I've been exhausted lately. And discouraged. For the past several years I've dealt with Thyroid issues (low hormone) which have caused fluctuations in my metabolism, played with my emotions and have left me incredibly frustrated. I've spent several years taking increasing dosages of synthetic thyroid hormone to "regulate" my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. And while my labwork has appeared to be stable for the most part for the last couple of those years, my symptoms have not improved.
About a year and a half ago I showed up to an annual follow up visit with my endocrinologist in New York City, and explained to her that I was still feeling very drained most of the time, still unable to lose weight the natural way (eating right and exercising) and that I wasn't where I wanted to be. I was just over a year post-partum which to me seemed like plenty of time to shed the weight. I breastfed my daughter for 13 months, ate a diet with plenty of veggies and lean meats, and was regularly - daily even out pushing a stroller around New York City, or lifting the weight of my little lady. I had also been running with our jogging stroller and making sure to do various other physical activities. But I often felt exhausted, weak and burnt out.
Finally, I decided to try Medifast and had a very successful few months on that program, losing 30 pounds. But it was not a sustainable way of eating, nor was it healthy. My reading and researching on genetically modified foods, whole clean eating and the way our diets are killing us with cancer and other diseases told me that eating a meal from a processed powder packet was just not a good idea in the long term. So I went off that plan and I started to move towards a gluten-free lifestyle, and even began dabbling in Paleo. I felt good for a while. And felt better about myself. But slowly, my weight came back, my energy levels plummeted and I began to wonder if there was something else going on.
|Before & After 12 Weeks of Medifast|
Flash forward to this year's follow up visit, in May. I found myself going into that visit with the same exact complaints as the year prior, and expecting the same lack of empathy from my specialist, who the previous year looked at me bold-faced and told me to add an additional 1 hour of cardio to my daily routine. (Yeah, I wanted to throat-punch her for that.) So with a sense of dread I went into her office and explained yet again, this time a little more conviction that it wasn't about what I wasn't doing. To my surprise she actually listened to me and started to provide me with some additional options going forward. I mentioned to her at that time that I was curious as to whether or not I might be suffering from adrenal fatigue, to which she mentioned she'd be open to checking that if switching my medicine didn't help.
Two months ago I switched from synthetic T4 hormones to a natural desiccated thyroid hormone therapy that is both T4 & T3. Apparently, this is not the first time someone has raised the issue of still experiencing low thyroid symptoms while having completely in-range lab results. In fact, after I got home, with a sense of hope, I began to research more and found a site for people who have been fed up with the blanket approach and not having their continued hypothyroid symptoms addressed or taken seriously.
After a couple of weeks on the new therapy I experienced a boost of increased energy and noticed a few lessening symptoms, but soon after, I began feeling the same. I emailed my endocrinologist and waited for her advice, expecting she'd be happy to boost my dose, or test me for adrenal fatigue. That simply wasn't the case, instead she made me wait an additional two weeks, get labs done and then wait for a response. And the labs were good, showing me "in-range." Bravo. And once again I am faced with the hypothyroid symptoms including a severely low metabolism, lack of energy, depression, etc.
To say that I am frustrated is not even the half of it. I'm angry, I'm discouraged and I'm feeling trapped. I know that my body is working against me. My body is failing me. Right now, I am waiting for a response from my endocrinologist back in New York that she is going to either increase my dosage of medication or test me more extensively. And waiting sucks. Especially when she said she would get back to me no later than Tuesday afternoon of this week and we are now on Friday of a holiday week, and I doubt I will hear anything until Monday.
Despite the lack of consideration from her, I've not been sitting around waiting for her to make time for my case, in the meantime I have been doing extensive reading about Hypothyroidism, the relationship between the Thyroid and the Adrenals, and even how allergies come into play. My heart and my mind and my will are unwilling to give up hope and it honestly feels like I am at war against my body. In the midst of it all there is the bigger picture. And I am starting to see it much more clearly now.
Take a child who is physically, sexually and emotionally abused - resulting in severe childhood trauma and stress, fast forward to several years later when the manifestation of those unresolved issues births severe inflammation in the body resulting in a diagnosis of Systemic Lupus. Continue to only treat the outward symptoms but never deal with the inward root causes and watch as new inflammatory issues arise - specifically hypothyroidism, migraines, heart palpitations, carpal tunnel. Allow those unresolved issues to break through the surface in dramatically terrifying ways adding Depression, Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the mix.
And then after several years of processing unresolved trauma, grief and anger mixed with the demands of becoming a mother for the first time and you have a wicked burn-out that you can only imagine. Unless you are me, then you know exactly what I am talking about. To me it is completely obvious that my body can no longer the extreme stress - that I have severe adrenal fatigue which is quite possible responsible for my body's inability to heal itself or manage itself. Is it any wonder that my greatest fantasy in life right now is to escape for several weeks to just sleep? The funny thing is that that could actually help a lot.
At the end of last year I was seriously considering going to an intensive therapy center to really dive into the process of healing head first. I wasn't ready to leave my little girl and husband behind for that, though I desperately needed help. Instead I met with my incredible Christian Therapist in NYC and we talked about options and decided to try something different. Honestly, that was the purpose of my extended stay in Seattle over the holidays. I felt that being at home with my mom and sisters as well as carving out time to meet one of the Pastors there would be very helpful. But now I am feeling that as helpful and necessary as it was to do that, the end of my struggle is nowhere in sight.
The thing that has really changed in me this year is my heart - I am not giving up and I am willing to keep pressing through to do what needs to done. I simply WILL NOT sit back and let another year go by feeling this way. Spiritually I feel strong and I feel like I am full of fight but emotionally I am wishy washy and obviously physically I have no strength or endurance. There is only one thing I can rely on and it is God. So I have been seeking His counsel and direction with all of this. In fact, part of why I am sharing all of this with you is because I need to write it all out -- for him, for accountability and hopefully as a way to look back six months from now and see how far He has brought me from this valley.
I took a few first steps over the last two weeks, scheduled an appointment with an allergist to address the possibility of an actual gluten allergy or sensitivity, as well as have been in contact with a Naturopath (first time I've ever gone that route, and feel good with that decision) to address my adrenal fatigue, and metabolic issues. And lastly, I've been looking at intensive therapy again. There are a lot of uncertainties right now, but there is one thing that I am certain of, and that is God's promise to be my help in this time. And His help is what I need more than anything else right now.