Angela's Journey to Wellness
We can learn so much from other survivor's journeys. Angela's story is no different and underscores how important it is to take control over your health!
The condensed version. RAI due to benign nodules. I wish I knew then what I know now because I would've done everything in my power to keep my thyroid by dietary and supplemental measures. But no...Little did I know that I would be tossed into a group of thyroid patients who are literally the endocrinologist's "red headed step child" - the forgotten ones. Endocrinologists specialize in blood sugar, thankfully, they are saving lives of many with diabetes, for this I am grateful. But sadly, they are severely lacking in proper care for thyroid patients. I suffered needlessly for almost 7 years on Synthroid. It was a slow kill. I'd complain about various symptoms but of course it had "nothing to do with my thyroid levels"....my health declined to the point that my feet hurt so badly that I could no longer walk to our pond just 600 ft. away, I mourned the idea of having to DRIVE over there for the rest of my life. Mourning life as it once was is huge. Life seems to just dissolve right before your very eyes. I resolved to the fact that I'd need a cane by age 50 (this year, BTW) Physically, I hurt all over, my bones ached. I experienced weird nuances in my head, my stomach, and my heart. As I declined, I experienced adrenal reactions nearly daily. Eventually, just before I found a support group, I had removed myself from all friends, most responsibilities, and my family was dealing with huge sacrifice due to my "illness". Emotionally . . .well, it was a nightmare. This deserves a post by itself. Over the course of 6+ years, I'd become so depressed that I literally could care less whether I lived or died. Honestly, the only thing that kept me alive was my children. I suffered from suicide ideation, dissociation, dehydration, severe memory and word loss. Early on my hair had thinned to a very concerning level. I was soooo angry. I'd lie in bed every night crying because I was convinced I was dying. I mourned my marriage, I mourned my children's lives without a mom, I mourned what life "could've been", I mourned and I mourned and mourned. The deep anger-depressed had taken a huge toll. The "anxiety" was so new to me that I argued with all the docs. I'd never had anxiety or panic attacks so I didn't know what was happening. In the end, I was having what I call a PHYSIOLOGICAL anxiety attack - brought on my severe adrenal dysfunction. I had no clue that "one little pill for the rest of your life" could do so much damage.
TODAY, I'm highly functioning. It's been a very long three-year road but the last year has been phenomenal because my adrenals have been tested to the ultimate max and, though I've wobbled here and there, I'm holding my own. I do NOT suffer from anxiety at all, now. I do NOT have weird sensations in my head. I do NOT suffer from depression. I can honestly evaluate what is situational stress/depression and I come out of it. (I hope this makes sense). In three years’ time, I went from not functioning - reading til my eyes burned here at the laptop, to being so busy that I can only pop in here occasionally. I'm GLAD! I have my LIFE back! Hubby & I are making up for lost time! HOPE is here. HOPE truly changes everything!! <3
The steps: Speaking for myself only - This is my opinion only based on my own healing over the last three years. I am doing very well, now, running at 95-98% most days. First and foremost, a 24 hour cortisol saliva test is extremely important. I wouldn't even attempt supplements without knowing because supplements are powerful and can cause more damage if you don't know what you're dealing with. Secondly, the #1 remedy for healing adrenal dysfunction is sleep. Sleeping in a dark room, going to bed and waking at the same time is very important. Those years I couldn't sleep were awful. I can't even explain what a living nightmare it was (but many of you know) ...as I healed, though I was not sleeping, I was diligent to still be in bed in a dark room. I didn't get up and decide to read, or sew, or scroll social media. Balancing blood sugar is just as important. High protein snacks/meals several times throughout the day are essential. No alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar. All wreak havoc on adrenals. No exercise. Supplements - once you have an idea of where your cortisol profile stands, you might try various herbs/supplements to address the lows and/or highs. Supplementing has to be done so carefully. Start slow and low. Adrenals are so persnickety! Adrenals are affected by your everyday routines - you have a bad day, your adrenals take a hit. You have a good day, your adrenals take a hit. Adrenals are an ever-changing gland depending on emotions, sugar, and other hormonal nuances. Iron plays a big role in cortisol production, as well. Thyroid hormone, especially T3, plays a role in adrenal health. Hydration is important. The following are the supplements I took - they aided in my recovery, but they alone did not heal my adrenal dysfunction. Vit-C/4000mg in divided doses, daily Pantothenic Acid in divided doses 500/1000 mg, daily 1-1.5 tsp celtic sea salt, daily, in water B-Complex, 1 daily B-12, daily, though not consistently back then. I'm more consistent now because my labs are just now showing low B-12. Magnesium - this did not help at first. In fact, it made me worse. Be careful and mindful of your own body! Melatonin - as prescribed by my first practitioner and tested by saliva - I had virtually none. Sex Hormones - My first practitioner prescribed a cream combination of DHEA/Progesterone/testosterone.
Honestly, looking back now, I realize that SUGAR was doing me in. My adrenals could not take it as cortisol is a blood sugar regulator and my adrenals were failing. Even today, when I have sugar, my heart beats weird. I wish I'd REALLY nixed all sugar earlier in my personal journey.
While every person's journey is different, we can learn so much from one another! The TSN Support groups are an excellent resource to get the support and information you need to become your own advocate! Click here for more!