As you may have heard me mention before, I was diagnosed with both Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Graves disease late last year. Both are auto-immune diseases affecting the thyroid. It’s quite rare to have both of these (as they’re actually competing issues), but here I am. Nearly 30 million Americans have thyroid disease and a whopping 60% of these people DON’T KNOW IT. God put it on my heart to share this wellness journey and, while I’ve shared a few blog posts (here) and posted a few silly boomerangs to Instagram of my workouts, I haven’t really taken you deep into this thing with me like I’d like to. The journey to the place of “unwell” was long and the journey to “well” is proving to be equally long. But the benefits and improvements I’ve seen by making smart choices, simplifying my life, and committing grace not perfection have been incredible and somewhat quick. I’m going to start this little blog series by telling you about how I ended up here. Let this be a cautionary tale to all of you women (thyroid disease affects MANY more women than men) running yourselves into the ground.
I started my business in 2008 and dove right in. I loved it so much I devoted every waking moment to it. It grew and grew. Then, in 2011, I had my first son. I loved him so much, I devoted every waking moment to him. The business continued to grow and afforded me the opportunity to be a work-from-home-mom. Then, after multiple rounds of fertility treatments, I gave birth to our twins in 2015. I loved them so much, I devoted every waking moment to them. The business grew. Brady grew. The twins grew. I wrote my first book, was featured in Forbes magazine, travelled all over the country speaking, exhibiting, selling our products.
All good things. But ALL. THE. THINGS. See, when you devote every waking moment of your time to everything you love, you don’t have any waking moments left to take care of yourself. Skipping meals was normal. Fueling myself on coffee every morning was normal. Then coming off the stress of the day with a (BIG) handful of goldfish and a glass of wine at night. Up down. Up down. My list of physical ailments grew and grew. My eyes were dry (blamed it on the computer). My hair was falling out (blamed it on the pregnancies). I was so tired by 2pm every day (blamed it on just being “busy”). My doctor’s didn’t think anything was up, so I ordered an at-home Thyroid test from EverlyWell (save 10% with this affiliate link). Sure enough, my TSH was extremely low (a sign of Hyperthyroidism). So, I took those results to my doctor. She told me to wait three months and we’d test it again. It was low that next time too. And the time after that it was high (but almost within range). Just recently, it was very low again.
I’ve read about a zillion books about thyroid disease over the past few months, but what I’ve realized is that it isn’t really about my thyroid as much as its about my overall health. I’m 5’5″ and weigh 128lbs. By normal standards, I’m “healthy.” I’ve never really committed to exercise because I didn’t think I really needed to. I didn’t “feel hungry” all the time, so I didn’t eat a ton. It wasn’t until I met my endocrinologist that I realized how seriously I’d been neglecting myself. Now, here is what Dr. Izabella Wentz says about auto-immune diseases. You have to have 3 things happen to end up with one (and if you have one, you’re at risk for more):
- genetic predisposition (runs in my family)
- environmental factors (STRESS)
- gut permeability (food issues)
If you remove one of those things, you can put it into remission. Since I can’t do anything about #1, I’m focusing on #2 and #3.
So, here we are, almost one year since my first appointment. I know how great it feels to be right in line with where I need to be and I can feel when my body is off-kilter. Recently, I read Phoebe Lapine’s new book The Wellness Project. It’s a really great experience / science based book about her year of wellness. Each month, she tackled a different area of wellness to get her body feeling good again. Her first was (what seemed to me like) the hardest challenge: what she called her “Vice Detox.” She cut coffee, sugar, and alcohol. Even typing those, my body is saying NOOOOOOOO. Now, listen, I’ve done Whole 30 (and gluten free, and paleo, and blah blah blah) before. But YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE UP COFFEE with that. Still, I keep coming back to this idea of a vice detox. And I’m gonna do it. BUT, I’m allowing myself one measly cup of coffee in the morning (ahem, three children). Started this morning. :) Wish me luck.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on my own wellness journey here on the blog whenever I have time to write (currently editing Book 2, working on a big secret project, and working on a study guide for Grace Not Perfection) in terms of exercise, food, self-care, simplifying, etc. Here are a few favorite reads if you’re looking to learn more about thyroid disease and / or general wellness.