I’ve written sections of my success story in my head ever since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2008. I never allowed myself to put it down on paper because I wanted it to have an ending of some sort and wasn’t sure at that point if it ever would. I feel confident today in saying that I have come full circle and although it will be always be a continued work in progress to keep things in balance, I believe I have found my story’s ending.
My story is similar to many in that I was diagnosed with hypothyroid in 1996 and Hashimoto’s in 2008. The endocrinologist I was seeing at that time wouldn’t agree to run the antibody tests and based on all the symptoms I had, I knew what I was dealing with. I ended up finding a local GP to run the antibody tests and confirmed Hashimoto’s. Initially I started working with him on making sure my thyroid medication was right – you know the whole swinging from hypo to hyper drill. I also switched back to synthetic from NDT meds because they were increasing the attack on my thyroid. At the same time, I did a lot of research online to find out what could be done and it was soon after that I got connected with Dr. Rommel Geronimo (fecsd.com) and through Dr. Kharrazian’s protocol discovered the most important initial action steps which were figuring out my th1/2 dominance (I’m th2), starting the AIP diet and then addressing candida and parasites.
The second I understood that autoimmune disease begins in the digestive system I knew the methods to control the attacks and other various symptoms would be related to food and proper supplementation. Initially, it took my brain about a year to get the message that gluten free was NOT an option and I was initially taken aback by the foods that AIP had me eliminate but I wanted results so I dove in. I, like many people on this board, have had a lot of difficulty accepting Hashimoto’s in the beginning and always wondered “why me”? I also had a lot of deep emotional ties to food and had a tough time giving up the things that had helped me cover up my emotions versus dealing with them. However, I knew that if I was going to get results I had to change my way of thinking from living to eat to eating to live and the results have been worth it!
After following AIP and healing leaky gut over a three year period I was still having some lingering symptoms and despite being on low dose naltrexone for a number of years, I was still having to increase my thyroid medication so that led me down another path to discover I had heavy metal toxicity from mercury and lead. I had recently moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and was lucky to find Dr. Buttar (www.drbuttar.com) here. He specializes in heavy metal toxicity and his protocol was the last piece to my medical puzzle and once the heavy metals were removed he weaned me off the prescription thyroid medications I had been on for 17 years. That was never my overall goal, it just happened that way because once the metals were removed my body started functioning on it’s own again. The metals were actually preventing the thyroid hormone from getting to my cells in the first place. That explains why I was continuously increasing my thyroid medication yet remained symptomatic.
I now know that I was meant to go through this entire process so that I would begin treating my body the way it was meant to be treated in the first place. There have been several ups and downs along the way and I have had my share of days, even months of barely functioning so I can relate to you wherever you are at in the whole process. It’s important to know that it doesn’t have to always be that way as long as you keep digging for answers and never give up no matter how fatigued you feel. The key thing I had to change in all of this was my mindset and how to go about healing myself.
Getting my body in good health has also lead me to address a final root cause issue over the last year regarding some emotional triggers that had been suppressed for a lifetime. Those things couldn’t come to the forefront until my body had healed enough to deal with them. I have resolved these issues through being more aware of the mind/body connection and the impact it can have on my health and healing. I have also been guided through the entire process by consulting with great counselors, a hypnotherapist and Dr. Buttar, who had me do several rounds of Evox therapy. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing and it can be hard to change it without professional help.
As far as finding a doctor who can effectively treat Hashimoto’s, it’s important to find a functional doctor who understands that the entire body needs to be addressed versus treating just the thyroid. We have an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid –the immune system needs to be balanced out to address this. It’s also beneficial to consider that depending on what your root cause issues are – you may need a team of doctors to help you versus just one.
I encourage you to take responsibility for your health, ask for what you want and be your own advocate. You must continue to learn because the whole autoimmune arena is so new and researchers are always discovering new things that can have an impact on you. There are so many areas that need to be considered like testing for heavy metals, parasites, infections, candida, Lyme, EBV etc.
If you end up having to address something like heavy metal toxicity or Lyme – make sure you are working with a functional doctor who has experience in that particular area and you feel comfortable with them. The best way to find a good doctor is through word of mouth recommendations from other patients dealing with the same thing as you.
The last step in the whole process of healing for me has involved being even more dedicated to self-care and ensuring that everything toxic (including people, places, jobs and things) has been removed from my life. I simplified everything and my criteria is that if it doesn’t lift me up and serve a positive purpose it has to go. The stress from allowing anything toxic to stay will hinder you from being able to heal 100%. I learned that the hard way and it wasn’t until I was near the end of my journey that I realized I have always spent more time caring and doing for others that I neglected myself.
A few months in to detoxifying my life I met Petro Martynyuk (http://www.petromartynyuk.com) and he told me about his Fitness/Yoga retreats that he offers in Costa Rica. Once I checked out the reviews from people who’d been there in the past I knew I had to invest in myself and go. It was exactly what I needed to do a full reset on my life. I was completely out of my comfort zone and 100% able to several physical things I never thought I was capable of. I went on an ATV course for 4 hours at 6000 ft above sea level. I walked uphill 2 miles and back to see waterfalls, road horseback by the ocean and the list goes on. My food requirements were met 100%. Everything was taken care of for me and the only thing I had to focus on for the week was taking care of me.
I highly recommend doing something like this –I’m so glad I did it because I was allowed to hit the reset button and come back rejuvenated and ready to take on life again. When I returned from the trip I had the most surreal feeling. The retreat made me realize how happy I can be if I surround myself with the right people and do the right things otherwise related to food and supplements etc. I encourage each of you you to keep doing the work to get to your root cause. Keep digging no matter how long it takes and never stop being your own advocate.