Hashimoto’s Will Change Your Life
Being diagnosed with and living with Hashimoto’s is no joke. Depending on your journey, your diagnosis may have taken years, or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, it may have taken only a few months. Or, you may not even have a diagnosis yet, but you suspect you have a thyroid problem because of your health symptoms.
No matter where you’re at on your health journey, I want to tell you I know that I Hashimoto’s is one of the biggest struggles you may have in your life. I know what it’s like to suffer with symptoms every single day and feel like your trapped in your own body. I know what it’s like to feel alone and like no one else understands what you are going through.
You are not alone at all. There are so many women who suffer with this often debilitating chronic illness.
I want to share a little secret with you though. Can I do that?
The secret is that you don’t have to suffer anymore. There are things you can do to remit your Hashimoto’s and ALL of the symptoms you are fraught with. If you peruse this website and look under the Hashimoto’s tab, you will begin your journey of understanding and, when you decide to take action, you will begin your journey of healing. You can heal!
Let’s Be Real about Chronic Illness
I originally wrote this post back in 2015, which was two years into my healing journey. Life was still raw and, although I was healing, I was still struggling a lot everyday with symptoms that I couldn’t get a handle on. Now, I live symptom free due to my diet and lifestyle change but I wanted to keep this post to encourage you so you know that I’ve been where you are! I’ve been in the trenches. The beautiful thing is that God allowed my adversity to become my purpose and He healed me so I could help people like you.
I also want you to believe that YOU can heal! God made your body to heal itself under the right circumstances.
A Real, Raw Look at Life with Hashimoto’s
How I was feeling back in 2015:
Despite my healing journey, recovery from many terrible debilitating symptoms of autoimmunity and having my thyroid antibodies in normal range, I still face very real and often overwhelming challenges in relation to Hashimotos every single day of my life.
One problem and challenge is that when dealing with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, trying to remain symptom free is so multi-faceted that sometimes the slightest change or bump in the road can send me back into what is called an “autoimmune flare.”
The other problem is that every choice I make, every day, in every facet of my life can either improve or hinder my health progress. When I say every facet, I really mean all of life- spiritually, relationally, physically, in terms of commitments, stress, food intake, sleep, supplements, rest (or lack thereof) and much more.
My health with autoimmunity really is that fragile. These problems can often feel paralyzing.
Maintaining a symptom free life with autoimmunity at times is overwhelming, burdening, heavy and honestly has the ability to drain the life out of me.
Everyday, from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, under an autoimmune induced flare up, my symptoms hit me like a ton of bricks.
- My joints in my hands might ache
- My head might be pounding from who knows what.
- My face might be dry and itchy.
- I might be so tired after a full nights sleep that I just want to close my eyes and not face the day.
- The depression can be so overwhelming that even just the thought of making meals, homeschooling my boys, disciplining my boys or any extra curricular activities makes me want to curl up in a ball even tighter, resist every moment and cry it all away.
Then, there are the days when a curve ball gets thrown at me… something more than just regular life. Maybe it is an unexpected conflict or a test result from the doctor that was less than encouraging, those can send me over a mental cliff because on top of the already mentioned things they feel too much for one person to bear.
My flare ups don’t just effect me physically but mentally as well.
When I start to feel bad again, it is torment to my mind.
My thoughts are often captured in trying to think of what I ate (or got exposed to) that might have caused it.
I think about how sick I am of being “sick.”
I think of how I wish I could go back in time with the things I know now that I could have applied back then and not even gotten into this health position.
I think of the things I need to eliminate in my life and/or diet and the things I need to be better at including.
My thoughts take over.
They often send me into the spiraling plunge downward.
My symptoms make me feel lonely and frustrated.
I start to Analyze – What I can do to feel better?
The problem is, that it’s things that sometimes I just don’t want to do anymore!
– stay away from sugar (I am talking unrefined sugar and fruit here things most people can eat and feel ok)
– don’t stay up late (that’s past 10)
– clear my schedule (translated be home all the time)
– get rid of stress (a toughy in this day and age)
– rest (for a type A personality rest is not naturally in my vocabulary and sitting and doing nothing is foreign).
In my mind as I type this, I am throwing a tantrum. I don’t want to do this anymore. I just want my freedom back.
Can I please I have my freedom back?
Freedom to eat what I want when I want to.
Freedom from having to plan food to take everywhere I go or every event I attend.
Freedom to be spontaneous again.
Freedom from pain and mental torment.
Freedom from regret.
Freedom to not have to research and learn about every part of my body and how it works and what it needs so that I can be my own advocate at the doctors office.
Will someone just do it for me? It would be nice to have freedom from cooking pretty much every single meal at home unless we happen to be able to eat at one of the three places that I can actually eat out at. Really, there are only two restaurants since one I should not eat at since it makes me feel crummy the next day.
Freedom from limitation would be delightful.
I long to not feel constrained.
I long to be understood in what it truly is like to struggle daily with autoimmunity.
I long to be able to do a whirlwind vacation without fear of another flare up or even take a red eye flight without fear because it will give us more time vacationing.
I long to be able to spontaneously go get ice cream or have a Friday night pizza night with my boys again or grab a latte or mocha with a friend without having to explain anything. It would be so nice.
I Have to Yield
This is the path that God has me on right now in this season.
Two people come to my mind as I am writing this.
The Apostle Paul and Charles Spurgeon. They both suffered immense pain and had “thorns in their side” for most of their lives. Yet, did they live in self pity? No, they didn’t. They had tough days but Someone bigger than all their pain sustained them.
It was the Lord God Almighty, the Giver of life, the Sustainer of life, the Comforter, our Holy Lord was with them every moment of every day.
They lived every day for Him and not themselves.
It was said, in a Heroes of Faith book about Charles Spurgeon I just read, that with his walking stick he would often walk up to his pulpit to preach to his thousands with a wince on his face and furrowed brow due to the pain he was always in. Once he started preaching his entire countenance changed almost as if the pain disappeared. I am convinced (as was he) that this was the Holy Spirit in him giving him the strength to live for the Lord and sacrifice for the Lord.
Did either Paul or Mr. Spurgeon give up and stop being effective for the Lord because their circumstances were unbearable? No, in fact, they happen to be two of the most influential people who taught others about the life of Jesus, salvation by Grace through faith and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid to redeem us.
I am thankful that they endured and persevered even when it may not have been easy or something they felt like doing. They did not give up even when the days were dark and looked hopeless or when pain was intolerable. Instead, they stayed on the path God had them on and walked it boldly and selflessly. Inspiring I must say!
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Paul was actually thankful for his infirmities! He knew that because he had suffered many of life’s hardships, he could still glorify God and that God would be glorified in him because God was bigger and stronger than he was.
Paul and Spurgeon also took their eyes off of themselves. They did not dwell in their daily struggles but alternatively, as it says in Hebrews 12:2 kept their eyes firmly fixed above – on Jesus – the author and perfecter of their faith.
What if I Continue on This Way?
If I continue with my eyes ONLY focused on me and my pain and challenges then I will miss out on the blessings that are still right in front of me despite my health status of the day. There may be days that I can’t fulfill all the responsibilities of the day but that means that it was God’s intention that I do something else or rest that day. Beating myself up with mommy guilt or curling up in my pity thought ball will blind me to God’s purpose for that day and what He is allowing in my life and why.
I have seen fruit time and time again in my life from submitting to what God has purposed for me rather than trudging along trying to “get through” and accomplish the things of my day and then feeling worse later.
It truly is a daily effort to make the right choices.
- Do I eat this or give into the temptation for that?
- Do I get out of bed to minister to my little guys and take care of my family or do I stay in bed curled up in self pity?
- Do I listen to that still small voice saying put aside my agenda today and do something different?
- Do I let my mind run on the things that aren’t pleasing to the Lord or whine and complain setting a poor example for my children?
It’s a choice. I wish I made the right decision every time. I don’t. I wish I wasn’t plagued by my thoughts or afflicted by feeling horrible and at the same time trying to endure and be nice to those around me on the really bad days.
Instead of dwelling on the “I wishes and whys”
I need to make another choice, a very, very hard choice. Sometimes an hourly choice.
I need to look above my circumstances and know that God is allowing my autoimmunity (and flare) for a reason in my life. It may be a reason I will never know but because I trust in Him and know that His ways are perfect and higher than my ways,
I need to make the choice to glorify Him through Hashimotos by looking at the good things He has done and being hopeful for the things He will do. I can do that by being thankful and worshiping God out loud. I can praise Him for WHO He is through prayer and singing.
I can soak up the Word and hold it in my heart.
I can continue to teach my children about the riches of God’s glory in spite of how I am feeling.
I can persevere through His strength, not mine.
I can trust God that if it is His will I will have a better day the next day and that if I don’t his Grace will get me through.
Although it is easiest to stay in bed or stay deep in my dark thoughts, I need to accept the autoimmunity I have and do what I can each day to get my eyes off myself and onto my Savior – Jesus. It’s a conscious choice I have to make.
In this life I am grateful I have the hope of someday being with my Lord in Heaven with a new perfect body that is without defect or pain but for now I must endure, trust, have faith and hope for brighter days relying on the continued Grace my loving Lord Jesus gives me.
Autoimmunity doesn’t have me. The “flare” doesn’t have me. Jesus Christ has me. Praise Him!
That’s How I Used to Feel
You see, that I deeply struggled and felt so overwhelmed at times with the state of my health. Praise God for His healing of my body and soul. Praise God that He gave me the grace and strength to get through those hard days. He will do the same for you. If you are in a similar place like I wrote above, please know that there is hope. You can hold on to it. You can feel better. Pray and ask God what direction He wants you to take. Pray and ask Him to put people in your life to help you on your healing journey. Put one foot in front of the other and make an intentional commitment that you will do what it takes, when you can to help your body heal.