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.