Hola, friends! Happy New Year and all that jazz! Woa.. so I’m final back, after taking pretty much a year and some change completely off due to some crazy health issues I had been having, for like ever, but that got really bad in 2010 and then became like a crazy, downward spiral ever since.
I just completely hit a wall a little over a year ago. I had been lead to believe that my health problems were all stress related (which it kind of was…ish – stress was not the cause of the symptoms, but caused my symptoms to be worse), and I viewed my business as the main cause of that stress. I had been pushing myself ridiculously due to the success and amazing opportunities I was having.. but I just couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t worth it, if I had to feel that incredibly bad all the time. So I walked away, and left Joel to run the show. I spent the last year researching endless about health, trying to figure out how to help myself since my doctors seem to be unable too, learned how to cook (but still don’t like to do it.. ha!), and had a lot of couch therapy.
Over the past few years, doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist all told me I was fine and that my problems (like extreme exhaustion, migraine headaches, depression, concentration/ memory problems, joint pain, and chronic stomach pain) were just stress, so I tried everything under the sun to “de-stress”.. I started working out regularly, changed my diet, worked with nutritionists, prayed and sought God endlessly, took up yoga for a brief period, tried mediating, completely walked away from my business (leaving a website redesign unfinished even), and cut out everything and everyone that could possibly be viewed as a source of “stress” – it was crazy!
What was interesting though.. No matter what I tried, it would work for a few days or weeks and then I would start to feel worse again.
I started working with a nutritionist last February and things were going great… as long as I was taking hundreds of dollars worth of supplements every month. I gave it six month with her, because who wants to spend that kind of money long term – sheesh!
However, the nutritionist did finally point me in the right direction after a blood test she wanted me to do, last June. She told me I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. *Insert deer-in-the-headlights-look* I have what? It is apparently an autoimmune disease which causes the body to mistakenly attack the thyroid. *Insert holy-freaking-terrified-look* What???
Part of me, wanted to jump for joy over finally having an answer to all the misery, but part of me was skeptical because I would hope my doctor would agree if that were true.. I went straight to my primary care doctor and to doing my own research on autoimmunity hoping to find answers.. My doctor told me “Hashimoto’s was an over diagnosis”, that I was fine and basically said that antibodies against my thyroid were not of concern yet… (YET?) and that people with thyroid antibodies tend to become autoimmune in the future and need thyroid replacement hormone, but for now “we would just watch it and test it again in 6 months”. Watch it? What the heck am I suppose to do in the mean time? Just wait for it to get that bad? And I don’t want to need thyroid replacement hormone.. So why aren’t we doing anything to prevent that from happening?
Plus it turns out all the major symptoms I had listed above, like extreme exhaustion, headaches, memory/concentration problems, depression, and digestive problems were ALL related to thyroid.. So isn’t it worth looking into it a little more, even if you’re doctor says you’re fine? After the past 4 years I have, I definitely thought so!
I had been researching enough on my own to know that if you have an autoimmune disease, it appears to be extremely difficult to find a traditional medical doctor that is able to help you until it’s so bad that you require medication or even diagnose you. I also knew most of the time they most of the people that they tell are hypothyroid, it’s actually being caused by Hashimoto’s, but they are never even told about it. Why? Because astonishingly, it doesn’t matter or change their course of treatment at all. What? I also knew that even though I was having thyroid related symptoms that the thyroid wasn’t the problem. The problem of autoimmune diseases is actually the immune system being confused and attacking parts of the body, and that finding the underlying cause of why the immune system is messed up is what needs to happen.
Not being at ease with my doctors opinion after all the research I had done, I then decided to pay a ridiculous amount of money to see a Naturopathic doctor (ridiculous because in Michigan they are not covered by insurance) hoping she would have more insight… Unfortunately, she said pretty much the exact same thing. She even asked one of her MD colleagues her opinion too just to put my mind at ease. Her colleague, of course, said the same thing. Even if she had diagnosed me, it turns out her treatment would have been the same as a traditional doctor – thyroid replacement hormone. You gotta be kiddin’ me.. That was an expensive lesson to learn.
Looong story, short.. I finally found a Functional Medicine doctor that did confirm the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s and I have been working with her the past few months. She has been AMAZING and I finally am feeling better than I have in a long, looong time. It turns out that Functional Medicine has different, more optimal ranges for diagnosing disease than traditional/conventional medicine does. Functional Medicine also looks for CAUSE of why something is happening, instead of just treating the symptom.
For example, from my understanding, if someone was considered to have an autoimmune thyroid condition by conventional medicine they would just be given thyroid replacement hormones and sent on their way. They more than likely wouldn’t be told that diet is HUGE if you are autoimmune, and more than likely they wouldn’t do anything to address the inflammation in the body caused by the autoimmune disease. Because the problem of what is making the immune system freak out is never addressed, and they will more than likely continue to get other autoimmune diseases throughout their life… Sooo sad.
If you’ve been sick or feeling super crappy for a long time, yet doctors and specialist tell you that you’re fine, when you can tell you’re not, I encourage you to look into finding a Functional Medicine doctor. I’ve found that often times they are conventional trained MDs to begin with and then went on to become Functional Medicines doctors after trying to cure their own diseases. Listen to Functional Medicine MD, Mark Hyman explain the differences between Functional and Conventional Medicine below.
I truly hope one day that traditional/conventional medicine adopts the Functional Medicine ranges for diagnosing diseases, and that they will learn how to help patients before their only option is lifelong prescription meds… It just seems so messed up when there’s really SO much else you can do to reverse autoimmunity and live well.. But until then, let’s keep spreading the word about Functional Medicine to those we know that are suffering, yet told they are fine. Becasue I’ll tell ya, it thoroughly sucks to be told your fine, when your whole body is screaming your not.
There were a few months over the summer, in between the nutritionist telling me I was autoimmune and finding my current doctor when the fear of this autoimmune disease and the thought that my body was attacking itself, and the were is God in all this was pretty crippling… But it lead me to find some new directions.. (and possible new projects even!)
There are a few books I’ve read over the past few months that have helped me tremendously in understanding this all: “Why Do I still Have Thyroid Symptoms when my Lab Tests are Normal“, “The Immune System Recovery Program“, and “The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body“. If you or anyone you love is suffering from an autoimmune disease, I highly recommend checking those books out. If you’re autoimmune, it’s critical that you educate yourself about your condition and not just blindly follow anyone – traditional medicine or Functional Medicine. There are unfortunately, always going to be poor healthcare providers out there as well as super amazing ones, but you need to be educated enough about what’s going on to know when or if you need to walk away and find someone else to help you.. Such as in my case with the nutritionist I was seeing. Basically it became increasingly clear to me that it was all about selling supplements with her, not so much helping people get well. However, I truly feel such is also the case with most if not all the traditional doctors and specialists I’ve seen over the past few years too…
Working on putting my autoimmune disease into remission is still a work in progress.. So while I’m excited to be finally be “back”, things may still be a little quiet around here from time to time.
And after a year off, there’s definitely plenty to do around here.. I’m up to my eyeballs in parties, designs, and products that haven’t been posted yet.. And am also reevaluating those that were posted. So pardon our dust while we revamp the website and shop!