Sunday, March 6, 2011

Healing Thyroid disease! Healing my life!

Hi there,

It's been a long while since I have been here. Sadly, my cat who was in the title photo has passed on. This has been a really tough year for me due to extreme thyroid issues. I decided to change this up and make it about the healing journey I am on. I started one month ago with the shift I am undertaking. I still take thyroid medication (Brand name Synthroid 137 mcg. which was just reduced to 125 mcg two days ago) but just some dietary changes I have made have changed my entire life for the better already! It's quite amazing. I never would have guessed that changing what I eat would change so severely how I feel and so quickly.

I am in the process of doing a lot of lab work so that Dr. Stone can begin to figure out where my body is failing me. There is just so much to say about the past year, but I will take it slowly as to not overwhelm my readers. OR perhaps, it's just me that gets overwhelmed so easily.

Feel free to comment a bit about your personal struggle with thyroid disease. People don't understand how seriously this affects our lives. Most get told "take this pill and it will make your blood tests look good." My newest truth is "Don't fix my lab work, fix ME!"

I have spent the entire year seeing various doctors here in Asheville, NC saying simply "Fix Me." And they didn't. I spent 6 months seeing a well known endocrinologist in town, she promised she would and could fix me - and well, never did. After wasting 6 months of my life, barely leaving my apartment, and her finally telling me I had "cancer" when I asked her for a diagnosis in month 6... (what?) I decided to move on!

She not only didn't fix me, she was rude, she was weight obsessed and she and her staff lied to me consistently. I never waited less than 2 hours in her waiting room. I moved on to a another Endocrinologist in town at Mountain Endocrinology and Diabetes. I now see Dr. Rappaport there, who is a nice man - but sadly, he only offers the same as all the others. "Take synthoid. I will keep guessing at how much until we get it right. It will take months." But he is kind and he is doing what he was taught to do.

It's already been over a year; more like 7 years if I go back to when things got way off track but in general, my life has been hell for the last year.

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis when I was about 17 years old. I am now 56! I began with bulging eyes and other symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). I was thin as a rail; never weighed more than 100 pounds in my adolescence. Eventually, I passed through the "normal" TSH range(thyroid stimulating hormone; "normal western medicine" lab results range differs lab to lab but in general, normal is somewhere between .5 and 4.5) and landed in the hypothyroid range. My diagnosis changed from Hyperthyroid to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My body was producing Anti-Thyroid Antibodies and gobbling up my gland in my neck. I was told eventually I would develop a "goiter" and have to have my thyroid removed (a thyroidectomy). It was a done deal. It was my fate. Period.

My grandmother had already had her thyroid removed (Maternal GM) and my dad had a thyroid disorder as well. I was told it can run in families and my fate was sealed. "Take these pills until you get a lump and have to have it removed. It's just a matter of time." Every six months or so I would go for lab work, a TSH level and my meds would be adjusted, or not.

Things went that way until approximately 10 years ago. I have come to understand that a thyroid that "gets out of whack" can be really difficult to get "back on track". To protect myself legally, I will name names of those who have helped me, and not of the people who either hurt me or just didn't care enough to help. I will respond to private requests for more information.

And for now, I will stop here. It's a long long story. But for now, I am just beginning with my journey with Dr. Todd Stone of Asheville, NC. He is the first doctor who 1. didn't weight me and shame me about my weight. (Being fat is a symptom of hypothyroidism. Why do some doctor's shame you when you are exhibiting symptoms?) I will share some very personal information on this blog as you all must know my truth and I must tell my truth. I am done feeling shame and shamed for having a medical illness. DONE.

I began this new healing journey January 19, 2011. At that time I weighed about 215 pounds and I am 5'3". I wear a size 18 jean. I am overweight. Not horribly considering the norms these days - but uncomfortably overweight. I live in constant pain for reasons I have never understood except for the diagnosis fibromyalgia that was placed on me so that my doctor didn't have to figure out why and I could just be told to "go home and live with it". Another "untreatable" illness. I have suffered from what has been called "irritable bowel syndrome" with diarrhea that has helped keep me nearly housebound for most of 2009 and 2010.

Since January, all that has already begun to change. At the one month mark, I weighed 199 pounds. I no longer have diarrhea. I leave my house every day. My brain fog is gone. I have energy. I have been paying for a storage unit for over a year simply because I did not have the energy to get it emptied. It is now empty. In just over ONE MONTH, my life has hugely shifted.

And yet, all I have done, at this point, is alter my diet. As I said, I have had a lot of blood work done and I am working to figure it out with Dr. Todd Stone. My lab results are still off. I am still hyperthyroid. (TSH 0.22 is what I was told by Dr. Rappaport's office last week.)

So, to wrap up, I will tell you about my new food regime. I am choosing to call it my "pure food plan" rather than thinking of it as a "diet". It's a change in my life - and NOT for weight loss.

NO flour or gluten.
NO sugar.
NO caffeine..
NO sugar substitute esp NO aspartame
NO soda - diet or not.
NO corn or corn products.
NO High Fructose Corn Syrup which is most everything else! :) (unlike they say in the commercials, it's NOT the same as sugar!).
NO Dairy or dairy products including cheese. (this is the hardest for me!)
I am drinking lots of water.
I am eating meat and vegetables and fruit. (natural sugar - fructose - as found in nature is ok.)
I am eating almonds and other bits of protein between meals at least every two hours.
For snacks, I eat Sweet potato chips for the crunch. As much as a bag a day sometimes if I need to in order NOT to cheat. The longer I go without sugar, the sweeter ordinary foods begin to taste. Carrots seem very sweet to me these days.
I enjoy beer now and then so I am investigating gluten-free beer. I have found some really good gluten-free bread but since I am OK without it, and am rather enjoying some weight loss, I am still staying away from it.

So, I know this seems like it would be hard. I don't find it hard at all. I am rarely hungry. My body seems to love eating this way which kind of makes it easier to stay on.

As a good friend who was recently diagnosed with diabetes says when asked if her diet is hard for her "It's easy to change what you eat when what you eat is killing you." yup.

and the payoffs I have already seen are huge! Just huge.

So, again, I will say goodbye for now. I have been wanting to start this blog for a month now and now I have. I will be adding Google ads to help make a little extra money to help pay for treatment. I live on disablity and medicare only pays for the treatment that had not been working - sadly. I was told in December 2010 that I needed to have a thyroidectomy (have my thyroid surgically removed!) Medicare would PAY for that! My second opinion said it would not help. I decided I was tired of being treated like I was made up of spare parts. I have had a lot of surgery in my life and if we can't control a gland that IS in my body, how can we ever control a gland that NO LONGER even exists? I am glad I decided to keep my thyroid at this point. Life is better already thanks to this dietary shift suggested on Dr. Stone's website - Asheville Thyroid Clinic with Dr. Todd Stone Be sure to watch the video on his front page. It is truly eye-opening!

Things will keep getting better and better now. I know they will.
This is JUST THE BEGINNING! I feel hopeful for the first time in many years.

Warmly, Be.


Arthur Teel said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I believe I have Grave's disease and am considering an appointment with Dr. Stone. How did it turn out for you?

Arthur Teel said...

PS: This isn't from Arthur, it's from his wife.

Be Bold! said...

sadly, I was not able to afford to see him more than just the once. I know he could have helped me but naturopaths, in my mind, are only accessible to people of means. sadly, the disabled who could really be helped, are usually barely making on it on their SSDI and we are stuck only going to people who accept insurance, (our insurance) and only when we can even afford the co-pay. And I am much better off financially than many on SSDI. I liked him a lot. he does a lot of blood work which my insurance paid mostly for. well, we only did what my insurance would pay for and I paid for what I also felt was very important to know. good luck and thanks for reading my story. Be.

Interestingly, this blog disappeared for a long long time. I am surprised you found it. It reappeared after a few years away apparently. maybe I should keep writing on it now that it's back. lol. thanks. (still can't log into this account. so weird.)

Arthur Teel said...

Thank you for the reply. Sounds like Dr. Stone did his best within the confines of his abilities.

I'll bet you could email Blogspot's tech support and get help getting back in.

Be Bold! said...

sadly, been there, done that. they told me it was gone and there was nothing they could do to bring it back. hence, my surprise that you found it. internet fairies. Maybe I will try again. lol