My name is Courtney. I am wife and mother of two living in the Houston Metro Area.
I’m going to begin with my background and add a little disclaimer before digging deeper into the topics of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s…
I am not a medical professional. Everything I share is based on personal experience and my own opinions. That being said, I research a lot! I want to optimize my health and share how you may be able to optimize yours. Of course, we are not all alike. How one may react to a diet change, supplement, or medication may be very different from the next person with the same diagnosis.
A little family history…
My mother has hypothyroidism and Type 1 Diabetes. She had a partial thyroidectomy about 20 years ago. My grandmother on my father’s side also has hypothyroidism. Not a total shocker that I have it, too.
My first onset of symptoms was back in 1998, when I was 8 years old. I was dubbed the “lazy” kid. I didn’t like to run around and play outside. If I was outside, I was sitting and playing. The most I did at recess was swing. I would get “shaky” before lunch, even though I already had breakfast. My mom though that I was having blood sugar issues. My sugar levels were always fine. I started falling asleep in class. That was the symptom that prompted blood work – It was official. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was prescribed Synthroid and dreaded blood tests every 3 months. I took :Synthroid daily for 10 years.
Taking Synthroid, for me, never really helped my symptoms. I remained “lazy”, but my TSH looked good. 👎
Fast forward to early adulthood, I never gave my hypothyroidism any thought. I always brushed it off as a minor setback for weight loss (I had been heavy for as long as I could remember.) I was living on my own and didn’t have insurance, which also meant no medication. I didn’t care at all. I didn’t prioritize my health. I chose to close my eyes and not see the mess I was becoming. Honestly, I didn’t care because the medication did literally nothing, so what was the point, anyway?
Boy, was I in for a nasty surprise!
My symptoms very gradually changed over the next few years. I was blessed with a daughter in 2011, and a son in 2014. I was still heavy and accepted that long ago. I was always going to be heavy. I was still not medicated.
I started getting anxiety and depression. I was less than pleasant to be around. I felt like no one liked me. I felt like people were talking about me. I didn’t have any self-worth. I went from putting on make up every day to barely brushing my hair. It was awful! I regularly had my eyebrows done. The hair stopped growing back and I needed to fill them in instead! I started getting heavy periods. There was a little hair in that grew under my chin. Freaked me out! I plucked it every time I felt it. I wasn’t able to last the whole day without a nap. Then, I couldn’t go to sleep until 3-4 am.
Last year, I noticed I was gaining weight like crazy. Before, I fluctuated at the same weight for years, give or take a few pounds. But this time, I had gained 30 pounds in a few months! I was falling asleep at the office. I would use my breaks to take walks instead of eating lunch. I kept gaining and I was panicking. I ended up going to a naturopathic doctor and she ran some blood tests. She called me saying my results were back. I went to her office and she said everything looked normal. She told I don’t have hypothyroidism and that I need to eat a salad (She said that.). Then, She proceeded to offer me some supplements from her store. I was in tears. (I know there are many good naturopathic doctors out there. I just picked a bad one.) I was also out $400.
Finally, open-enrollment for insurance was upon us. I made an appointment with an endocrinologist. She ordered extensive blood work and agreed to put me on Nature Throid at my request. I simply told her I had taken Synthroid for years and never felt well. After taking Nature Throid for 3 months, my TSH (“important” to my doctor 🙄) was cut in half. I had also requested to test my free T4 and free T3, which she said was irrelevant, but did it anyway – that was finally within range, at least. Far from optimal, but within the range. I finally felt like I was starting something good for myself.
The next blood work showed my TSH was just about optimal! However, my free T4 was still very low and free T3 was still sitting on the edge of being within range at all. That to me was alarming, but maybe my body was still getting acclimated. After all, I did take a 10 year hiatus from being medicated at all. Patience is of essence.
In June, it was time for more blood work. I asked to have my thyroperoxidase antibodies tested. It turns out I also have Hashimoto’s. My results were on the low end, 77 IU/mL, compared to others’ 1000+IU/mL, even!
I spent a lot of time kicking myself and feeling sorry for myself. Why me? Why do I have to deal with this? I started researching about diet and how it affects the thyroid. I read that gluten and dairy affect most of us. I know if I eat gluten or dairy, my stomach feels like a balloon. I get gassy, bloated, my stomach starts cramping. It’s pretty unglamorous. My feet even start to swell.
After a month of wallowing and researching, I decided to take charge of my health. It was my “aha” moment. Nobody can make changes for you, except you. Nobody is going to research for me or make meal plans tailored to my needs. I mean, there are meal planning services, but I don’t want to pay for that. If I don’t ask for certain tests, they won’t be ordered. I didn’t feel like feeling like poo anymore. I wanted to be able to stay awake the whole day. I wanted to get rid of brain fog. I want to be the boss of my health.
Welcome to this journey.