December 12, 2018
This is part 2 in my three part series on my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Disease. These posts are very lengthy and extremely in-depth, but since battling thyroid problems I personally have found these types of posts to be the most helpful. I pray it would spark hope in you and not fear, but as a warning I do discuss a little bit about my miscarriage. If that may trigger any fear or trauma in you, maybe put a pin in this and come back at another time. Grab your coffee, friends. Here we go.
Oshiolema was born January 14, 2015. A week before his first birthday, I saw someone eating pomegranate seeds and thought they’d be tasty. I asked O to get some on his way home and he said “Okay! I’ll look for them at the store!” When he walked through the door empty handed my eyes welled up with tears and I was filled with an equal trifecta of rage, sadness and starvation. Yeah. Mama was pregnant.
Keogena was born in September of 2016 and I nursed her til she was 16 months old. This means my body spent May 2014- January 2017 growing or nursing a baby without a break. When Keogena was 7 months old I started to feel really “off.” That’s the word I found myself using most often and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it but I just knew something wasn’t right. My biggest symptom was utter exhaustion. I’m not talking the tired at the end of a long day with two toddlers tired-I mean tired from saying a full sentence, tired from walking from the pantry to the kitchen table, just way too tired. My hormones also felt extremely off and I started telling O I was beginning to feel crazy. I felt loopy and scattered, overwhelmingly stressed and unable to cope with very simple things.
I scheduled an appointment with my naturopath and dragged the kids into the office which I now realize was a mistake. I almost felt she tuned me out as I was talking and handed me a predetermined answer when I finished sharing my concerns. Her answer was this: “You have your hands full! You’re breastfeeding! You have a toddler and a baby–of course you’re exhausted!” I assured her I’d nursed my son for 13 months, been pregnant with a one year old, had a newborn and a 20 month old and had never felt this way. She said to make sure I was taking my prenatal. That was that.
A couple months later after weeks on weeks of new symptoms including inexplainable bloating, my hair falling out, frequent nausea and feeling deep blue (as I call it) I knew it was time to go back to the doctor. She said my thyroid felt “full” to the point where I needed an ultrasound to rule out cysts and also I needed some blood-work done. The ultrasound tech said I was all clear, the blood work was a little less stellar. My results revealed some concerning numbers and I was given a vitamin prescription and for a few months I did feel a little bit better. “Fine,” even.
We went to Europe, I launched my blog, I was busier than ever and lots of my symptoms were hiding in stress, very little sleep and adrenaline. By January, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was trusting the Lord to sustain me and guide me and thanking Him for the healing that was already mind, but man. I was so discouraged by my health. It had been years and years of unexplained health issues that impacted every moment of my day but always seemed to end in a question mark. I was frustrated, embarrassed and overwhelmed.
I became too tired to workout but made it my mission to load the babes up in the stroller daily, even if it was way-too-cold-degrees outside, to go get fresh air on a walk in the neighborhood. One day as I pushed up the sidewalk to our house, a friend of mine pulled up next to me in her van and as we caught up, she said she had just left her Chinese Medicine Doctor. My ears perked up because after my experience with my current naturopath O and I had been praying for a new doctor. I asked her to send me his information and as she drove away I basked in the kindness of the Lord. He is so faithful to lovingly lead us along, isn’t He?
I made a quick appointment and since my symptoms alarmed the doctor a bit, he ordered a Salveo Diagnostics Blood Test for me and sent someone to do a blood draw at my house the next week. The test is so comprehensive and so intense that it takes three weeks to compile all the results. Those were three very. long. weeks. Since his office was far and I couldn’t get a sitter, I opted to discuss the results over the phone and when I saw his name flash on my phone I think every pore in my body filled with a bead of sweat.
He thoroughly went category by category through the Shared Screen feature so I was able to see exactly what he was looking at. Aside from a couple teeny “mildly elevated” marks I was just so excited that nothing was wrong with me! I was healthy! I needed a few vitamins here and there but other than that, I really dodged a bullet!
And as we scroll down to the thyroid panel, I immediately noticed my results are in the “High” range but didn’t know quite what it meant. You can see the healthy Anti-TPO range was <34. My Anti-TPO number at the time was 270. (side note: I now know my T3 here was also high, despite saying “optimal” since I’m working to get that number down to a 1-it rose to 3.8 this summer.) He said “Well, since you have Hashimotos Thyroiditis…”
Um. I’m sorry, what?
I was absolutely shocked. I felt like I was in a movie where they just zoom in on the main character as she processes terrible news and every other sound fades to nothing. All I could muster, with my heart racing was, “Did you say I have Hashimotos?”
The only reason I knew Hashimoto’s was a thyroid disease and not a kick-boxing class or new fad diet was because a dear friend of mine found out she had it a few months before and was on medication for life. I went on a deep Google dive to better understand it at the time so I could pray for her and be there for her. I learned that it’s an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation and causes the immune system to attack the thyroid. She had babies back to back to back with little time for her body to recover- a main cause of the disease. Since your thyroid produces hormones that handle many of your body’s functions, a wide range of symptoms sprout from this disfunction one small butterfly shaped gland in your neck. I remember reading off the symptoms to O as we prayed for our friend being so sad for her. Three months later, here we were.
The doctor explained that he was so sorry to have said it so bluntly but was shocked after reviewing my last round bloodwork that I didn’t already know. We had been holding off on trying to get pregnant again until we could see if my body was healthy enough to bring a baby into the world, so my first question was “can I get pregnant?” He wrapped up the conversation by saying I’d need to immediately cut gluten, corn and soy from my diet in addition to the dairy I had already given up, attached a strict vitamin regimen to an e-mail assuring me it wasn’t necessary to get on medication quite yet and assured me I was in the clear to get pregnant.
Which I did.
I had a strong inkling I was pregnant the next month but about a few days before I could find out I found myself at the dentist for a dreaded filling. The hygienist shared with me quite quickly that she had been trying to get pregnant for 5 years and had become a bit of an expert on all things pregnancy in that time. I don’t know how we got on the topic of Hashimoto’s but she had quite a bit of knowledge on that topic too! By the end of the appointment I didn’t even want to hint at the fact that I thought I may be pregnant because of her struggle, but when she announced I needed some X-Rays I finally had to say something. After I sheepishly blurted that I may be pregnant, she said “Really? I’m surprised you could get pregnant with Hashimoto’s.”
A little seed was planted in that moment. Because I’m prone to anxiety and especially need to do my best to avoid stress because of my thyroid, I had to avoid my habit of google-hunting in efforts to guard my heart. This meant I only knew what my doctor had told me and he didn’t say a word to make me think I needed to be concerned in this area. I got the green light. He said this was safe and I truly believed him, but suddenly I felt blindsided. Why should I not be able to get pregnant? Was I not pregnant?
In April, at 4 weeks along, I found out I was indeed carrying our third baby. We’d find out that baby would meet Jesus before us and I had a DNC late June. It was a devastating time and presented so many questions but I felt in order to heal I needed to get pregnant again right away. Keep calm and carry on. Once I had my first cycle post surgery I had my obligatory midwife appointment which included lots of questions (her) and tears (me.) As I grabbed my purse to escape the feelings overwhelming the room, she cheerfully said “well you’re all clear to go ahead and try again. You don’t have to be afraid!” I wanted to take that and run but instead I felt the need to say, “…I don’t know if this matters at all but I have Hashimotos.” Her facial expression switched to pity. Sadness. “Oh. Okay my dear, I’m going to call the endocrinologist and you should head right over there.”
This is where it all clicked for me. Hashimoto’s isn’t a dear friend of pregnancy. They are not unrelated. They don’t live independently from each other. This is the moment that changed it all for me. Losing this baby taught me so much about my body and my health. I’m still figuring things out and turning everything on its head, but I’m a completely different woman than I was at this point four months ago.
In the third and final part of this story I’ll share where I am now and everything I’ve done to move towards healing since the loss of sweet baby Noah. I know a lot of you are also struggling with an autoimmune disease or thyroid woes. Be encouraged, friend. When we’re overwhelmed and frustrated and scared and don’t know what to do, we can pray, (Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. Rom. 8:26) we can hope (And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28) And we can surrender. (Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7).
As always, please email or DM me with any Hashimoto’s in the meantime and I look forward to sharing where I currently am in my walk to healing.
If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here.