Hashi & Me is a series of stories for people with Hashimoto’s told by people with Hashimoto’s and other thyroid problems. In each piece, one of us will share our experience with Hashimoto’s, our personal findings and tips. We believe one person’s experience can be useful for others, especially to newly diagnosed people.
This week we meet Kelly, UX designer from Colorado.
How and when did you discover you had Hashimoto’s?
I discovered I had Hashimoto’s after several years of misdiagnoses and treatments that were targeted towards my symptoms but not the underlying cause.
I knew something wasn’t right because I was in my early 20s but felt exhausted all the time. I would come home from work drained of all my energy. Even though I was sleeping 9–10 hours a night, I still struggled to get up in the morning.
Finally, after complaining of inflammation my exhaustion, one doctor suggested I see a naturopath. I am so grateful to her! My naturopath ran a bunch of tests of my TPO, T3 and T4, TGAb, and TSH levels, discovering that I had Hashimoto’s.
What did you learn since? Do you have some tips or findings to share with other Hashimoto’s people?
After learning that I had Hashimoto’s, I immediately cut out gluten and started taking a natural thyroid medication. Less than a week later, I felt like a completely different person. A veil was lifted and I felt sharper, more capable at my job and I had TONS more energy.
Today, I manage my energy levels with a strict diet and daily exercise. Exercise is a big part part of my routine, and I always set aside time for about an hour to workout. I alternate between running, hiking with my dog, Hatha yoga, mountain biking, and skiing.
Diet changes have had the biggest impact for me. I feel noticeably more energized when I avoid inflammatory foods such as sugars, anything processed, alcohol, and soy.
I still drink coffee, but try to limit the quantity to just a cup in the morning. There are a lot of great resources out there figure out which elimination diet will work best for you. Some great places to start are the Hashimoto’s Protocol ,The Body Ecology Diet and Gut.
While seeing a naturopath can be expensive (and not always covered by insurance) it is definitely worth the investment to figure out what is triggering an autoimmune response. They can recommend supplements to take in addition to a thyroid medication. I’ve found that Evening Primrose Oil, B1, B12, Selenium, and Zinc have helped decrease my antibodies.
Also, I learned to be accepting of the fact that with an autoimmune condition, I need to keep my mood, health and energy levels balanced. This means that eliminating stress is an absolute must. Avoid stressful situations, practice gratitude and remember to go easy on yourself!
How does your day with Hashimoto’s look like?
I live in Colorado, so if there isn’t too much snow outside, I like to run in the mornings. Sometimes I bring my dog, Fritz. Afterwards, I drink coffee (with almond milk) with my husband and eat breakfast which consists of a salmon with avocado or salad. After taking my natural thyroid and supplements, I head off to work.
I’m a UX designer and sometimes work long hours, but I love what I do and genuinely am excited to go to work everyday. Throughout the day I drink a lot of water and make time to eat a healthy lunch. Before my diagnoses, it would be difficult to keep my energy consistent and I would rely on multiple coffees and chocolate to get me through the day.
After work, I cook with my husband and relax. Usually I take a bath and read before going to bed around 10:30pm. I have a lot of trouble sleeping, so I try to maintain a ritual of relaxation which includes avoiding digital devices in the evening.
What were the biggest struggle and the biggest victory your experienced?
It was really frustrating to receive misdiagnoses and to feel like something wasn’t right but not knowing how to feel better. My biggest victory was getting proper treatment, which made me feel a million times better. I felt like I could anything.
What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed to ease their first steps with Hashimoto’s?
Go see a naturopath who can help manage your underlying cause of Hashimoto’s and provide guidance on the right supplements for you. Also, recovery can take a while, so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not seeing results immediately. Try an elimination diet, using one of the resources I mentioned above, and see how you feel after a couple of weeks.
Track your symptoms using Boost Thyroid and start noticing trends. Remember to take things easy and don’t stress!