Since the beginning of this blog, I’ve always been honest when it comes to my medical journey so that women know they aren’t alone. I realize this much transparency isn’t for everyone, and it can make some people feel uncomfortable. In fact, it makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes. But the truth is when we’re experiencing symptoms or newly diagnosed with something, what’s the first thing we do? We Google it. We seek out others who have come before us. Some people are just very quiet about it, while others are more public. I’ve decided to be more public. So today, I’m going to recap my journey that brings me to today. I’m not sharing all of this for sympathy. I’m sharing it to help others, perhaps you.
In 2008, my diagnosis of PCOS began. I was anovulatory, rapidly gaining weight in my midsection, experiencing extremely painful cystic acne, feeling lethargic and low on energy quite often, and wound up having polycystic ovaries on ultrasounds. I learned to navigate it over the years, managed to conceive my daughter while on treatment, and each year since she was born I’ve continued to learn how to manage symptoms and live my life to the fullest.
In 2017, I miraculously conceived my second baby without fertility treatment after previous years had been filled with countless treatments that failed. That same pregnancy I miscarried, and the anguish that followed was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It was a very dark valley that I had to crawl out of, and it felt like as soon as I climbed to the top, I’d slip right back down to the bottom.
After the miscarriage, I began to notice that something chemically had changed within me. The weight loss method I had used for years no longer worked. I continued to gain weight as if I was still pregnant, no matter how much I worked out or how healthy I ate. I was constantly bloated and miserable. I decided to start researching Keto and literally spent FOUR MONTHS researching before I decided to give it a try. I read every point of view, everything good about it and everything bad. I ended up losing 25 lbs with Keto and have been able to maintain that loss.
During my journey with Keto, I learned that I had developed a reaction to gluten. My stomach would severely cramp for 24 hours and I would bloat so badly, it literally felt like I put on 5 lbs within 15 minutes. I’ve always had some gastrointestinal issues but this was an extreme level that I had never experienced. People kept telling me to get tested for Celiac, but I thought surely I’d have worse symptoms if that was what I had.
Fast forward to now.
I now know why I’ve had such a hard time since the miscarriage. Something chemically did change in me, and my new doctor has confirmed it. When your body goes through an “extreme trauma”, it can trigger an autoimmune response that was maybe just sitting there waiting for its moment to surface. In my case, it was the miscarriage. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease. My personal reaction to gluten is a response from Hashiomoto’s. Not everyone with Hashimoto’s has as a gluten reaction like I do, but from what I’ve been told, autoimmune responses like to come in pairs, so this is just my pair.
I also have Hypothyroidism, which I’ve probably been developing over the last five years and never really knew it. When my TSH level had corrected itself five years ago, I let it go and… well… probably shouldn’t have.
So how do I feel about this?
To be honest, I feel hope.
I feel hope because while Hashimoto’s brings a whole new situation to navigate, it’s an answer. And not only is it an answer,
I rarely talked to anyone about how I was feeling because everyone claims to feel the same, so it’s hard to know who truly feels the same way you do or if you just need to exercise more and maybe nothing is even wrong. We live in an age where everyone is trying to “
Is this journey going to be easy? No. Just like with PCOS, I have to be open to changing treatments as I go along. Something may work for a while and then stop. I can choose to let it bring me down or I can just roll with the waves. It’s an inconvenience, but it could be worse. Unfortunately, it does mean I have to be very strict about my interaction with gluten. I have to be that person at the restaurant who asks questions about everything. From what I’m reading, I’m supposed to avoid gluten, dairy, and soy because they can trigger a rise in my antibodies (on my diagnosing labs, my antibodies were 600 when they’re supposed to be under 34). I’m just going to take it a little at a time and monitor my responses to each of these items. We can already check gluten off the list. Soy should be easy to avoid, but I know it’s hiding in a lot of things. If my antibodies aren’t coming down, I’ll cut out dairy. But I’m going to fight that one because I love my cheese!
Since I shared my new diagnosis, people have been incredible. I can’t even begin to express how wonderful everyone has been when it comes to sharing advice or answering questions. I know sometimes the last thing you want is everyone’s advice, but in this case, I am welcoming everything. Not one person has
So all that to say, if you also have Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism, I’d love to hear your best piece of advice! There are some books I’ve started to pick up that some of you have recommended so I’m excited to dive into those. I’ve started taking a very low dose of Levothyroxine and will get blood work done every 6 weeks to adjust my dose until my thyroid hormones stabilize, then we’ll move to every 6 months. I’m not sure how often the antibodies get checked but I am hoping we can get those down as well. Anything you have to throw at me, I’m open to receiving!