How It Started
I was first diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2010 during the second trimester of my second pregnancy. I was having issues of rapid heartbeats and perspiring while simply sitting at my desk at work. My then OB thought it strange and ordered a standard thyroid panel to check. At my next visit she told me I showed signs of hyperthyroidism and needed to follow-up with a specialist.
The specialist ran a few test and told me that not only was my thyroid huge in size overall, but the right size was larger than the left because multiple nodules had grown there.
Throughout my pregnancy my thyroid levels were monitored and after my daughter was born (healthy!) the specialist recommended I undergo a radioactive iodine uptake test to see if the nodules were “hot” or “cold”. (She was working with the theory that the nodules were “hot” and had hijacked my thyroid, shutting down the left side of my gland.) She further recommended surgery to remove the right side of my thyroid and to start medications afterwards to supplement for the lack of thyroid hormone my body would be getting.
Now, hearing the word “surgery” sent all kinds of red lights going off in my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for surgery if there is a real need. For example, I had a surgical procedure to fix my deviated septum and to reduce internal nasal swelling that was making it hard for me to breathe. So I am not anti-surgery by any means! At the time the specialist was mentioning surgery to me I was not having any of the other symptoms commonly seen with hyperthyroidism. For instance, before giving birth, there was concern for my weight. However I ended up gaining 90 lbs before delivery!
I think the main red flag came from a follow-up discussion I had with the specialist, which ended up with her stating that regardless of the results of the iodine uptake test, she would still recommend surgery. So my husband and I saw little purpose in completing the test if it didn’t change the outcome.
So What Did I Do?
Nothing. I went about my life. Well I did do one thing. I changed my diet. I went raw vegan, felt great for a while, and lost the baby weight (thankfully!). But being a raw vegan meant I was in the kitchen a lot! And let me tell you, making two sets of meals (one for my family and one for myself) was no fun at all! So after a few months I was burnt out and went back to my old eating habits. Four years later I started feeling very bad again. I had weight I couldn’t get rid of and I felt tired and run-down all the time.
Follow-up, Second Opinion, ….And Google
Eventually I went to see another specialist and was told the same thing as before. It was also this doctor’s opinion that a change in diet would not help my particular version of hyperthyroidism. Being the stubborn person that I am I set out to see if this was true. My husband made a great point to me, the surgery option would always be there, so if a natural alternative worked then great, if not then I had a fallback. So I consulted with a functional medical doctor and turned to Google to do some in-depth research. I learned that supporting my body with nourishing foods could possibly heal my thyroid, but first I had to deal with my gut issues.
My gut issue was H. Pylori which I learned about shortly after my first child was born. The doctor recommended I complete a series of antibiotic treatments after I was done nursing my child. I never followed up. (Are we seeing a pattern?) I had figured out way before that if I avoided certain foods then my gut didn’t bothered me. It was only when I indulged that I had major bowel issues. Through my research I discovered a dynamic gut busting duo! This book, paired with other information I found, helped me kick my gut issues to the curb!
I thought I was free and clear to tackle my thyroid at this point until I discovered some emerging research about a condition called Adrenal Fatigue! It turns out that the adrenals (small glands that sit atop the kidneys) talk to the thyroid, and years of chronic stress can wear them down and mess up the communication flow. (Please note that as of this writing that adrenal fatigue is not a medically recognized condition by conventional medicine.) I discovered another book to help me with this one and I was really amazed at how effortlessly the weight came off! I also learned that I needed to prioritize caring for myself if I was going to be an involved and present spouse and mother.
As Of Today
I am still working on taking care of my body, health, and mind. It’s a day-to-day struggle but definitely better than before! I haven’t made it back to the doctor to have my thyroid levels checked but I will tell you that I feel better than I can remember! My diet has changed and I really feel as if I am thriving on it! I know that I need to go back to the doctor and I will. If my thyroid levels are still off I’ll continue to seek out natural alternatives to find healing. I will say that I believe I’ve gone as far as Google can take me so my next step will most likely be to seek out a functional medical professional.
Let me know of areas in your health where you’re struggling. I probably can’t help, but I can listen. Let me be a shoulder to lean on.
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