#23 Hashi & Me: meet Andrea

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 Andrea—based in Uppsala, Sweden.

When did you discover you had Hashimoto’s? Tell us your story.

I was treated for hypothyroidism for ten years with iodine based medicine—before an ultrasound intern alerted my endocrinologist about the possibility of me having Hashimoto’s. I’ve been on the right medication (levaxin) for seven years now.

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

Eliminating gluten and lactose has helped me immensely. I can’t begin to imagine how strong my Hashimoto’s symptoms would be if I didn’t adjust my diet.

I often became upset because I couldn’t be bothered to cook in the evenings, so I ate all sorts of crap without making sure I got all the nutrients I need. So I found this food subscription service that delivers recipes and the food items you need to cook for them every Sunday (if you live in Sweden or Denmark, check out Årstiderna, I get the gluten-free vegan package twice a month and it’s great!)

It upsets me how over the past few years whenever I reach out to an endocrinologist — the answer is always the same: we can help treat your symptoms individually but there’s no further development in handling this disease holistically. Probably what helps me most days is just accepting the facts: it is what it is, it’s okay to be upset about it but don’t let the negative feelings take over your life.

What does your day with Hashimoto’s look like?

I wake up, take my levaxin, and walk my dog — this gives me the 30 minute gap between taking medicine and eating anything that might hinder its effectiveness.

I pack my food and head off to work, which most days is on my couch because I don’t have the energy to carry my body to my office. I work and work while eating several snacks to keep my sugar levels as stable as possible, and around 2 to 3PM my brain starts working against me. This is also prime time for meetings with my colleagues in US (I work in Sweden). I pause a lot when speaking (brain fog) and usually have to appoint someone else to taking notes because I just don’t have the mental energy to do it myself.

In the evening, I go for a longer walk with my dog to exit “work brain” and cook a simple dinner based on the recipe and food that I receive from the subscription. I then watch one episode of whatever television series and quickly get bored with it because I can’t focus. So I go to bed around 9PM, take my sleeping pill, and read until I fall asleep.

What was the biggest struggle and biggest victory you experienced?

Biggest struggle remains my ever increasing weight (no surprise there). Most days I hate my body, but I’m trying to accept it. It’s hard but it’s been better for the past three years.

My biggest victory is digital detoxing. I cannot stress how much it helps being away from screens and social media — which is hard because I am a digital marketer ;)

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

Read as much as you can about your disease but don’t let it consume you. This can be tough so make sure you surround yourself with people who are supportive and understanding. Again, not being paid to say this — I recommend the BOOST app for a newly diagnosed person. It helps tremendously.

Follow Andrea on Instagram and Twitter.

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