Hypothyroidism and thyroid disease: my road to recovery
My story of hypothyroidism and thyroid disease
Hypothyroidism and thyroid disease: my road to recovery. I’m not a doctor or a health professional, but I would like to share my story of suffering from thyroid problems in the hopes that it resonates or educates my readers.
FYI, during the time of my hypothyroidism and thyroid disease, I didn’t look so happy, fresh and energetic as I am in this photo. In fact, I was depressed, tired and overweight. But this photo is the result of hard work and never giving up for getting better.
There were times that I wished and thought I was going to die. Never give up!
Can’t pinpoint when my hypothyroidism and thyroid disease started
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that my thyroid disease surfaced because it was so gradual. As a child, I always had a lot of energy, and I played a lot of sports; there was a time I was very fanatic in gymnastics, training for about 20 hours a week.
Between the ages of 16 and 24, I became lost. I partied too much, drank, did drugs, slept and ate poorly, and smoked like a chimney. At the same time, I was struggling with a severe eating disorder, Bulimia Nervosa.
My life consisted of partying all night and trying (and failing) to study during the day. My life was going nowhere – I spent more time eating, vomiting and taking laxatives.
By the time, I hit 24 I knew that I had to make some drastic changes as I was slowly but surely killing myself. Although my behaviour was incredibly destructive, deep down I didn’t want to die, so I decided to go into therapy.
My eating disorder improved but my joints began to hurt
After a few years, my eating disorder began to improve, but I felt physical signs that something was seriously off with my body. My joints began to hurt, and I saw changes in my skin too. I always blamed my party lifestyle for this, and I felt guilty for many years after I stopped taking drugs.
Was the accident the onset of my hypothyroidism and thyroid disease?
In 2003, I had a water-skiing accident, and I seriously cracked my neck and upper back. The road to recovery was long and little did I know this was just the start of my ongoing health problems. Later, I heard from several doctors and read in several kinds of literature that this type of injury can be the catalyst for chronic illnesses, Hypothyroidism and thyroid disease.
In my case, I ask, what was the chicken and what was the egg? Yes, I had a very unhealthy lifestyle for many years, with the eating disorder, emotional baggage, stress, smoking, and partying but I eventually stopped all that.
After the waterski accident, I began to have more joint problems
Then, after my accident, I began to have more joint problems. I was training quite hard at the time: running, fitness, etc. One particular day, I was driving, when all of a sudden, my knee felt weak. I was unable to lift off the clutch or to engage it again. So, I began rehab with a trainer and had to do many tests.
And so, I went from one doctor to another, had MRI scans, blood tests, nerve tests and so on. I watched my diet carefully and did kinesiotherapy and osteopathy treatments.
THE DOCTORS COULDN’T HELP ME.. they couldn’t find my cause
Back then I still looked up to and trusted doctors. I thought they had the best intentions, but after being mistreated several times, I took off my rose tinted glasses.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. There are good doctors out there, but in my opinion, good, well-educated doctors that listen to you are in the minority. Several doctors told me that I had to train even harder to support my body and that there was nothing wrong, that it was all in my head.
Why was I having all these health issues?
I questioned why I was having all these issues. After months of personal training, individual exercises, and many hours of manual therapy, why was I only having more issues with my body? I wasn’t healing, if anything, I was getting worse.
I knew that something was off, but I didn’t know what, and many of the doctors I went to, didn’t know either. According to them, it was all in my head. I decided to take matters into my own hands and started doing some research.
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS HOLISTIC HEALING
My journey started with vitamins – I took so many thinking they’d be a quick fix for my health problems. When I travelled, my suitcase looked like one of a drug-addict rather than of a young girl!
Years went by and then I got to a point where I felt so exhausted and depressed that I had no more energy. I couldn’t do anything and often felt like life no longer had meaning, like it was all going to end soon. I was petrified.
My business, friendships and personal relationships were suffering from my illness
The more tired I became, the more my business, friendships and relationships with others suffered and I started to act bitterly towards them. I was always extremely anxious and nervous, but at the time I didn’t realise it.
Note: It’s ok to take some vitamins, but not more than your body can process. I’ve cut down on the amount I take and a good diet is of number one importance, and making sure your body absorbs the food you eat. Vitamins are there to supplement a healthy diet, not replace it. After all, you are what you absorb and not what you eat!
Learning about hypothyroidism and thyroid disease
According to doctors, my thyroid was within “normal” ranges, but thankfully, an open-minded, holistic doctor noticed something was wrong. He made me do a daily home test that measured my temperature four times a day.
This test revealed my temperature was always around 35 to 35.5 Celcius (a temperature this low can lead to Hypothermia, which can cause coma and death in severe cases). A normal temperature is 37 degrees. This may seem like a small difference to you, but it’s not. All this made sense because I was always feeling cold and unwell. I sometimes slept with a winter pullover, hat and socks, yet I was still cold. Very sexy! The doctor informed me I was Hypothyroid. (underactive thyroid)
Finally, I received my first diagnose of hypothyroidism and thyroid disease
So, finally I received the first official diagnose that revealed something was not right with my thyroid; I was Hypothyroid. Although he was a holistic doctor, he prescribed me T4, which is a synthetic thyroid drug also known as Levothyroxine. Levothyroxine is a drug used for thyroid hormone replacement. It’s the synthetic, generic version of thyroxine. It contains a synthetic form of T4, which is a thyroid hormone. Months went by and I didn’t feel any positive changes.
Awareness of gluten and dairy issues, along with other possible food allergies or sensitivities
Luckily this doctor made me aware of gluten and dairy issues, and other possible allergies, so I started looking more into my diet. I was also reading several books on resetting your health and healing your gut. I was already eating quite healthy, (or at least I thought I was) but there was room for a few more changes.
In 2011, I was on the waiting list to see another endocrinologist. That doctor introduced me to Armour, and although in the beginning, it helped, after a while, I began to feel hypo again.
Treatment for hypothyroidism was not working
Hitting rock bottom with hypothyroidism and thyroid disease
Next, I went to what was said to be the best endocrinologists in Belgium. After ‘thorough investigation’, he placed me on different types of hormones, including hydrocortisone and growth hormone, but my body had started to change in very unpleasant ways.
I became a monster. I gained nearly 20kg. My head was completely bloated, I had a “moon-face” from the HC, and my body was bloated too. When I explained to the doctor that the hydrocortisone was making me more ill, he suggested I take a little more.
I felt devastated, ignored, ugly and desperate. It got so bad that I wanted to die.
The medication hydrocortisone made me feel weak and my panic attacks increased
Hydrocortisone made me feel dead inside, and I tried to wean off it for a long time. It left me feeling dried out, weak and my panic attacks and adrenal fatigue increased. I experienced severe heart palpitations almost every single day. No matter where I was: at home, driving, at the supermarket – it happened at any time of the day. Sometimes even at night, in bed.
My body could no longer handle long-haul flights and I’d suffer severe heart palpitations. There were even times when the paramedics had to wait for me upon landing. It was an awful experience.
M hypothyroidism illness became so debilitating, I felt like I was dying
My Hypothyroidism illness became so debilitating that I couldn’t do anything. I can’t count the number of times I waited at my neighbour’s house for my boyfriend to get me because I felt like I was dying.
Looking back now I’m so grateful to have had him by my side. He knew me in my worse condition, yet he was always super-patient with me!
Hydrocortisone made my leaky gut syndrome worse
You might be wondering why I didn’t just stop using this hydrocortisone drug, but I physically couldn’t – I was addicted. I’d mentally and physically crash whenever I tried to wean myself off it.
I was already suffering from a leaky gut syndrome, and this drug wasn’t helping. I looked awful, fat and very unattractive. Furthermore, I had no energy, and my problems were only getting worse.
Feeling completely dejected and mistreated by many so doctors, I decided to take my health into my own hands.
Hypothyroidism: taking my health into my own hands
I read every book I could find on thyroid and Hypothyroidism. I also spent time on several online thyroid and thyroid Facebook forums too.
The first paper I read was called Tears Behind Closed Doors, by Diana Holmes. Her story was sad and surprising all at the same time.
Next, I read, Stop the Thyroid Madness, by Janie A. Bowthorpe. I also joined her Facebook Group where you could connect with other sick people.
More recently, I discovered another life-changing book called Living Well with Hypothyroidism by Mary J. Shomon, which is mentioned on the website Hypo Thyroid Mom. She’ s also founder and editor of www.thyroid-info.com. Her work is a pleasure to read and one of my favourite books on thyroid.
Online forums were a big support for my hypothyroidism
Online forums were a big support for me and I learned a lot about thyroids and Hypothyroidism. As well as made some new friends.
Heal adrenals with T3 hormone
One blessed day I saw a post titled: Heal your adrenals with T3 only. It was by Paul Robinson, who wrote a fantastic book called, Recover your adrenals with T3. Intrigued I decided to try his approach and ended up weaning myself off hydrocortisone in a matter of two weeks. My life was slowly picking up again. You can read the story I posted there after I got better: http://recoveringwitht3.com/success_story/sandra-dssstory
Low dose naltrexone for auto-immune disease and pain
I also started reading more and more about LDN (low dose naltrexone) on web forums. I’m not a fan of drugs, however, sometimes we need them in small, wise and calculated doses. My motto is – the less the better.
LDN is an excellent anti-inflammatory, which can elevate your mood and energy (in the right dose, it can also make you really depressed when you take too much or when you combine it with gluten or dairy, which can turn into opiates in your brain) and can be an excellent help to halt or even reverse autoimmune diseases and pain.
As autoimmune is drug is, I’ve learned that for me, it’s super important not to eat any gluten or dairy products when you take it. This is because when you don’t assimilate these foods well, they can have similar effects in your brain as opiates. This happened to me and led to very dark thoughts. (LDN and opiates don’t go well together).
A NEW LIFE AND NEW ME
I became gluten and dairy free for few months and tried the drug again in tiny doses. The two conditions combined worked well for me and it helped a lot with my adrenal fatigue and overall wellbeing.
Unfortunately, since I moved to another country, I haven’t been able to locate a doctor who is willing to prescribe me this drug as I’d love to start taking it again, in very small doses.
To this day, I still take T3 (active thyroid hormone). At times, I consider trying NDT again (natural desiccated thyroid hormone), because it is more natural compared to the hormones your own thyroid produces.
I should mention that around this time I signed up for a 3-month treatment in the USA to detox from Lyme disease and mold disease. The program was great, but unfortunately, I never completed it as my visa expired.
It was during my stay in this clinic where I learned a lot about Ozone from other patients. Once I returned to Belgium, I researched more about Ozone and bought my own ozone generator. Ozone therapy is still something I try to use on a daily or weekly basis to improve my health, but as I do many things for my health I don’t always find the time.
I found Ozone therapy really works for a variety of health-related issues: disinfection, healing, natural antibiotic and so on. The results are remarkable and I truly believe it should be in every home as it can lower the global use of antibiotics. You can read more about Ozone and my experience using it here.
15 years of working on my health and healing from hypothyroidism and thyroid disease
I’ve spent the past 15 years working healing myself and my health. I battled many illnesses, including Hypothyroidism.
Did you know that even if your doctor is unwilling to prescribe these tests, you can still order them yourself?
Hypothyroidism and thyroid disease: looking forward, not back
The greatest improvements to my health came about through a combination of dietary changes, Paul Robinson’s breakthrough, detox, ozone therapy and some supplements. Online forums have been a big support to me a lot to the online forums where I received so much love, help, and advice.
I now follow the Paleo and keto diet, which includes being gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, low-carb, soy-free and drink a lot of homemade bone broth and I try to buy mostly organic produce, usually from local markets. I no longer visit supermarkets.
I no longer use chemical and cleaning beauty products, all I use are pure products without harsh additives. If you have adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism and thyroid disease, any health weak is worth to look into to help you get well. Toxic chemicals are important hormone disruptors.
New improvements to my health routine
From December 2016, I added something new to my routine. It’s called Apitherapy and already I’ve seen remarkable improvements in my energy and emotions. It’s really helped me to feel more positive.
I also moved to sunnier climes, where I get plenty of fresh air and enjoy more hours of daylight – this has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I now live the ‘open window lifestyle’ and have 300 days per year of LIGHT – It’s amazing!
In the holistic healing approach, sunlight, fresh air (oxygen) and keeping your body active are common treatments and I can now honestly say that it really works.
For years, I also looked for solutions to my problems with collagen and my joints. Although I never found an answer, by visiting informative websites, I discovered it could be related to Lyme disease (which I was diagnosed with at a very late stage), mold sensitivities (which I have too), bad absorption of food, inflammation, auto-immune problems, chronic fatigue, and metabolic issues. It’s actually likely that people who have had a history of eating disorders suffer these same symptoms.
I’d say I’ve recovered from about 80 to 90 % of my health issues but I still have problems with my collagen, which I’m still trying to improve.
Being thankful for what I achieved
I’m so, so grateful for the improvements I have made. The difficulty now lies in maintaining the level of health that I have. Tweaks in medication or supplements, or too much exercise or stress, can have an effect on my energy and may take me few days to recover from it. So I need to be more careful and do everything in moderation, whether that be sports, emotions, work, etc.
One thing that I really miss is the energy I had before I became ill. I was very active and loved sports and running. These days, my workouts depend on the amount of energy I have – running or anything too strenuous is out of the question. I still have a good exercise level, it’s just more limited these days. Still, I remain grateful for what I have and often remind myself that people have it worse, even I had it worse a few years ago. I’m here, I’m alive and I’m finally at peace with my life.
If you have problems with ongoing fatigue, and or you haven’t felt well for a while, considering also reading my chronic fatigue story and my hair loss recovery story.
Empowering others via my anti-ageing wellness platform and holistic health books
I hope you liked this hypothyroidism and thyroid disease article. If you would like to learn more about my tips and tricks on how I saved my life from being chronically ill and tired to the lively person I am today, ensure to check out other pages of this anti-ageing wellness platform.
Or if you want to discover my no BS guides on how to regain your health, hair, vitality and life, ensure to check out my holistic wellness books
After a frustrating decade of battling several chronic illnesses, I became disillusioned with the medical system and decided to take my health into my own hands.
Now, through my books and wellness platform, I want to empower people around the world do the same and regain their health, hair, life and beauty!
Useful hypothyroidism and thyroid disease forums:
- Thyroid Patient Advocacy Forum in the UK – http://tpauk.com/forum
- Thyroid UK Forum – http://thyroiduk.healthunlocked.com/
- Recovering with T3 Facebook Forum – http://www.facebook.com/groups/RecoveringWithT3
Useful websites about hypothyroidism and Thyroid disease :
- Mary Shomon’s hypothyroidism and Thyroid Disease Website – http://thyroid.about.com
- Stop The Thyroid Madness – http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com
- Thyroid UK – http://www.thyroiduk.org
- Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Disease Manager – http://www.thyroidmanager.org
- PubMed – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
- The National Academy of Hypothyroidism – http://nahypothyroidism.org
- DrLowe.com – http://www.drlowe.com
- Thyroid Patient Advocacy – http://tpauk.com
- Thyroid Science – http://www.ThyroidScience.com