This guest post is a powerful testimony written by Kendrea Tannis. She was given a bad diagnosis by the doctor, but took steps to learn about what she could do naturally to overcome it. If you are dealing with an autoimmune disease, or know someone who is, I know this story will be a blessing. There IS hope for you. This also is a strong encourager to us to be informed patients. No one will take care of your health like you will!
For weeks I had been exhausted. 8-9 hours of sleep the night before weren’t enough to keep my eyelids from closing by 2 pm on most days. I felt low. I was grumpy. On edge, sleepy, foggy –and the worst part? I had no clue why.
A few Google searches of my symptoms made me almost certain that I was depressed. So I made an appointment to see my doctor. Surely she would have the answers.
Fast forward a few days and I am sitting in the quiet office of my brand spanking new endocrinologist. As it turns out, I wasn’t depressed after all. A battery of blood tests revealed that my thyroid was underactive. Before long I was grappling with new labels—Hashimoto’s Disease, Thyroiditis, Underactive Thyroid, Thyroid Replacement Hormones.
Dr. Poppy’s mouth seemed to be forming sentences that I couldn’t string together for the life of me….
I heard “Just let your thyroid die … nothing you can do… don’t worry about it…20 million Americans … you won’t be alone… Syntheroid….pharmacy …next appointment.” And just as quickly as she had broken the bad news, she slipped out of the room and closed the door behind her.
On the short ride home, I panicked as I pieced together the meaning of Dr. Poppy’s words. My thyroid wasn’t producing enough TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and because of this was considered to be an “underactive thyroid.”
Symptoms of underactive thyroid include fatigue, grogginess, dry skin/hair, brain fog, weight gain and a myriad of other unpleasantries.” Dr. Poppy’s solution for my underactive thyroid was standard – prescribe me medication to supplement the hormone that my thyroid wasn’t making on its own.
Despite the wave of anxiety that flooded over me, I managed to squeak out one question before Dr. Poppy made her fast exit. My question seemed to both stump and frustrate Dr. Poppy…
What could I do to encourage my thyroid to make more TSH hormone on its own? In order words, how could I address my underactive thyroid at the root instead of simply treating the symptoms?
Dr. Poppy’s answer was clear—there was nothing I could do. Medication would be my only hope of fixing what seemed broken.
So I went home dejected. I cried to my husband. I couldn’t believe that at 27 I would likely be on medication for the rest of my life. And given a recent strike of Type 1 Diabetes in my family, I thought that for sure my underactive thyroid was the first step towards even more health problems.
I felt low, depressed, and tired—the same feelings that sent me running to the doctor in the first place.
Then I got inspired. Inspired by Dr. Poppy’s pessimism, mad at myself for believing her words hook, line, and sinker, and inspired by the idea of healing my body holistically. Was I going to cry my way to the pharmacy or look for other solutions?
The internet became my best friend. Famous last words I know, but in my case, it offered me access to information posted by folks who were once in my shoes. The same word kept coming up over and over again—gluten –– gluten free. I was on to something.
Three months later, I was back in Dr. Poppy’s office for more blood work. I could tell she was excited to see me when she entered my room. She had good news. My TSH number were significantly improving. I still technically had Hashimoto’s but my numbers were moving steadily in the right direction.
“Those thyroid replacement pills are kicking in.”
I gently broke it to Dr. Poppy that I had tossed the pills after taking them for only 1 day.
“What did you do to bring your numbers down then?”
I told her about going gluten free cold turkey for the last three months. She was somewhat encouraging but still pessimistic about my long term prognosis.
Nine months later, I heard the words that were like music to my ears….
“I’m not quite sure what you’re doing or why it’s working. I’m definitely not prepared to call it science, but keep it up because it’s working for you.”
I have been gluten free now for more than a year and my numbers have improved drastically to the guarded surprise and dare I say astonishment of Dr. Poppy. I’m not sure how my story ends as I am improving significantly but not 100% clear of Hashimoto’s but I am trusting God to bless my efforts and to add the increase.
I also want to point out that the medicine Dr. Poppy prescribed wouldn’t have cleared me of Hashimoto’s either. It simply would have replaced the hormones my thyroid wasn’t making. So, in my opinion, I’m on par with what the medicine would have been doing because my TSH numbers are now within the normal range.
So, now that you’ve read my story, you should cut up your insurance card, never go back to your doctor, thrash all of your prescriptions and find the answer to any medical issue you might have on the world wide web right??
Of course not.
But you should feel encouraged to use your common sense and to do a little research on your own behalf before settling into a comfortable life of pill popping.
Common sense told me that maybe I could encourage my thyroid to heal itself instead of simply taking medicine to make up for what my thyroid wasn’t doing. My gut told me that maybe a few lifestyle changes could prolong my needing to take medication for the rest of my life. Turns out I was right.
My research revealed that the gluten molecule looks eerily similar to the cells in the thyroid. So, when I ate foods containing gluten, my body, having a sensitivity to gluten, tried to destroy all of the undigested gluten in my system. And in a case of mistaken identity, my body was also destroying the cells in my thyroid because they look very similar to the gluten molecule.
When I shared my findings with Dr. Poppy she offered only a vague “Yes, I read an article about gluten a few weeks ago….” Doctors know a lot, but they don’t know everything.
I can already hear you, “But they’ve gone to medical school … and what do I know about medicine anyway… and they’re going to think I’m being a difficult patient … and what if …”
My answer to that is to consider what is on the line: Your body, your health and your future. That MUST be worth asking a few extra questions and doing your own research!
My doctor told me to “just let your thyroid die.”
I told her “No.”