My husband has put up with a lot due to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis over the years. We’ve been married 20 years now and I was diagnosed with Hashi’s only a couple years after we were first married. Neither one of us knew the impact this condition would have on our lives, especially since the doctor told me a little pill would take care of me for the rest of my life and I would live “normally” regardless of my thyroid destruction (my story here). Little did we know we would face together a complete “melt down” of my system including years of thinking it was “all in my head” until recent medical breakthroughs exposing the reality of my condition began to unfold over the last 2-3 years. I have Functional Medicine to thank for the help I found in my life and today, I am introducing my husband’s perspective on this journey. I want to thank Michael Wentz, who is Hashimoto’s Husband, for his wonderful video and Izabella Wentz for her incredible contribution through her new book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause (see my book review post here for details). This book, if it were available when I was first diagnosed, would have changed the course of my life. It outlines the very journey to better health I have taken over the last 2 years and is allowing me to fine tune my healing journey from where I am now.
And now, I would like to introduce to you my wonderful husband and support, Adrian.
This post is in response to the Hashimoto’s Husband video by Michael Wentz put up recently. I had some thoughts that came to my mind as a husband with a very similar situation: my wife Maureen is a Hashimoto’s sufferer. The tidbits that were fostered by the video are primarily directed at other Hashimoto’s husbands or men who have significant others who suffer with the disease.
Before I go on, I suppose it’s best to post the video so you can review it too:
My first thought is this: I needed to see this video to encourage me to “stay on track” with being there for my wife, because I have walked away at times in the past. I have been impatient with my wife. I have taken her for granted. So this video is a “slap in the face” of sorts to get my attention and remind me of how important it is that I’m there for my wife as she deals with this health challenge. I need to improve my support for her. There is this desire to see the bigger picture beyond my little world outlook.
I have seen my wife in moments of both weakness and strength through the years of dealing with Hashimoto’s disease. Of course, she has times of frustration and pain. She has times of uncertainty about this disease going on inside of her body. She has bad days. She has a restricted diet that forces her to make her own meals every day or forgo eating. Her moments of weakness when she doesn’t want to get out bed or cook another meal are the times she really needs my emotional and physical strength to help her. Anything will usually help. Little things matter a lot to my wife. She’s not asking for much—–just my companionship and understanding. I admire her greatly in her strength to plow through things that have to get done when she is not feeling well. In many ways, I have learned that she is stronger than I am. Physically she seems to go on and on in her duties where I feel that I would stop. As with many great mothers, she has been ready to step in for her children throughout her ordeal over the years and put the pain behind her to do this. This is real strength.
Another thing that comes to my mind is this: often I don’t take her disease seriously enough. At times I think she is not hurting as badly as she communicates. I sometimes hope that the doctor she goes to or someone she consults with will take care of her needs so that she won’t be so “needy.” No, I’m not a doctor, but she needs help with research at times, or feedback on a post she’s writing, or fixing a special tea when she isn’t feeling well. There are times I am guilty of hoping that her doctor or her online support group will take care of her every need in this area. But she wants me to understand that her pain is real. She is not making things up. It’s not all in her head. Something is not right and it’s not a game to get attention. So this video reminds me to “get with it” and get back into being the support my wife is asking for. And being the warrior she can admire; the husband she can depend on.
This is a serious disease. There have been many nights when my wife wasn’t sure she was going to make it through the night because of inflammation in her brain. At other times (usually at night in bed) she has had heart palpitations so strong that she thought the worst as well. Other times in the past (not so much in the present time) her stomach would bloat so much that she couldn’t lay down to go to sleep. I have spent many nights up with her, rubbing her back, trying to find some comfort for her. In those times of desperation from my wife, I have felt helpless to help, and uncertain as to where to take her for care in the middle of the night. So this disease has affected me from the point of being a very concerned bystander and wondering how to best help her. Bottom line: I take her disease less for granted now than in the past, but again, there are opportunities to see a need and learn to find a solution, big or small.
We’ve read many books over the years in our attempt to understand this disease, and ways to alleviate her pain. Some have helped more than others. From my vantage point, the information about Hashimoto’s disease (and the alternative medical community’s understanding of it) has vastly improved over the last 5 to 10 years. The internet has certainly helped. But books continue to be a good source of information in more detailed format. The recent book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause by Isabella Wentz has helped my wife to better understand both the big picture of what’s going on in the body with an autoimmune disease, and how to get a game plan to reduce it’s effects on her body. Part of understanding my wife’s trials with this disease have been spent reading the latest book or article to her as we together learn about how to win this battle. So I recommend it to the Hashimoto’s community, as well as the general autoimmune community and their loved ones. For immediate help, the book is also available in eBook form here.
Finally, in hopes to offer something encouraging to end on in this post, it has been in the last 1-2 years that my wife has made significant strides in the level of her well-being. In fact, the serious symptoms mentioned above, are very rare now. By learning more about the “trail of clues” in the last few months, we have been able to pinpoint a more direct approach to find relief. In short, finding a Functional Medicine doctor helped us learn about a “leaky gut” which led to a gluten free diet, then a truly gluten free diet, then more towards a GAPS/paleo type diet to more nourish the body. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but the journey continues, and this video is a reminder to stay the course because she is worth it.
You can find my wife’s Facebook Support Group here so you can be prompted when she finds new information to help others on this journey or find support from other sufferers. It’s great to know there are finally answers out there to help people like my wife begin to heal. I hope this has encouraged you to be the best support you can for those you know who are suffering from this condition.Disclaimer: All posts are describing my personal journey through health issues and are in no way meant to guide anyone towards any method in particular. I am not a medical practitioner or have a dietary or medical license, and this blog is not intended to be taken as authoritative advice. Please see your doctor, or health professional before making any drastic diet changes! Also, occasionally I find others to partner with whom I have had tremendous help from and therefore, there may be paid advertisements and links to support them and help me financially run this website.