It admittedly feels a little silly to share this here on the ol' blog because this condition is actually really common. However, since I'm making some lifestyle changes to address said condition, it's worth mentioning. And this will probably help explain all the #glutenfree going down over on Instagram since y'all know this body has been powered by carbs since I was a spunky, freckled-faced wee one. (#givemeallthedonuts)
Prior to conceiving -- well, to be exact, prior to knowing we had conceived -- I checked in with my PCP for a routine visit and bloodwork. Turns out, my thyroid levels were borderline out of whack (subclinical hypothyroidism), so out of an abundance of caution, I started a low dose of levothyroxin so that we wouldn't have to deal with a full-blown thyroid condition in the middle of pregnancy. Turns out, it was good timing because Asher was already baking in the oven.
Fast forward to after delivering Ash, I wanted to get off the meds as soon as possible. With my midwife's permission, I weaned off of the levo, was re-tested, and all was well for me to continue without meds. I was able to remain medication-free for about four months, and then one afternoon in the throes of sleep training, I noticed that my throat was really, really swollen. (And yes, I partially blame sleep training for this. Kidding...kinda.) I instantly suspected my thyroid, so I made an appointment for the following Monday with my PCP to check it out.
Yup, the thyroid was back on the fritz. The recommendation was to jump back on the low dose of levo that I was taking during my pregnancy, and my doc advised that I'd likely have to just remain on the medication for life.
As luck would have it, I had been doing a ton of research at that time on immunity, inflammation, and general wellness in an effort to make an informed decision about Asher's vaccines (a topic that I have no interest in broaching here, but would welcome in person or via email). I asked her (my doc) if I was correct in my understanding that thyroid issues were generally autoimmune in nature. She confirmed that was the case, and I also asked if this meant that I had Hashimoto's Disease (or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), which she also confirmed.
This was the first experience in this journey -- which I will truly be on my whole life -- that reminded me not to assume that my general practitioners will take the time to explain a diagnosis or treatment, or even broach alternatives. Not liking the idea of taking a synthetic medication my whole life -- not to mention knowing that my body was so inflamed and out of sorts that it was attacking itself -- I set out to learn more and find supportive resources.
I was fortunate to find two amazing resources to help guide my path: a local Integrative Medicine doctor who specializes in autoimmune conditions, and a veritable handbook for managing my condition via diet and lifestyle, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers. Equipped with these tools, M and I started making some critical changes to help improve my health for the long haul. We've cut out gluten (donuts...I miss you, but you're literally killing me), most dairy, grain, legumes, nightshade vegetables, caffeine, alcohol, most processed foods, and sugar. Given these limitations -- which are admittedly strict, but only for the first month (which I just completed) to allow my body to "reset" and get a break from all the inflammatory factors -- I decided to start eating organic, pasture-raised poultry and wild-caught fish. After almost 20 years of no meat, I've tolerated it surprisingly well, so hopefully I can sustain this diet and my body will learn to run on healthy fats (versus carbs upon carbs sprinkled with grains, like previously).
We've also removed toxic products from our home, even more so than before. (I had cut out anything with synthetic fragrance just before getting pregnant.) We've started cooking on cast iron (not nearly as difficult after some proper seasoning), invested in organic bedding, learned to check for gluten in everything (including personal care products), and overall became much more in tune with how our body is functioning. It's amazing how many symptoms we can learn to ignore because they just seem commonplace: hair loss, fatigue, brain fog, generalized aches and soreness. Our bodies are often trying to communicate to us, but there's just too much noise in our culture of "Go, go, go!" to hear it.
There's so much to learn and a lot to share along the way, so without this becoming a health and wellness blog, I will share tidbits I learn along the way. And, of course, email or leave a comment with any questions or feedback. We've all got different tools and perspectives, and I've really enjoyed learning from others who are thriving with Hashi's and learning to take the best care of their bodies for the long haul.