One of the things that I appreciate the most about my thyroid condition is that it help me to grow. I am constantly learning and my research abilities have grown significantly. Graduate school wasn’t very taxing from that perspective because I learned how to find information and review various sites (insert huge grin).
On the flip side, there was so much information out there! I reviewed books, journal articles, material that I found in the doctor’s office, and I reviewed a plethora of online forums. I wanted to make sure I understood what was going on because I didn’t want a doctor to give me a pill and not explain themselves. I tried to understand contraindications (how drugs interact with each other that can cause bad things to happen) and what supplements I should take. I read books about what foods I should eat and what not to eat. I tried smoothies and juices. I will never, ever, ever, ever fast again in life. My body doesn’t allow it…at all. I then decided that in I needed to monitor my food more. I read that diet was critical I reducing inflammation, so I decided to try more and more. I would cook with my dad and experiment with new foods. This curiosity also came in handy when I developed IBS. I was able to start a food journal. I wrote down what I ate, how I felt and how long did I last until the next meal. It was a very eye opening experience. Not only did I journal for my IBS, but I also journaled for my mental heath. It really helped me get through the hard times after my initial diagnosis.
It also helped that I exercised. Exercise is my go to thing that makes the world a better place. If I’m struggling with an idea…exercise. If I’m frustrated…exercise. If I am stressed out…exercise. This helped me cope with so much of what was going on and it showed. When I’d go to the doctor, it was so rewarding to see my levels down, whether it was my blood sugar, thyroid levels, cholesterol or blood pressure. My care team was amazing. My primary care, GYN, endocrinologist and GI doctors were fantastic. It really helped that they worked together when needed and they truly respected each other’s work. I always sent my results to each doctor and it made things really easy because I was a patient of an electronic medical record. We all agreed that I needed to continue to eat clean, mind my trigger foods (more on that in a later post), and continue to take my medication. I tried yoga and meditation and it was fantastic (despite the typical gas that I would develop as a result of everything being so relaxed ::chuckles::).
The biggest lesson learned throughout this process was to take things one step at a time. I had to learn how to manage my stress levels and that was the most difficult. I was in New York City at the time and that alone is stressful, but I managed. I developed amazing friendships, ate wonderful food (you will soon learn that I LOVE TO EAT AND COOK), and just learned how to love/take care of myself. If you’ve been struggling with a thyroid disease or other autoimmune condition, what’s your biggest lesson learned? If you’re newly diagnosed, what would you like to learn?