Tea ~ Orange Swirl
If you look at my body, you wouldn’t know it. If you saw me smile, which is a lot because there is a lot to be joyful about, you wouldn’t know it. Looks are deceiving. You don’t know what a person is going through. Please don’t comment on the size of someone’s body whether big or small. Saying “you’re so skinny,” or “wish I had your body.” They might be fighting a battle underneath it all and you have no idea.
It’s really hard for me to write this. I used to think I was a pretty healthy person. I eat right, cooking mostly vegetarian by default, since I’m married to a vegetarian. I’ve eaten gluten free for 2.5 years thinking the fatigue was from that. But, I would say the last 5 years or so have revealed otherwise as new allergies developed from anaphylactic shock to fire ants, far too much discomfort wearing contact lenses that revealed a silicone contact lens allergy and giving me contact lens induced conjunctivitis whenever I did wear contacts of any kind for even just a couple of hours (so happy I got LASIK in January!). Birth control pills made me *cRaZY* and promptly got off of those! This started while living in Dallas. Then it just seemed to escalate when we moved to Chicago in 2011. I didn’t have a period for 10 months. Perfect timing as we wanted to start a family! Read more about that story here.
What in the world is going on?!
Knowing what I know now, Zeke is truly a miracle. Seriously, God gave us this equal parts sweet and wild little boy as a gift, because it was not by my body’s doing that he was conceived, carried to term and born. Thankful for a gracious God who answers our prayers and gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4) in His timing.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease on October 2. Hypothyroidism. Its an auto immune disorder. My immune system attacks my thyroid, causing it to be under-active and to not release the proper amounts of hormones to make the body function properly. It involves inflammation and antibodies. I am not absorbing essential vitamins and nutrients like iron, vitamin d and b. I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in 2012 and the fertility clinic who diagnosed it was all too eager to get me on a number of drugs, hormones and IUI/IVF to help us conceive without so much as a blood draw. Hmmm, could there be thousands of dollars involved for them? Yes. Be careful out there.
I’m certain I had Hashimoto’s before we became pregnant with Zeke. The biggest symptom has been fatigue. Why am I SO tired?! I exercise, eat well, stay active in general. No amount of sleep, going to bed early, naps, etc., makes me feel rested. To top it off, another symptom can be insomnia. I’ll lay in bed, exhausted, but am unable to sleep. And then, cold hands and feet is a symptom. WHAT?! I’ve struggled with this for YEARS! I have about a 5 degree differential in temperature tolerance. My parents used to joke with me on car trips because I would say, “I’m hot, can we turn the A/C on?” then like 10 minutes later, I’d say, “I’m too cold, can we turn it down?” “I’m too hot. I’m too cold. etc. etc.” It would go on and on. Turns out, Hashimoto’s patients have a difficult time regulating their body temperature. That and low libido…it’s not just me! Hallelujah! Constipation, it’s a terrible symptom, but so present and a reminder to me everyday that this is my life now, but it has a name, thankfully.
I actually felt amazing during my pregnancy (I gained 60 pounds!) and well enough while nursing minus the frequent sinus infections. I’m certain this condition combined with the PCOS gave me a hard time nursing with low supply and we were constantly nursing to keep up. It was very stressful and a very, VERY heavy burden for me. If I were to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, we’d be doing a nursing and formula mix and that’s that. Stress triggers symptoms, so it’s just hilarious that all these symptoms are stressful, and yet, I need to not be stressed to help avoid them. We weaned at 15 months because I was having a hard time, and had a boost in energy afterward for a few months. I felt AMAZING! And then the last half of the summer when I’d been playing beach volleyball doubles multiple times per week and in the best shape I’d been in for about 10 years my energy just TANKED. What gives? I would feel fatigued right after eating especially, if not all day long.
So now what? I’m not healthy. Let’s just call a spade a spade. Sickness all last winter, tons of sinus infections. All of the inflammation makes my symptoms go crazy and increases allergies. I need to be on a low carb diet to stabilize my blood sugars. This will help decrease all of the antibodies and my immune system always working to attack my thyroid and then hopefully my hormones will be somewhat normal. I need to boost my protein to 60 grams a day (equivalent to 3 chicken breasts). So really, I’m going on a mostly Paleo diet/lifestyle. I’ll do some dairy for the protein and because my spouse is a vegetarian and if I eat MORE meat and no grains or legumes (yeah, no rice, no quinoa or other “ancient grains,” no beans) AND dairy, the thought of making meals is stressful. No/low sugar as well because sugar is carbs. I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now and I would say I do feel better, better energy. The times I’ve cheated, I’ve regretted it, and I’ve had trouble with regulating my body temperature, increased insomnia, and fatigue. I’m taking a number of supplements like Selenium which is supposed to be great for Hashi’s patients. If diet and supplements don’t help, there are thyroid hormones I can take. But for now, this seems to be helping and we’ll get extreme later if we have to.
We’re just a treat to have over for dinner! I’m getting over the angry/pity-party for myself phase and into the grab the bull by the horns phase to just start feeling better! Thankful for some answers and some items on my to do list to get to better health. And all you have is your health, don’t mess around with it. You only get 1 body, so you’d better make it work with the one you have. I would appreciate prayers during this transition, it’s been difficult for me.
Hope this helps someone and encourages someone else.