For those of you that have been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may already know that earlier this year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland. This means that my immune system views my thyroid gland as a foreign invader and is attacking it.
Yes, me, a holistic nutritionist, has an autoimmune condition. To say this came as a shock was an understatement. So many feelings went through me – shock, sadness, fear but most of all I felt like a fraud. How could I, a Nutritionist who deals with clients that have Hashimoto’s and other hormone issues, not have recognized the symptoms or prevented it.
I have an awesome diet of real food, I was exercising 5-6 times a week but what I believe for me was the greatest culprit was lack of self-care and stress management.
I went back to Nutrition school when my oldest son Ben was just 7 months old and from then on I haven’t stopped. I am a type A personality so a perfectionist, control freak and I give my everything to everyone else. Whether it was studying, working or building my business to being a Mum and wife, I put my own self-care on the back burner. Instead of listening to the signals that my body was sending me, I just pushed through it as I had another goal or deadline I had put on myself.
How did I find out?
I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue a couple of years ago and I had made a lot of changes since then. I removed all foods I was sensitive too, did work on my gut, I supported my adrenals and I improved my diet but yet I still didn’t feel as great as I knew I should. My energy and mood levels were still not balanced. I felt like I had everything I had ever wanted – a husband who loves me, 2 beautiful boys and a job I truly loved, yet I still felt a void.
My biggest concern was my estrogen levels. My sister was diagnosed with estrogen dominant breast cancer when she was in her 30’s and that has always been a concern of mine so I finally made the decision to get all my hormone levels tested through my amazing Naturopath Dr. Danielle Marchildon. I tested the following:
- Full hormone panel – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHA and cortisol.
- Thryoid panel – TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO (Thyroid antibodies)
- Vitamin D
- Ferritin (Iron)
The first results I got back where my thyroid panel. My TSH was 3.34 so normal within the medical range however, I knew that optimal levels should be below 2. My Free T3 and Free T4 were also within normal ranges so, if I had gone to my medical doctor and been tested I would have been told that everything was normal and there were no issues with my thyroid. However, I had one more result to come, my TPO (thyroid antibody levels) and these came back at 154 when they should be under 35. This was what confirmed my autoimmune diagnosis.
The rest of my results began filtering back in and there were others that were far from optimal. Despite the initial fear and upset, I finally felt that I wasn’t going crazy, science was telling me there was a reason behind why I was feeling the way I was.
My Next Steps
Since the diagnosis I have made a lot of changes. I began on a supplement regime to help restore my hormone and nutrient levels. I have been following an autoimmune paleo diet and eliminated all grains, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, beans and lentils and alcohol from my diet.
As for my self-care, I am asking for help, saying no a lot more, I am resting and trying to take time for me every day, even if it is just sitting on my favourite sofa with a cup of peppermint tea. I have cut back on my exercise and incorporated restorative yoga and stretching into my routine instead. I am also working with an awesome therapist to help me lose some of my control freak tendencies and deal with my anxiety and depression.
It’s a work in progress and some days are better than others but I know what I am doing is working. I recently got my thyroid antibody levels retested and they are coming down which means I am on the right track.
I consider myself lucky, if I hadn’t decided to get all my levels tested I would have got worse. Being proactive saved me and has allowed me to get back on the path to my optimal health and prevent further damage/illness.
I am normally a very private person but, I wanted to share my story because I know other women are struggling too. According to the thyroid foundation of Canada “It’s estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease. In Canada there is a staggering number of people affected. Recent studies indicate that 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from a thyroid condition of one type or another! Of those, as many as 50% are undiagnosed!”
I will keep you posted on my journey and if you need help, reach out, let me help you. You are not alone and definitely not going crazy!
Thanks for taking the time to read my story x