At the time of my life that I should have been at the peak of my health, I was on a downhill slide with chronic fatigue, recurring sinus infections, crazy hormonal symptoms, and stubborn weight gain. Here I was in my 20s, I was finishing up graduate school, starting my career, and all I wanted to do was sleep. This was not the life I was expecting!
I’ll never forget mentioning these symptoms to my medical provider and being told that my monthly hormonal symptoms were “normal” and given a prescription for a weight loss pill. Are you kidding me? These symptoms were not normal for me and I knew this wasn’t the answer.
Fast forward to a couple medical providers later and I finally found someone who not only listened to me but took my symptoms serious. Multiple labs and tests later I finally got some answers to my questions. My thyroid was not working as well as it should. I was given a prescription for natural thyroid meds and was recommended to remove gluten and dairy from my diet.
This was the first time I had ever considered the food that I was eating could be a reason for some of my health issues. The difference in my health was a night and day difference. The fatigue and crazy hormone symptoms disappeared and the extra pounds I had been carrying came off my body easily. Oh, and those recurring sinus infections not only disappeared so did my seasonal allergies.
All was well in my world until I created the perfect storm. Lack of sleep, periodically eating gluten and dairy, eating out way too often (one of the joys of dating), and burning the candles at both ends would undo all my previous work on my health. I knew better yet here I was feeling the return of all my symptoms along with a new one. The most horrific muscle pain I had ever experienced. After many tests and lab work, I finally got a diagnosis. Hashimotos Autoimmune Thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease of the thyroid.
In the middle of all of this, I got married to the man of my dreams. He had to jump into the “In Sickness and Health” part of our vows very quickly and I’m sure he wondered what in the world he had got himself into. Our first year of marriage was HARD. We were trying to adjust to living life together and also trying to find a solution to my muscle pain. Through it all, he was (and still is) my biggest supporter especially when it came to making BIG changes to my diet.
My Autoimmune diagnosis called for a new plan of action which included not only removing gluten and dairy but to start an elimination diet called the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). This meant also removing grains, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds, and nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes). I won’t sugar coat it and say it was easy because it wasn’t. Giving up some of my favorite foods was hard. It took several months before I got the hang of it but once I did the results were life changing. The muscle pain slowly started to disappear and I had a new perspective on how I should be nourishing and treating my body. Waking up without that horrific pain is something I never want to go back to.
This began my journey to learning everything I could about my Autoimmune Disease. I had so many questions. What causes autoimmune conditions? Why do elimination diets help? What is Leaky Gut? Can autoimmune diseases be prevented? Can this be healed? Can I be healed? It was through my research that I discovered a nutrition school that could not only answer my questions but also allow me the opportunity to coach others in their own health journey.
Today, my autoimmune symptoms are non-existent. My thyroid antibodies (which indicate I have Hashimotos) have consistently dropped since I went on the Autoimmune Protocol and made some lifestyle changes. I do still have some food sensitivities but I am optimistic that as I continue to heal my body those food sensitivities will finally disappear. I’m also very, very close to having lab work show my antibodies in a normal range.
Have I looked back and wondered “Why Me”? You bet. It was a very hard 6 years, but when I look back, I also see the many positive changes I have made that would have never happened had I not gone through it. My life, my marriage, and my health are better because of my autoimmune journey. I’m thankful that I now get to walk alongside others as they start their journey to their optimal health.