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My Hashimoto’s Protocol: Finding My Way Back From Hell

My Hashimoto's Hell

This is my personal story about my struggle to receive a correct diagnosis and develop a Hashimoto’s protocol that worked before I lost everything near and dear to me, including my sanity.

The Beginning Of My Hashimoto’s Symptoms

To understand how Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis stole my life and my identity, I need to tell you who I was pre-autoimmune. I was the woman who rolled out of bed at 5:30 each morning ready to kick-butt and take names. I was VP of Marketing at a high profile non-profit and I could juggle more balls than a professional circus clown. I was Baseball Mom chauffeuring two boys to multiple practices and games each week. I volunteered at my local church. My nickname was Wonder Woman. I loved life, had many friends, and traveled the world.

But that all came to a screeching halt three and half  years ago. At the ripe old age of 41, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. The pregnancy was fairly stable but after her birth I experienced debilitating fatigue like I had never felt before. Then, at three months postpartum, I became irritable, sad, angry and my anxiety was through the roof.

Additional Hashimoto’s Symptoms

  • Insignificant incidents would set me off. My normally even-keeled temperament had completely vanished.
  • Leaving the house to pick up children or to run errands could put me into a full-blown panic attack.
  • My hair was falling out in clumps. My face was puffy and my eyes were constantly swollen.
  • I was breastfeeding and sticking to a lower calorie diet but I could not lose weight. Instead, I began gaining rapidly. I became heavier postpartum than I was pregnant.
  • I couldn’t remember anything. Recalling common words used every day became almost impossible. The term is brain fog but it felt like I had early onset of dementia.

My First Diagnosis

At that point I became scared and went to see the doctor. The diagnosis was postpartum depression and the remedy was an antidepressant and anxiety medication.

I struggled with the diagnosis. I knew my body and I knew something else was wrong. But, like a good patient, I started the medication. I continued to gain weight rapidly, and by this time I had stopped breastfeeding and was on a very low calorie diet. The exhaustion continued. Most days, I would lie on the couch and tending to the minutest things felt like I had just ran a marathon. I still had brain fog. I still had anxiety. I was still in a bad mood all day, every day.

So, back to the doctor I went and I insisted he run a thyroid test. He tested my TSH level 1 which came back at 6.7 but that was normal according to the lab. That number is high, but at the time I was clueless about TSH. Nor was I educated enough to ask for a full thyroid panel including testing for antibodies. I was told the fatigue is probably my new normal after having a child later in life. And the brain fog, along with everything else, was a symptom of my depression.

Fighting For My Sanity And My Health

This is when I became my own advocate. I refused to believe I was going to feel this horrible for the rest of my life. My life was in a complete tailspin–My mood, fatigue and anxiety were wreaking havoc in all of my relationships. I was irritable and impatient with my children. I would turn down lunch invitations from friends because I simply did not have the energy to drive anywhere, much less be social. I would not return phone calls to family or friends because either I was too tired or the thought of carrying on a conversation was too overwhelming. My marriage was on the brink of divorce and we were in counseling as a Hail Mary.

I had to find an answer and find a way off the roller coaster I was on. I scoured the Internet listing all of my symptoms from the big ones (fatigue, rapid weight gain, hair loss) to the minor symptoms (intolerance to cold, puffy face). Finally, Hashimoto’s Disease appeared on my screen, list all of my Hashimoto’s symptoms, and it was my Eureka moment.

I fired my doctor and found one who had experience with Hashimoto’s. She ran a full thyroid panel and tested me for the Hashimoto’s antibodies. My levels came back shockingly high. I finally had an accurate diagnosis. She put me on natural desiccated thyroid (NDT), which is T4/T3 combination medication that contains the two main thyroid hormones a body produces. That day, I regained hope that I could find my way out of my living hell.

My Hashimoto’s Protocol: Journey to Healing

Taking thyroid hormone was the start of my healing but it was not the end of it. I was determined to learn all I could about Hashimoto’s and Hashimoto’s protocols. I researched Internet articles and read book after book. Two books I highly recommend are Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back by Dr. Izabella Wentz and The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight — and How to Get Your Life Back by Amy Myers M.D. From both, I learned that there is most likely a root cause to autoimmune disease and the protocols to heal.

Hashimoto’s Protocol Step 1

I cut all gluten and sugar from my diet. I eliminated dairy temporarily, but after determining I was not dairy sensitive, I added it back to my diet. I now follow Keto. I started taking selenium, zinc, probiotics, Vitamin D and Methylated B Complex Vitamins. I started to feel better and the weight was slowly coming off, BUT I knew I wanted to feel EVEN better.

Hashimoto’s Protocol Step 2

I had my hormone levels tested. My testosterone level came back ZERO. Like zero, zilch, nothing. Women may not need as much testosterone as men but we still need some. Experts attribute hypothyroidism or low thyroid function with lower testosterone levels 2, so it was no surprise I did not have any. That’s when I started bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I began to feel even better but I continued to feel some fatigue and brain fog. Learn more about about my testosterone therapy here.

Hashimoto’s Protocol Step 3

During my research, I had read about utilizing Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy for autoimmune disease. The consensus is that it may be a miracle drug for some but does nothing for others. I decided to give it a try and started LDN three months ago. I can gratefully say that I am one of the lucky ones. It was not immediate, but each day I started to feel better than the previous. Now, on most days, I feel like the old me. At my last checkup, my antibodies were almost non-existent and the doctor has had to lower my thyroid hormone dosage.

Hashimoto’s Protocol Step 4 (updated May 2019)

Since writing this blog post, I have added another essential element to my protocol—CBD oil—and here’s why. I am always on the lookout for new supplements to prevent or combat flare-up symptoms. During my research, I came across the benefits of CBD oil and read about its amazing healing and protective powers. I decided to try it out and I am so glad I did! It helps with my anxiety and other symptoms and it also helps me fall asleep, and stay asleep.

You can read all about how CBD oil has helped me and its science-backed benefits here: 5 Science-Based CBD Oil Benefits And Why I Use It Every Day.

Present Day

My Hashimoto’s journey has traversed over three years. There were days when I felt like there was no hope. However, I refused give up, and by creating my own healing journey, I am in remission. My weight is finally where it was pre-pregnancy. My mind feels sharp as a tack and my even-keeled temperament has returned. My debilitating fatigue is gone. Unfortunately, I do not have the energy levels I had before my autoimmune disease and I will always be on medication, but I am OK with both. I know that I will live with this disease and flare ups for my entire life BUT I can do my part to keep my symptoms in check.

The best advice I can give anyone suffering from Hashimoto’s is to NEVER stop fighting for your health. Become your own advocate. If your doctor won’t listen, find another one. If one thing does not work, try something else. The thing about autoimmune disease, including Hashimoto’s, is that what works for one person may not work for the next. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Educate yourself. Try to determine your root cause and follow the protocols. Keep trying until all the pieces fall into place. For me, there was no magic bullet but a culmination of steps that led to remission.

My Hashimoto’s Healing Protocol

  • Take NDT hormone that has both T4 and T3 daily
  • Eliminate gluten and sugar
  • Follow the Keto Diet but keep low carb vegetable intake high
  • Take high quality supplements including selenium, zinc, probiotics, vitamin D and methylated B vitamins
  • Optimize hormones
  • Take 4.5 mg of LDN daily
  • Take CBD Oil 1-2x daily
1: https://www.aace.com/files/final-file-hypo-guidelines.pdf
2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26904478

Hashimoto’s Resources

Websites

TSH – Why It’s Useless
https://stopthethyroidmadness.com
https://thyroidpharmacist.com
https://www.amymyersmd.com
http://theinvisiblehypothyroid.com
https://www.heyhashi.org

Books

 

Best way to explain what you’re going through to friends and family

https://www.facebook.com/notes/thyroid-sexy/i-am-hashimotos-disease-a-letter-for-patients-family-and-friends/1040000002685621/

My Hashimoto’s Protocol: Finding My Way Back From Hell was originally published on The Invisible Hypothyroidism as a guest post, How I Made My Way Out Of My Hashimoto’s Hell.

Hashimoto's Protocol

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8 Comments

  1. Amy
    February 1, 2019 / 12:31 am

    This is almost my exact story. After baby I crashed ( I had hypo prior to pregnancy). Every symptom you said, got put on an antidepressant. Dos research, found a good doc and got put on t3/t4. I don’t have hashis just hypothyroid. My TSH was 7 after baby ( I didn’t get info until 7 months postop). The only thing I had to really master that I didn’t see you talk about was my adrenals. I had the start of adrenal fatigue. I also had very low testosterone like you did. I’m glad you took your health into your hands and I hope you continue to be well!

    • momsmimosa
      Author
      February 1, 2019 / 4:09 pm

      Hi Amy – I’m so glad you shared your story. Hypothyroidism is difficult but even more so when you are recovering from birth and also sleep deprived taking care of a precious new baby. I read a lot about adrenal fatigue while doing my own research. It can go hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism which is a double whammy. I hope you are feeling better now and I am glad you took your health into your own hands too and found a good doctor.

  2. Elizabeth
    February 2, 2019 / 2:06 am

    I absolutely loved your story. Is your marriage OK?

    • momsmimosa
      Author
      February 2, 2019 / 2:41 am

      Thank you so much! Yes, my marriage survived and what we went through made us stronger. With Hashimoto’s, I think half of the battle is having your family understand what you’re going through and how terrible you feel. Thankfully, once I was properly diagnosed, my husband was able to do his own research on my disease began to show compassion. And once my Hashimoto’s was stabilized my moodswings and anxiety stabilized as well.

  3. Amy
    April 12, 2019 / 11:14 am

    I was diagnosed after my 2nd baby. My doctor would not prescribe natural thyroid and said it is difficult to get and dose.

    • April 12, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      A lot hypothyroid patients do just fine on levothyroxine or similar meds. If it’s working for you then great! If not, and you want to try NDT, then I would find a doctor that prescribes it. If you call your pharmacy and ask what doctors prescribe NDT, they will happily provide names of doctors in your area.

  4. Vanessa A Mirro
    May 14, 2019 / 2:05 pm

    I find that I frequently come back to this very post and it gives me hope! I just discussed testosterone replacement therapy with my doctor and will start this week. Is it still helping you? Also, what type of NDT are you on? I’m currently on brand name Synthroid and Cytomel but am thinking about switching. Thanks again for all of this helpful information!

    • June 5, 2019 / 1:40 pm

      Vanessa, I am so very sorry. This comment was in the queue and it did not pop up until another comment came in today. Dear lady, please accept my apology for not responding sooner. I love that this post gives you hope, that is exactly why I wrote it. I am on a compounded t3/t4 right now. But I have also taken NP Thyroid. I liked that too but my doctor had to lower my dosage and getting it compounded was necessary. Please keep me updated on your testosterone therapy, I would love to know how it’s going. Big hugs and please keep in touch.

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