I can’t wait for you to read my friend Jennifers story as she healed from multiple autoimmune diseases. Look at the hurt and pain in this first picture and how far she has come. I can relate to her in so many ways, Blakes symptoms resemble hers early on. Thank you Jennifer for being here and providing such a powerful message. You can find her at feastingonjoy.com as well as facebook, instagram, and pinterest as feastingonjoy
I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Hypothyroidism, Asthma, Eczema, have had fertility problems, lost two babies due to undiagnosed thyroid issues, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, hair loss, hormonal imbalances, and deep depression. Through my healing journey, I have said goodbye to every single one of those things. I’d love to share my story with you and encourage you that there’s hope for healing. You can thrive in life and not just survive your way through it!
In my childhood, I suffered from Asthma and allergies quite severely. It was usual for me to go to bed with eyes swollen shut because they itched so badly. I would need to take my Ventolin or Albuterol inhaler multiple times a day because my allergies triggered my Asthma. Laughing or exercise triggered it as well. I was not able to exercise well because I would get debilitating asthma attacks. Doctors eventually put me on steroid inhalers for “prevention” and basically said there was nothing else they could do. My legs were always horrendously itchy and I would be embarrassed to show my legs sometimes due to the scarring they had from the itching. I had terrible headaches from a young age that lasted into my adulthood. Nutrition and gut health was never explored by my doctors and I certainly didn’t understand it at that time. I also gravitated toward lots of refined sugar and carbs when I ate. Antibiotics were a mainstay in my life as well and usually in the course of a year, I was on them 2-3 times for various reasons. I suffered from dark depression and migraines into my adult life.
During my adulthood, three months after I had my first son, I had two root canals and crowns put in my back molars. This dental choice was the final straw that would ultimately turn on the gene to cause Hashimotos to rear its ugly face. Within nine months of that “routine” dental visit, the skin on my face turned itchy, burning and very flaky. It was very much like Psoriasis. It would not go away no matter how many chemical filled topical creams I tried from the conventional dermatologists. It wasn’t until about two years later when I had my first miscarriage at twelve weeks that, at the advice, of my mom, I decided to have a doctor test my thyroid. “I was so young!” doctors would say. They didn’t want to test me but after hunting around, I found that my OB would refer me to an endocrinologist to test me despite my age.
After dealing with a lifetime of symptoms up until I was 29, I finally got a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Thyroiditis. The endocrinologist who diagnosed me, who was the endocrinologist for a Major League Baseball team, did a blood test and a thyroid ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis. His treatment was to give me synthetic T4 and tell me that all the other symptoms I continued to have after taking the T4 were not related to my Hashimotos or Hypothyroidism. Ignorantly, I trusted him and took this medication for years believing that all the other problems I was still experiencing really were not related to proper thyroid function.
My absolute lowest point in my health journey was when I was when I was 33 years old. I had been eating gluten free for 2 years, was on the tail end of a rigorous food elimination diet and still taking my synthetic T4. At this point, the company I had been doing the elimination diet with told me I likely had leaky gut. I had no idea what that even meant at the time. Now I know that the problem at the time with this elimination diet was that they had me eating lots of nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. This further exacerbated my symptoms and amplified the malnourishment that I was experiencing due to the tight junctions in my intestines being compromised and letting undigested foods and pathogens across the malfunctioning barrier. Since grains, legumes, nuts and seeds have lectins, saponins and phytates in them that bind to minerals, eating those foods left me even more depleted of these vital nutrients.
My 5’4” frame was now at 96 frail pounds. My face, neck and arms itched and had eczema so badly and had open sores all over them and was in tears often. I couldn’t take showers and basically had to take sponge baths because of my painful skin. I felt like I was crawling and literally going insane. I couldn’t let blankets or anything touch my skin because they inflamed my skin even more. Every time I ate I would be in tears and I developed a fear of eating. I was experiencing numbness and tingling in my extremities and the brain fog was unbearable. I was even tested for MS and Lupus which, thankfully, came back negative. The fatigue I was experiencing was debilitating. As a homeschooling mom, this was devastating because I would literally have to sleep in between the subjects I was teaching my kids if I could even teach them that day. Most days I just stayed in my bed and watched life go on around me. I wondered if I was dying of cancer and would eventually be diagnosed with it. My depression was spiraling out of control and I was contemplating ending my life. To say my life was low was an understatement.
At that point, I started seeing a functional doctor but still not getting much relief. She had done an EBV & Mono test and I was awaiting results. During those few days of waiting, I woke up one morning screaming after I had looked at myself in the mirror. My face was so swollen that I could barely recognize myself. I immediately called my functional doctor and she called in some antibiotics. Out of deep fear, I took them. What I didn’t know at the time, but found out months later was that she didn’t even check my chart, since it was on the weekend, and she called in Penicillin which is the one antibiotic I am allergic too. I only lasted 2 days on those before I was even sicker, more swollen and every symptom I had was worsened. I was so sick and scared, I didn’t even think to look at the medication name on the bottle. I trusted my doctor. Turns out that EBV and Mono were confirmed positive for me. My immune system was wrecked. I was in the deepest, darkest valley and it felt very overwhelming. I really wasn’t sure I would ever get out of it.
WHAT HAS HELPED & TIPS
Are you in a similar situation? Maybe you just got a diagnosis that you don’t understand or that scares you. Maybe you are completely overwhelmed as to where to start. My advice to you is to first, pray. Ask God for direction in your life and to point you to the health protocols you should pursue. It’s very powerful and valid. Secondly, I would say, just start. Take baby steps and do one thing at a time if needed but do something. Thirdly, it can be beneficial to find a good functional doctor. In my experience, a good one is hard to find but it is completely possible. You may want to read my post about how to interview your doctor to help find one that’s perfect for you. Don’t be afraid to drive a little (or if possible go out of state) to find a good one. Don’t let location hinder you from finding the best care. Lastly, keep a hopeful perspective and don’t let your mind go down into the pit of despair. Not only will that exacerbate your symptoms but it will hinder your forward movement in improving your health.
HAVE YOU FOUND SUPPORT IN DOCTORS, FAMILY, FRIENDS?
Personally and thankfully, I did have a supportive husband and my parents were there for me in abundance. I am so grateful. There were (and still are sometimes) lonely times but talking to someone who truly understands is really helpful. Unfortunately, doctors have rarely been a support for me. They have been people that I have had to guard my life against for the most part. I have learned the hard way that it is crucial to well-being to be my own advocate. Be sure you understand that the ball is always in your court! It’s your body and no one can force you into a procedure or protocol. If you don’t feel right about doing something then trust your gut and don’t do it. Read here for the four signs it may be time to fire your doctor.
Where am I now?
Well, there are a lot more details to my story of healing which you can read over at Feasting On Joy but currently, I live without the debilitating symptoms of Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Hypothyroidism. My asthma is gone. My skin and gut have healed dramatically. I no longer suffer from adrenal fatigue, hair loss or the horrible depression. I have seen a drastic improvement in my female hormones and PMS symptoms as well. Through changing my diet (first GAPS and then AIP/Paleo) and drastically changing my lifestyle I got my life back! I only credit God for leading me along the path and showing me what to pursue next.
Protocols I have enjoyed throughout my healing journey in the last 5 years have been my Infrared Sauna, RIFE Therapy, Biological Dentistry (getting those root canals and crowns removed and cavitations cleaned out), continuing on the AIP and Paleo Diets, Dr. Amy Myers 30 Day Candida Protocol, purposeful movement, using desiccated liver and collagen for skin health and hair, taking several different gut healing probiotics and eating fermented foods, juicing, coffee enemas and Apple Cider Vinegar enemas, massage and chiropractic work, bentonite clays, many paleo cookbooks, utilizing Epsom salt baths and my most favorite is using doTERRA essential oils for help with keeping my immune system, hormones and moods healthy. Prayer, Journaling and Scripture writing has kept me grounded and ministered to my spiritual healing as well. I have employed the use of compounded thyroid medication that has no inflammatory fillers, with a specific dose of T3 and T4 hormones for my body.
My pain has become my purpose! Although there are still some bumps in the road as there usually are with autoimmunity, I have been able to live a thriving life, experiencing the joy of waking up each day and looking at it as a gift. It has become my biggest blessing, through Feasting On Joy to help people thrive in life rather than just survive. God has allowed me to become a Certified Essential Oil Coach with a thriving team and getting my credentialing as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner is on the horizon.
My joy comes from knowing that God doesn’t waste anything. He uses our challenges, hardships and tragedies and turns them into something good. Please be encouraged that you can heal too. It is hard work and takes grit and determination as well as being your own advocate but I can tell you with great passion – when you feel better and heal, it makes it all worth it! Thriving in life rather than just surviving is absolutely terrific!
Disclaimer: The words in this post are not the opinion of Our New Harmony Blog, they are the authors own experience and thoughts. We are not here to diagnose you, that is a health professional’s job. If you decide to make changes in your own life, do so with the help of your health care provider.