My Hashimotos Story – The Fog Lifts (Part 2)

I felt like an alien in my own body; depressed, fatigued, lack of desire and weight gain. Something was going on with me and I wasn’t sure what it was.

To read the backstory (Part 1 of My Hashimotos Story) read THIS.

I left the doctor’s office with a script in my hand for a complete blood panel and instructions to follow an anti-inflammatory diet until I met with my doctor again in a few weeks to review the result of the blood tests.

I had done Whole 30 in the past, so I was very familiar with the tenants of the program.  I didn’t fully understand WHY this was what my doctor recommended, but knowing Whole 30 to be such a solid, nutritionally strong plan, I jumped in whole heartedly and have never looked back!

I came home and got rid of the junk.  Despite the tiredness, I got my meal prep game back on.  I knew from past experience that I had to have good food on hand when hunger struck or else I may feel tempted to eat crap.  And I was well aware that eating crap = feeling like crap.

For those unaware of the anti-inflammatory tenets of Whole 30/Paleo lifestyle, it’s basically:

Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. (Will go into more detail in blog post Part Three) Strip them from your diet completely. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups and start to heal!

So I did.  And it was literally like the curtain was opening to sunshine again as the bright rays began to flood my space, my mind and my soul.  Within three weeks I had shed 8 lbs., but more importantly I was coming out of the fog that I felt trapped in.  My joy was returning….I felt excitement.

The day approached to go back to my doctor for the results of my blood work, but I knew, regardless of what he had to tell me, that there was no way I was going back to eating any other way than what I was doing now.  I felt so damn good!

Thankfully I go to a doctor who is very thorough, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone.  I’ve been amazed at the number of people who write to me feeling hopeless because their doctor couldn’t find anything wrong, but upon further inquiry I find out the doctor failed to order a complete panel to understand the ENTIRE picture.  They are left undiagnosed and confused.

A full thyroid panel for should include these 6 key thyroid lab tests:

TSH
Free T4
Free T3
Reverse T3
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
Thyroglobulin Antibodies

There are approximately 300 million+ people worldwide suffering from thyroid dysfunction, yet it is one of the most undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and unrecognized health problems in the world. These patients are falling through the cracks, left to feel like they are crazy while suffering through some debilitating symptoms.

A devastating statistic that Dr. Sarah Ballantyne shares on page 13 of her book ‘The Paleo Approach‘: 45% of people later diagnosed with serious autoimmune diseases are labeled as hypochondriacs in the early stages of their autoimmune diseases. You aren’t crazy. Your body is talking to you…listen to it and be your own advocate! Keep making noise until someone listens to you!!!

You typically go to the doctor with symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, depression, etc. and the doctor decides to run the “gold standard” of thyroid tests, which is the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). If the TSH falls within the ‘normal’ range, then the thyroid is declared normal despite the fact that the patient is suffering.  Often times the only recommendations they are given is to take anti-depressant pills or just “get more exercise!”

Frustrating.

To make matters worse, Hashimotos, an auto-immune disease where the body has turned on itself and attacks and destroys its own thyroid gland, goes undiagnosed because doctor’s fail to run these two simple thyroid antibody tests: Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb).  Hashimotos is the leading cause of hypothyroidism, yet mainstream medicine fails to test patients for thyroid antibodies.

Without the knowledge of autoantibody formation, which your doctor would know if he/she would order the test, there’s no way to accurately diagnose Hashimotos.  Autoantibody formation is an accident that happens in all of our bodies.  Approximately 30% of us at any given time have detectible autoantibodies in our body.  What turns this production of autoimmunity to autoimmune disease is the fail-safe mechanism that our immune system has for detecting the fact that our immune system isn’t attacking foreign invaders, but attacking its own tissue.  Those fail-safes fail.  With enough damage overtime, we can start to see symptoms of disease.  Autoimmune disease is not diagnosed until there are symptoms that fit in a predictable and regular pattern.

And this is where my test revealed that I had both elevated Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies, yet within the normal range for all the other thyroid tests.  If my doctor had failed to test my antibodies and only looked at my TSH, etc. he would’ve sent me along my merry way with zero answers as to why I had all these symptoms. But it was obviously clear, my immune system’s fail-safe mechanism failed.

But it gets exciting!  Because diet and lifestyle has a direct impact on immune health, we can provide the body with the opportunity to actually heal damaged tissue.  This is where reversal of symptoms can occur.

It’s not a cure.  There is no cure.  Once the ability to attack our own body has been learned by the immune system, it cannot be unlearned.  There is always the chance for the autoimmune diseases to come back.  A stressful event or exposure to a food trigger that’s accidental, can bring the disease back with a vengeance.  But when you are completely asymptomatic because you’ve modified diet and lifestyle, perhaps as a complementary approach to other interventions like medications that can be smartly used, this is where autoimmune disease feels like it’s gone into remission. (Note: Because my thyroid is still producing hormone, I do not require medication at this time.  Without diligence on my part to make sure my diet and lifestyle supports a healthy system, it would only be a matter of time before the autoantibodies attack my thyroid enough to destroy it’s ability to produce and I would need the help of medication.  This is why I am so devoted to this lifestyle.  I’m not messing around with the health of my thyroid!)

In Part Three of this blog series, I will delve into the why’s of certain foods to be avoided AND included to regain your health and well being.  I hope you will join me again…

To be continued…..


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  1. This is so helpful to read! I have been going to so many drs and feel terrible all the time. I will ask them to run these thyroid tests. You never know…thank you for sharing this information with us.

    1. I”m so glad you found it helpful!!! Yes, keep searching until you find the root cause of what ails you!!! xoxo

  2. Looking forward to part 3! Thanks for sharing! Almost all the women on my mothers side have hypothyroidism and are on Synthroid daily. I usually only get my THS tested with my yearly blood work but I will ask them to include those others that you listed. I had no idea. So far my thyroid is fine but I want to keep it that way!! Thanks for the info!
    Fran

  3. Tiffanie do you see a Chiropractor or a Natropath Doctor? Thank you so much for all that you do for everyone! A true inspiration! Hope to hear you say “I will be on the Rachel Ray show such and such Day”!!!❤️

    1. Awww you’re so sweet! I see a chiropractor, but he no longer does adjustments. His phD is in toxicology and nutrition, so his 100% focus in on whole body systemic wellness!!

  4. I have Hashimotos. I am on synthroid. I feel better than I did when I was originally diagnosed, but still feel tired most of the time. I do not eat gluten and have considered fine tuning my diet even further. I travel weekly for work and that makes eating a challenge. I may just have to suck it up and make theses changes.

    1. While traveling does produce challenges, it’s totally possible to THRIVE at this! When you feel better, nothing will stop you from adhearing to your new diet and lifestyle!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! I’m looking forward to part 3. I don’t believe my Endo runs all of those – just the first three but I’ll will ask.

    1. You need to find a doctor who will run whatever test YOU ask of him/her. This is your body, your life, not theirs! Not to sound gruff, but they are there to serve you, not the other way around so speak up!! I’m supporting you!

  6. After finding/reading part 1 yesterday, I was so happy to see you already have part 2 up! I was diagnosed with Hashimotos last winter, it has been a battle for sure. I had (have) gained 20 pounds despite exercising 6 days/week and eating well. Still have those darn 20 pounds. I’m GF, but looks like I need to find the Whole 30 book and get started. Thank you!

    1. Yes girl! Some people are able to eradicate symptoms by simply going Paleo, while others have to take it a step further by doing Autoimmune Paleo protocol. My philosophy is you want to do the least restrictive diet that gives you optimal health results, so try Whole 30/paleo first and if you don’t achieve the results you want after 30/60 days, then you may need to go a bit deeper with autoimmune protocol to heal further before reintroducing foods back in.

  7. I wish I could find a doctor that understands all these issues. I have been on Synthroid for 10 years but still have to take an anti-depressant just to feel myself. My doctor doesn’t see any reason to look at any test except TSH, which stays normal thanks to the Synthroid. Meanwhile, I can’t lose weight, still struggle with fatigue, etc…

    1. Look for an integrative, functional or naturopath in your area! You are in charge of your health and you must find a doctor you can work well with. The problem with ONLY using medication, is that medication doesn’t fix the underlying problem….the autoantibodies that are continually attacking your body. The medication only gives you synthetic hormone in your body. Therefore, it’s imperative that you work on diet and lifestyle changes if you want to start to FEEL better!!!

  8. I just have to say it baffles me how these tests consistently fall short. I remember reading something like 90% of people with hypothyroidism also have Hashimotos. So, what gives??! Thankfully my Naturopath clued me in, but outside of natural/alternative medicine, I’ve been told the tests aren’t necessary. I was also told that because of elevated TSH (just outside of healthy range) I would need to take medicine for the rest of my life. Well after a Whole90 and follow up lab work, my TSH dropped considerably! I’m well within healthy range without ever using medication. More importantly I feel healed!!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!! My mom had hashimoto’s (very advanced before it was caught) and she had to have her thyroid removed. Both of her parents and 2 out of her three siblings have had hypothyroidism. Three of my cousins are affected. I have never been tested but definitely have been feeling off. I am 48 years old and need to have mine checked. Thank you for sharing what tests we all need to have done!!!

    1. Genetics plays a large role in autoimmune diseases that’s why it’s not uncommon to see many members of the family with some form! Always be vigilant and if you feel “off” definitely take heed!

  10. Great posts and I look forward to the next. Thanks for being so open and honest. I’m glad you are feeling better and gosh, just radiating! 🙂

  11. Wow Tiffanie excellent article -love your enthusiasm!
    In a previous post I thought you mentioned you take something for your thyroid… after reading this, I realize you don’t take synthroid or other thyroid medication. Do you take a vitamin or special formula (non medication) to support your thyroid? Thank you for sharing this!!

  12. So much great information! My mom had her thyroid removed and I have many classic symptoms but my TSH level is ‘normal’. Thanks for the encouragement to get further testing ~ I believe you’re in my path for a reason!!

  13. Thanks for this post and for directing me to it (I was the one on Instagram who was asking if you were on Synthroid).

    I am definitely going to look for a good functional med dr. in NYC…it’s crazy, I’ve had thyroid bloodwork done so many times and it always comes back “in range,” yet clearly I must have an issue. Like you did, I suffer from, as I like to call it “overwhelming fatigue” and have a really hard time losing weight, as well as mood issues. I had fertility issues as well (PCOS) and went through years of misery with that UNTIL I went Paleo when I was 38. Like you, cloud lifted, my depression of 25 years was literally gone, energy, weight loss, and, I got pregnant with my son. Unfortunately, post pregnancy everything fell apart. Though I have been mostly Paleo in diet these past 5 years and exercising (either BBG or similar), I’m totally stuck and can’t lose weight, seems almost as if my hormones reset (in a bad way) after pregnancy. Depression and fatigue are back. So, all this said, I’m going to check our the thyroid and talk to a functional medicine dr. THANK YOU for all your posts and everything you do. As a 44 year old mom myself I find real inspiration from you and so appreciate your humble compassionate and real approach 🙂 Thanks! -Lauren xo

    1. Hashimotos diagnosis is VERY common following pregnancy so you may definitely be suffering silently without realizing it! Definitely keep hunting for a doctor that will work with you to get to the bottom of it!

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