I find it can be helpful to hear other’s stories. Today I’d like to share my journey of thyroid healing with you. This could easily be several posts in and of itself. I will try to keep it brief but feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or want more information.
Birth – Childhood
It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes one sick. I was born as a 32-week-old premature baby. At only 2lbs 14oz, the doctors initially didn’t expect me to survive. I was, and still am, a fighter. They sent me home before I met my growth goals because I was so healthy and defied all their expectations for a 32-weeker.
Knowing what I know now, I believe I was born with a thyroid imbalance.
Throughout my childhood, I was incredibly small. I have small family members but I was extra small. I had a lot of classic thyroid symptoms but doctors weren’t quite knowledgeable enough to diagnose it.
In my childhood I also had several factors which are now known to be thyroid disease root causes including a processed food diet, Vitamin D deficiency, braces (for 6 years!!), shots, multiple rounds of antibiotics, soy in my diet, unidentified food sensitivities, mold, and chemical exposure, trauma, and more.
My family will tell you I was a “healthy” kid. That depends on how you define health. A lot of holistic practitioners say healthy kids should only get a couple of acute illnesses per year and be able to fight them off without much effort. I had a lot more than that. But I was never sick enough to get on the radar for anything being out of balance.
Teens & Early 20s-
Dozens & dozens of doctors, no answers
My teens and early 20 saw the start of my ‘health crisis.’ Not only was I aware of what was going on in my body, the advent of the Internet also allowed me to research more. Beginning in middle school I started having some symptoms I didn’t think were “normal”. Something felt off in my mind but they were dismissed by medical professionals so I didn’t worry about it -a good American girl doesn’t question the doctor…
My Freshman year of High School brought along with it the incredibly traumatic Columbine shootings right down the road. I also experienced a relational trauma in that next year. It is said stored trauma can often trigger autoimmune disease and limbic system imbalance. I believe this trauma was what fully set my body on the path of the autoimmune and limbic system dysfunction.
As a teen, I began to experience tell-tale signs of gut dysfunction and thyroid imbalance. These were either totally dismissed or passed off as stress-induced/ second-hand PTSD. I didn’t advocate for myself because I didn’t know I could. Continued stress on my system through poor diet, stress, immunizations, toxins, chemicals, mold exposure, EMFs, etc. wore me down even more.
Once I hit college my health battles really ramped up. My sophomore year was the worst. I knew something wasn’t right. I just didn’t know what it was. Between my sophomore to my senior year, I saw at least a dozen different doctors trying to find help. I was given answers like “borderline chronic fatigue,” “stress,” and “it’s normal for a college student.” They put me on multiple prescriptions and offered others which I declined.
One year I went home for Christmas and slept 18 hours straight. My parents came in to make sure I was still breathing. On every break I had I got sick- sometimes violently ill. My food intolerances began during this time as well. I didn’t know what was going on and I continued to eat poorly.
I even asked for an in-depth lab analysis. When I would go back and look at the eight pages of results years later I saw so many warning signs. Dozens of labs that were “normal” but nowhere near ideal. When combined they clearly showed my immune system was out of whack. Unfortunately, I wasn’t working with the right providers to piece it together for me.
Two weeks after graduating college I got married. My last year of college I had multiple leadership positions on campus, worked, organized all the campus events, was the Speaker of our Student Senate, and planning a wedding… no big deal- right?? Oh yeah- had to fit classes in there too! Not surprisingly, my health faltered during this time. It was also during my last two years of college I started learning what I could about “natural” health and wellness.
Through the limited information I could find online I started learning about herbs and home remedies. I started shopping at the local health food store my last two years of college and eating more whole foods. I also started talking more to a friend about natural health and wellness.
On my wedding day, I was so sick. The last thing I did before walking down the aisle was slamming a handful of Coldsnap (an amazing herbal cold remedy.) I would take another dose on the way to our reception and pass out in exhaustion as soon as we hit our motel room. Fortunately, the Coldsnap helped and I wasn’t sick our entire honeymoon.
As a young newlywed coming out of an incredible amount of stress, I crashed. I didn’t have a job for the first five months we were married. We had a free apartment through Apartment Life so I focused on running community events and resting. My husband would leave for the day and I would go back to bed.
About six months into our marriage we knew something was wrong. I was sleeping too much. I tried a doctor that a “natural mama” at our church suggested. Finally, this doctor diagnosed me with a thyroid disorder. She took me off the pill and said it was horrible for someone like me to be on. This doc helped me with gentle detox and put me on thyroid medication. She was an MD and still missed the fact I was autoimmune but she looked over old labwork for me and said they’d been missing my thyroid disease for at least a decade…
The thyroid medication helped a bit. I started shopping at the local food co-op and hanging out around the “natural mamas” at our little church to learn from them. I cleaned up my diet, changed over to homemade body care and cleaning products, and started spending more time outside to up my Vitamin D levels. My health improved by not like I hoped it would.
Healing foods, herbs, lifestyle changes, and pursuit of holistic healing
A couple years into marriage I had a chance encounter with someone that would change my life. I never saw this woman again, don’t even remember her name. We ended up working a single shift together but the conversation we had would start me on more of a healing journey. “You have a problem with gluten. It’s not only your thyroid.” This gal was studying holistic medicine and could tell just from how fatigued and uncomfortable I was that I was dealing with gluten issues. I had to look up gluten to figure out what exactly that meant. Eliminating gluten helped immensely and helped my thyroid start to heal.
Over the next several years I would begin to learn more about food and clean up my diet more and more. Pregnancy actually was great for my thyroid. My labs stayed balanced and I felt amazing. Sometimes pregnancy can put thyroid conditions temporarily into remission and that seemed to happen with me.
When my son was a baby, I met a friend who would open me up to a new world. She introduced me to The Weston A Price Foundation, healing the thyroid without medication, and the Autoimmune Protocol. Interestingly enough two of my best friends would discover the same things from other people around the same time.
I also began studying and using herbs in my late 20s. I started working with an herbalist and switched over to a more holistic doctor for my care. Even though my diet was impeccably clean and we avoided all toxins possible, I still lived in mold and was under an incredible amount of stress. All the toxins and chemicals built up in my body needed somewhere to go and many ended up residing in my thyroid.
During this time I did have a few rounds of ideal labwork and almost an entire year without any thyroid symptoms. This is encouraging because it tells me that my body does know how to produce the right hormones and that my thyroid is able to function at an optimal level.
Roller coaster healing
I learned about homeopathy during college and passed it off as quack medicine. The birthing center we used gave me some homeopathic remedies and I used a few remedies when my son was a baby. A friend suggested I try working with a homeopath but I was still skeptical. When I had my big mono crash in 2015, that same friend reminded me about homeopathy. I found a homeopath and within a few months started seeing more healing than I’d ever seen before.
However, the healing didn’t stick. I’d do well for a while and then revert back to where I’d been. It was clear something was presenting an obstacle to cure. My body couldn’t fully heal because of a stumbling block in the way. We now know this was mold and it was my homeopath who helped me figure that out.
During this time I also started working with a Naturopath instead of an MD. I’ve found the combination of a naturopath and a homeopath to be the perfect combination for me. I’ve worked with nearly a dozen providers from a wide range of alternative medicine approaches and these two are best for me.
Finding my groove
Most of my readers know about my journey with mold. I believe this was the missing piece of the puzzle all these years. Time and time again I would tell my practitioners I felt like we were missing something. Nobody could figure out what it was until we made the mold connection.
We’re now about two years into mold avoidance. This has helped my body to detox, heal, and become stronger. I am able to be around mold for short amounts of time without symptoms. I’ve also been able to detox an incredible amount of heavy metals (which isn’t possible when living in mold). This has helped increase my ability to tolerate EMFs so it’s been a win-win all around.
About a year ago I started getting craniosacral therapy as well. For those who don’t know about craniosacral, it’s kind of a mix between gentle chiropractic and massage… kind of… I’ll share more about it in the future. Cranio goes along well with homeopathy and can be helpful for trauma recovery, environmental and food sensitivities/ allergies, hormone balancing, immune support, and more. My craniosacral therapist is also my ND so it’s nice to be able to trust her with both aspects.
Today, I get cranio once or twice a month, work with my homeopath about once a month, and am working on rebuilding my diet. I’ve focused immensely on neural retraining, meditation, and stress management techniques. My thyroid tends to function significantly worse when I am stressed. Neural retraining and meditation practices are doing incredible things for me and I can’t wait to share more about them.
My thyroid symptoms are definitely improving day by day. I fully believe my body can heal and function optimally. Most holistic healthcare practitioners say it takes 1-2 months to heal for every year of damage. I estimate I’m on a 3-5 year healing journey and about 18 months into it. For all the improvement I’ve seen so far, I’m totally ok with where I’m at. It took a long time for my body to get this sick, it’s going to take time to heal it.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story and hear about my journey. I hope it has encouraged you in your own healing.