Hypothyroidism and Why I Have It
I have been managing hypothyroidism for about ten years, and a few weeks ago my doctor gave me the reason why: Hashimotos.
Hashimotos is an autoimmunity disease that is unfortunately fairly common now, but goes undiagnosed or ignored. I have had lots of symptoms leading up to this diagnosis, but one that I couldn’t ignore was an itchy rash that kept popping up throughout the summer. I couldn’t shave my legs for weeks because of it, and that was really throwing off my summer shorts groove.
I went to my family practice doctor who prescribed allergy medication and ran some blood tests. The medication did not work, but the blood tests revealed that I had antibodies in my system. Antibodies are exactly how they sound: anti-the-body. They work against my own body. The reason I have had to take thyroid medication every day is because I have antibodies in my system slowly destroying my own thyroid. And the hardest part of that news in the doctor’s office were her words to me: “It’s very common. You can’t do anything about it."
The Fight Within
So, my body is tearing down its own hormone epicenter and I have to sit back and watch? I’m not prepared to do that. I understand that from her medical perspective, the best thing she can do for me is to keep me calm because I ask a million questions, advise me to keep taking my medication, and retest every few months to monitor progress. I’m thankful for doctors, but I also know I need to consult the Creator. When I was asked God in prayer what was going on with my body before I had a diagnosis, I didn’t get a clear answer, but did get the word “civil war” because it kept popping up in my readings and conversations. I was reading through the Old Testament with my chronological Bible plan at the time, and continually read about battles where the enemy turns on itself so the Lord’s people didn’t even need to fight:
"And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed." 2 Chronicles 20:22
Sing and Praise
The word, “civil war,” surely isn’t comforting when it’s about the insides of my own body, but the opening lines of this verse are surprisingly hopeful. The Israelites were about to face a huge scary army, bigger than them, just as I faced a new diagnosis that seemed completely out of my control. What did the Israelites do? They began to sing and praise.
I think these men and women of God knew something the enemy didn’t: God wins. They knew their God in powerfully intimate ways. He had taken them out of slavery through miraculous plagues of locusts and light, He split the sea so they could walk right through it, He led them through the desert through pillars of cloud and fire. Any army they faced from that point on became dust under their feet. If God was with them, who could be against them? They were ready to take their promised land. They were ready to start living. Any opposition to them only meant they were going the right way.
I’m glad for my diagnosis. I know my doctor says I can’t do anything about it, but for me, it calls out the invisible army fighting within. I now know the names of these tiny soldiers working against my body, and can look to those who have fought similar foes. I have good friends who have also been recently diagnosed with Hashimotos and have given me the names of fantastic resources, like Isabella Wentz, Mickey Trescott, and of course my trustworthy nutritionist friend Tracey from Whole Daily Life. I am realizing that headaches, fatigue, anxiety, rashes, stomach cramps, and an itchy throat are not okay.
What I’m Doing About It
I am listening closely to the Lord, asking Him what I can do. I think the first answer I receive is to sing and praise, because He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world, says 1 John 4:4. God has the victory. I have to let Him go first and surrender every day to His leadership within my own life because He has made us more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8).
The second part is to listen to others who have battled this thing. To see what symptoms to look out for, to journal my health history and look for factors that might have affected me, to read the research that has already been done on Hashimotos.
And finally, my plan is to obey the Spirit in the small things, especially when it comes to food and rest. Some don’t believe food affects the condition, but I personally know from a previous blood test that I am intolerant to gluten, peanuts, and garlic. One of the ways many people live with an autoimmunity is to go on the Autoimmune Paleo protocol as an experiment to figure out the body’s triggers and tolerances . I was terrified by this plan for eating: no grains, gluten, legumes, eggs, nightshades, seeds, nuts, dairy, or alcohol. Y’all, this includes no coffee or chocolate (basically how I start and end each day). I’ll have to make some major replacements for my go-to foods like eggs, salsa, nut butters, almond milk, gluten-free breads, and trail mix. When the pain speaks loud enough, you listen. Pain is such a blessing sometimes, because if I didn’t have strong enough symptoms, there’s no way I would be willing to change my diet like this, even for just a short time. But since I have been noticing that I feel bad after eating certain foods, I’m motivated to work with my body and discover what it sees as food and what it treats as another invader.
I’m so grateful to be going through the Weigh Less to Feed More and Clean Hearting Challenge through Revelation Wellness right now. I think the Lord knew I would need reinforcements, and He brought them in the way of Amia Freeman, the women in our accountability group, and the teaching from Alisa Keaton. The biggest takeaway for me is Alisa's challenge to ask God Himself what I should eat. I’ve never done that. I’m asking Him now, and I believe I should follow the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol for 30 days or until my symptoms reside, and then reintroduce foods and go from there. I feel equipped, ready, and oddly content about the whole thing. My friend who has a similar diagnosis wrote about not feeling deprived about the new restrictions and acknowledging the million “yes’s” in the Lord. That gives me strength!
I bought and have read through the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook that has meal plans and tasty recipes. I am going to start prepping this week and will start the plan next week. I’m ready to fight and to heal, beginning with praise. I know it will be tough, but if you’re reading this, will you consider praying for me through this journey?
I need prayer cover for:
- Feeling deprived
- Feeling like I deserve more
- Wanting to quit
I need the perspective of:
- Eternal healing
- Encouragement that this is just a short time for a lifetime of living
- My health is worth it—my body is a temple and the Lord bought it for a price (1 Corinthians 6:19)
- I have the spirit of self control (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Feel good to love others better (Mark 12:31)
- God is a good Father and goes before me (Matthew 7:11)
I Want to Hear From You
Have you struggled with your health recently? What has God taught you through it?
Have you ever asked God what you should eat? Did you receive an answer?