I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2018 and I’ve been on a healing journey ever since. I’m finally opening up and sharing my full story. Below you’ll find my Hashimoto’s story – signs and symptoms of the disease, how I was officially diagnosed, why I chose natural healing, and how I finally got my life back.
I’ve put off writing this post for a really long time because I wasn’t sure whether anyone would actually want to read it.
I mean why would strangers on the internet care about my Hashimoto’s story? But I felt compelled to finally share it because I think it’s important for others who are in a similar situation to know there is hope and there is healing.
For so long I thought being sick and tired all of the time was normal and that it was just something I would have to live with for the rest of my life.
But my God-given intuition kept telling me something was wrong and that being sick and tired all of the time wasn’t normal.
And my intuition was right. After living with symptoms for 10 years I was officially diagnosed in 2018 with Hashimoto’s and so began my natural healing journey.
Below is my Hashimoto’s story – signs and symptoms of the disease, how I was officially diagnosed, why I chose natural healing, and how I finally got my life back.
This is not medical advice. This is simply my story. The decisions I have made in regards to my health I made based on my own research, observations, and personal experience and they are in no way a judgment on others who have chosen differently.
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My Hashimoto’s Story
I’m not entirely sure when my body first began presenting symptoms of “dis-ease”. Looking back I didn’t have any major health issues as a baby or as a small child.
When I was around 11 or 12 years old I started to experience chronic insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
I don’t know if these were the beginning signs of thyroid dysfunction or not. I had a pretty chaotic childhood, especially during that time, and I grew up eating really poorly.
So I’m sure there were multiple contributing factors that were causing my mental/health issues.
My mom took me to the doctor who prescribed me Prozac at 12 years old. I was on Prozac for a few years and I don’t ever remember my symptoms improving during that time.
When I was 15 my doctor put me on Paxil instead of Prozac and I remained on Paxil for the next 7 years.
Once again I never really felt like my symptoms ever improved while I was taking Paxil. During that time I was extremely mentally unstable and self-medicated on a regular basis with alcohol and other substances.
So for around 10 years, from 11 years old to 21 years old, I battled anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
And I guess I’ll never really know if what I was dealing with was a result of thyroid dysfunction, my environment/family life, or something else completely.
But in 2005 I made the decision to quit taking Paxil and around June/July of that same year I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
I knew nothing about health and nutrition prior to getting pregnant. The idea that food could affect my health was a completely foreign concept to me.
I was so excited about being pregnant and wanted to make sure I did everything I possibly could to ensure my baby would be healthy.
So I quit drinking, completely cut out fast food, ate tons of fruits and veggies, took prenatal pills, and drank tons of water.
It was the first time in my life I ever cared about my health and put effort into nourishing my body.
I had a healthy pregnancy with no issues and gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy in April 2006.
Those first few months of motherhood were amazing but also a blur. I wasn’t getting much sleep and I started to revert back to my old eating habits which consisted mostly of processed and fast foods.
Around August of that same year, I started to feel nauseous all the time, and surprise, surprise I was pregnant with baby number two just four months after giving birth to my first child.
I jumped right back into nourishing my body and had another healthy pregnancy and another beautiful, healthy baby boy.
Shortly after giving birth to my second son, I started experiencing really bad anxiety. So bad that I sought professional help.
My doctor prescribed me Zoloft which I took. And within a few weeks, my anxiety pretty much disappeared. But after a few months of taking the SSRI, I noticed all my feelings were disappearing – even the good ones.
I was just numb.
At that point, I decided I didn’t want to take Zoloft anymore. I would rather feel anxiety than not feel anything at all.
But what began as just anxiety eventually grew to more and more symptoms over the coming years.
From 2008 to 2018 I dealt with a wide range of different symptoms. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia were still constant issues.
I had debilitating fatigue, horrible brain fog, and I was super moody all the time.
Every time I would go to the doctor looking for help they would tell me I was just depressed and prescribe me antidepressants. But I didn’t want antidepressants, I wanted answers.
Eventually, I developed awful joint pain, I was cold all the time, my eyebrows and eyelashes started falling out, and my hair became extremely dry and brittle.
I was a mess!
Since I wasn’t getting the answers I needed from doctors I started to do my own research and with just a quick Google search of my symptoms, it was pretty apparent my thyroid was not functioning properly.
So I asked my doctor for bloodwork to check my thyroid levels which she did. When she received the results she told me that although my numbers were slightly out of range, there was no way I had a thyroid issue because I wasn’t overweight.
Those were her exact words.
She didn’t test me for thyroid antibodies and at the time I was mainly concerned that I had hypothyroidism and had never even heard of Hashimoto’s.
So I decided to switch doctors and while I waited for my next doctor appointment I continued researching my symptoms.
Eventually, I stumbled upon Izabella Wentz, the thyroid pharmacist, and after learning her story and reading about her struggle with Hashimoto’s, there was no doubt in my mind that I had Hashimoto’s.
In her book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause, she clearly outlines all the labs that you should request from your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. So when I went to my first appointment with my new doctor I had a list of all the bloodwork I was going to demand to have done.
But to my surprise, after sharing all of my symptoms with the doctor he told me he wanted me to get a blood test and it was for everything that I was going to ask him to do.
I didn’t have to demand a thing.
And when the results came back my TSH was out of range and my TPO antibodies were at 414.
I was finally officially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
The diagnosis was bittersweet. I was relieved to know I wasn’t crazy and there really was something wrong with me but I was also extremely frustrated and saddened it took ten years for a diagnosis. Ten precious years of my life and my children’s childhood I can never get back.
Why I Chose Natural Healing
Once I was officially diagnosed, my doctor wanted to prescribe me medication but I wasn’t sure that was the right choice for me. I was curious whether or not I had any other options.
After a lot of thought, research, and talking with my doctor I ultimately decided to try a natural healing approach.
What ultimately led me to that decision was the fact that medication would help to relieve some of my symptoms but it would not heal me. And without addressing the root cause of my disease there was a very good chance I would develop other autoimmune diseases as I got older.
This was confirmed by one of my aunts who had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s when she was younger and later developed Lupus and eventually Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Also, it would take a lot of trial and error to figure out the appropriate dosage of medication and there was a possibility I would experience many adverse side effects.
And without any lifestyle or diet changes, I would probably be on the medication for the rest of my life.
Lastly, medication would not completely eliminate my symptoms. I would more than likely never feel the way I did before I got sick.
This was also confirmed by several of my other aunts (all four of my aunts have thyroid problems as well as my mother and both of my grandmothers). They said although they were on medication they still struggled with anxiety, sleep issues, and lack of energy.
So with all that in mind, I began my journey of natural healing.
My Natural Healing Journey
My healing journey has not been linear. There have been many ups and many downs. I’ve tried many different diets and supplements over the years and many of those diets and supplements did more harm than good.
But you live and learn. And when you know better you do better.
Prior to getting my diagnosis, I had already tried several different diets in hopes of alleviating my symptoms.
After completing the Whole30 I started to follow a Paleo diet. And even though I started to feel a lot better, I eventually went back to my old eating habits which consisted of mainly processed foods.
During that time my doctor was telling me nothing was wrong with me and the people around me would often make me feel weird or silly for believing dietary changes were alleviating my symptoms.
I started to doubt what I was actually experiencing and I started to believe maybe it was all in my head.
When I received my diagnosis in 2018, it was confirmed that it wasn’t in my head and it was also the kick in the pants I needed to make real diet and lifestyle changes.
I began following a strict Paleo diet and I also started taking the supplements that are recommended in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.
And I started to feel great. My joint pain disappeared, my energy levels improved, and my moods became more stable.
But after a few years, I felt like I hit a wall. My energy levels began to dip and my anxiety started to get pretty bad again.
I should also mention that in 2016 I developed a severe intolerance to sugar.
Whenever I would consume sugar (even fruit) I would experience heart palpations and what I would describe as mini panic attacks.
No doctor could explain to me why this was happening.
This lasted for years. So I had to almost completely eliminate sugar from my diet.
Since I wasn’t able to give my body what it needed to make energy (glucose) I thought maybe a ketogenic diet would work well for me.
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet and the main goal of a ketogenic diet is to get your body to use fat for energy rather than carbs.
And it did work well for me.
While following a ketogenic diet my energy levels were amazing and I was able to focus and concentrate better than I had in years.
I started to incorporate intermittent fasting into my daily routine as well and my energy levels and focus got even better.
I was working out 5-6 days a week. I felt great and physically I looked great.
I had come so far from where I once was.
But once again. I hit a wall.
I was no longer getting a massive energy boost from intermittent fasting and I found myself having more and more issues with food to the point where I would try to avoid eating as much as possible because I would feel awful every time that I ate, no matter what I ate.
I also started to become very aware of the fact that many of my Hashimoto’s symptoms weren’t improving and the ones that seemingly did improve were beginning to resurface.
Although my hair had gotten stronger and my eyelashes had grown back, my outer brows never grew back, my sleep issues started to return, and my sex drive was plummeting (which was actually never an issue until I started Keto), and I was extremely moody and on edge all the time.
I was so excited to have my energy back and to be sleeping well that I ignored all the other symptoms that weren’t getting better and some of which were actually getting worse.
It was extremely frustrating to hit that wall for a second time.
I felt like I had climbed so far just to fall back down. And I wasn’t sure what to do next.
But I wasn’t about to give up.
How I Finally Got My Life Back
What finally got me on the right path to true healing was learning about basic human physiology, metabolic health, and mineral balancing.
I used to think my immune system just went rogue one day and decided to attack my thyroid. For so long I felt as if I was fighting against my own body in order to heal.
But now I know that just isn’t true.
The body doesn’t just decide to attack itself for no reason. The human body is amazing and it is designed to heal.
I no longer believe the body just randomly decides to attack itself.
I now believe mineral imbalance is the root cause of metabolic imbalance and metabolic imbalance is the root cause of most illness and disease.
Stress depletes minerals in the body. And not just mental and physical stress although that will do it as well, but also environmental stress like toxins and EMFs.
We are being bombarded with stressors like never before.
Increased stress means increased demand for minerals in the body and unfortunately, most people are not getting the minerals their body needs from food.
Minerals are what fuel the metabolism and metabolism is the sum of every metabolic process in the body. When your metabolism is healthy, metabolic processes in the body will function properly.
Without an adequate amount of minerals your body will not have what it needs to keep you healthy and well and your body wants to keep you healthy and well.
If you want to get healthy you have to restore your metabolism and if you want to restore your metabolism then you have to restore your minerals with foods and supplements rich in bio-available nutrients.
Supporting and healing my metabolism is how I finally got my life back.
The Root Cause Protocol
The Root Cause Protocol has played a key role in my healing journey.
The Root Cause Protocol is a health protocol that was developed by Morley Robbins. The main goal of the Root Cause Protocol is to restore the balance of three key minerals in the body – magnesium, iron, and copper.
After many years of research, Morley Robbins came to the conclusion that iron overload and magnesium deficiency is the root cause of the majority of illness and disease that we see in the world today.
You can learn read this post – What is The Root Cause Protocol – to learn all about it.
I have been working my way through the protocol for over a year now and I have had nothing but positive results.
And I’m so convinced of the science behind the protocol and its effectiveness that I start training to become a Root Cause Protocol Consultant this summer (July 2022).
I wouldn’t be where I am today on my health journey without this protocol.
Instead of eliminating entire macronutrients, I started to add foods into my diet that were rich in bioavailable nutrients.
I’m not going to go too much into the exact foods I eat. You can read this post – What is Pro-Metabolic Eating – to learn all about the type of foods I eat and how I eat.
I also completely eliminated vegetable and seed oils from my diet and drastically reduced my PUFA intake.
Excess PUFAs inhibit various proteolytic enzymes that the body depends on to release stored thyroid hormones into the bloodstream.
They also block the body’s ability to deliver thyroid hormone to the cells resulting in decreased cellular energy production.
And excess PUFAs inhibit the enzyme necessary to convert T4 to active T3.
You can read this post – What Are PUFAs & Why You Should Avoid Them – to learn more.
And I didn’t just change what I ate but also how I ate.
No more drinking coffee on an empty stomach and starving myself for 16+ hours every day. Now I eat a balanced meal every 3-4 hours and I never drink coffee on an empty stomach.
Skipping meals, drinking coffee on an empty stomach, and even intermittent fasting are sure-fire ways to destroy your metabolism.
Many of the supplements I take are based on the recommendations of the Root Cause Protocol.
I’m hoping at some point in the future I won’t need to take so many supplements but for now, I feel that it is necessary.
I will be writing a post all about my supplement regimen -what I take and why I take them soon.
Although nutrition and supplementation have been the main focal point in my healing journey, it’s definitely not the only thing that has helped me.
I make sure to get out in the sunshine every day. The sun is a powerful healing modality.
You can read this post – The Power of the Sun: Healing Benefits of Sunlight to learn all about the amazing healing benefits of the sun.
Grounding is also something that I make sure to do every single day. You can read this post – Earthing 101: Grounding Benefits & Techniques – to learn what it is and how and why I do it daily.
Drinking clean, fluoride-free water has also been crucial to my healing journey. Fluoride is a known neurotoxin and many studies have shown that it has the potential to disrupt thyroid function.
You can check out several of the studies below.
Sleep has been a major struggle for me ever since I was 12 years old. But I have done everything in my power to prioritize sleep and get as much of it as I can in order to heal.
Good sleep helps to support cellular metabolism. Sleep and metabolism work together. When our metabolism is functioning properly we can sleep well and when our metabolism isn’t functioning properly our sleep tends to suffer.
When we sleep less this causes our metabolism to slow down and when we get adequate amounts of restful sleep this helps to increase our metabolism.
If you have trouble sleeping I highly recommend you check out this post – Sleep Better: Tips to Help You Fall Asleep, Stay Asleep, & Wake up Feeling Awesome.
Eliminating toxins from my home/environment has been a huge piece of my healing journey.
We are being exposed to toxins like never before.
There have actually been many studies done confirming the connection between toxic chemicals and autoimmune diseases. I’ve listed a few below if you would like to check them out.
- Toxicology of Autoimmune Diseases
- Environmental Chemicals and Autoimmune Disease
- Possible Environmental Triggers Associated With Autoimmune Diseases
This is why I have spent so much time and effort eliminating toxins from my environment and sharing that with you here on the blog.
There was no way my body could heal without reducing stress and building stress resilience.
I never really understood how harmful stress was to my health until I started to learn about metabolism and minerals.
Stress depletes minerals and your metabolism needs minerals to function properly.
So in order to heal you have to reduce stress.
This includes all forms of stress – mental, physical, metabolic, and environmental.
Eating foods our bodies were not meant to ingest and digest, exposing our bodies to toxins, not getting enough sleep, and everyday EMF exposure all cause unnecessary stress in the body.
Having too much on our plate, not saying no, and being a people pleaser also create unnecessary stress in the body.
And I could go on and on.
Now I’m not saying I completely eliminated all stressful situations and circumstances completely from my life because that is impossible.
But what I have done is eliminate stress when and wherever I can and built stress resilience.
Building stress resilience means teaching your body to appropriately deal with stress and to not be easily stressed out or triggered.
I also participate in activities that activate my parasympathetic nervous system on a regular basis. This can help to lower stress levels in the body.
I do this by taking a walk, spending time in nature, praying, and basically by engaging in any type of activity that helps me to relax.
There are a few other things that I do that have been beneficial to my healing like red light therapy and castor oil packs but those to me are just tools.
You can do red light therapy every single day but if you’re not eating well, sleeping well, reducing stress, and all the other things I listed above you’re not going to see much improvement.
Good sleep, good water, a healthy diet, reducing stress, and reducing the toxins in your environment are the foundations for wellness.
As a believer, I just see it as getting back to God’s design. Living your life the way God created you to live. That is really what my entire Hashimoto’s story is really about.
The more we stray from His design, the more sickness and disease we will see in the world.
Think about it – water is no longer the same water that existed hundreds of years ago. What once was pure and filled with minerals is now tainted with toxic chemicals.
The earth was once rich in minerals but now the soils have been depleted to due modern farming practices which means our food is depleted of minerals.
And most of the food that is available to us at grocery stores has been altered by man in some way or another.
Most grocery stores are filled with highly processed, genetically modified, pasteurized “foods”.
It is almost impossible to find food at the grocery store that man has not altered in some way.
The majority of the foods are processed. Some fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and most are sprayed with pesticides. Most dairy products have been pasteurized and have added hormones, antibiotics, and synthetic vitamins.
The majority of the meat in grocery stores is from animals that are fed a diet high in PUFAs to plump them up rather than being fed what they would eat naturally in the wild.
Not to mention the animals are usually given hormones and antibiotics as well.
It’s really sad how disconnected we are from real food. We don’t even know how to recognize it anymore.
We’re also living very stressful lives and spending less and less time in nature and more and more time inside on our phones and computers.
So hopefully you get what I’m trying to say.
For me, there was no quick fix. I had to make major lifestyle changes and those lifestyle changes mainly consisted of realigning my life back to the way God designed me to live.
I could have just taken a pill but that pill would have never healed me, it would have only masked my symptoms. And symptoms are our body’s way of speaking to us and letting us know that something is wrong.
So instead of silencing my body, I began to truly listen to my body and trust my God-given intuition.
And because I listened to my body, I have been able to work with it and truly heal.
Don’t get me wrong – I still have bad days from time to time. But now my good days far outweigh my bad days.
I by no means have it all figured out. I’m always researching and desiring to learn more about the human body but I’m absolutely confident that what I am doing now is working.
I’ll be 40 years old next year and I feel incredible. So if you’re struggling with your health, please know there is hope.
Unfortunately, we are living in a world that makes it very difficult to be truly healthy.
You have to be actively fighting for your health and overall well-being and it’s not easy.
But it’s 100% worth it!
If you have any questions about my Hashimoto’s story, please let me know in the comment section below. I’d be more than happy to answer them if I can.