Disclaimer: I’m sharing my experience here in hopes that it will inspire some of you. Be warned this is not me dishing medical advice—I am not a doc. Please talk to your doctor before making any medication, supplement, or dietary changes.
This is the second part of my healing update… you can find the first post here.
Like I wrote about earlier, I was feeling amazing last fall and winter, but eventually this started to unravel. Around New Year’s I started having some strange symptoms—the first thing I noticed was itchiness all over my neck that gradually intensified and spread to my upper arms and thighs. I started to have anxiety, and found it very difficult to sleep. Normally I have no problems getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but all of a sudden I started to have a hard time falling and staying asleep. I started waking up 2-3 times during the night, not being able to get back to sleep. Anyone who knows me well knows that when I start not sleeping, things get bad—quick!
At the time I chalked these symptoms up to stress with my pending book release—it seemed normal that I would be more anxious and have trouble sleeping with everything I had going on to make the book happen (I am a little ashamed to admit that I was working 50 hour weeks without weekends or time off to make it happen). I thought the itchiness was a histamine or SIBO issue, and I tried a low-histamine and low-FODMAP diet with no change in symptoms. Then I started to get really crazy about my bedtime routine—no technology after dark, amber tinted goggles, herbs that aid in sleep, 5-HTP, valerian, meditation—to no avail.
I continued on and generally let it slide because I was super busy/stressed and because I was not having my classic thyroid symptoms (hair loss, cold hands and feet, tingling in my extremities, fatigue). I actually did have the energy to keep charging through the 12 hour workdays I was putting myself through. One day though, I forgot to take my thyroid medication, and the strangest thing happened… I wasn’t itchy! I had been intensely itchy every day for the past six months. That was my first clue into why this was happening to me.
It doesn’t take an expert to figure out my thyroid medication dose was probably too high (yet, here I am, and it took me months…). I have been stable on the same dose of synthetic compounded medication for close to two years now, and I have been feeling good for so long I almost forgot how quickly things can change. I hadn’t been in to have my labs done or my medication dose looked over by my doctor in almost a year. Oops.
Once I figured out that I was probably overmedicated and needed to see my doctor, I ordered labs online and continued taking my medication for the next couple of days before my blood draw. I did this to make sure that the tests were an accurate reflection of my blood hormone levels. Once I was off the excess medication, my intense itchiness was gone. Also… I started sleeping! Like a baby. All of a sudden, I had no more anxiety, no problems falling or staying asleep. I felt like I won the lottery!
So where am I now? I’m working on reducing my dose of medication with my doctor—clearly things have changed in the past year and its time to readdress where I am at. While I don’t believe tracking antibodies are a good measure of success or failure when trying to gauge progress with Hashimoto’s (I think of them as more telling when the immune system is amped up), mine were the lowest they have ever been. All of my non-thyroid labs were stellar—I had the best iron levels ever, and this is an area I have historically struggled with a lot (I am sure eating liver pate once a week is helping in this department!). My homocysteine is normal, even though I am compound heterozygous for two MTHFR enzyme mutations.
The two health issues I am currently working on are not related to my autoimmunity (that I know of), which feels great. I have a mystery issue with my left ear, where I have pressure changes, lymphatic congestion, and occasionally balance problems and/or vertigo when it is really bad. After seeing countless doctors and practitioners about it, I think the issue is structural and craniosacral therapy has been very helpful. I’m also tracking my Factor V Leiden genetic mutation that causes me to be higher risk for blood clots—I’ve known about this my entire life because it runs in my family, but it becomes more important as I age and since I also have MTHFR enzyme mutations. So far all of my labs indicate that my blood is normal, but I am keeping tabs on it.
My next post will be about where I am at with my diet… stay tuned!