Hashimoto’s has a variety of causes, risk factors, and treatment can vary from person to person. I am not offering you medical advice. Please go to a doctor for medical advice. Me am no smarts. Me no know. Me like squirrel!
Typically, one is given thyroid hormone replacement drugs. My desired treatment, wearing mittens and sleeping all day, wasn’t available by prescription. Perhaps one day in the future, health care will catch up to the specific needs of the individual patient instead of thinking all of us want to return to the vibrant person they once were.
The idea of being on medication for the rest of my life scared me. I am drawn to a healthy lifestyle, I eat a pretty clean diet, unless you have chips, and then I eat chips. Your chips. I took them and I ate them. Or a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait- those are like medication for the soul. Until they hit your stomach, and then they are like diarrhea for your butt. Where was I? Right. Since this first pill was causing all of these side effects (hair falling out, heart palpitations, anxiety) I decided to go the natural route and with the supervision of my doctor, I went off my medication. Please note that at this point I did not realize this was an autoimmune disease, I thought my thyroid was just lazy and the right supplements or food may fix it. I mean, that is what google told me. Google always right! Google all knowing.
I went to see a “natural practitioner” – I thought he was an ND, but I looked at his website today and he is a “Health Detective”. Well, that sounds official. So, in hindsight I should have done a little bit, just a tiny wee tiny little tiny just a smidge more research into this “practitioner” . I also wish I knew at that time that I had Hashimoto’s, because some of the treatments he gave me, especially Lugol’s Iodine, isn’t appropriate for someone with an autoimmune thyroid disease. Whoopsie daisy. It’s okay, it is just my gland, the one responsible for metabolism, and a variety of other incredibly important jobs, that is slowly dying, no bigguns. He also sold me this little thing, to plug into my iPod, I can’t remember the science behind it, but I bought it as I felt really vulnerable and desperate. Look everybody, a Health Detective cured me with this thing I plug into my iPod. What? Yes. He made it himself and it is most likely magic. If you plug it into your iPod a message comes on saying “Hello Dummy”. Actually, it just makes poltergeist white noise sounds. Maybe it will work for you though, fifty dollars please.
There are plenty of MD’s, ND’s and qualified people to help you. You can build a team. It isn’t worth the gamble to end up sicker, or disillusioned. In my case, at the end of the treatment or when I ended it – I felt worse. My thyroid was not working better, even though the energy measuring machine in his office insisted it was. And it was expensive. I felt embarrassed and angry . Sure, I feel like that most days but at least I had someone to direct those feelings towards, instead of myself. That was a nice break. Maybe it wasn’t a terrible investment after all.
I also saw an herbalist who was convinced that my thyroid had been crushed in an injury to my neck. And that she had a chiropractor that could fix it. Possible, sure. But not the case. Another told me it started when I got pneumonia a few years ago, another suggested I resolve my issues with my mother. Another said that I needed to voice my opinions more. I am sure if you know me, that isn’t an issue. Give up gluten? I have been gluten-free for 8 years . I have stacks of books, an education in Holistic Nutrition, and I am still learning.
One thing that has changed a lot for me is how I listen to people. And try not to offer advice. Even though I may have some. That impulse to find a solution or to help, can be misguided. A dear friend was recently diagnosed with a very painful autoimmune disease and when we were catching up she said “well, if I don’t die in the first two years, I have a really good chance at making it”. So maybe, I wasn’t going to tell her about the article on fish oils, or curcumin, or whatever impulse I had to try and help. Or to make it somehow about me. I was just going to sit with my friend in that moment. Because I don’t have advice for that. I have feeling for that. I have fear, and sadness. And hope. I have gentle hugs for that. It is okay not to know and we have to get comfortable in that place of unknowing . Just do your best to be right there in that moment. That is where you are needed.
Advice is often not support. I would say that cookies are support, but the relationship between foods that cause inflammation and autoimmune disease would suggest otherwise. I know that often advice is often an expression of frustration and love. But please, don’t google my condition and offer me advice. I have googled it too. Just laugh with me when I can’t tie my shoes, or let me put my cold hands up your shirt. I am going to be fine, even if I never figure it out.