It has been four and a half years since dealing with secondary infertility and exactly four years since being diagnosed with Graves Disease and having my thyroid killed by radioactive iodine. I wish I would have gone with my gut feeling of following a natural, healthy diet alternative back then. (I actually blogged a little about this HERE.) I believe my journey would have been a lot smoother if I had.
Things started with a doctor visit for a sore throat. I ended up talking to her about fertility issues at that appointment and feeling that something was wrong. She quickly pushed that off and said I just needed to be patient. Before leaving the room I had a tremor which then made her decide to do a blood test to check my thyroid levels. Turned out I was significantly hyperthyroid and was rushed to a thyroid specialist where I was then diagnosed with Graves Disease. The specialist told me that the best and easiest solution was to kill the thyroid with radioactive iodine. When I asked if foods could help my situation he pretty much laughed at me and said no, it wouldn't make a difference. (RUN if any doctor says diet doesn't make a difference in any health situation!!!!) He proceeded to say killing the thyroid would be the best option for having more kids and that 6 months after the procedure he believed I would conceive easily. I didn't have much time at all to think about different options; my health was quickly declining. I hadn't even heard of thyroid issues before being diagnosed with hyperthyroid. When the specialist's nurse called me and said I needed to hurry and make a decision on treatment or I would become infertile for good it scared me. I ended up going with what my doctor suggested because he was the specialist who I thought knew what was best and I really wanted to grow our family. I'll never forget the day of the treatment. There was a nudging on my heart not to go through with it but I pushed the feeling aside. What a HUGE MISTAKE! After treatment you go hypothyroid which involves more issues. Not only have I not been able to have more kids but my health became much worse after treatment! The specialist was quick to push me on to a fertility specialist... as if that was going to fix all my problems. I was still hopeful at that time. But immediately after my husband and I visited the fertility specialist I hit rock bottom emotionally. The doctor should not have said some things he had that day... I pretty much felt like a squished ant! Turning Point... Thankful for God's grace, even after not listening to His nudging on my heart before the thyroid treatment, He still came through to pick me up. Finally I started to let Him lead me. He was all I had to turn to to lift me up. Looking back at the situation I believe God allowed me to make the mistake I did, to draw me closer to Him, to learn more about Him and trust Him and not someone else. This time when I felt the nudging not to go back to the fertility clinic I listened. I didn't go back to the thyroid specialist either. I had most of the health issues from before the thyroid treatment plus more and I needed help. My heart wasn't racing as bad but I still had body tremors, was losing weight no matter how much I ate, body aches, brain fog, stomach pains, weakness, hard to even climb a few stairs, fatigue, felt extremely cold, lumps, hormone imbalance... I went through a couple more doctors and a lot more tests... brain scans, countless blood tests, SIBO, cancer, the list goes on. All I wanted was to feel good, "normal", again. The doctor I ended up with did believe in natural alternative medicine plus western medicine. Since being with her she has diagnosed me with Celiac Disease, Leaky Gut, Candida, and hypochlorhydria. We are still working on the right thyroid prescription due to my many food intolerances. But better than any prescription I have ever been given, FOOD HAS BEEN THE BEST MEDICINE! (I've turned down more doctors recommendations like having lumps cut out and biopsied because I really believe food can heal me... and it is working!) It has been a ton of work on my part to eliminate foods, entirely change my diet and learn to cook good, organic food. I was never one to spend much time in the kitchen and now a big part of my day is spent there. It has been a rough road both emotionally and physically; one I would never want to repeat and one I wouldn't wish upon another.
The biggest lessons I have learned is:
* Find the root cause for your health issue. Don't let a doctor simply treat the surface problem or you may have bigger health issues coming your way.
* Most if not all health issues start with the gut. Keep in mind what you are feeding it. Eat healthy, organic food. Food is the best medicine!
* With food being the best medicine you have to know what foods are toxic to your body. Sugar is poison for everyone. I had been a sugar lover so know how hard it is to give up. It is addicting! Be sure to limit your amounts if you don't cut it out completely.
* Find out if you have food intolerances. Take out a food group for a minimum of 2 weeks then bring it back in and see if you feel any different. (dairy, gluten/wheat, eggs, corn, fructose, nightshades, nuts and seeds)
* Don't have your thyroid killed without researching the risks of it. Many people who have had their thyroid out are struggling with several health issues. Whether it is trying to find the right dosage of medication or the brand (synthetic or natural) that will work the best with their body, they have to take at least one prescription for the rest of their life and be dependent on a doctor and pharmacy for this. You don't even know what fillers are being put into your medications! You will also be having lots of blood tests for the rest of your life to make sure thyroid levels are normal. Tons of fun I tell you.
* Secondary infertility can be a blessing in disguise. It can be your body telling you it isn't healthy enough to create another child. You don't want health issues passed on to your child. It would break my heart to see my child suffer.
* Prayer and time with God and His Word can be very uplifting. You can find hope with Him and allow Him to guide your heart. I often have to remind myself, "With God all things are possible." Mathew 19:26 This message keeps me going.
Currently I am still working on regaining my health. I believe I am doing more healing now than struggling which is exciting and gives me hope for good things to come! I'm working on getting my stomach acid up so my body can really use the good nutrients I'm giving it. I'm also trying a natural thyroid medication rather than a synthetic prescription. (Most doctors give patients the cheaper synthetic drug that has more fillers so you may want to look into other options if you are having issues.)
I want to say a special thank you to the blog reader who sent me a thoughtful email sharing some of her similar health struggles. You pushed me to finally get my story posted and you gave me even more determination on fighting my illness and overcoming it. I don't want others to struggle the way we have!
If you have suffered with any of the health issues above and know things that have helped you,
please share in a comment. You may help and inspire someone else!
More health and foods posts will be coming!