At 17 my life turned upside down with symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I fluctuated constantly between hyper and hypothyroid symptoms going through periods of not sleeping, having anxiety, panic attacks and losing weight to months later sleeping 15 hours a day, gaining weight and feeling extremely tired all the time. I spent 6 years like this, going to doctors without getting any answers for my symptoms. The few tests they ran “appeared” normal and within lab ranges.
As a young adult this disease had a negative impact on my self esteem, education, career and friendships. I also felt sick every time I ate with stomach pains, bloating, fatigue and struggled with anxiety and depression.
I lived for so long with the symptoms it felt like they were becoming part of my personality. I decided to devote my time to researching what could be wrong and learned ways to manage my symptoms as much as possible. I determined it was thyroid related and kept pressing my doctors for the right tests.
After 7 trips to the same doctor for worsening symptoms, I finally received an antibody test that revealed Hashimoto’s. I was relieved to have an answer and thought medication would reduce my symptoms. However, while trying to optimize medication dosages, I still experienced hyper and hypothyroid symptoms and I continued to feel worse over the next 5 years.
My gut instinct was telling me something more was wrong. I worked with 8 different endocrinologists over the years, looking for one that would listen to me and treat my symptoms (not just the lab results). During this process I became my own health advocate! I tracked my symptoms, mood, food and thyroid levels/dosages and began to uncover what worked for my body through this data.
I gained knowledge in reading/interpreting lab results and connecting my thyroid levels, symptoms and mood with the food I was eating. With several years of data, certain patterns emerged that showed me I had control over my healing. To my surprise it began with proper nutrition and consistent action towards a healthier lifestyle – something doctors had never mentioned during all my years of thyroid treatment.
I began a holistic approach to healing with Functional Medicine! I started an elimination diet by going gluten-free, then over time dairy free. Prior to this I had no cooking experience and rarely cooked. It was a huge barrier for me, but I learned to make simple, easy meals that were gluten and dairy free. This was very different from my usual fast food or frozen meals.
Within a few months, my daily stomach pains went away, inflammation was reduced, I had more energy and less brain fog. I was able to exercise again and lost 25 pounds on a whole foods, gluten-free diet. I experienced the power of proper nutrition and functional healing.
For several years I tracked my food intolerances and experimented with diet plans including Paleo, AIP and Low FODMAP, cooking most of my meals at home. I learned to be consistent with my exercise, practiced mindfulness activities, reduced stress with yoga and worked on building my self-trust again through mind/body exercises.
I continued to research nutrition, digestion and thyroid topics by watching every free Health Summit online that I could find. I watched documentaries, read health & personal development books and blog articles by respected functional medicine doctors. I also attended and graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition School. Read about my Education and training.
I learned to listen to my body’s symptoms and requested further testing from a Naturopathic Doctor for gut issues, which revealed SIBO and Candida bacteria overgrowth – another piece of the puzzle. For 2 years I made all of my food at home on a specific diet plan and committed to an herbal regimen that helped successfully eradicate the bacteria and yeast overgrowth. During this time I created a detox protocol that helped me improve when I was feeling sick from all of the bacteria toxins.
Every step of the way, I have grown more resilient. By listening to my body’s symptoms and being my own health advocate, I am able to rewrite my story, heal and thrive in my life! Through this healing process I created Mindful Thyroid 8 Pillars to Creating Health that embodies a holistic approach to creating the healthy life you deserve!