August 19, 2015
It’s been almost 6 months since I last wrote about the treatment of my Hashimoto’s, and almost a year since my initial diagnosis. Because I’ve been asked lots of questions, and because I’m just pretty darn excited, I wanted to give you all an update on my health and what I’m currently doing to manage my thyroid condition. Note, that I’m managing my Hashi’s symptoms, I’m not curing myself. The good news is, I feel great, and I hope the next couple of posts will help answer questions and maybe even give some of you suffering through this, hope that it can get better. I’m splitting this into 2 posts just to keep them brief, and because there’s been two important components to managing my Hashis, which each deserve their own space; self care & supplements, and diet. Let’s start with the supplements and self-care portion.
So far, I’ve been very fortunate to not have to be treated with any medication, and I hope to preserve my thyroid for as long as possible, and delay the eventual thyroid burnout. You can read a refresher on my original diagnosis in this post, and my initial treatment protocol from my Integrative Doc, in this post. Quick recap though, my Anti-TPO levels, which is what they test to detect for the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s, was at 136. These levels were still pretty low so that my endocrinologist didn’t feel the need to treat me with any thyroid meds. Her approach was to just sort of wait it out, until the autoimmune response eventually burnt out my thyroid, which we would then treat with a synthetic at that time. This approach didn’t seem to make sense, so I went to an Integrative Doc who put me on a treatment protocol. So far it’s working out great for me.
Daily Supplements I’m Currently Taking
Selenium – 1 capsule daily to support thyroid function.
A-Drenal – 2 capsules before breakfast to help build up the adrenal glands and support adrenal hormones.
Vitamin D – 1 capsule daily
Focus DL – 1-2 capsules before breakfast to help with brain fog and mental clarity.
Magnesium and a Simple single-strain Probiotic – 1 capsule each for gut health and to balance out bowel movements.
DoTerra Lifelong Vitality Daily Vitamins
Supplements I Only Take When Necessary
Calm PRT – 2-3 capsules before bedtime to help lower my cortisol levels.
Travacor – 1 capsule 30 minutes before bedtime to help build up the serotonin levels.
I initially took these 2 supplements for about 8 weeks and saw an immediate improvement in sleep. Literally overnight I was sleeping better. I forgot them on a trip, so didn’t take them for a few nights and I was still sleeping well, so I stopped taking them. My guess is they did help my body get into a healthy sleep cycle and I no longer needed them. I take them now on the rare occasion I have a couple of bad nights of sleep, and they help me get back on track.
*A note about supplements: I cannot say this enough, but do your own research when taking supplements! I know there is a lot of skepticism in regards to supplements, as well as quite a few worthless products out there. I detailed all this out just because I wanted to share with you my specific treatment protocol, but I am not endorsing this specific treatment for anyone else. To be honest, I cannot tell you all with 100% conviction that it was supplements, and supplements alone that helped get my health back on track. In all truthfulness, it was most likely the multi-thronged approach of the supplements, along with diet and self-care, that has me feeling better. A friend who was dealing with some health issues of her own, and was also taking supplements, concurred that these supplements may be having no other effect on us than that of a placebo, but having both been in a such a rough place, we agreed that placebo or not, something was working and that was good enough for us! With that being said, I have scaled back on my original doses and eventually will phase out of these all together, hopefully by the end of the year.
The main thing to emphasis here is that I’ve had to learn to take much better care of myself than before. Sleep is absolutely without a doubt essential. I aim to get 7-8 hours nightly, whereas before I would skate by on 5-6 hours of sleep. And it needs to be quality sleep, so I go to bed between 10-11 pm, when I am naturally drowsy and can fall asleep easily, and stay asleep. I don’t do a sleep song and dance routine, but just the usual necessities, like making sure my face is washed, contacts out and teeth are brushed, so I can comfortably relax in bed either watching TV or reading. I essentially prime myself for sleep. And I really feel that using the 2 supplements above, in conjunction with a healthier approach to sleep, completely solved my insomnia issues. I was able to easily fall asleep, but could not stay asleep, and at least 4-5 days a week I started my day between 3-4 am. That’s enough to tire anyone out, no matter what medical condition they have. Bottom line, I cannot stress the importance of restful sleep enough! This includes the occasional, or even routine daytime nap.
Alcohol intake has been another area where I’ve had to become very calculated and controlled (not that I was out of control before, but you know what I mean), so that at times it’s not even that enjoyable to drink because I’m so concerned about how it will impact my sleep and health. Bottom line, my tolerance has had to become significantly lower than before, and I have to watch that I don’t drink too close to bed time either. When drinking, I must eat and drink plenty of water, and I can’t really go beyond 2 drinks before I start feeling the negative affects of it. Overall, I guess this isn’t a bad thing, and as long as I can still enjoy a glass of wine while I’m prepping dinner at the end of a long day, I’m good.
Like I said, the diet part will be discussed in the second post, but for the most part I’ve continued to maintain a 80/20 gluten free diet, and I try to eat as clean as possible, most of the time. If I eat well, I feel great, but like most people who eat an overall balanced and healthy diet, if I have a few days off the grid, I definitely notice it. I’ll get into the specifics of the eating plan that helped me feel best in Part 2.
I was talking with some friends a couple of weeks back, and overall, we all have to take much better care of ourselves than we did when we were younger, even in the beginning of our motherhood journey. We all have to get more rest, we all suffer from more sensitive stomachs, and we all wake up with a hangover if we drink one glass too many. Our stories are all so similar that it can be hard to tell when you’re truly sick, or you’re just suffering the effects of getting old.
All I can say is to listen to your gut, and really take the time to monitor your symptoms. For me, I knew something was wrong when I was continually getting sick, and I could never feel like I had recovered from an illness in terms of fatigue and feeling better. I was always exhausted, I was down in the dumps, I had no motivation or drive to do anything other than get the kids to school and survive until bedtime. That’s it; at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I really felt like I was just working to survive the day. With some patience and attention to self-care though, I’m truly feeling like I’m thriving once again. Now, I’m just like any other busy women and mother in her late 30’s – easily tired and a cheap date. I’ll happily take it. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll update this post once I get the 2nd part published.