Day 49: Am I crazy?

One of the most frustrating things I’ve encountered since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism is how my doctors have chosen to treat it (or not treat it). My care has been limited to just enough medication to get my TSH, T4, and T3 in the “normal range,” without regard to whether or not my symptoms are actually improving.

My current doctor has been a welcome change to that sort of previous care. She believes in ensuring I am taking enough medication to reduce my symptoms, regardless of where on the range I am. Unfortunately, like other doctors, that’s about the extent of her treatment plan for me.

I don’t want to be that person who goes online, reads blogs and articles, and then believes they know more than a professional. I don’t want to claim that I’ve earned my MD from Google university, but I can’t help but wonder if there truly is a knowledge gap in conventional medicine when it comes to basic lifestyle changes and how that influences the body.

We know the foods we eat can make us sick. Overeating can lead to obesity which can result in all sorts of health conditions. Diabetes can be caused by improper diet. Heart attacks by clogged arteries, stuff like that. So, why wouldn’t we consider how the foods we eat and our activity levels affect our health?

The same goes for our mental health. There are studies that have shown that a positive outlook can influence a patient’s recovery from an illness or injury. Couldn’t our mental state have an impact on our health as well then? I’m pretty sure it’s been confirmed that stress can cause illness.

I don’t intend to stop taking my medication or stop going to my doctor. The truth is, all the lifestyle stuff is up to me, so I don’t really need her to try to eat better and be more active. As long as I’m not going against her guidance (which is to keep taking my medication) there’s no harm in trying to make positive lifestyle changes in hopes of improving my health.

That being said, I would like her to run a few additional tests for me, just to see if I have any of the nutrient deficiencies associated with Hashimoto’s. I don’t want to supplement recklessly and make myself worse by taking stuff I don’t need. I do want to be able to make educated decisions on what supplements to take, if any, and for that I need her help.

Therein lies the problem though, how do I ask her, and possibly convince her, to run these additional tests without coming off as “I know more than you do because I know how to Google?” We have the same goals, which are to make me feel better, so that’s a positive start, but I don’t know where to go from there.

Day 47: An unwanted reminder

Last night I decided to drink the chuhai a friend had left in my fridge after our weekly Taco Tuesday dinner this week. Chuhais are these canned, fruity, boozy drinks they sell here in Japan. They’re delicious, but they have a lot of carbonation in them, so I don’t drink them often. They fill me up really quickly.

I’ve been trying to cut back on how much alcohol I drink though, so instead of making myself my usual Maker’s and Coke, I decided to drink the chuhai instead.

Fast forward to now, I’ve spent the day with some slight nausea, dull headache, and a little stomach cramping. I’ve been going over what I’ve eaten since yesterday in my head, trying to figure out what’s triggered this sudden backwards slide in how I feel, but I couldn’t figure it out until just now: it must have been that chuhai. I didn’t even stop to consider whether or not it has gluten in it when I grabbed it out of the fridge and took that first sip.

Granted, the ingredients are all in Japanese, and my Googling has yielded no results in terms of confirming or denying the existence of gluten in chuhais. But, everything else I ate was safe – it’s the only outlier. That had to be it.

Regardless, this has served as a reminder that I need to make more of a conscious effort if I’m going to be successful at avoiding gluten and dairy. It’s going to be a bit harder than I thought, and I already figured it wouldn’t be easy. Fortunately, I’m still feeling positive about my chances of doing it successfully. Now if I could just make myself feel better today.

Day 45: Walking the walk

I committed to avoiding gluten and dairy in my last post with the hopes of improving my overall health, but truthfully, I didn’t start avoiding it right away. Although I said I would do it, and I truly believe I should, I just don’t think I was ready to pull the trigger yet. So, I didn’t; but, I did take some small baby steps to prepare for it.

For example, on Friday after my metabolic assessment appointment, I spoke to the wellness counselor about scheduling a few weekly coaching sessions. Although I understand the value of coaching, I’ve never given it a try. I guess I just didn’t think it could help me or maybe I didn’t know how to make the most of it? Regardless, I decided that with the changes I want to make, now would be an ideal time to give it a try. Food tends to be the area in which I struggle the most, so I’ll take any help I can get. What’s the worst that could happen anyway?

After that was all done and scheduled, I swung by the library and happened to notice they had cookbooks. No duh, right? A library with cookbooks, who would have thought? Anywho, after browsing their selection, I decided to borrow two: Nom Nom Paleo (the yellow one) and The Science of Cooking. I skimmed both books, did a little meal planning, and made my first meal from the Nom Nom Paleo book tonight. I have to say, it was really good. Even my family liked it. I’ll be buying a copy of it for myself.

On Sunday, I decided to make some bone broth – specifically seolleongtang, a Korean bone broth soup my husband really likes. I’ve read on a bunch of blogs and in magazines that bone broth is good for gut health, so I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon and see if drinking a cup of broth daily has any benefits for me. This is another one of those, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” things.

Finally, on Tuesday, I took some new progress photos and body measurements. Although I’m making these changes for overall health instead of weight or fat loss, I can’t help but feel curious about what changes might occur if I stick with it. I had my first coaching appointment that day as well, so I decided to consider it my “day 1” of avoiding dairy and gluten.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing great at avoiding it since then, but truthfully, it’s been a bit harder than I expected it to be. I’m not craving breads or cheeses, but I’ve struggled with the “hidden” gluten and dairy in stuff. Especially in a bunch of the common ingredients I use when cooking, like gochujang and soy sauce. So disappointing.

I don’t feel discouraged though. It’s challenging, but in a good way; and I’m really looking forward to seeing how creative I can get with this. Hopefully I can share some fun finds on this blog in future posts. Wish me luck!

Day 38: “Healing” my thyroid?

I’ve struggled this week, not just with meeting my step goal, but with making positive choices overall. Today though, I’m really feeling it. I had all these plans for the day, but I just can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything. I feel sort of out of it. Instead of doing some work, going to the gym, or cleaning the house, I’m sitting here Googling stuff about my thyroid.

I think I mentioned in my first go around that I have hypothyroidism. I recently had my blood tests redone and although I haven’t met with my doctor yet to go over the results, they were uploaded to my online medical record and it looks like she might be officially diagnosing me with Hashimoto’s.

I’ve suspected my hypothyroidism is a result of Hashimoto’s for a while now based on prior lab results, but I’ve never really considered having it confirmed or doing anything about it. Last December though, I started to give it a lot more thought. I skimmed through a few books, read some blogs, did all the Dr. Google stuff people do, and in the end, decided to make only one New Year’s Resolution for 2019: to take better care of my health.

I started the year off by trying to avoid gluten and dairy. Both are considered to be inflammatory and it seems a lot of people with Hashimoto’s have seen positive improvements by avoiding these. Unfortunately, I underwent an emergency surgery less than two weeks into the new year and have struggled to get back to it since then.

This month, I added both items to my tracking spreadsheet and my doctor ordered tests to confirm whether or not I’m suffering from milk and gluten intolerance. I’ve avoided both here and there, but not consistently. Today though, I’m thinking that needs to change.┬áMe being me, I created a spreadsheet of all my lab test results and it doesn’t look good – my results seem to be getting worse. Will avoiding gluten and milk help like the internet says it will? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’ll hurt to give it a try.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to commit to it and I’m going to keep tracking my test results to see if it helps. Worst case scenario it doesn’t, but best case scenario it does. Either way, no harm, no foul right?