Monday, February 1, 2016

Loving Your Thyroid and Trusting The Healing Curve, My Story with Hashimotos

Our body is a beautiful, whole system which adapts and thrives despite our well-meaning and non-well-meaning attacks on it. But we don't need to feel victimized or distraught by a change in function of our thyroid gland. We are made with a high level of intelligence, much more brilliant than science and Western medicine. You can heal, trust that your body is working to heal and maybe the only thing holding it back is your thoughts toward it. 

The Greeks called the thyroid gland Thyreos, meaning shield. This shield reminds me of the game Red light/Green Light, since it is in charge of slowing and stopping all metabolic processes in the body. The speed and function of the entire body is regulated by the gland because very cell in our body has thyroid receptors.

Repeat after me. My thyroid is NOT the problem.

This is because if you have Hashimotos (80-90% of people with low-functioning thyroid glands do) your immune system is harming your thyroid while trying to protect you. I used to think of my thyroid as the bad guy, I would look at my neck and think, "What's wrong with you butterfly-shaped organ? Why can't you just work properly so I can stop gaining weight?" It never answered me ((sigh)) but through a lot of research, I have some killer insight.

Your thyroid is doing it's job, but your immune system has been making deals with the bad guys, and an attack has begun against your thyroid hormones. Yes, your immune system is still one of the good guys, but he's creating an army of bad guys (antibodies) which engulf the thyroid hormones before they have a chance to work inside your cells. Blaming your thyroid is equivalent to blaming President Obama for allowing Donald Trump to run as president. Your thyroid is doing its part. Vindicate your thyroid.

This Dr explains it very well

Modern Medicine Fail:

My Mom has a scar about 5 inches long across her neck from having her thyroid removed when she was 12 years old. Back in her day, when a body part reacted abnormally, we pulled out a fancy surgical knife and cut the body part out. There was no confidence in the body's ability to heal itself. There was no analysis to figure out why it malfunctioned in the first place. Today, if my Mom was having the same issue, they would not remove it so quickly. Current treatment today for Graves disease (overactive thyroid) shows we have learned nothing from our mistakes in medical past. To treat Graves disease today, patients take a radioactive iodine pill every day, have to stay away from women and children, then let the radiation KILL the thyroid gland. After they have a non-functioning thyroid gland, the patient has to supplement with synthetic (eek!) thyroid (Synthroid) for the rest of their life. What?! Western medicine really encourages sickness.

The problem with taking Synthroid or Armour or any other Big Pharma prescription, is that you are only masking symptoms. And sometimes you are only masking them for a short time, then your symptoms come back. Your body is screaming at you that something is wrong and you are just turning down the volume. That's because you never find out WHY the thyroid was under producing, you didn't find out the metabolic issue, you never search for the ROOT CAUSE as to why your body is scrambling messages. Because the very thing that caused the metabolic issue has never been addressed and therefore will manifest in another way.

This woman's story with healing her thyroid. She had Graves disease. Her functional medicine doctor told her to: 1) Take his herbs, 2) Eat veggies and fruit 3) Enjoy life. She healed. We can too.

My History With Hashimoto's

I was diagnosed as Hashimotos in 2009 and opted out of medication for 6 months, hoping the problem would vanish. No, it didn't fix itself though I was not proactively helping it either. We were trying to have our first baby that didn't happen. Red flags were waving all over the place that I could no longer ignore. It was finally when I went to touch my hair that was inside a pony tail and my hair collectively was the width of a pencil. My head was balding and I had reached my tipping point. I first went on Synthroid and a few months later, boom, we were pregnant with my oldest daughter. Easy Peezy. But of course that doesn't end the story. The story never ends with prescription drugs, it only begins there.

A few years ago, I decided to go the more natural route and treat my thyroid with a thyroid compound with has both T3 and T4 in it and less toxic substances. (Did you know that Synthroid has gluten in it?) Plus I wanted to send my middle finger to Big Pharma by pulling myself out of their guinea pig experiment. Even with treatment, Synthroid or Compound, I still experienced thyroid symptoms like dry skin, tiredness, freezing cold hands and feet, loss of eyebrows and lashes, mood issues, edema problems, etc.

Thyroid Symptoms: You might know these ALL too well by now...

  • Fatigue - I used to fall asleep 5 minutes into sitting down
  • Weight Gain - About 12 pounds in 6 months
  • Depression - A dull mood in the mornings with awful depressing thoughts that come intermittently
  • Constipation - Once I went 5 days without going to the bathroom
  • Hypersensitivity to cold - There aren't enough socks or blankets, can't get out of shower
  • Poor circulation and numbness in hands and feet - I get numb hands and feet mostly in bed
  • Muscle cramps when at rest - Muscle tightness in my neck
  • Weakened immune system - Sick a lot and building a list of food in-tolerances
  • Excessive sleep needed - A 7pm bedtime is ideal in my world
  • Itchy, dry skin - My legs and hands mostly, even a rash on my hands and legs sometimes
  • Chronic digestive problems - Every night my stomach talks or gets massively bloated
  • Dry/Brittle hair - My hair has split ends even the day after a hair cut
  • Hair falls out easily - If you touch my hair, it falls out
  • Low Body temperature - Temps are around 97 degrees
  • Menstruation issues - No ovulation, long cycles, heavy or very light periods. We know the drill.
  • Edema, especially facial swelling (myxedema) - Water weight? Fatty face? YES
  • Loss of eyebrows/eyelashes - My face does not look the same! EEEKKK! Frustrating

After that I was diagnosed with a multitude of problems: adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, low progesterone, bacterial infection in my gut, low serotonin. During this, my body was screaming for help. I was getting bloated after every meal. Fasting is really hard on the adrenals, but it became my savior to get rid of the discomfort of bloating and s-l-o-w digestion. Then it came to where after I fasted I would over eat, no matter how much self control I practiced, my biological instincts had taken the wheel.

My current struggle with Hashimoto's Thyroid makes itself blatantly obvious. Of all the symptoms of a low-functioning thyroid, I have every single one. I felt that something seemed off in my body about a year ago. It seemed I wasn't absorbing nutrients, I felt and looked puffy. I remember waking up with swollen eyes and cheeks and even edema in my legs and butt. Of all places to be swollen, the face and legs- are some of the most damaging to your self image. My body was ballooning daily while I was tweaking my diet to the bare minimum. It was also becoming allergic to everything I ate. See Leaky Gut.

Most recently, my thyroid tested at 6.8 TSH which is outside the recommended level of 1.8-3.0 that functional doctors aim for. Proceeding the test result, came complete exhaustion, an attitude of "if you ask for sex, I WILL punch you," severe memory issues/brain fog, no motivation, no desire to get out of bed, massive hair loss, random crying and other craZy wife and Mom behavior. Indeed, on New Years 2016, I fell asleep at 730 pm even while entertaining guests. Bad host? Um, ya, luckily it was people related to me.


Dec 2015 (me on right)

So I became my own researcher and developed some lifestyle hacks that have been getting me through the Hypothyroid/Hashimotos symptoms/discomfort. I am writing this because I sincerely hope it helps others, so please know it comes from deep in my heart with true desires to help us all in this ordeal. I formatted it in a way where you can skip to the symptoms you are most plagued with and get to work. If you experience all the symptoms then high-five sister - me too!


1) AVOID GLUTEN as though it's a hungry mountain lion chasing after you. If you learn anything from this entire blog post it's that you must skip the denial process and go straight to gluten free. Gluten molecules are almost identical to thyroid molecules, so your body creates more antibodies to fight your thyroid when you consume gluten. Thyroid antibodies are what destroy your thyroid and don't allow thyroid hormones to enter your cells. According to Chris Kessler,"There’s no “80/20” rule when it comes to gluten. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. You have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid." 

2 ) CLEAN UP YOUR WATER. Chlorine is used to keep our water clean for drinking, but it is toxic to consume. It causes iodine to be depleted from our bodies. Iodine is necessary for a functioning thyroid. Fumes from heated chlorinated water are extremely toxic. So when you take that hot shower, you are inhaling compounds which destroy your thyroid function. Read here. Get a shower water filter.

SYMPTOM: Constipation:

Do everything to keep your digestion and elimination in tip top shape! When you get constipated, your body can reabsorb hormones (estrogen is common) that make you sick, bloated and very grumpy. So I suggest you become best friends with fiber. I mean a LOT of fiber. Read the Definitive Guide to bowel health.

  • Get more fiber with food: Eat an entire head of romaine lettuce before your lunch (add some fig balsamic for taste.) When you need a meal that you can eat as much as you want of it, here you go. No holding back.
  • Add phylum husk to your morning smoothie, you won't taste it
  • Eat a big bowl of soaked chia seeds (double bonus for the omega 3's in chia seeds! Yummy recipe here 
  • Prunes as a snack 
  • Health Hack! Take Magnesium-Oxygen pills at night if you haven't gone #2 all day. Start with only 2 pills, this will work beautifully by morning time but don't overdo it, 5 pills is too many for me. Just trust me on that.

SYMPTOM: Bloating/ Edema: 

1) Seaweed + Epsom salt baths for magnesium, bloating, minerals and relaxation. Your skin absorbs things. If you don't believe me then why else did they come out with nicotine patches for your skin. Right. Take a bath before bed for a great way to help you fall asleep (Epsom salt is loaded with magnesium with relaxes you) Read my post about bloating here. Make sure to take a cold shower after the seaweed bath to rinse off because otherwise you will wake up itchy, or at least I do.

2) Hold facial edema (swelling)acupressure points, read this blog. I hold points while I am driving or when bored, waiting in lines, etc.

3) Do a facial/lymph massage -

4) Rebounding! While sitting on a big yoga ball, strengthen your lymphatic system with bouncing. The rebounding flushes your immune system and pushes out the bad stuff so your body doesn't have to hold onto it anymore. Some use a trampoline, but for me, I got to rebound by dusting off my big yoga ball. You can do this while catching up on Gray's Anatomy on Netflix, btw.

5) A castor oil liver pack - these make me pass out within 20 minutes, soooo relaxing! I wake up refreshed, usually have to pee (releasing toxins) and have reduced belly bloat, every time.

SYMPTOM: Hair Loss 

Besides the weight gain, this symptom is the one that hits most of us women really hard. I have sobbed and panicked while looking at globs of hair that fell off my head. I have disgustingly pulled out numerous hair strands that fell into the dinners I cooked. I am with you on this, so don't fret. Just remember that you will not go bald. You might have less hair but it will grow back. Again, it's just a symptom, it's a message from your body, so let's listen to it and not judge it. And it's not your fault. In the mean time, I recommend two products: Surface for your scalp and castor oil for your eyebrows (and nails.) A great post here.

SYMPTOM: Tiredness/Exhaustion

With raising two young girls, life in this household has been nick-named CraZy-Town. But when you have an autoimmune condition, when your body is attempting to heal itself, it's VITAL that you find peace through the chaos. It is imperative that you get regular and frequent tune-ups. Do things that raise your spirits, do things that relax your mind and body. Do things that bring you sheer bliss. And don't feel bad about it. The emotional aspect of thyroid issues, is a feeling of giving out energy to others without feeling any nourishment yourself. As Louise Hay says, its about feeling like, "When is it going to be my turn?"
  • Spend time outside. Even in winter, seek out the sun if you can, sit on your porch wrapped in a warm blanket and read (my blog?) with a cup of tea or warm coffee, yum!
  • Go to bed early, your body is demanding sleep, give it some. Sometimes I pass out at 8pm. Please find a wonderful support system (luckily I have my hubs) who understands the importance of this. Your body isn't asking anymore, when you feel exhaustion, your body is demanding activation of your parasympathetic system
  • Listen to Louise Hay positive affirmations - It might feel cheesy at first, but trust me on this and just do it. I like to imagine what she says in my head so it reinforces the ideas. Her youtube videos are FREE.
  • Call 5-minute time outs, or go sit in the bathroom for 5 minutes doing nothing but breathing and practicing gratitude. Get simple with it, "Thank for for my ability to breathe" 
  • Take a baking soda bath to revitalize your spirits + soften your skin +balance your pH. Add 2-3 cups to the bath water and stay in for 20-30 minutes
  • Energy work, works!! This stuff revitalizes me and I can do it to increase my mood anytime
  • Acupuncture - An acupuncturist can balance your hormones and treat you for anything, including a puffy face, sore neck or digestive distress. Cost effective acupuncture is available by finding a community acupuncture center. In Denver, I go to Pin and Tonic, where the rate is $25 per session. It's healing and soooo relaxing!

Find a healer who treats your whole body and not just your thyroid symptoms:
NAET Provider

I also highly recommend NAET treatment. Where muscle testing and real cures happen. This is where I've healed the most in my life and healed instantly, I see an acupuncturist who uses this type of treatment in Denver. His motto is GOOD HEALTH IS AN ACTIVE PURSUIT. I don't leave his office and feel weak and sick and stuffed with prescriptions or supplements and mistrust for my body. Instead, it's the opposite, I I leave the office feeling healthy, strong and optimistic.

Also, if you are interested in helping your thyroid without prescriptions or compounds (Yes, I am!) a possible solution, here: Nutrimed desiccated thryoid


We are more than just our physical body. A great deal of our living is inside our head. Which is why athletes who imagine themselves completing their events activate the same muscles that are used during the actual event. Ever seen, the movie - The Secret? So what are you thinking that is causing you to be sick. Are you feeling dis-empowered? Are you not speaking up for yourself? Are your thoughts negative more than positive? A mental re-boot might be just what you need. Your body is letting you know it needs something. Listen to it. Figure out where in your life you feel like you are holding yourself back.

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