More Answers and More Questions

To say I haven't been having an easy time lately would be putting it mildly. I already wrote about the medical issues plaguing me, and how I started getting some answers, but today, I found out some more answers, and instead of just reassuring me, they are getting me even more confused.

Last time I wrote about my dizziness, headaches, and exhaustion. And how I went from one doctor to another and did blood tests, and bottom line is I was told that I needed new glasses, and today I picked up my multifocals. It definitely is an adjustment to get used to them, I was old that in advance, but just as I'm sitting at the computer and typing this post, I can already see how they're helping, as it is much easier for me to focus on the computer screen with these glasses vs my old ones. I was told it can take a week or two to get used to them, but just seeing how much easier it is to sit at my computer, or to read books, already is helping (the rest of the time, or when shifting where I'm looking, currently are making me more dizzy, but I know its a process so I can deal with that).

But in addition to that, today, after nearly two weeks of trying to wake up early enough to actually make it to the blood test in time (we can only get them before 9:30 am and I've been getting the kids out to school and then back to sleep), I finally did it, and though all the results aren't in yet, I got enough answers to confirm that yes, my thyroid definitely is a big contributor to my health issues as of late.

The previous blood test I took, my TSH, the thyroid stimulating hormone, was 11.7, when the "normal" range for TSH is between .55 and 4, but ideally on the lower end of that (up to 2.5). However, my free t3 and free t4 were within normal ranges according to my dad, so he said to just ignore the high TSH. However, the doc prescribing the test said that a really high TSH could have been a fluke so wanted me to retest it. 

And people I spoke to who have experience with thyroid disorders told me that when the thyroid is in the process of dying, your TSH can sometimes spike really high to get the thyroid to work, while still showing normal looking free T3 and free T4 levels. It's very possible that that was the case with me, because, while I haven't gotten the results of all my testing, my TSH is still high, at 5.62, and my free T4 was lowish before at 11.79 (range given by my lab is 11.5-22.7) but now it finally dipped into the unacceptable range, 10.02. Additionally, I got my anti thyroid antibodies tested, which is what tests for things like Hashimotos thyroiditis, an auto-immune thyroid disease, which runs in my family, and while I'm still waiting for some results, my anti TPO antibodies are well above the normal range, which means that there definitely is something auto immune happening...

So now I have to make a decision.

I have an appointment with an endocrinologist in a month (that's the soonest appointment I was able to get), but will be going to my GP next week. I assume he will want to put me on synthetic thyroid hormone. So there's that, and hopefully that will help.

But the decision I have to make is if I want to try to treat this as the auto immune issue it clearly is. The auto immune issue is often treated by the auto immune paleo diet. I do know that my body does best on a paleo type diet, but I stopped cooking paleo because it was too much work to keep up, and that was before I was a single mom. But the auto immune paleo version of the paleo diet is even stricter, and even more work. Basically, if you are familiar with the paleo diet, the auto immune version of it is also without eggs (which I anyhow don't eat), no nuts, no seeds, and no nightshades.

When I do make paleo compliant foods, they tend to be very nightshade heavy. Oh, nightshades- those are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. 

Paleo without the ease of potatoes, without tomatoes, without seeds (and yes, that includes entire swathes of spices) is so much harder than regular Paleo.

And did I mention that the reason I have figured out about this thyroid issue of mine is that I've been absolutely exhausted? Beyond exhausted? Needing ridiculous amounts of sleep and even after that many hours of sleep, barely feeling like I can function? And this is with using a lot of short cuts in the kitchen.... So to somehow find the energy to switch to the auto immune paleo diet, with all the work that it entails?

That's decisions I have to make, and I don't know what I want to do. 

I guess I will see what my doctor says, and if he starts me on synthetic thyroid hormone, maybe it will help my energy levels enough that I will be able to be able to find the energy to switch to a diet that will help my body stop attacking itself (the definition of an auto immune diet).

In addition, there are other results of my latest blood test which are concerning, and I need to have a follow up with a rheumatologist about them in addition to the endocrinologist. I'm really hoping all will be ok, but to be honest, I am also a bit worried.

Do any of you follow the AIP diet? I'd love your best AIP tips and shortcuts! Any of you dealing with thyroid issues? I'd love to hear tips and suggestions as well as your experiences.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I have been taking thyroid hormones for several years now and as I read up on Hashimoto I repeatedly read that with it increses the need for nutriens and it is recommended to take high doses of Vitamin D, B12, Magnesia - and very important: Selenium. By now I do take a whole range but also feel like it really improved my overall health. And: I never had to increse my thyroid hormon dose which I take as a very good sign. (I get the levels tested once a year.)

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I got diagnosed with celiac desease ten months ago. Right now, it is difficult to see doctors here (Croatia) if it isn't Covid related or needing immediate attention, but I got my TSH level results and it's 2,3 so that's good.
    I switched to gluten free diet (and cosmetics) and I got color back in my cheeks, and have more energy, I even think my depression symptoms lessened, but I'm still so very tired. Probably my small intestine needs mire time to heal. I don't think right now I'd be able to switch to autoimmune paleo (and I don't know if I'd benefit from it?), because I am still grieving not being able to eat even traces of gluten, which significantly affected my social life (also, kookimg everything from scratch and not relying on convenience food, fast food and delivery takes so much energy).
    I am wishing you health and strength while you take care of yourself.

  3. I don't have your health issues, but maybe try the medication until you have enough energy to do the special diet? It could give you an energy boost.

  4. I have post operative Hashimotos, Epstien Barr vius and Lyme. I've been on the AIP diet for at least 9 months. I had no energy so the best I can do is cook meat plain, cook squash, heat up frozen vegetables and season with ghee and salt. Sometimes I can only cook one thing at a time and cook the next food when I get more energy. It's best to cook enough of a food to last several meals. My inflamation score is much lower now (checked by a blood test}. But I'm still on AIP because the Epstein Barr virus was chronic and really messed up my gut. I could hardly digest anything. So I started with the early stages of the GAPS diet with the AIP restrictions and then gradually added more AIP foods as my stomach could digest them. I take a lot of digestive enzymes. I HIGHLY recommend them and probiotics. If you do start a thyroid med know that some people are (like me) are sensetive to synthroid and don't do well on it. Levoxyl or its generic brand work much better for me. I have met a few people with the same issue. I can't take the thyroid replacements that are more natural because my body sees them as the enemy. I need a more synthetic med. I am still not into cooking AIP recipes but just doing the bare basics has kept me going. I feel for you. I know your pain. Hang in there. When I just had Hashimotos, once I was on the right med, I felt better right away. It's these viruses that are hard to get rid of. As you age it is more difficult to turn T4 into T3. After years of being stable my T3 is low again. Didn't think I would have to battle this again. I'm 60 so don't let this bother you yet but you might want to keep it in mind for the future.
    As for your thyroid dying to make enough thyroid hormone -yup. When I had my thyroid removed, because of goiter nodules) it was HUGE. Hopefully you can get help before that happens. Keep us posted. Waiting for results and then waiting to get back in to see the doctor again while you're exhausted is hard. Hang in there my friend (I consider you a friend because I've been following you for years and read almost all of your posts). This too will pass. I'll be praying for you. Lillian

  5. I've had Hashimotos pretty much all my life. AIP definitely helps me, but I do find difficult to stick to when travelling (now's probably a great time to start!) or when life throws me a curveball, and I started it being gluten and sugar free already. I have a tricky case of Hashimoto's, but AIP has helped me reduce the amount of meds I need to manage my thyroid, plus it really is the only way to know what foods aren't doing me any favours (like legumes, dairy etc). What I would say is AIP requires considerable mental energy and planning, and if life is in disarray or stressful at the moment, it's not a great time to start. But having said that, it you feel like you could give it a go for a couple of weeks, some people feel considerably better by then and it can give you the energy/drive to keep going. The final comment I have about AIP is that it is not forever. Some people seem to stick religiously to it for months and years, but you are not supposed to stop trying to reintroduce foods. After reintroductions it is common to end up on a modified paleo diet that allows for individual intolerances and allergies.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this. Health issues cause so much anxiety and concern, and we're already in a time that is high in anxiety and concern. I wish you all the best in getting a quick diagnosis, and hope the problem turns out to be something you can treat.

  7. so sorry you are going through this look like Hashimotoes go to the Stop the Thyroid madness site. Also a facebook site where you can get some answers.

  8. I'm sorry to hear you and some of your readers suffer from issues like this. I loved reading how they deal with their health problems and hope their comments help you. All I can add is that I've prayed for you and them as well and hang in there. God is good!

  9. This may be a bit too fringe for you, but I know several people who've had great success treating autoimmune issues with a carnivore diet. It certainly seems a bit extreme since it basically eliminates ALL plants from your diet (literally, you just eat meat, eggs, and dairy if you can tolerate it). I mention it because it does seem to be the thing that finally clicks for people struggling with autoimmune issues.

    It's also extremely easy from a food-prep standpoint. Making a meal with two sides of veggies is a lot of work, but popping a roast in the oven or slow cooker that will last for several meals is easy peasy. Another easy (and more budget friendly) option is making ground beef patties or meatballs and serving with a side of eggs.

    I don't struggle with any autoimmune thyroid disorders, but do struggle with mental health (anxiety, depression, lethargy), digestive issues, and cystic acne. I tend to stay overall paleo but will go full carnivore for a few weeks or months at a time if I feel I need the reset, or if my symptoms are acting up. I really like how I feel on it, and the ease of meal prep is definitely a perk! Best to you, and I hope you find a way to feel better soon.

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