Aging is a process not for the faint of heart.
In our teens and twenties we seem invincible.
During our thirties we might start to see some grays and faint wrinkles, but overall we generally feel pretty good.
Even our forties aren’t that bad. Might start to feel the start of some achy arthritic joints, and see more grays and wrinkles, but overall we’re still feeling pretty peppy.
Then the fifties hit and things really start to change, at least for me they did. Maybe not right away, but by my mid-fifties I could feel myself slowing down.
Part of the slowing down process is certainly tied to Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation of the thyroid. Over time, the ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones often becomes impaired and leads to a gradual decline in function and eventually an underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism).
I was diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2010 at the age of 49 after a bout with pneumonia that went sepsis and wrecked havoc with my entire body.
Medication was not and still is not an option because my thyroid levels remain within normal range. Even after having half my thyroid removed last fall because of a suspicious nodule.
The nodule was benign Thank God, so the threat of cancer was removed from the equation. Amen to that!
With meds out of the question, I knew I had to find other methods to combat the symptoms of hypothyroidism. The key symptoms being fatigue, weight gain and brain fog.
I discovered doctors were not very helpful when it came to advice in this area and found out quickly I was on my own.
Coincidently around the same time, I caught an interview with Gina Lee Nolin, of Baywatch fame, where she discussed her personal health struggles that went undiagnosed until she found Dr. Alan Christianson, a naturopathic medical doctor for Integrative Health in Scottsdale. His book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease” became my saving grace.
After reading Dr. Christianson’s book, I started to play with diet changes and adding supplements. In doing so, I was able to thwart off some of the fatigue, weight gain and some brain fog.
The key thing was going gluten and dairy free. Plus avoiding soy and fluoride, which can interfere with the function of the thyroid. I also added ginkgo biloba and ashwaghanda, but my endocrinologist recommended I stop the ashwaghanda because it can skew thyroid function blood tests.
Over the years I have faired pretty well with this issue, but honestly I think I was too busy raising my Son and helping to care for my aging Mom to completely feel the impact. Or, should I say take the time to notice.
It’s only the past year or two, as I hit my late fifties and my Son is off at college that I’ve truly noticed how much I’m slowing down. My energy levels just aren’t what they used to be. Some of it’s age, but I know part of it is my thyroid.
This however is the least of my concerns.Continue reading “Medical Catch 22”