#9 Hashi & Me: meet Julie

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 meet Julie, living an active life in Portland, OR, and instagrammingabout Hashi.

How and when did you discover you had Hashimoto’s?

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s just 3 months ago but my thyroid problem has a long and winding backstory.

In high school I was told I had hypothyroidism and put on medication with no real explanation of my problem or path to recovery. About a year into college, my expenses were so high that I decided to stop taking this mystery pill for a problem I had no symptoms for. Unfortunately I didn’t know how foolish of a choice it was back then. Fast forward many years later, I moved to Oregon, finally decide to take control of my health and check in on it again but after having blood work done, the doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me.

Still years from there, the symptoms had really started to show in a way that disrupted my life and when I reached my breaking point knew there was definitely something wrong with me. I just didn’t feel like myself anymore. I sought out a wonderful Naturopath who has not only fast-tracked my progress but made sure to explain everything in such detail so I can take control of my health. It was such a relief to find someone who didn’t act like nothing was wrong.

What did you learn since? Do you have some tips or findings to share with other Hashimoto’s people?

I’ve learned that cutting gluten and soy was key for me to eliminate bloat and brain fog. I also realized this will take time and I’m working on making changes to be back at 100%.

As far as helpful tips:

I think it’s very important to surround yourself with people who understand and support you. My husband, naturopath, personal trainer and friends have been an instrumental support to me feeling better. Don’t have that community in your city? I think there are some great people on social media to offer support as well.

Don’t get discouraged when you have setbacks! it’s all about learning and making tweaks until you find what works best for you.

How does your day with Hashimoto’s look like?

Thankfully most of my symptoms are at bay these days so I actually have energy to do a lot more than I normally could!

On a weekday, I wake up around 6AM, take my natural thyroid pills, do a little bit of stretching and take my dog for a walk. Then it’s off to my office job from 8AM-5PM, with a lunch break at 12. I take a few supplements with breakfast and lunch. I’m mostly sitting all day but I try to get up and walk or stretch as much as possible. After work I go straight to the gym for weightlifting with a trainer. (Before my diagnosis and treatment I would usually be so fatigued, these sessions felt more discouraging and grueling).

Sometimes I follow my lifting with a beginners’ jiu jitsu class my gym offers. I go home and eat a nutritious dinner with my husband and prep our lunches for the following day. This is helpful so that I stay on track with food choices and won’t get caught with nothing to eat. I usually drink chamomile tea and read, often followed by some light restorative yoga poses and then bed around 10/10:30PM. Aside from work, which I can’t usually control, I try to keep things as low stress as I can.

What were the biggest struggle and the biggest victory your experienced?

The biggest struggle was once I had started experiencing symptoms, actually getting a doctor to listen to me. It seems that even though you tip them off to a possible thyroid problem they won’t test T3, T4 or antibodies, which we know help tell the real story.

The biggest victory was shortly after I started taking natural thyroid. Initially, I was on a supplement regimen with a gluten free/soy free diet and seeing my antibody levels dropping but that addition really made me feel like a complete person again. I often take a moment to appreciate that and how much my attitude toward life has improved.

What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed to ease their first steps with Hashimoto’s?

Understand that you might not feel better right away, but be willing to allow yourself time and patience to make the necessary changes to feel better. (Being in the right mindset plays a role)

Do some extra credit reading! Working with a professional practitioner is great if you can, but I also love reading extra stuff on my own. I think Isabella Went is a great resource amongst many others that the internet has to offer.

Track your symptoms. I came across Boost because I wanted a visual way to measure my progress without writing in dozens of notebooks over the years to come.

People can advise you on some things to add or remove from your life, but it’s up to you to make the change.

More from Julie