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I was listening to Jessie’s podcast, Chronically Healing, specifically the episode ‘Get Mad and Take Back Your Life’ which discussed Jessie’s experiences and frustrations surrounding her thyroid disease diagnosis and management and what made her realise she needed to take back control of her health.
I asked her if she’d be willing to share more on this in a blog post, so here it is.
Written by Jessie Fritz, Thyroid Advocate and Coach
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s: How Getting Angry Saved My Life
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism ten years ago, but my true healing came just over three years ago.
Three years ago, I hit my limit. Three years ago I got mad. And three years ago was when I officially got my Hashimoto’s diagnosis too.
I remember so clearly sitting in the endocrinologist’s office being told I had Hashimoto’s. Now, this wasn’t a huge surprise – I had been being treated for hypothyroidism for years at this point – but I had never had a doctor do a full thyroid panel, so when my doctor saw my levels, she sent me to an endocrinologist.
(Find a full thyroid panel for the UK here and a worldwide option here. Many doctors make it difficult to get the full panel tested, which gives the most comprehensive view of your thyroid health, including whether your hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s Disease.)
I waited a few months to get an appointment, but when I did, I was excited to see a specialist who could help me fix some of the consistent symptoms I had been living with for years. Oh, was I so wrong!
The Endocrinologist Appointment
In walked this grumpy old man who quickly looked at the test results and said “Oh yeah, you have Hashimoto’s but it’s not a big deal.”
“In fact, it’s the best autoimmune disease to have! It’s really not a big deal. Here, let me draw you a picture of a thyroid.”
Me: *Blank Stares*
“OH, one strange thing, if you ever get pregnant, then it’s a big deal. You should tell your husband and then the next person you should call is me because Hashimoto’s can mess with pregnancy and we don’t want it to affect the baby’s brain. But seriously, it’s not a big deal.”
As he drew his picture of a thyroid, my mind went crazy.
What’s an autoimmune disease? What does this mean? Does that mean I’ll always feel this way?
I asked him “What should I do? Change my diet? Lifestyle changes or something?”
“Nope,” he said. “If you’re worried about it, let’s test your levels while you’re here. If they’re worse, I’ll put you on some more meds.”
So I said, “Okay, but… I don’t feel well. I’m tired all the time and I can’t lose weight… and I feel like I’m living a half life. I can’t even come up with thoughts anymore and it’s affecting my daily life. Is there anything I can do?”
He chuckled and said, “Welcome to Hashimoto’s! But again – it’s really not a big deal. There are much worse autoimmune diseases like I said. You’ll just be more tired, but that’s life. I’ll refer you to a GI doctor to see why you can’t lose weight.”
And then he left and sent me to the blood work area and I went on my way. But this time was different. I was SO MAD.
I Deserved To Live a Full Life
I refused to believe my life was just always going to be like this. I wasn’t going to let this doctor wave off my concerns and decide that I was “fine.”
I decided to take my health into my own hands. I made dietary and lifestyle changes. I read book after book and joined every Facebook support group I could find. I researched functional medicine doctors and Hashimoto’s specialists in the area that I lived. I figured out what maximised my energy and what zapped it. I spent years figuring out how to live my best life with Hashimoto’s instead of letting it stop me in my tracks. Instead of accepting what this endocrinologist said.
You too can decide to take back your life. Refuse to settle … and then get going! Take back the moments you’ve lost. Find ways to maximise your energy. Hire (and fire) doctors that aren’t working with you in the way you want to be.
I hope you feel the fire within and know that you’re meant to have a purpose in this world – thyroid issues or not. You’re meant to feel love, happiness and light. You are meant to have a life outside of your illness. You may always have symptoms. You may always deal with illness. You may always have struggles.
But you are also capable of having happiness, love, passion and purpose. You are also capable of having success, freedom and dreams. But that, my friends… that’s up to you.
by Jessie Fritz
Jessie Fritz is a coach for women looking to transcend their chronic illness. She is also the host of the Chronically Healing Podcast, a podcast sharing healing stories and modalities from people all over the world living with chronic health issues, just like you. The Chronically Healing Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other major podcast network.
For the last ten years, Jessie has paved the way on her own healing journey with Hashimoto’s, chronic migraines and gut issues. She advocates for women all over the world to take back their power from chronic illness and create the life they’ve always dreamed of. To find out more about Jessie’s coaching programs, check out her Instagram, website or email her at [email protected]
If you would like to submit a guest post, whether you’re a thyroid patient, doctor or anyone else, please do get in touch.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Did any part of Jessie’s story remind you of your own?
Related Article: Why It’s Important to Know if You Have Hashimoto’s
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, her email newsletters, blogging and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology and The WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and many more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. She has authored two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Rachel is British, but advocates for thyroid patients on a global scale.