Having a Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Facebook Support Group brings up many questions about what is going wrong with the standard of care in conventional medicine for us as Hashi’s patients. Why are we not getting well? Why are we feeling like the best thing to do might be to just cut out that stupid thyroid, or give up altogether? Why doesn’t anyone understand? My blog is meant to be a resource for as many people as possible so I often post a variety of ways to get help that I particularly believe in or have experienced as profitable, from diet, to Functional Medicine, to finding out if you are gluten sensitive and resources that will help you with that research. Well, in this post, I asked Dr. Redd, founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center to answer some of these questions for us. I am thrilled to present his responses in video form below. There are two videos. Before each one, I will cover the questions you will get answered. Recently, on our Facebook Support Group page, there was some discussion about why some of us function just fine while others are severely debilitated. This turned into a time where I needed to intervene, because some were not able to comprehend how in the world you can have the same “disease,” yet it cause so many different symptoms and in such differing severity. I am sad to say that some of the comments were uncaring and harsh when those who were truly suffering were asking for compassion and help. This question has been the source of much contention over many months and this is why I asked Dr. Redd to help us understand this and I am also hoping it gives us more compassion for those who are hurting worse that we are, as well as justification for those who are struggling much worse. He also explains why just taking out the thyroid may not be the best answer. And IF we decide to have our thyroid removed, does this mean our autoimmune disease is also removed? Please listen to Dr. Redd as he explains why this is happening: So you may be thinking after watching the above video, “Well, thank you very much but how do I address this autoimmune disease then?” Fortunately for us, Dr. Redd took the time to explain the process of detective work that sometimes needs to be done in order to find those triggers, imbalances and additional deterrents to getting well. What is the cascade of events causing our flare ups? Why is it so hard to control? What are the answers? The following video will hopefully address this as simply as possible for us and help us understand why conventional medicine is not dealing with the real source of the problem. Why don’t they address our quality of life when we go in to the doctor and our TSH is normal? If you are like me, and you’ve had this happen many times in your journey, they really do make you feel like a hypochondriac. I’m sorry, but I’m done with that. I had to leave conventional medicine and move into the world of natural and Functional Medicine (Dr. Redd practices this type of medicine) in order to feel understood and justified. Yes, there is out of pocket expense to get help like this, but if we are not being helped in conventional medicine, at this time, I really don’t know of any other way. I am grateful that doctors like these Functional Medicine doctors have taken the time to acknowledge our pain and suffering and it would not be fair to think they shouldn’t be paid for this very detailed and difficult troubleshooting path they must help us through. So, I thank Dr. Redd for helping us understand our condition better and applaud him for his hard work in providing a practice that will give more of us a chance to feel better. In light of this post, when interacting with other sufferers, let’s all remember that our symptoms could be very different. We all need a place to feel safe and understood, especially when we can be suffering so severely. Let’s reach out to the hurting ones among us and help them feel heard without judgment. This is the reason I developed this blog and Facebook Support Group. There was a time in my life that there was not one person anywhere that seemed to understand my illness, but that was 20 years ago. We have much more help now thanks to professionals like Dr. Redd and other specialized doctors in his center. If you would like to find out more about RedRiver Health and Wellness Center, you can find them here and you can follow them Facebook where you can see customer testimonials, tips, and other great articles to help you along your way. It doesn’t matter if you live in the area or not. Dr. Redd takes patients all over the world and offers a FREE initial consultation via either phone or Skype! If you would like to look for other Functional Medicine doctors in your area, there are searches here and here, but please always get references and consult with these doctors before moving forward to make sure they are a good fit for your particular needs. Here’s to our continued healing journey.
As a 20 plus year “veteran” of Hashimoto’s and with 10 years of interaction with the Internet thyroid community, I feel I can really say “I know your pain.” Although I have healed quite a bit in the last two years, I have no trouble remembering and sometimes reliving the symptoms that used to be my common, day-to-day life with Hashi’s before I got the help I so desperately needed. After giving up gluten which really marked the beginning of my more accelerated healing, I found a world of new food choices and this has really helped me with my transition to gluten-free and nutrient dense food. As I write this post, I am enjoying a handful of beautiful blueberries. These types of moments have given me some simple pleasures that have replaced my previous sugar gluten laden and nutrient destroyers. This has nothing to do with this post but just thought I’d “set the mood” a bit and give you a little glimpse of one of my newfound favorite foods. In order to show you why I know your pain and exactly where I’ve come from, here are just some of the symptoms I had on a regular basis before I started the GAPS Diet a couple of years ago (by the way, this list is long and although many people without Hashi’s will look at this with disbelief, I know my Hashi friends will believe me so I am going to list as many of the symptoms as possible): No particular order but here it goes (* = these are symptoms that can come back with triggers like gluten, or are now very minimal – bold means they are gone or significantly reduced so much I don’t consider them current symptoms): *brain inflammation as a result of food sensitivities and leaky gut triggering autoimmunity (no, I haven’t been tested so I cannot be sure on this – regardless – it was the symptom), *bloated stomach after eating, upper stomach pain after eating, pounding in the upper stomach (like blood rushing to the area) after eating, *racing heart after eating, *racing heart at bedtime, *dizziness, *unsteady gait, weight gain for no reason even after eating only one small meal a day, heavy “bones,” terrible debilitating eye pain that came in cycles and spasms, numbness in arms while sleeping, twitching before falling asleep (always explained this as an electrical charge), throat pain and inflammation, chronic recurring infections and colds, *extreme cold extremities, feeling like I have the flu, no energy at all, *lack of concentration, *lack of motivation, *severe anxiety and feelings of “doom,” lost words (which made me feel I was losing more than words, this accounted for loss of time and relationships), headaches/migraines that brought me to the emergency room, brain fog that felt like cotton in my head, disorientation, terrible short-term memory loss, inability to explain my own thoughts, allergies to everything, chronic acute asthma needing nebulizer treatments daily, breathing problems aside from asthma, irregular heart beats, *skipped heart beats, *eye floaters, extremely dry hands in the winter, dizziness in the car, motion sickness while just sitting on a chair that barely moved, light sensitivity (I had to leave restaurants due to the lighting which made me sick feeling), *chemical sensitivities (terrible), loss of small motor skills at times, GERD so bad I could not lay flat in bed for hours at night, *insomnia, *exercise induced fast heart rate (within seconds of the beginning of exercising), chest discomfort, body wide inflammation, fingers too inflamed to wear my wedding ring, foot pain when walking, joint pain at night, feeling like I am going to pass out when I laughed hard from the pressure that went into my head (boy am I glad that symptom is gone – imagine having to control your laughter all the time!), *pressure in head during any exertion or bending over that gave me the same feelings, and an obvious blood sugar imbalance that caused me to be extremely irritable before meals and happy after them which also included terrible mood swings throughout the day. And believe me when I say I have not covered all of them here! (I talk about some of these symptoms in my one year update after starting the GAPS Diet here.) All the above symptoms caused me to never plan to be at any social event. My life had to be on a spontaneous basis and based on whether I could function at all that day or not. Often, even if I did make it somewhere, I would have to go home shortly after due to some trigger while I was there (food, environment, exercise, etc.). Need I go on? I can! But I won’t. Although sometimes I think I should. I’ll tell you why in the next paragraph. The reason I sometimes think I should go on is that on my Facebook Support Group page I get questions every day about others feeling “weird” symptoms and wonder if anyone else has them. As you can see from the list above, you can understand why my common response is, yes, many people have that symptom! Why? Because we are dealing with a system wide problem. We are not dealing with the thyroid (although indirectly we are because our body needs thyroid hormone to function properly in almost every function and organ of the body). But what we are really dealing with is the foundational root problem of Hashimoto’s disease; which is not the thyroid. We are dealing with an autoimmune condition which has triggered the progressive destruction of the thyroid. There is a huge difference! It’s kind of like trying to fix a broken object while someone else continues to beat on it. You need to either address the attacker or remove the object. Unfortunately, with autoimmune disease, you cannot remove your whole body! You need to address the attacker or you will never make progress! Fast forward two years now in March of 2014, I can report that few of these symptoms are left on a regularly basis; some are completely gone. […]
Recently I took my daughter (who also has Hashimoto’s) to our HMO for a regular check-up. As we asked for the test for thyroid antibodies, we got the regular reply, “Once you have antibodies, you will always have them.” But we still asked if we could please get the test anyway. Surprisingly, we were humored. Here’s the problem – if you are in a system that is only treating for your TSH numbers, why would you expect them to do anything else? Even diagnosing Hashimoto’s is a difficulty for them. Why? Because they don’t have a way to treat you with drugs, so why bother diagnosing you? And if you already are diagnosed, why keep beating a dead horse? They see this as a progressive condition that will eventually kill your thyroid. Why watch the destruction? Just accept it! We are living in a world that looks to drugs for all our health concerns. Can you imagine…..? In fact, now that I think of this, it doesn’t have to be imagined. We go on eating all the sugar we want when we have Diabetes as long as the doctor continues to increase our dosage of medication, with whatever it is they have decided to give you to “treat” your Diabetes. But is that drug improving your condition? No. It’s managing the symptoms. If, however, you decided to lay low on the sugar, fruit, grains and other foods that raise your blood sugar levels and your levels naturally lower to the point that you don’t need that side effect laden drug, you are not only improving your condition, but you are preventing complications (long term) while staying away from drugs that will give you side effects that will also need to be “treated.” And the cycle continues with each malady you come to your conventional doctor for. One road attempts to stop the “bleeding” at the root, and the other perpetuates the condition to the point of introducing a variety of new conditions due to a worsening of your condition as well as introducing you to drug induced new problems, which then need their own treatments. I know this. I managed my own mother’s roller-coaster drug induced complications with other drugs as her doctors continued to push new drugs for “preventative” reasons that would have more side-effects; and on and on it went. This toxicity in the body is way too hard on it and many times very unnecessary! I got off of this roller-coaster for my own health about 10 years ago and will never look back! I am not saying there is no place for necessary medications to treat issues that are either not able to be addressed by diet (like thyroid hormone at times) or sometimes, we need to use these medications on our way to reversing the underlying imbalances our body needs to repair. There are many ways to seek health naturally, and what I have found is that due to so many personalities, needs, and situations out there, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach as you attempt to find your own road to healing. There are some resources I highly recommend for this task of finding your particular healing path. These resources can significantly reduce your research time by getting you straight to protocols that have worked for thousands of sufferers. I will list a few of the many resources. First up, we have Izabella Wentz, a Pharmacist and Hashimoto’s patient. This combination gave her incredible insights and access to lab testing that we normally don’t have at our own fingertips. Her experience and conclusions have been recorded in her fantastic book here on Amazon, my affiliate partner, or in eBook form here for immediate access. There is also a great video explaining her book’s focus below: And there is the fantastic new book which focuses on all autoimmune disease and lifestyle interventions which have been proven to help thousands of sufferers and the reasons behind these interventions. This one is incredible for those of you who, like me, are interested in the science behind these changes before jumping on the “bandwagon” diets and lifestyle changes some people are doubtful about. In the author’s own words, here is a tour of The Paleo Approach, by Sarah Ballantyne, which is now available on Amazon.com here: The Paleo Approach is a book I have been waiting months for and will be a constant resource for me as I continue my healing journey! Having these books in your library will be invaluable as you heal because autoimmune disease is complicated and needs fine tuning along the way. An absolutely fabulous interview with Sarah on The Balanced Bites podcast is here. And for a focus of nutrition and building up yours stores of energy lost through deficiencies caused by stress, lack of nutrition, and others, Jeanette, who I introduced last week, has a new book out that is filled with the science behind these deficiencies, how to test for them, and how to address them. Jeanette solved her own health problems which resulted in practical paralysis by using the methods in her book. She shares her journey and insights on her website and in her book here. And of course, the focus of my treatment protocol which I have been using for almost 2 years now with fantastic results, the GAPS Diet which has changed my life and brought a ton of healing to my body. Below you will find a video explaining the basis of this diet (which I used as my jump-start into the diet) and this post describes my healing journey while using this protocol after the first year. I am now moving towards my two year annivesary and I still love this approach. There are more of these fantastic resources in my resource area, but I felt lead to bring these to your attention today. So, let’s not blame our doctors. They are doing their job. They are providing pharmaceutical approaches to your health concerns, providing […]
While searching on the internet, trying to find answers, how many times have you seen these types of results? “Watch out for ‘biological dentistry’, it’s quackery!” “Stay away from Functional Medicine doctors! They are not ‘real’ doctors!” “Alternative medicine doctors are all quacks!” “NEVER, NEVER, diagnose or treat yourself” (it’s not really YOUR body anyway, right?) “Diet cannot reverse any condition, it can only be a helpful aid to conventional medicine.” I used to believe most of the lies above. I used to be so scared to step out and research for myself due to the intimidation of conventional medicine or these Internet “warnings.” Before I found a way to get better, and as you will hear in my story during my podcast interview at GNOWFLINS recently, conventional medicine will not listen to you if you still have symptoms, yet your TSH is “in range.” To them, there is only ONE RIGHT way to deal with Hashimoto’s. But guess what? It is not the right way! It is only treating one symptom of the root problem. For the root, well, they could care less if your thyroid is being destroyed and not to mention, modern science is suggesting that this destruction can be minimized or even prevented! And do they tell us that we need the proper amount of thyroid hormone (not just TSH) for almost every function of the body which is why we have so many symptoms? No, let’s just keep doing what we’re doing, even though you are feeling worse. Does this make sense? Not to the ones suffering! Let’s take a look at each of these untruths and how getting past these misconceptions helped me. Please also allow me to insert a disclaimer at the end of each section lest you think I am not also putting a “blanket statement” out there that the above statements have absolutely no truth to them. Watch out for “biological dentists”, it’s quackery! Let’s see. In my early 20’s I was given about 6 additional mercury amalgam fillings by my, then trusted, dentists. About 20 years, an autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, and severely high mercury levels later, I had them removed and many of my symptoms immediately were helped. Coincidence? I think not. Scientifically proven? Well, some say yes but I will leave that to your research. All I know is that they were removed and I felt better! My follow-up mercury test is incredible. My symptoms are what matters to me. If you are the kind who wants to wait for conventional medicine to catch up with the science, you might have about a 17 year wait time until you get the treatment you need! I wasn’t willing to wait that long. Disclaimer: Although I believe there are some absolutely life saving biological dentists out there, I also caution you to do your research before hiring anyone to work on your teeth and that also goes for the dentists that your insurance plan covers. Here’s a link to some possible leads for biological dentists in your area, however, as with all links I provide on this blog, I highly recommend you get references and check out the track record of anyone you hire. Stay away from Functional Medicine doctors! They are not “real” doctors! As seen here in this interview with Dr. Kharizzian by Mary Shomon, he says: Dr. Kharrazian: The doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree is equal in hours to the doctor of medicine (MD) degree, with almost identical programs the first two years. The programs diverge, however, in the second half. During this time, the DC program focuses on diet, nutrition, and spinal manipulation, while the MD program emphasizes the study of pharmacology. (For full interview, compliments of About.com, see it here.) If you don’t think this is enough education, that is your choice. If conventional medical school has less than one week of nutritional education, do you think we should trust them for that area of our lives? Not me. I think I would like to go to someone who has more thoroughly studied the effects of diet on the body. If I want medication (and sometimes this is necessary), I will go to conventional doctors since this is their specialty. But I want to have the choice, don’t you? I think both should be covered by insurance! Disclaimer: I have heard my share of stories about either outrageously priced Functional Medicine doctors, or that their patients did not feel they were helped by their protocol. I truly believe, just like in conventional medicine, that you need to “shop” around for a doctor who fits your needs and respects you as an active partner in your own treatment. Anyone who doesn’t listen to your needs, conventional, functional, or otherwise, is not a good fit for a partner in your care (in my humble opinion). Alternative medicine doctors are all quacks! The very first glimmer of hope I had was from an Alternative Medicine doctor! After 10 years of suffering in the conventional model that would not listen to my symptoms and the relationship to my autoimmune condition that THEY diagnosed, I was forced to find help outside of the system. My story in-depth is in podcast form here. No one can tell me I was wrong to look elsewhere. I went through enough in conventional medicine to tell me I was not going to be heard. This needs to stop. I hope our voices will be heard. Disclaimer: Not all the Alternative Medicine doctors I have tried have been the best fit for me. Some worked too similarly to conventional medicine which attempted to demean me as a partner in my own treatment protocol. Some depended too much on a certain protocol that they either pushed or partnered with, causing them to care more about the treatment they promoted, over my particular needs. If you are wise, you will strive to pick this out at a consultation before you hire them as your physician. As I said above, you […]
As I sit here feeling incredibly blessed to be alive and moving in the right direction, for a change, I must reflect a bit this year on the challenges and blessings it brought. You may have had similar victories and defeats, challenges and good fortunes. This flourless chocolate cake (that totally tastes like a chocolate cheesecake!) is evidence that I can live again as I exit 2013 and look forward to even more healing in 2014. It is a tribute to those foods I left behind and don’t wish to bring back into my world. This cake is different. It is delicious AND allowable on the GAPS Diet (chocolate is allowed after enough healing and as one tolerates). I will link the recipe to my Pinterest board.
For those interested in hearing me talk about my healing journey, I was a guest on the “Know Your Food” podcast with Wardee Harmon this week! Wardee and I have known each other for a few years while I was seeking wellness through natural remedies and nutrient dense food which I learned to make through her fabulous online classes. She was there when I went through my mercury poisoning at the beginning of my GAPS Diet journey and has continued to be a huge support through the many months of my healing through gluten-free, amalgam removal, GAPS Diet Intro and the Full GAPS Diet, to now the fine tuning of my diet for further healing. Her support has been invaluable as well as other members in her classes who offered support through her private class forums.