My Journey to an Overdue Hashimoto's Diagnosis
Hi everyone! Happy October! The fall weather and back-to-school season have been a welcome change.
I have some rather personal health news to share that I feel might benefit everyone. I have questioned whether to share my story publicly because I don’t want to turn this into a platform for victimhood, sympathy, or possible judgment. Ultimately I’ve decided that being open, authentic and honest, especially if it can help others and notably women, is what really serves us all. So if this story can help anyone else, it's worth it. Notice if you relate to any of this or in someone you know, and please pass it on to anyone who might need it.
With full disclosure, I had a rough summer. My three girls were home 24/7 without childcare, summer camps or cleaning help while I tried to continue growing my business, and I felt like I was drowning every day. This summer’s circumstances created a perfect storm where I couldn’t keep up and wasn’t coping well with life. Truthfully, I’ve been on an increasingly downward spiral for a year now with mysterious ailments that I can trace way back to when my youngest daughter was born 6 years ago. I’ve been rather emotional, dealing with mood swings, quick to react, very irritable, overwhelmed, sensitive to loud noises, impatient with my kids, having horrible menstrual migraines every month, constantly exhausted throughout the day, not sleeping well at all, barely able to get out of bed in the mornings as if I didn't get any rest, joint pain getting out of bed, extreme anxiety, excessive sweating, night sweats, hair loss, dry skin, brain fog, lack of concentration, puffiness, and unexplained weight gain I couldn’t lose no matter what I did. Phew, that’s a long list, but sounds like a mom, right? Except it felt extreme. I was dropping the ball left and right as a result, and it made me feel like I was going out of my mind. I just felt ‘off’ all the time and unlike myself, but I couldn’t attribute it any flu or cold. Somewhere along the way, I lost all drive, motivation, and passion for life which felt awful.
Despite it all, my standard approach was to power through it or muscle through my day. I tried not to complain, chalked it up to being a mom, downplayed it, and/or kept to myself. However, the worse I felt the more withdrawn I became - with my husband, my children, friends, you name it - then the more isolated I felt. I would trudge through my daily responsibilities that needed to get done, and then I began sitting out of life. Literally, sitting down, watching on the sidelines, or removing myself completely to lie down. I finally broke down at the end of the summer and admitted to my husband (and myself) that I wasn’t coping well with life and I have become someone I don’t want to be. I admitted most importantly to myself, as well as to others, that I had a problem, and I needed to get real help.
I began to realize this wasn’t just a phase I was going through. I had a classic case of superwoman syndrome! I was silently feeling guilty and beating myself up thinking I should be able to deal with this...that I was just being lazy, going out of my mind, or getting old. I truly believe now that things had to pile up and get really bad this summer in order to finally surrender and come to terms with asking for help, without self-judgment, but instead with mercy and grace.
Over the past year, I had already begun learning self-healing techniques with Medical Medium books/research, Reiki courses with my dear friend and Medium Peggy Rometo, and a meditation series with energy alchemist and beautiful human being, Nicola Behrman. All of the above, I highly recommend. I also started listening to podcasts on women’s health in the integrative/functional medical space because I didn’t feel conventional medicine was going to help. I had mentioned a few symptoms to my conventional MD’s over the years and the main response I would get from them would be “I can give you a prescription for XY&Z and while you’re at it you should get a vaccine booster or flu shot.” Instead, these podcasts featured experts in various fields describing exactly all the symptoms I had, and offered alternative methods for healing and healthy aging. As a result, I made an appointment on the recommendation of my dear friend with an Integrative MD, Dr. Anju Mathur.
Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that affects my thyroid and my immune system. It affects up to 14 million people "officially" in the U.S. alone, and women are approximately seven times more likely to have it than men. However, my research with Medical Medium and others say that in America alone, more than 250 million people are sick or dealing with mystery symptoms. It's possible that 7 out of 10 people in this country suffer from some thyroid disease and only half the people who suffer from it in the United States are ever accurately diagnosed or go undiagnosed altogether. Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases are still very much a mystery to the medical community. In women especially, it is often misdiagnosed as early peri-menopause or menopause. There are also varying approaches and disagreements regarding treatment, even in the alternative space. What’s known for sure is that chronic illness and autoimmune diseases continue to rise and are at an all-time high. My MD, Dr. Mathur, explained that autoimmune diseases have really become a First World problem due to all the toxic environmental exposures and other factors in industrialized countries like the United States.
Little did I know that as I began switching to safer products 10 years ago, bought organic, created my company, and partnered with Beautycounter to get safer personal care products into the hands of everyone that I would become part of a statistic. I'm a bit shocked. And yet, I'm also very empowered to have a diagnosis, to know that I wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t actually all in my head. In truth, I have actually been on this path the past decade for ME, and supported by the universe to prepare me for this. Mind blown.
So the path to healing now begins. It will be a process and everyone is different but I’m certain I can and will heal from this. They say you never truly rid yourself of this disease but I’m certain I can be healed regardless and will try to share my methods of healing along the way. Rounds of multiple blood tests have been taken and will probably continue, with more results still coming in (heavy metal toxicity, leaky gut, Epstein Barr virus, and adrenals...all potential factors/causes of Hashimoto’s). Weekly IV treatments are underway to oxygenate my blood, supplements, bio-identical hormones (the plant-based, Suzanne Somers kind haha). No more gluten, dairy or sugar at all...as well as eating more healing foods that can specifically help my thyroid. This is just the beginning and most of this is not covered by insurance, unfortunately. There are wonderful, caring doctors with life saving medical practices, but our health care system is just not yet set up for us to truly heal and more importantly age in a healthy way. It’s set up for pharmaceuticals that mask symptoms and make us sicker over time. I truly hope this will change in the future as we the people begin to demand it.
If any of this resonates with you or someone you know, or if you are experiencing any of these symptoms at all, my most important message is to please, DON'T BE ME, haha! Don’t ignore or blow it off if you aren’t quite feeling yourself but can’t attribute it to anything serious. Don't shrug it away and say it's part of being a crazed parent, or a busy professional, or I just need to get over myself. SMH because that was me. It's your body communicating with you. Get a full hormone panel and blood work done. Educate yourself. Learn how to truly support healthy aging, keep your body balanced, and prevent degenerative, chronic issues. It is SO much more than just diet and exercise.
If you need to visit a conventional MD, please know that you’ll likely need to really educate yourself in order to be your own advocate and get the answers you need. Ask about bio-identical hormones instead of the synthetic ones. Many doctors won’t test all hormones necessary for a true reading either... make sure to learn about them and request them yourself. Remember autoimmune diseases are still very much a mystery and it can be frustrating. I would personally recommend seeing an Integrative/Functional MD. Although most probably won’t be covered by in-network insurance, many of them have payment plans. I can also refer you to Dr. Mathur who is an angel if you are local to Los Angeles. Start listening to a few podcasts that discuss these topics as well. I will list a few of my favorites below. A spiritual component is equally important as well. There is always an underlying message from the Universe... ahem, without blaming yourself in the process. Mediation, yoga, prayer, serving others, whatever speaks to you are all vehicles to healing as well.
And finally, please support companies that aren’t just following a trend, but are 100% transparent in creating safer products and truly advocating for change in our country. You can have an impact by advocating with your dollars. Watch Stink the Movie for motivation if you haven't seen it. I am obviously even more passionate about my work with Beautycounter and growing my company Cleanly Simple since my diagnosis, even if exhausted. If you’d like to expand your kit of safer products with me as your personal Beautycounter concierge shopper, or if you'd like to get more in-depth help in your home overall, please reach out to me. I would love to help and greatly appreciate the support. Referrals are always appreciated too. And if you have a hard time letting go of your favorite brands, reach out to them...demand more from them. I'll attach Beautycounter's 2018 Social and Environmental Accountability Report to give you an idea of what I mean.
I will be attaching soon the Beautycounter Holiday Gifting Catalog for 2018. It is gorgeous and allows you to give beautiful gifts with a purpose this holiday season. I’d love to be considered as your concierge holiday shopper for your family or business, clients, corporate gifts, and even for you (I’ll personally reach out to your significant other with your wish list you provide).
Lastly, if you or someone you know would like to get even more involved in this important mission, please reach out to me and I can share how to do that too! Our health is truly our greatest asset. My plan is to hopefully do some outreach servicing others in need with chronic health issues in the future as well.
I hope this gets people’s wheels turning and sparks a discussion. Onward and upward. Fingers crossed, more updates of my healing and revelations to come! Thank you for reading, thank you for your healing thoughts, and thank you for following and supporting my healing journey along the way.
Beautycounter Shopping Link:
** If you place a product order online without speaking with me directly (as a first time client only), please make sure to let me know so that I can thank you properly, put you on my email list and track your order...there are some website cookie issues I'm still investigating. For the best shopping experience, reach out to me first. I have tried everything and can give you my honest opinion and best recommendations on what to purchase.
Attachments (click on links):
Beautycounter Holiday Gifting Catalog 2018 (launching soon - October 10th or 11th)