Self Care

Selfishness for the New Mom

On this Hashimoto’s journey, along with my journey with anxiety and depression, I’ve started to learn the importance of self-care. Previously, my idea of “self-care” was getting to relax on the weekend, binge watching the latest Netflix Original and eating my way through popcorn, chips, candy, and Five Guys like the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Through my therapist, self-help books, and even some insightful bloggers, I’ve realized that vegetating in front of the TV and filling oneself with fattening foods isn’t really self-care. Of course, there’s always a time and a place for Netflix and junk food, especially on date nights with my husband. However, I know think of self-care as treasuring your body and giving it what it needs in that moment in a healthy way. Daily life life empties our cup and self-care fills that cup, so that we can continue to cope with the stress and chaos of life. Self-care will be different for everybody, but here are some of my favorite ways to take care of myself:

  • Making a cup of tea and sitting down with my favorite book
  • Working through an activity in my mindfulness journal
  • Practicing a new makeup look
  • Cuddling with my dogs and cats
  • Trying a new healthy recipe
  • Watching an ASMR video
  • Spending some time on one of my crafting projects
  • Playing a video game (but not spending all day playing said video game)
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Wandering the book store or library
  • Visiting with a friend
  • Writing in my journal
  • Trying something new
  • Listening to the rain
  • Savoring a chocolate bar
  • Baking chocolate chip cookies
  • Relaxing in a bubble bath

How do you like to practice self-care?

Progress Not Perfection

image by Monica Bergler

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that dealing with an autoimmune is a journey. I always want immediate results. I want to feel awake again!

My doctor prescribed me Tirosint after I complained about the awful side effects I was getting from the generic levothyroxine. After five days, I’m feeling fine, but I’m not seeing much improvement either. But it’s not even been a week yet so I’m trying to be patient.

My mother found out last week that she also has Hashimoto’s. She doesn’t have hypothyroidism yet. I feel better knowing that Hashimoto’s is most likely genetic for me and there wasn’t necessarily anything that I could have done to prevent it.

I’m still struggling with eating healthy. I know it’s important for my health but I’ve realized that I more serious issues at play. I decided to pick up The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.  I’m eager to improve my relationship with food, but I’ve realized that I don’t have the skills to do it on my own. I’m also reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. It’s challenging my perfectionism and my attitude towards vulnerability. I’m only a quarter of the way through but I would highly recommend that anyone read it. I think we all struggle with feeling of shame and inadequacy. Her thoughts are helping me work through many of my daily struggles.

 

Me and My Autoimmune Disease

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

After several months of feeling general malaise and fatigue, I finally went to the doctor. Thanks to my handy friend, WebMD, I was certain I either had hypothyroidism or cancer. But I never expected that I would be told that I did have hypothyroidism but it was caused by an autoimmune disease. My body had decided that my thyroid was a danger and was sending antibodies to attack it.

My doctor prescribed levothyroxine and I spent the next year finding the correct dosage to get my labs to return as “normal.” However, I didn’t feel normal and I still don’t. Chronic fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and inflammation are as present as they were before I was diagnosed.

I have decided to document my journey attempting to find what works for me and my disease. My current “treatment” plan of synthetic thyroid hormone is no longer sufficient.

As a writer, avid reader, and a lover of research, Google is my friend. I have spent several weeks perusing blogs, studies, and books in order to find what might be the magic that can bring me back to life.

One of the first things I’ve tried was taking my medication at night instead of in the morning. A 2010 study done at the Maasstad Hospital Rotterdam in the Netherlands found that “levothyroxine taken at night significantly improved thyroid levels.” While I do think this helped my thyroid levels reach normal on my labs, there was no significant improvement in my symptoms.

I’ve tried doing Whole30 several times. While this did help with inflammation, bloating, and weight gain, I ended up getting so fatigued halfway through that I couldn’t even cook.

After doing some more research, my next step is to talk to my doctor about doing a T3/T4 combination drug. Levothyroxine is only synthetic T4, but the T3 hormone is needed to process the T4. I’ve read that many people experience difficulty in convincing their doctors to prescribe T3 due to some controversy. However, I am hopeful that I will be able to convince my doctor.

I am currently reading The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life by Phoebe Lapine. Phoebe also suffers from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and documented her year-long process in finding wellness and a healthy thyroid. I’ll post my thoughts when I’m finished.

In August, I’m turning 25. This body has served me well, despite my Dr. Pepper habit and pasta penchant. But now, it’s my turn to serve my body, because 50 will be here before I know it, and I want to look back at the next 25 years and see someone who was happy and healthy.