Saturday, May 7, 2016

Goiter Free in 2016

I'm betting you read the title and went 'Huh? What in the world is she talking about now?'.  I promise by the end this will all make sense and how iodine played a major role.

Yes, iodine...

It started with a simple statement in August of 'I just feel off....'  It wasn't even anything that I could put my finger on,  just something within me just kept saying something was not right, so I went to the doctor and they found nothing.  I chalked it up to everything that had been going on and vowed to take better care of myself and I did, but I never lost that 'off' feeling.

I won't go into all of the details, but let's just say there was a cycle of colds and flu's and each time my energy levels sunk to a new lower level of  normal.  I went to the doctor multiple times, but the cold or the flu got the attention and the treatments.

By the end of February, my energy levels were in the dump.  I felt like crap and was not in a good place health wise.

And then, it got worse....
they call it brain fog, but it's way worse than that...
I couldn't function.  I couldn't read (and if you know me at all, you know that was the straw that broke my emotional back).  For a couple of weeks, I didn't feel comfortable driving because I started feeling overwhelmed at all of the things I had to process at once, so I stopped driving.  I got rides to work, made friends drive when I went out, and then I stopped going out all together.....

Thankfully, a friend, around this time, suggested that I go to the doctor and beg them to run more comprehensive tests, especially the TSH, a test to check the individual thryoid hormone levels,  because it looked like I was going through what her sister had gone through...

I had to fight to get it done, but when the test came back all of my levels were messed up, dangerously messed up.    And it explained everything, all that I had been feeling for a long time, for you see, most thyroid issues don't happen overnight, it is a long slow decline, which is one of the reasons it takes so long to get a diagnosis....

Now here is the part, where I tell you some very frustrating news, for a lot of people, there isn't a definitive reason why their thyroid goes crazy.  There might be contributors, but one specific cause, not so much.  I have a family history, but that didn't guarantee that I would have issues, it just gave the doctors something to look into...  And it gets even more frustrating, treating the thyroid isn't a one size fits all treatment plan, it can take a long time to get the right medication, dosage, and health plan.  (If you really want me up on a soapbox, ask me about the #1 drug prescribed for thyroid issues).

My tale is a bit different, due to the fact that not only was my thyroid a mess, my entire endocrine system was in trouble and that got them doing a bit more investigating and research and asking me questions, and for that I consider myself very lucky.  A simple question of "Do you use salt?" and my response of "NEVER, I can't stand the stuff...." led to questions about the foods highest in iodine which resulted in an urine test which is the best option for testing iodine levels  and it showed that I had NO traceable amounts of iodine in my system which is very bad for the thyroid.

Iodine is ESSENTIAL for the thyroid to function properly, granted it's a delicate balance of if you have too much it can mess up the thyroid and if you have too little it can't function, but ESSENTIAL none the less.  I am in the small minority of not getting enough, and hence my goiter title because a goiter is the last symptom in low iodine levels.  Here is a LINK that has a list of iodine rich foods and what iodine does for you.  One thing to remember, your body can not produce iodine, so it HAS to come from your diet.  I ate some of the foods on the list, but not consistently enough to maintain my levels.

So, you see, my intuition was right, there was something wrong...
it just took a while to find it.

It's going to be a slow, steady upward climb to normal for my body, and it has to be done that way, because adding too much iodine back in my system at once can be as damaging as my low levels, but I already feel soooooooooooooooo much better.

I'm also thinking, now, that it may of been a good thing that I hit the rock bottom the way I did or they may of missed the iodine part of my problem, which was my key to solving my health issues.

So, why did I write this blog?  For one simple reason, these bodies that we live in are in a delicate balance and if something goes even a little off, it can have dramatic effects.  You are your best indicator when something is wrong.  Trust your gut, intuition, or whatever you may call it and if you have learned not to listen to it, start trusting it again.  Relearn to listen.  Your quality of life depends on it.

Now comes the part, where I remind you about the whole balance thing, do not panic and start self diagnosing and treatment planning, so do not just add an iodine supplement without your doctor's knowledge.  If you feel like this is an issue, start a dialogue with your medical professionals!  I have a very specific plan put in place by my doctors, nutritionist, and myself (cause I'm the one who has to do it) to build my iodine levels.  Be smart and find your balance of advocating for your health and trusting your medical team (whether traditional Western medicine or holistic or a combination, which is what I use).

I hope you never have to travel down this road, or any health crisis road, but if you are struggling, I hereby offer my hand, advice and encouragement to hang in there, because as I have learned your health is nothing to take for granted....

Healing...
Melissa

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