Updated: May 5, 2020
My first exposure to the alternative healthcare field was through a wonderful Naturopath. I finally felt like someone was listening to my symptoms and giving me more insight into why I suddenly was so tired, brain-fogged, bloated and gassy.
If you haven’t read Part I of my Blog Post about how my symptoms of feeling chronically unwell started you can read the first part of my story here
My Naturopath was a pro-problem-solver. I finally felt like I had met someone who listened and paid attention to ME, as an individual with unique and believable symptoms. She guided me through an in-depth process of really examining my unique symptom patterns. We began with testing for food sensitivities. As it turns out, I had MANY, and I completely changed my diet overnight. For three months I eliminated all of the foods I was sensitive to while we healed my gut with digestive support supplements.
As a result of these changes, I experienced:
Significant weight loss - I was the skinniest I had been in my life eating whole foods, avoiding processed foods and my individual food sensitivities and best of all I wasn’t even trying to lose weight
A complete elimination of colds and flus - I didn’t get an actual cold for about 2 years and realized the frequent colds I got before was my body trying to communicate that my immune system was weakened
Improved elimination - I realized that it was not “normal” before
An improvement in my gas and bloating - these symptoms became more manageable still left me uncomfortable on a daily basis
These were great changes but my energy level was still very low, my brain fog seemed to only get worse and my stomach was in discomfort daily.
NO ANSWERS FOR MY SYMPTOMS:
I knew there was still a missing piece. As with many of the clients I see, many people would have felt amazing implementing these changes alone. Over the next few years I went to multiple doctors, naturopaths and alternative healthcare providers. I got functional and traditional testing done for Celiac, SIBO, Lyme Disease, and other gut infections, to name a few.
I was receiving no significant or concrete answers and this was having a severe impact on my emotional health. I felt like I was going crazy as all my tests would come back “normal”. I knew there was nothing normal about what I was experiencing and I hid most of what I was feeling from friends and family as there was no medical “reason” to explain my symptoms.
A few years after the onset of my symptoms I started developing low grade fevers that continued for about 12 months. I would constantly feel like I was coming down with the flu. At this point doctors were throwing out the “C” word and testing me for things like HIV, which was terrifying! Yet again … every single test I got came back negative. I was more frustrated then ever and hardly making it through my days, I just couldn’t enjoy my life anymore!
At one point after a cold, I experienced hand trembling and heart palpitations, and my research kept pointing me towards a thyroid condition. I knew I had thyroid nodules (from an ultrasound) but was told that this wouldn’t cause my symptoms.
THE MISSING PIECE OF MY THYROID TESTS:
My thyroid levels had been “tested” before (at the time I did not know that they weren’t running the full set of tests) but I asked for a repeat test.
I received some alarming results and saw an endocrinologist who completed a FULL thyroid test, including antibodies (which is key!! Why had no other doctors done such a comprehensive test in the past?), and told me I had an autoimmune condition called Hashimotos thyroditis - meaning my immune system was attacking my thyroid (WHAT?!!).
I felt like I FINALLY had the explanation of why I had been feeling so awful for all these years! One of my antibody levels was so high (>1000 when normal is <35) which demonstrated the severity of my condition.
The Doctor told me there was nothing I could do, that my thyroid would deteriorate and I’d need to be on medication for the rest of my life, as there was no medical treatment for the autoimmune part of the disease.
This made no sense – my immune system is dysregulated and attacking the thyroid, so how was taking thyroid meds going to fix what was going on with my immune system?! My problem solving skills kicked in …
WHAT PROVED MOST HELPFUL FOR MY SYMPTOMS?
Shortly after the diagnosis I also started to experience bouts of low mood, racing thoughts and anxiety, and I started to gain weight, without changing my diet or exercise routine. At this point I knew a bit about autoimmunity in the alternative medical world and knew improving gut health was one of the pillars to improving autoimmune diseases.
I tried various diets such as Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, anti-candida, some version of low-FODMAPS/GAPS and anti-candida. From these diets what helped me the most was:
Autoimmune Paleo diet was the most symptom alleviating for me and I’d use this periodically to reset my symptoms
Going 100% gluten-free ALL of the time improved my energy and eliminated my brain fog (I made this decision after my Gastroenterologist told me that in sensitive individuals it could impact symptoms up to 6 months and my own research kept pointing to gluten being a necessary thing to eliminate with autoimmune conditions)
Avoiding processed foods and white sugar
I also started to learn about energy and spirituality and how my mindset influenced my body. I realized that I needed to stop being in victim mode and take control back of my MIND and body! I learned that there are different energetic frequencies, with the frequency of LOVE being the highest vibration and the most healing one. I knew I was frequently in a negative mindset and I wanted to change that so I started to meditate, journal, get more in tune with my own emotions then I ever have been, and heal those parts of myself that were carrying old traumas and hurts.
I learned that the throat is connected with an energetic center in the body associated with expression and communication. I really could resonate with this as I grew up in a family where we didn’t “talk about our feelings” yet I have always been a sensitive person and have suppressed a lot over the years. I knew releasing these stored emotions was also a key part in my healing and it has helped me tremendously.
Throughout this time I was able to keep my thyroid levels within range WITHOUT MEDICATION, and my thyroid nodules went away, to my doctors surprise. I knew the changes I was making were making a difference and I was determined to keep going. At this point I was in school for Holistic Nutrition and was learning so much about the healing power of foods, connection between the mind, body and spirit as well as tools to help others with their conditions and symptoms.
HOW IS THE EPSTEIN-BARR VIRUS RELATED TO THYROID CONDITIONS? MY AH-HA MOMENT FROM THE MEDICAL MEDIUM:
In the background, I kept researching thyroid disorders.
I kept coming across the potential association of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and thyroid conditions (commonly known as mono, the kissing disease, that most of us were exposed to as children)
I had experienced mono a few years before the onset of my symptoms and I thought this was worth exploring. At one point I had a reading with Anthony Williams, Medical Medium, who told me that the EBV was the root cause behind my issues and an advanced viral test through a lab in Germany, confirmed I had active EBV (testing in Canada could only confirm that I had it in the past).
I picked up my book of Thyroid Healing by Medical Medium where it’s explained that EBV is the root cause behind hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules and Hashimoto’s. This was my “AHA moment” and made sense why everything else I tried helped but I was missing this key piece to truly get better.
Read Part III of this Blog Series to find out what happened as I applied the Medical Medium information…
Read Part III here...
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