One of my big struggles in life is asking for help, or telling people when I’m having a hard time. I like to keep it to myself or within my small network of close friends. I know so many people have struggles and mine seem so small so I hate to complain. BUT….when I had this chat with my best friend, she pointed out to me that I have a voice, I have a following, and my opening up and sharing my struggle, I could actually help someone else!! That hit home for me as one of my passions is helping other people. If my struggle inspires one person, then it’s worth it to get out of my comfort zone!!!
So here we go…… ((this has been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks, hitting PUBLISH was hard haha))
My health has always been weird. I was the kid who could catch anything and especially if it was something weird! It was just accepted as that was my normal and I got use to being sick. But I also got use to the looks from people when they would hear I was sick again. It was never something I could control of course and no one WANTS to be sick, but people would look at you like “Again?!” That caused me to retreat a bit and hide when I was having problems! After my daughter was a year old, I encountered a doctor who made me retreat even more. I went in as I was tired, having bad headaches and just feeling run down all the time. She ran tests and came to the conclusion that I was fine other than a Vitamin D problem. Which I found weird since I walk an hour ever day outside AND play outside with my kids most the day. The doctor ignored it and said my not feeling well was all in my head! Come to find out 6 months later I actually had mono!!! But that experience left me very scared to go back for problems as I knew it was NOT in my head!
When my son was born, I started having MORE problems. Stomach issues mostly but then I got a fever and it lasted a month. I figured it was just the flu since it was flu season! But a few weeks later, the fever was back! That time I went in to the doctor and more tests, along with an X-ray of my lungs (which were fine lol) showed nothing! After a few weeks the fever went away. But it came back over and over and over again! At one point the fever and flu symptoms lasted 5 weeks!!! More symptoms developed too so finally I was referred to a GI doctor. He thought I might have Crohns or Celiac so I had a colonoscopy (we won’t even go into the joy of have fun that was!!!). The revealed I had polyps on my colon so YAY, I now get these every 5 years hahaha. But no signs of other problems. I was told to go gluten free and given medication for possible Crohns. And I did ok!!
For 3 months I felt good, I still has a few small issues but felt much better!!! And then winter came….. My son is in kindergarten so brought home germs and we all got sick! Except their 24 hour bug knocked me down for almost a month! And at the end of that, I wasn’t paying attention to gluten or eating the right foods. Over the next 3 months I found my mood changed, I was tired all the time, my weight starting going up, my hair was falling out, my nails were breaking, I was feeling horrible most days, and I began having excruciating pains in my legs. I thought I was just having a vitamin problem, so I agreed to go get blood work done. But I was nervous as I hate when doctors say “You are fine” yet my nails were splitting down the middle and I had a few bald spots from hair loss haha.
My new doctor actually listened, and it helped my husband went too as he is in the medical field! But the appointment turned a bit scary when he found a lump in my thyroid. I was sent to the hospital right away for an ultrasound, but we thought it was nothing and just routine!! That afternoon I got the call that I had a nodule (the official name for a lump haha) on my thyroid and I would need to get a biopsy done to make sure it wasn’t cancer. Well that was a bit scary!!! Luckily I am a big fan of research so I did find out that 80% of those are NOT cancer. Still, a needle in my throat is not fun!!!!
While I wait for the biopsy, I also found out I have Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease. It is where your body gets confused and thinks its fighting an infection when you are healthy. In this case, my body is attacking my thyroid which is why I have had so many crazy issues and for so long. No one was testing for that, so it’s been ongoing for years! There is no cure or medication for autoimmune diseases, the only way is to figure out what triggers them and try and avoid that at all costs.
I’m a personal trainer and nutritionist. I teach people to workout, balance their foods, and in return they will be healthy. But I do that and for me, my body is attaching itself. That was hard to wrap my head around!! How is it what I teach, won’t work for me?!? How can I continue teaching that, when I can’t follow it myself? Processing this took me a little time, especially the fact that I have to find the trigger and that will take awhile. No medication to feel better in a few days. Instead it could take weeks or months! Not to mention finding the RIGHT doctor who will help me find the triggers and treat those, instead of just waiting for my thyroid to be badly damaged beyond repair. All the things added up, and I didn’t handle it well. I took time to have a nice pity me party and dwell in the fact I have this and I’ll have these problems the rest of my life. But if you know me, then you know I’m a fighter!!!
While having my pity party, I turned on Pandora and the song that played was “Fight Song” and these lyrics really hit home with me!
“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”
“Take back my life…” and so I did! I began to research. I found a doctor that is known for helping people with my issues. I changed my diet to follow an Autoimmune Protocol. I read stories and tips from others with my condition, I reached out and talked to people, and I began to have hope. I know it’s going to be a long road and a lot of changes. Right now I’ve given up my beloved dairy and daily piece of dark chocolate, but my health matters!!! I’m realizing what I teach others to do, won’t work for me anymore, and I have to find that balance. I have to accept this as the new normal, but not let it change my life and my goals. I have a lot of fight in me, and I plan on showing it!
Currently I feel really, REALLY bad most days of the week, and that’s hard BUT I know I’m doing what I can to feel better, and in time I will be back to my old self!!!
1 in 5 people have an autoimmune disease. If you are suffering , don’t be like me and keep it a secret! Reach out and ask for help! Fight for yourself and to get the support you need!! Don’t be afraid, be empowered that you have this and are going to FIGHT!