Friday, May 3, 2013

What do Oprah and I have in common? Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

            Would you have guessed? Oprah and I are long lost twins?! Imagine that! Of course, I don't mean this literally, but medically we both suffer from the madness. Thyroid madness that is. We both have hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Disease to be precise. I like to refer to it as Mr. Hashi-it makes it slightly mysterious and elusive when in reality it just sucks. Hashimoto's disease is an auto-immune disorder that causes your body to produce anti-bodies that attack and slowly deteriorate your thyroid (if you don't take the necessary precautions!). Sounds fun huh? A normal anti-body level is >35 (although none is desirable) and last time mine were tested it was around 65. Fortunately, my anti-bodies aren't as high as many people I've talked to. I met women who's anti-bodies are in the thousands, but my goal is to get to zero anti-bodies attacking my thyroid. I am going to embark on the impossible! Good thing Addidas tells me "Impossible is Nothing" because I want off my medication.
           Mr. Hashi reared his ugly head a little more than two years ago during my junior year of college. I took pride in being the healthy friend and for the most part I appeared healthier than most. I ate my greens and adored vegetables (I still do), I was mostly vegan, but I also frequently took adderall to study, was always stressed and partied way too much. Eventually this caught up with me and my skin started breaking out terribly. I instantly knew something was wrong. Around the time my mom read Dr. Mark Hyman's book The UltraMind Solution-it was the first time I heard about the connection between gut health and brain health, amongst many other things. I knew he needed to be my doctor I had a feeling he would help me figure out what was wrong. 
          I made the trek to Lenox, Massachusetts to the UltraWellness Center and had several blood tests done, in addition to a stool test and mercury levels test I did beforehand at home. My test results showed that I had very high mercury levels along with other heavy metals, I had h. Pylori (a parasite), systematic yeast, SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth),  several nutritional deficiencies, amenorhea (lack of menstral cycle), constipation, acne (like I didn't know), and as if that wasn't enough Mr. Hashi was diagnosed. I was put on a protocol to kill the parasites, yeast, and get my body back into balance. I was on a crab load of supplements to detoxify my body and to heal my gut. In addition to this I was put on a diet FREE of sugar, dairy, gluten, yeast, caffeine, and alcohol-for 3 MONTHS. I was pissed, it fucking sucked, but it was necessary at the time. I ended up taking the semester off to attend cooking school (yah cooking school on a diet) in NYC with my best friend-taking a break from college to do something more creative, more me. To say I didn't cheat on the diet would be a big fat lie, I cheated a bit…although I stuck to the whole no alcohol thing. At the time, I wash't as educated on gut health, gluten intolerance, probiotics, supplements, yeast issues, parasites, detox diets-amongst all the other subjects I now consider myself and expert on. My pursuit of knowledge to better myself has in returned made my life path more clear. I now know I want to help people who find themselves in the same place I was-tired, breaking out, depressed, OUT OF BALANCE.
          Wait-how did we get here? Back to Mr. Hashi…so I did this fun diet for awhile and didn't fill my prescription for ARMOUR THYROID, a natural thyroid replacement that I was told would restore my thyroid levels (but not get rid of the anti-bodies). I resisted being put on a pill that I was told would be for the rest of my life (a myth I am going to bust), but eventually I was curious to see if it worked. After about 6 months, right before I was to return to college to finish up the year and a half I had left, I decided to try it. I went on 15 mg and it worked like magic. My yeast symptoms went away because my immune system wasn't suppressed anymore. I felt great and MY SKIN WAS CLEAR. I was put on a higher dose, I don't even remember why now and slowly I started to not feel as great. Towards the end of the year I wanted off the medicine I hated the idea of having to take a pill every morning, controlled by an outside mechanism, I wanted out. So cold turkey I went on a juice fast and said bye bye to the Armour. Blah blah blah-return of the ACNE, parasites and yeast, ew (maybe they never fully went away). I decided to go back on the Armour in August, along with a super strict diet, and some antibiotics to kill the parasite- I was depressed, my skin was breaking out, and I was alone back at college where most of my friends had graduated. I was not in a good place, I was obsessed with healing myself and I'm pretty sure the stress of my diet and getting rid of the parasite was causing more harm than the parasite. Haha funny how life works? So I ditched the dogma and decided to do what works for me. Of course, the pendulum swang to the complete opposite side. Hello coffee, alcohol, and the occasional  sweet treat. Not terrible, but definitely not helping. To be honest, I needed this freedom for a few months, but now I'm ready to heal my gut once and for all.
         I want to go off my thyroid medicine, little by little, and do it completely 100% naturally. I'm almost 23 and being dependent on medicine isn't an ideal situation for me. I am confident that with a positive attitude, the elimination of my vices, reducing my stress, and tweaking my diet-I will heal my thyroid issues 100%. I hope for this to be a learning experience. How will I do this? I've been tip toeing into the paleo diet for the last couple months and I think I'm ready to dive into it with a few tweaks here and there. The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol is what I feel is going to work best for me. I'll post more on this later, but I wanted to let you know where I'm heading.

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