I noticed something was wrong this year. I just didn’t feel right. As it turns out, I’ve been living with Hashimoto’s Disease. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this for quite some time, but I didn’t know until recently. It sure explains a lot – and I’ll get into all of that in a bit.
To be honest, I’ve always struggled with energy. I’m anemic. I have been for decades. In addition to low energy, I also get lightheaded easily and often. Iron supplements have always messed with my stomach, so that didn’t seem like much of an option.
But this year, things went downhill fast.
Suddenly, everything felt like it required more effort than I had to give. I’ve felt pretty helpless over the last several months, which is almost funny since I have created a ton of new content this year that went above and beyond anything I thought I was capable of. It caught up with me, though and now I’m finding that I have to spend a lot of time learning about this condition – especially how to treat it holistically.
I’ll tell you how I’ve been feeling, the symptoms of living with Hashimoto’s, the combination of being iron-deficient anemic and what I’m doing about it.
If you’ve just been diagnosed or are wondering what life is like for someone else with this condition, read on.
Living with Hashimoto’s Disease
If you’ve followed my work for any length of time, you’ll know I’ve been into health and fitness for many years. I eat healthily and I take pretty decent care of myself. I enjoy my green smoothies, I’ve used my juicer to make fresh fruit and vegetable juices over the years and while I don’t work out nearly as intensely as I used to, I still exercise.
However, I’ve been anemic for years. I get lightheaded easily if I stand for too long or exert too much energy at times. Maybe you know the feeling. Suddenly you feel nauseous, your body can’t hold itself up much longer and you begin to see stars. You know that if you don’t sit or lie down, it’ll happen on its own. It’s a lousy feeling overall, especially when your mind wants to participate in whatever your body is preventing you from doing.
The same thing happens when I stand up from sitting or lying down. The official term for that is Orthostatic Hypotension. It’s a significant drop in blood pressure when you stand up too quickly. Anemia is one of the causes.
So while I’ve had that going on, I noticed this year, things changed. Everything got worse.
It’s been a slow build, but it just seems like everything magnified in its intensity this year. I had become sensitive to the cold over the last few years, but throughout this summer, I had to keep my feet covered, even while it was 80 degrees in the house. I also had to cut my hair (which had been down to the middle of my back) to a bob cut because it was thinning and just didn’t look right anymore.
My energy plummeted.
I wasn’t much of a napper, but I became one. I couldn’t help it. I was beyond fatigued all day every day. Suddenly the projects I’d felt such enthusiasm and motivation for became too difficult to work on (even though I have finished quite a bit and plan on completing a few things left on my plate for the year).
It’s just been a battle to get through the days. I want to do so much, especially to create & produce so many of my ideas, but my body just hasn’t been cooperating.
Once I went for my yearly physical and had some tests done, I learned I was living with Hashimoto’s Disease. Now I’m on a mission to do whatever I can to learn as much about this condition and treat both the symptoms and the cause.
What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disorder. Your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, damaging it and therefore, your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone – which leads to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). This, in and of itself, causes your body to slow down big time.
Your thyroid secretes these hormones into the blood, which carry oxygen to the tissues in the body. It also helps the body stay warm, utilize energy and keeps the organs working properly.
There are many causes of hypothyroidism, including:
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
- Damage to the pituitary gland
- Certain medications
- Too much or too little iodine
- Autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s)
- Congenital Hypothyroidism
The one I have is caused by an autoimmune disorder, which is Hashimoto’s Disease.Hashimoto's Disease is also known as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. The immune system, not the thyroid, is the CAUSE of the condition. The thyroid malfunction is the EFFECT. #hashimotosClick To Tweet
So while the thyroid is under attack and can’t produce the hormones necessary for the body to function correctly, you have to treat your thyroid, but you also need to discover what’s making your immune system go wonky.
The thyroid is a major player in the human body. It basically runs the entire endocrine system.
It’s treatable and there are plenty of people out there living with Hashimoto’s Disease that go on to live healthy and productive lives. Some of them even reverse the condition. But it requires a lot of research, lifestyle changes and time.
And since my goal is to attack this thing the way it’s attacked me, I guess you could say I have my work cut out for me.
So How Am I Living With Hashimoto’s Disease?
Over the last 5-6 weeks (since my diagnosis), I have done a ton of research. I’ve also made some significant changes to my diet & overall behavior (which was pretty healthy to begin with), including:
- Going (mostly) gluten-free
- Listening to my body when I need to rest instead of fighting it.
- Taking my supplements and medication every day as directed.
- Slowing down on my (already skimpy) coffee consumption.
- Watching videos, documentaries and reading articles about how to heal the immune system.
- Consuming a ton of gut-healthy foods like kombucha, home-made sauerkraut, aloe vera juice and apple cider vinegar.
And realizing I don’t live for anyone else! I have to take care of me. I’ll have nothing to give away if I’m drained, so self-care is everything if I want to be an asset to others.
What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder?
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- weight gain
- brain fog
- hair loss/thinning
- sensitivity to cold
So far, I haven’t dealt with the weight gain so much, but I have had most of the other symptoms for a while now. I basically respect my body and my limitations for now as I continue to follow the path to wellness using a balanced combination of holistic living while utilizing the medical industry when needed.
So Why Did I Create This Post?
I wanted to share a little of my journey with you in case you’ve been wondering why I’ve slowed down on posting content here. I also wanted to let others who have this disease know there are people like me out there willing to talk about it in the hopes that we can support one another through our journey to well-being.
Perhaps I’ll share more over time. So far, my symptoms haven’t let up, but when I do get a burst of energy, I utilize it for all it’s worth.
I want to close this out by sharing a resource that I’ve found invaluable.
I stumbled across this website, Thyroidpharmacist.com and learned who Dr. Izabella Wentz is and why she’s dedicated her life to helping people with thyroid disorders, including autoimmune induced thyroid disease, learn to make sense out of things and go about their strategies by examining the root cause.
I’ll leave you with a video about her and what she does to help people with thyroid disease take charge of their health and become their own warriors.
Wrapping Things Up
If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms that I’ve mentioned here or discussed in the videos I’ve shared, make sure you get your thyroid checked. Ask for a full thyroid panel. You need to have as much information as possible to understand what you’re dealing with.
I, unfortunately, didn’t understand the full magnitude of my condition (especially combined with anemia) until I felt too sick and tired to function properly.
The good news is, we can take charge of our well-being and become advocates of our own health and well-being.
Over to You
Are you living with Hashimoto’s disease? Do you know someone who is?
I’d love to hear your story.
As far as the blog and my other projects, I’m still working. I may have slowed down a bit, but you can be sure you’ll see more Study the Solopreneur interviews, creative projects and courses from me.
In fact, I have just wrapped up my most recent course “How to Lose Weight Safely and Responsibly.” It’s a no-nonsense course showing you how to use a FREE program to help you lose weight, get fit and carve your path toward healthy-living the right way.The truth is, if I hadn't taken charge of my own eating habits and weight problems years ago, my current health issues would be MUCH worse. #hashimotosdisease #thyroidhealth #autoimmunedisdeaseClick To Tweet
Today is the best day to start a healthy living program, so it’s my pleasure to bring this course to you. It’ll be published within the week, so stay tuned for the announcement that it’s live!