Category Archives: Health

You Can’t Have Me Hypo

673F058A-7B7A-4E9D-B078-9EDB041D2A2AIt sounds like such an innocuous, old lady thing, this “hypothyroidism”.


Like something that maybe grows on your foot.

Or something your mom would off-handedly complain about after she’s had a fuzzy navel or two…but would then dutifully take her medicine in the morning with all the rest of the pills that are there to “help”.

But now that’s it has been two whole years of walking with it…now that I can look back on that December afternoon appointment with my doctor and finally be thankful…

I have learned that this disease is anything but innocuous.

I have learned that the thyroid operates, regulates, or effects virtually every system in the human body and that there is nothing going on inside of me that isn’t somehow connected to that obscure little butterfly at the base of my throat.

I’ve learned that I must work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to get through a day without running myself ragged, physically or emotionally.

I’ve learned that if I don’t make my health as big of a priority as my children, marriage, or finances, I may not be very effective at maintaining those things which are most important to me.

I’ve learned that I can’t do all the things I used to and do them well.

I’ve learned that some people will drain my emotional stores and that boundaries are essential to the health of my psyche.

I’ve learned that God is constant and quiet and a gentleman with my hormone swings and wild mood shifts. He never leaves me or gets sick of me, and instead whispers gently to my soul that all will be well and how to do the next thing.

I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing to do is just let something go.

I’ve learned that Western medicine places embarrassingly little focus on the thyroid and that you have to go looking hard for the answers to figure out how it’s all tied together.

I’ve learned how to know when I’m doing too much, worrying too much, working too much. That the ache over my kidneys and annoying buzz in my ears means something important.

I’ve learned not to hate my body, even as I still want to. It is fearfully and wonderfully made and will never be magazine beautiful, but it is a vessel from which my children came and it is soft and loved and warm for my husband to hold and for friends to hug, and it will become -is becoming- healthier and stronger, but never will be what it was. I have made peace with that.


I’ve learned that talking about hypothyroidism is boring and so I don’t that often. I have learned what I need to know to listen to my body, and I quietly learn and read and research to help me be all I can be, but talking about it makes other people’’s eyes -and mine- glaze over, so I try not to.

I have learned how to smile and serve even when it hurts my body to do so. There are days when I won’t push because I need to be kind to myself and take care of a setback or a particular challenge, but most times I’ve learned that instead of the outward, visible strength I’ve always exhibited, my strength is now quiet, and sometimes just between me and God.

I’ve learned that my family truly is the best gift and that they love me unconditionally.

I’ve learned that whole-food Vitamin C is a miracle and that my life looks so much brighter when I take it in high doses.

I’ve learned that sometimes the trip is a lot longer than what you thought it was going to be when you set out on the new road. Sometimes the destination is never even in sight and all you can manage is getting back onto the right road after a wrong turn.

I’ve learned that sometimes problems aren’t tidy or an easy fix. Sometimes you just have to let one sit for awhile and not mess with it.

I’ve learned to avoid soy but that my body can tolerate some caffeine. (Thank you Jesus!)

I have learned that my diligence wavers, my discipline gets dodgy, and that my disappointment in myself goes deep.

I have learned that I am a loyal and faithful friend in spite of not being able to maintain a social life.

I have learned not to take myself too seriously and to laugh more because laughter makes everything better.

I have learned that I am coming into myself.

I have learned I am so loved.

And so, two years to the day, when we had a flat and we were hit with one challenge after another while fixing it…I realized that two short years ago, an adventure of that sort would have done me in, made me cry, drained me and left me depressed (truly, that little gland, when hooked up with the adrenals, it has that much sway) and set my whole endocrine system into a spiral.


But this time, I had peace and I worked with my family and we laughed and we played and we got the job done and I was happy.

I still have so far to go.

But I celebrated yesterday too.

I smiled as I thought of the past two years…

and realized just how far I’ve come.


I Was Paddling

When a disease moves in, the whole household is rearranged.

And a tough girl will fight it and push it and kick at it and work hard to keep it outside on the front porch where she can keep the door closed and hit the deadbolt when the intruder gets too unruly.


But diseases don’t have house manners, so Hashimoto’s has moved right in and brought her friend hypothyroidism with her, and they’ve taken up residence and settled into their own wing, and after almost a year of Delores the Thyroid paying her rent in mood swings and thinning hair, we might maybe just now be getting used to this new ugly roommate.

And do you know what happens when you have an unruly house guest who won’t go away and who doesn’t want to follow the rules?

You finally get tired of being polite and trying to figure out how to deal with their behaviors in a quiet and civilized manner, and you get assertive and you learn how to stick up for yourself and the people you live with and love with, and after enough time goes by and your guest is still being uncooperative, one day you take your life back and you tell her that you’re not going to put up with her shit any longer.

So all this summer I’ve worked hard at keeping Delores in her room until she learns to behave, and on those rare days she kicks down her door and comes to interrupt our days, I’ve learned that the best way to handle her is to sit around cozy and comfortable and curled up with my people while we laugh at her antics.

Ten months ago I could barely drag out of bed and couldn’t wait to get back to it at night.

Ten months ago I had so much anger in my heart I hardly knew myself.

Ten months ago my joints hurt so bad I could barely lift my arms or bend my fingers or my knees.

Ten months ago I had no joy, no care,  no understanding of what was the matter with me or any idea of how long it had been going on.

My houseguest had crept in without me even knowing, and all I could do was just keep pushing, keep doing what needed to be done, and keep focusing only on the absolute essentials.

Today, I can focus on the good.

I can see the the beautiful.

I can find the peace.


Today, I still sometimes drag out of bed, but I can face the days. I am no longer slugging through, but actually beginning to EMBRACE the moments. I am starting to look forward to things again instead of just dreading.

Today, the anger is replaced by patience, and when irritation does rear its ugly head, it is short lived and doesn’t possess my whole being like it once did.

Today when my joints hurt I know it’s because it’s time for a med adjustment or because I’ve eaten something that does not agree with my disease. I don’t hurt all the time anymore.

I still  have hurts.

But every day they are less, and I’ve hiked three whole times this summer and I’ve been able to ditch the 3 pm thyroid nap and I’ve listened to my body, and as I keep working toward kicking Delores out for good –or at least banishing her to the outhouse–  I can see the beauty and the good and I can keep my focus on peace.

So today I hopped in a canoe and I paddled. And when the kids bickered from their own little boat I told them to quit ruining the moment and I picked a spot on the horizon that was beautiful and I hunkered down against the wind of the day and I prayed and I headed toward the peace…

and I was paddling.


When my muscles warmed I was so happy that I was able to use them without feeling stabbing pain.

And when the wind blew me sideways I was so thankful to have the strength and the focus to put my canoe right.

And when my calves wanted to cramp, I was so tickled to realize my awkward body was in a position I had yearned to try in yoga class not too long ago.

Today, I realized that I’ve gained some things since battling hypothyroidism, and not just extra weight.

I’ve gained confidence.


Self-care skills.

The ability to laugh at myself.

Patience for others.

I realized that life…our faith…is just like my canoe ride today.

Choppy. Awkward. Full of cramps.

But so beautiful.


Intertwined with the Creator.

So I kept paddling.

And every day as I battle this new season of life…or you fight struggles or job loss or pain or a nasty new roommate of your own…remember we have the power to not let it ruin our moment here…and we’ll pick a spot on the horizon that is beautiful, and we’ll hunker down against the wind of our day…

And we’ll keep paddling toward peace.


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27




Don’t You Ever Interrupt Me When I’m Reading a Book Delores

When my kids reached a certain age, I was able to start reading again! Like, actually finish a book!
Then my thyroid Delores (my kids helped me name my thyroid Delores. Sorry if you know a sweet Delores, my thyroid is a hag)….anyway, Delores stole my concentration.
I haven’t read a book in probably a year! I have SO missed being able to sit down and read a whole page and focus and follow and remember what I read.
Read a whole chapter? No way. A whole book was out of the question.
I bought a book over two months ago on a trip to my favorite book store, and it’s sat on my nightstand ever since.
Once a reader always a reader, but it’s so sad when a reader can’t concentrate enough to read.
Brain fog and lack of concentration are HUGE symptoms and side effects of thyroid dysfunction and disease, and because I so missed my beloved reading time but had so much frustration over not being able to stay focused and retain anything, I have just given it up for the past year or so.
My writing has taken a hit too. 😦
Thanks to the long process of finding just the right natural thyroid replacement and maybe even the Plexus I’ve been experimenting with the past couple of weeks, I am almost all the way through that book that’s been sitting quietly and patiently next to my bed. I read until almost NOON yesterday!
And I remembered and I tracked and I followed along and I looked forward to turning the pages!
Instead of being frustrated that my favorite lifelong habit was only leaving me feeling distracted and stumbling, I felt excited and hopeful that maybe, just maybe Delores won’t always be the hag she’s been these past months and years.
My Ellabellaboo played this family favorite clip for me yesterday and it reminded me of how SCRUMPTIOUS it is to sink into a good book and be able to follow along!
I’m so thankful.
Now, I’m off to finish my book.
Don’t interrupt me. ❤

She Looks Tired

Five different women have approached me and asked me about hypothyroidism since I quit hiding and began ever so slowly to share my struggle. 

This piece is dedicated to them.


Sometimes it’s not until you start to feel a little better do you realize exactly how sick you were.

Sometimes one little part of us can grow so quietly dysfunctional it wreaks havoc on the big parts of us.

And sometimes it can be going on for years without us even knowing.

Around mid-winter last year I did something I rarely do and I went to the doctor. My blood pressure was creeping up right along with my blood sugar levels and I couldn’t take off any of the weight I had gained over the past couple of years.

Knowing how anti-synthetics I am, my doctor prescribed a low dose of thyroid replacement in a natural form. I took it as prescribed and felt better for a little while.

Eventually though, I realized it was just making me more tired so I pitched it and went back to doing what I usually do: try and try to eat better…exercise better…feel better…be better.

Then somewhere around Thanksgiving, all my efforts sunk into one big bleak pit of fatigue and flatness and depressed feelings.

I felt like I couldn’t move.

I felt like I was hiding from my family…from my friends…from the LORD.

I felt angry.

I felt half-dead.

This wasn’t the life I wanted for my babies and my precious husband.

I missed being able to sit down and read. I missed being vibrant in my faith and in my family.  I missed having time with the LORD. I missed being strong.

I missed being ME.

I went back to the doctor and he sat with me an hour and he asked me if I was depressed and on my appointment note this is what he wrote in big letters:


She looks tired.

He said he’d prescribe an antidepressant.

But it wasn’t just depression. I was depressed-feeling, but it was in my body.

Something in my body wasn’t working.

I cried and he patted my shoulder and I realized I hadn’t even put makeup on that day or for so many of the days prior…weeks? Months? I’d lost count.

When was it that I’d last felt like me?

When was it that my husband last came home to a smiling and joyful wife?

When was it that I’d last slept through the night and not awakened feeling groggy and sluggish?

When was it that I last had the energy to hold a real conversation with anyone?

When was it that I last was excited to move this body that was gifted to me?

When was it that I last felt the joy I carry?

I’m so thankful for a doctor who listens.

I’m so thankful he cares about the person and not just the numbers and he said “we’ll watch this closer, you were on too low of a dose.”

So I picked up my little natural pills again-my piggy pills I call em- and I came home and I quit caffeine, sugar, gluten, grain, alcohol, and dairy that very day.

The next week I spent in a fog of naps, hot bone broth, thyroid research, and more naps.

I read everything I could get my hands on that pertained to thyroid disease, adrenal dysfunction, paleo eating, and hormonal balance.

My husband did dishes and fed kids and gave me big hugs and let me sleep like I was his ailing princess.

I came out of the fog with a clarity I’ve never felt.

I cried when I realized how long it’d been since I felt good. How long my children haven’t known the REAL me. How long my husband has been so very patient with my unexplained mood swings and fatigue.

I cried and then I was mad and I hated my thyroid and I wanted to punch it in the throat but that wouldn’t work now would it so I decided I would just learn everything I could about how to live with this little organ that I knew hardly anything about but that had betrayed me and was ruining my life and stealing my hair.

I threw out my coffee pot and replaced the morning java with an apple cider vinegar drink that has all sorts of natural yumminess from coconut milk to turmeric.

I baked up our homegrown chickens and kept a pot of bones boiling almost daily.

I started reading the labels for hidden gluten.

I asked my husband to do something that practically kills him: inject me with two shots of vitamin B12 in my leg every week.

I learned how to cook vegetables in ways I never have before.



I was realizing that every five or six days my clarity and vim would start to wane and this proved to me that everything I’d been reading was true: I needed to slowly up the dose of the little piggy pill until I found a level that would keep me in maintenance mode. So that’s what I started to do and finally I began to feel my jerk thyroid start to work efficiently which started to get the rest of my machine running.

So for the past six weeks I have been logging symptoms and vitals and paying closer attention to my body than I ever have in my whole life. I have been living on an online thyroid discussion group and scouring every single post as I learn more about this disease and how it effects so many. I have been highlighting up my Stop the Thyroid Madness book and loading up my old-lady pill box for my morning and evening supplements.

I explained to my husband that the bitch of this thing was that every single day I now have this 500,000 piece puzzle sitting out unfinished on the coffee table in my brain. I have to work at it and poke at it and ponder the patterns moment by moment and day by day until I get this thing figured out. Which is about when things change ever so subtly again.

So I power it and I puzzle it and last week for the first time in months I had enough energy to lace up my walking boots and take to my driveway. Over the week I worked my way up from a 15-minute walk to a half-hour one.




I started smiling again. I quit needing a power nap at 3 p.m. I bought new makeup. I colored my hair.

I opened my Bible for the first time in a long time…that worn and beautiful marked-up book I once delighted to read daily…and I worked my way through the Psalms to that favorite familiar, number 23, and I read right there in my very own scrawl, -a take-away from my old preacher’s sermon during my baby Christian years I’m sure- there in the margin with all the other chicken scratches and next to the circle around “green pastures”…in the second verse where He makes me lie down I had written

shepherds will put wounded sheep on the best grass.

And I knew right then that I might’ve been feeling like I was hiding from Him, but He wasn’t hiding from me.

I knew He’d been there all along and that just because I wasn’t vibrant didn’t mean He wasn’t visible.

I knew my flatness doesn’t make Him forget me.

I’m in a green pasture.

I’m on the best grass for my healing and I will stay right here until my shepherd leads me elsewhere.

A thyroid diagnosis could be so much worse but there is no getting past the fact that it is a robber of vibrant life. And anything that robs life from me robs it from my family and from my job here on earth so I will keep fighting and nourishing and working and puzzling and plowing to figure out my best health and straightest path back to vibrant.

I know I have a way to go. I’m beginning to have subtle symptoms again which tells me it’s time to bump up a little closer to my maintenance dose.

And I know with thyroid and adrenal problems, close attention to what goes in the body will always be needed and I will most likely have to take a thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of my life.

I might not ever get back my six-pack abs or my razor sharp vision.

It’s been a little heartbreaking to not have the focus to write.

It’s almost made me cry to have to take a book back to the library half-read.

But as I get closer to my new normal, there is one symptom I’m taking close notice of.

That symptom is hope.

I’m starting to feel aware again.

I’m starting to feel joy again.

I’m starting to feel alive again.

I’m starting to feel like ME again.

And I’m not hiding any more.


Please see the list of common symptoms and resources for hypothyroidism at the end of this post. I don’t want anyone on this planet to go without a diagnosis or treatment of this disease and dysfunction that robs so much life. Our doctors aren’t perfect. They are still learning. There is MUCH for them to discover about thyroid health. You might need to search to find the best health care provider for you. Be your biggest advocate and don’t stop until you get the answers you need to help you build your best health. Most of all, don’t hide. There is hope. If I can help you find it, please tell me.

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m runnin’ out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the Eye of the Storm ~ Ryan Stevenson


Some Common Signs/Symptoms of Hypothyroidism: (Please note there are many, many more)

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Thin/splitting nails
  • Ridges/grooves in nails


Stop The Thyroid Madness (Books 1 and 2)