Dealing with Hashimoto’s Disease

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You haven’t seen a picture of my dog in a while. So please, take a moment to revel in how adorable Inez is. Yes, it has occurred to me that I need a hobby that isn’t lavishing obscene amounts of affection on my dog, but I don’t have time for that…I have a dog that needs constant coddling.

I revealed a few months ago that I was diagnosed with a hypoactive thyroid. Technically, I have something called Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and can impair thyroid function. I tested positive for Hashimoto’s years ago. Like three years ago, and my doctors never wanted to treat it. Ironically, it was about three years ago that I started gaining weight that I couldn’t seem to lose no matter how much I restricted my calories (which also ended up in me screwing up my basal metabolic rate) or how much I worked out. I thought once it was discovered that I’d just take a pill and it would go away, but what I’ve learned over the last few months is that it takes a lot of trial and error to get it under control. And I’m still in the error phase. Since I started treatment I’ve more than doubled my dosage and my thyroid hormone levels are still out of control.

It’s been a really frustrating experience, and one I might never have gotten treatment for if I hadn’t miscarried last June. Silver lining? After months of crappy blood test results I finally switched doctors, and my new doctor is of a much more aggressive mindset in regard to treatment. Something I’m happy about, and hoping I’ll finally get my body back in some sort of functional order.

In the meantime, I’m grappling for the first time with the fact that my body isn’t always within my control. It’s a hard realization for someone who has always believed that if I just followed the rules; eating healthy foods and exercised regularly, everything would be fine.

I’m lucky, because as far as chronic health issues go, Hashimoto’s isn’t life threatening and it’s very common, meaning there are lots of avenues for treatment. I’m hoping with more aggressive treatment I’ll be able to get back a positive place with my body, both in how it feels (In addition to weight gain, the two symptoms I seem to live with constantly are exhaustion and very dry patches of skin that sometimes get scaly and bleed. I never told anyone this, but I wanted to get a tea length dress for my wedding, but didn’t because I was too nervous about the dry patches on my legs showing), and how it looks. 

In the meantime, I’ve decided to focus on the positive and go back to my daily food blogging roots. Taking pictures of what I eat every day actually helps encourage me to make better food choices and eating better makes me feel like less of sloth, even if I want to nap constantly. 

Have you ever dealt with a chronic illness? 

Breakfast

Smoothies! The Fella had chocolate, and I went with vanilla protein powder + milk, 1/2 a banana, and a tbsp of almond butter

Smoothies! The Fella had chocolate, and I went with vanilla protein powder + milk, 1/2 a banana, and a tbsp of almond butter

Lunch

Corned beef sandwich on multigrain bread with mustard; sauteed summer squash with onion, garlic and basil

Corned beef sandwich on multigrain bread with mustard; sauteed summer squash with onion, garlic and basil

Snack

Pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate seeds

Dinner

The Fella is in charge of salads in our house: Arugula, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, carrot, tofu, almonds, chia seeds, and oil and vinegar

The Fella is in charge of salads in our house: Arugula, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, carrot, tofu, almonds, chia seeds, and oil and vinegar

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  1. I don’t know for certain that I have Hashimoto’s, as I have yet to be tested for it, but I have hypothyroid and PCOS, which means there’s a high probability that I do have it, so I’m operating under the assumption that I do until I find out otherwise. At any rate, recent studies have shown a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance, and that gluten can aggravate it. I generally try to eat gluten free, and when I do I tend to have tons more energy (that’s always a lot harder for me this time of year, which probably explains why I’ve been feeling so draggy lately). Anyway, I hope you get it all sorted and feel better.

    • That’s interesting about gluten, I’ll definitely start looking into that when I have a minute to breathe.

  2. I haven’t experienced anything like Hashimoto’s Disease myself, but I know that they can take a toll! My mom was diagnosed with Lupus when I was in middle school. In the years following, she was also diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease… but was then told it was, in fact, Ulcerative Colitis a few years later. Then after that, she got Rheumatoid Arthritis. I think those other things came into play, because the Lupus compromised her system, but I’m not doctor! I know it must be frustrating for you. I hope you can find some balance, relief, and resolution with diet and or things. You are awesome, Kim!

  3. Hi Kim
    I have Hashimoto’s disease and endometriosis so I know what it is like to live with chronic disease.
    The good news with Hashimoto’s is that there is a lot of information out there from health professionals and bloggers alike. It can take a lot of sifting but over the years (I was diagnosed in 2007), I have found various nuggets that helped. Like Jean Marie, one of the things I discovered is that there appears to be a documented link between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance so I cut out gluten properly about 18 months ago and it does make a difference to how I feel. I really notice it if gluten slips into my diet occasionally.
    It can be frustrating in the early stages of treatment to get the balance right that works for you. When I lived in Caribbean, I finally got the right dosage with a mixture of Synthroid & Cytomel (I’m a poor T3 converter) but when I moved back to Europe, I found that they won’t prescribe Cytomel at all so I have been back to square one, tinkering with my levels. I very much empathise with what you’re going through – if you want to chat offline about this, let me know.
    Take care and bon courage as they say here.
    xx

  4. I have Ménière’s disease, which causes sudden bouts of severe vertigo, nausea, and ringing in the ears. Over time, it also causes permanent hearing loss. The most difficult thing to deal with is the unpredictability of attacks. The fear of having one while driving, in a store, or other public place can make me want to stay home and avoid others. I have to fight this urge to try to maintain a somewhat normal life.