I’ve talked a little about my Autoimmune disease and I’ve mentioned products I’ve started using to heal myself here and there but I’ve been wanting to do a formal blog and share what has been helping me. My goal in writing this is to hopefully help someone like you with your journey, find your diagnosis or make your life a little easier 🙂
A quick little back story: A year ago, shortly after I married Eric, he kept encouraging me to go get my yearly checkup. He was concerned because my hair had started to fall out and I continued to gain weight despite eating very healthy…(well healthy considered by doctors and modern medicine). I went in and I was very fortunate, my doctor was patient, listened to me and ordered a round of blood tests. I came back 3 weeks later and she said everything looked fine except my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was a little high and my Vitamin D was low. She started my on a synthetic thyroid hormone and told me to go out and get a daily 5,000 Vitamin D supplement. Unfortunately, that doctor left the practice after that visit and I never saw her again. I bounced around the past year to different doctors in the practice before I was finally fed up and found my amazing Endocrinologist. It’s a long story about how I found a good doctor and to actually find out I had Hashimoto’s, but that wasn’t my intention for this blog, if you are interested in that story, let me know in the comments! 🙂
Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about and aren’t sure what an Autoimmune disease is, healthline has a detailed explanation here. In a nutshell, my body has very overactive immune system, it works so hard all of the time that it can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and abnormal cells. The list of possible autoimmune diseases is staggering and most people know someone or are affected by one themselves.
This past year has been difficult with all of the little gifts an autoimmune disease brings you like memory loss, fatigue, hair loss, digestive issues and more. Although I only have one official autoimmune diagnosis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I suspect a couple of more due to my chronic anemia and other ailments.
Through my journey, I’ve found certain things have made my life much, much easier. I will be sharing them over a series of blogs along with recipes, tips and tricks and more.
Here are my:
4 things to get in order after being diagnosed with an Autoimmune
I was never a person that took supplements before my diagnosis. I was pretty good at taking a multivitamin and in the past I’ve had to take iron for my anemia but that was about it. Through my research, I’ve found a lot of people with Autoimmune diseases have nutrient deficiencies. I highly recommend talking to your doctor and getting tested for deficiencies before starting any new supplements but I have found they make all the difference for me. Iron and Vitamin D were game changers for me. I consider them to be just as important as my synthetic thyroid hormone to my health. I take different herbs to help me manage stress, workout recovery and more. I can go through my full list of supplements in another blog, just let me know in the comments if you are interested. I found which supplements to take by talking to my doctor and from advice in the book, “Finding and treating the root cause.”
2. Write everything down
Memory loss was a big and scary thing for me. We have a lot going on, I work full-time, I write blogs, develop recipes, plan family gatherings and more. Forgetting things, ideas and appointments just wasn’t an option for me. I’ve tried using my phone for appointments and reminders but I still found myself missing things. I’ve always used a paper planner, I’ve mentioned them here and here but then my sister created some planning pages that are just perfect for me.
They are completely customizable and she even has stickers for specific things you may need to track. Personally, I track my pills/supplements, steps on my Fitbit, appts, work, meetings, blogs, meals, to do lists and more.
If I need a specific address for an appointment I usually put that in my phone as well so I can use the maps function. I find that writing it down improves my memory and helps me to not to forget but also having that hard copy I can look at every day ensures I don’t forget important details.
I hated using the word diet there but I couldn’t think of a better word that is so universal. Eliminating harmful foods is so much more than a diet. In June of last year, when all I knew about was my under-active thyroid, I started doing research. I kept coming across paleo and the autoimmune protocol. I already ate pretty “healthy” but the thought of paleo seemed daunting, the idea of the autoimmune protocol seemed like something only crazy obsessed people do… Isn’t it fun when you come full circle and realize they were right all along? Yeah, it’s not..thanks. Anyways…I started by reading the book, “It starts with food,” and committed to a Whole30. Hey, 30 days, I could do that, right? Well, here I am a year later still following the paleo diet. Unfortunately, paleo wasn’t quite enough for me and I still wasn’t healing. In addition to paleo, I’ve eliminated nightshades, eggs, strawberries, nuts and I limit my sugars (including fruit) to 20 grams a day. Finding the right diet is a long road and it isn’t even remotely easy. I’ve slipped a lot and I’ve tried to reintroduce dairy over and over…(never successfully, apparently I don’t learn). My advice is to start small, try eliminating gluten, then try going organic, then commit to something like a Whole30. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fathom going Autoimmune protocol overnight…it’s a big lifestyle change and pushing yourself too fast may only end up in failure.
4. Get/Stay Active
Besides memory loss, one of the biggest symptoms and changes for me was how tired I was all of the time. I would go to work (I work in an office and don’t have to walk a lot) and I would come home exhausted like I had worked out all day. Then if I decided to push through and do a good workout it would take me days to recover. I felt like I couldn’t win. I had been an athlete all of my life and this was really devastating for me. It took my hematologist oddly enough to tell me that I didn’t have to work out hard, I just needed to move. She told me to start walking, just 40 minutes a day, don’t try to run, just walk. The first day wasn’t so bad and it got easier and easier. I got myself a Fitbit to track how much I was walking and now I do well over 40 minutes a day. I walk after lunch at work, I walk when I get home, I use a smaller water bottle at work so I have to walk to refill it more often. It has increased my energy and helps me to sleep better, breath better and gets me outside. If you’re using a fitbit, lets be friends! Search for me using my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be sharing more about my Autoimmune and how I manage it over the next couple of months for this series. Do you have questions about it? Let me know in the comments below!