not sleeping, and my hair was falling out. (TMI ALERT: My period had also returned and was terrible…unpredictable and extremely heavy).

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I at one point in the spring could count over 50!!! I stopped counting there because it was very depressing and the last thing I needed was to fuel that fire.

I went to get my bloodwork, and was SHOCKED when it came back normal. I had recently started setting intentional time aside to spend in prayer and bible reading, had gotten back involved in church, was trying to eat better…doing everything I could to take care of my spiritual and physically life and was feeling like I was barely existing, definitely not living! I felt like Job. I was having daily conversation with God about how hard it was to trust him when I feel like everything I care about is being affected. I couldn’t be the wife or mom I wanted to be, or even the person I knew God was calling me to be, but I knew that my only option was to seek out God, to seek prayer. I couldn’t get through whatever was going on by myself. And if its not my thyroid, then what? Was my new normal going to be merely laying on a couch forever? What kind of childhood would that leave my children with? would I ever be able to work again? What if it was something far more serious?

Coincidence or prayer. I have no doubt that the next steps had God’s hand all over them. When I went into the Dr to tell her that despite the results, despite another dose increase, I was feeling much worse then I had ever felt in my life, she suggested to test for everything else that might make a person feel like I did. Iron, Glucose and 20 other markers….and unknown to me she had included a full thyroid panel. Everything came back “in range”. The days between getting the results and seeing the Dr to formally go over them were some of the hardest most depressing days I can remember.

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But God had a plan. He had me at a Dr who, unlike many dr’s who do not look beyond TSH, would have, still suspected a thyroid problem. She told me that looking at the test results even though they were both in range my T4 (thyroid storage hormone) was at the high end of the range…thanks to my synthetic medication, but my T3 (the thyroid hormone that actually gets to your cells) was at the very bottom of the range…which would explain everything! If my body wasn’t able to actually use the medication then I was falling more and more hypothyroid. Switching meds seemed to be the next step…I will post about it in an upcoming post!

Guilt: The Worst Symptom

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I cried today. I cried because I found a blog post that talked about everything I have felt for the past months. I want to blog about my experience, about how I was soooo mistaken when I thought that people who called hypothyroid a chronic illness were overreacting having lived with it for 15 years…it’s an easy fix with a pill once a day right? Until it’s not. Until the day you realize you can hardly make it through the day and something is utterly wrong. That symptoms that used to be easily fixed by a medication are not going away. Maybe tonight I will elaborate. Maybe this week…maybe next week. But in this moment the guilt and the emotions are winning. So I will just leave this here until I have the energy to come back to it.

Guilt: The Worst Symptom.

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