For over a year now I am feeling off for no particular reason. Some days I blame it on the weather, sometimes I think it’s due to stress at work or personal hardships. I would always find a plausible reason. At least in the beginning. Then my sleeping routine got weird. I would sleep three hours, maybe four and was wide awake. On other occasions I was able to sleep ten hours straight and felt like I didn’t sleep at all. My eyes looked almost milky, my hair looked dull and on some days I would brush it and find an alarming bunch of hair in my sink.
Then the pain set in. To this day I can´t really describe it properly, but I guess intense joint pain and muscle cramps – just the ones that come with a severe flu sometimes – would be the best explanation. Maybe rheumatic pain would explain it too. On some days I barely made it out of bed in the morning. My joints felt almost frozen and my whole body ached with every movement. Just walking to the bathroom had me in tears and at the same time I was so frustrated with myself. My appetite was way off and most mornings I felt sick but was certain that it can’t be a case of morning sickness. The most astounding and frightening thing though was the weight gain. Since July 2012 I gained around 200 kg (40 lbs) and counting and no doctor could tell me the reason for it. Yes, of course I went to see different doctors, so-called specialists but not one of them really listened to me or cared enough to really help me.
One of those specialists told me that I just should stop eating crap, just when I entered his office. He didn’t even take a look at my blood work or talked to me in a decent manner. Just by looking at me, these were his words. His education really paid off, I guess: Heavy person equals binge eating. Done. So easy, isn’t it?
Another doctor told me that I have severe depression and was eager to prescribe heavy antidepressants, again without even talking to me or asking any questions. Needless to say, I declined.
Of course I felt depressed after a while. How could I not feel that way? I was in pain every single day, every hour of the day and I certainly looked like I was severely sick and no one believed me or was able to help me. Of course I felt miserable. Wouldn’t you?
There wasn’t any kind of social life anymore. I went to work most days, tried my best and went straight home. I am glad my commute is only a 10 minute walk door to door. That made it manageable in a way. Last summer I wasn’t even able to blog for a longer period of time because I was exhausted. Even taking a shower was hard work for my body. I really felt lonely because no one believed me that something was off. No one really cared or listened. Even my boyfriend at that time said I should stop being so whiny and just get up and do something if I am depressed…
At one point, I was certain that I might have a hidden brain tumor or cancer or anything severe that can’t be find or treated because no specialist could really help me.
Still I kept fighting. Right after the holidays I went to see a new doctor. I guess she was Number 8 so far and this time an OB-Gyn because also my period was suddenly gone. She insisted on blood work especially for the hormones, most importantly the thyroid. That was the day when something changed. Finally!
It turned out that the state of my thyroid was way off! No one ever saw that before, no one ever checked that or made sure to check it the right time in the monthly cycle, which is crucial as I learned afterwards. So not only was it off, my body also formed antibodies which started to fight the right part of my thyroid, willing to destroy it. My antibodies are 100 (!) times higher than they should be which clearly shows an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
I met with a REAL specialist in Vienna who was alarmed looking at my numbers and who got really angry with his fellow colleagues for not diagnosing my thyroid condition sooner. He confirmed I am suffering from Hashimoto’s disease certainly over a year if not for around 2 to 3 years already and all of the symptoms are linked directly to that. I felt relieved. Not because I was eager to have an actual sickness, but because I finally had a diagnosis to work with!
The good thing is, it is treatable and I started to take pure thyroid hormones in a very low dosage to help my thyroid, which is constantly inflammated, to fight back and get stronger. I also read a lot about the disease and similar diseases online. I came across paleo and how it helped lots of people with autoimmune conditions to lower their medications if not getting rid of it altogether.
The bad thing is, that once you suffer from Hashimoto’s, you just do. It’s a life-long condition BUT as I said it’s totally manageable and possible to balance your antibodies and get your thyroid back to work properly!
Ever since I found out about the real reason behind my ordeal, I told other young women whose symptoms were pretty similar to mine. So far I heard back from two of them and it turned out their thyroids weren’t properly working too. It’s not Hashimoto’s and it doesn’t have to be. Even a slight thyroid disfunction can cause severe problems and sadly many so-called specialists are quick to prescribe heavy pain medication or antidepressants instead of really listening and making sure that the well-being of the patient is the priority, not the masking of his or her symptoms.
I started to take the hormones around three weeks ago and can already feel the change. My hair and skin look more vibrant, my sleep is way better and the joint pain is not gone but bearable. On some days I don’t even feel it all day which is a good sign.
In February, I also took the leap to change to a paleo lifestyle to get better and healthier and to support the healing system of my body.
I am nowhere near to were I was when I worked out and felt healthy and toned thanks to Miss Tracy. I gained a whole lot of weight back but I know I will get there, I will work out again and I will be healthier. You’ll see :)
here!Read my update from February 2017
(Image Coming up for air by Lane Coder)