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.
In this special 13th edition, meet Dr. Vedrana co-founder and CEO of BOOST Thyroid.
My name is Vedrana and I am scientist, a businessperson, an amateur stand-up comedian, a mediocre runner, and a Hashimoto’s patient.
When I describe Hashimoto’s to people outside of our small-yet-huge community, I use many words and descriptions to bring the experience closer to people and to avoid looking like a hypochondriac, like a person using “the gland problem” as an excuse for excess weight. All of my excess weight was gained with the utmost pleasure. My gland is not the excuse; it is my motivation to become healthier.
Every day I wake up as a Hashimoto’s patient, diligently taking my medication at 7:45am, and every evening I go to bed as a Hashimoto’s patient, logging how my day went. In between I spend the day in a quest to curb Hashimoto’s. Mine and yours.
Who am I? I was researcher from when I was very young. My dad, a professor in chemistry, bought me a book on atoms. I could not read, but I could follow how the electron danced around the nucleus of an atom. I became a scientist, because there was no other choice. Science is my big love. I found it to be a great tool to try and do good in this world. It also allows me to think in all possible directions and dimensions. Science, just like the imagination, does not have many boundaries. But I discovered my health, my memory, and my concentration do have boundaries.
I got my diagnosis in my mid-30s. The issues started long before that, but I didn’t connect the dots. I always had a lower body temperature and took afternoon naps. I just thought it was my unique pattern of living, which up until then didn’t disrupt my life in any significant way. But the diagnosis was only the beginning. It turned out I wasn’t the only one in my family to have this condition: my late grandmother, my mother, and my sister all had it, too. It has deeply affected all of our lives, changed us as people, and at times limited and isolated us.
I read all the science there was on Hashimoto’s, though there wasn’t much. I had frustrating conversations with my doctor. I went through cycles of anger, despair, and resignation. Then, somehow I found more energy and picked myself up. I could not give up on myself. I started logging my experiences and experimenting with food and exercise.
As a result of my diagnosis, I take better care of my health. On average I eat better, and have less stress. I avoid stressful situations and stressful people. I avoid bad foods, though sometimes they find me, or I find them.
I try to anticipate what my health will look in the next one, two or five years. What problems will appear, and what issues will I have? Can I do something today to prevent it? Will I be able to have a good conversation with my doctor? Will I be taken seriously? Will I be able to run 10k run this spring and next? Will I be allowed to donate blood?
Although Hashimoto’s has robbed me of many things, and many little joys in life, I do not give up. I simply can’t. My goal is to fight back against Hashimoto’s. That is my passion and my drive. That is what I think about when I take that pill in the morning, or when I reflect about my day in the evening.
That is why I have built BOOST Thyroid; not because I am bored, or have extra time on my hands. I built it because there is only one way for all of us to truly understand our condition, and to contribute to the thousands who are about to be diagnosed. We must make a better present for ourselves and a better future for others. We can connect with research and use the big data that we log every day, week and month of our patient journeys to create better health outcomes today and in the future. By connecting personal technology to science, we can speed up the pace of research and discovery as well as our knowledge of Hashimoto’s.
I am always looking for passionate people to talk to. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you all.