Pre-diagnosis was a scary time for me. I had become very exhausted, bitter, and just couldn’t think. I was a full time senior in college working full time as an assistant manager at a shoe store. I didn’t have insurance. I visited a clinic and sat there explaining my symptoms only to be brushed off. With a plethora of hypothyroidism in my family-both grandmothers, my great and great great Granny, mother AND father-I explained to the doctor I felt like it could be the cause only to be told I was far too young and just probably eating improperly. After being wrote off, I visited two more clinics before someone would listen. $800 in bloodwork and an all to expensive ultrasound and biopsy my current doctor helped me reach diagnosis.
There’s this strange feeling of fear and relief that can’t be explained that comes over you. After the big C word had been thrown around my mom and I both cried of relief. There’s this grief that I don’t think left me for a few months-my life was never going to be the same and accepting that took time.
Now, with research and reading, I’m taking charge of my own health. Diet for me has been the biggest factor. And of course, supplementing.
I’ve visited at least four doctors and have my next visit tomorrow with a new endocrinologist. I am excited. It’s rare to find a doctor that understands your health is all related. He wants to test for candida and other gut related issues. I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO ASK!
Here’s a few things I’ve learned during the process of diagnosis and the short 5 months after:
1. PATIENCE IS KEY. I know this is a feat especially if you are experiencing hormonal imbalances. But just breathe… Someone will eventually listen. Eventually you will reach optimal levels. Try and stay positive. Include your family in the process, sometimes hearing a second voice tell you it’s gonna be okay is necessary.
2. The greatest factor-Find someone who will listen. You as the patient can fire a doctor. Try and try again. Especially with an autoimmune condition, visit several doctors and find the one who works for you.
3. Take charge of your own health. Research, read, join support groups (so easy in this tech-friendly world), listen to your doctor and do what they say! Embrace the process.
4. Your gut could be causing it all. Change your diet and you will see wonderful things happen. I went full autoimmune Paleo and have begun reintroductions. At least limit sugar and gluten and symptoms and flare-ups will limit.
5. Keep a journal or a planner. For me, this was very important. I monitored what I ate, my symptoms and flare ups. Brain fog is still going strong, so I HAVE to or I would forget everything. I even bring my spiral to my doctors appointments. I’m sure they think I’m crazy, but I don’t always understand the medical terminology.
6. Listen to your body and its every ache, swelling, restroom habits, yawn. Make note. Your body is always trying to tell you something. Learn your triggers and avoid them.
7. AGAIN, just breathe. It will get better. Do something for yourself and your well-being at least 15 minutes a day.