After being diagnosed with thryoid cancer and Hashimoto’s disease at age 28, I found that I had to take an active role in my healing process in order to feel better. Here’s a preview about my initial discoveries in what helped me regain an active and healthy lifestyle after recovering from thyroid cancer, Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. More details will come on each of these topics later on this website, so keep checking back!
Balance your meds. It’s incredible to me how much of a difference ½ a tablet per week of levothyroxine can make. A change in either direction can be a difference of hyperthyroid symptoms vs hypothyroid symptoms. As I worked toward balancing my medications, fatigue was the most common symptom for me. I also discovered that while it may seem that you would have more energy being slightly over medicated in a hyperthyroid state, you can actually be fatigued with either hyperthyoidism or hypothyroidism. My endocrinologist used the analogy of hyperthyoidism being like you’re running a marathon everyday – of course you’re going to be tired! Visit your primary care provider on a regular basis and definitely have them review your blood work (thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) levels). Reviewing every three months worked well for me or every month if I was adjusting my meds. Even if you find a medication balance that works perfectly for you, your body will adjust hormone levels over time and it will likely not work for you indefinitely (especially you ladies out there). Make sure you see your primary care provider for all of this.
Meditation. I know it may sound simple, and that’s because it really is. Meditation has made a HUGE difference for me. While the people that know me will think that I’m one of the most easy-going, calm and collected people they’ve ever met, I’ve secretly been struggling with underlying anxiety and stress my whole life. As vast as the universe is, I’ve discovered there is just as much vastness inside of each of us when we quiet and/or listen to our mind, emotions and spirit. This is where I have been able to find peace and get over my chronic anxiety.
Energy Work. Through my geeky obsession of the docu-series, Cosmos, I’ve discovered that our bodies are made up of mostly energy. There are 100 trillion atoms in a human cell, and in case you don’t remember from science class – atoms are 99.999999999999% empty space. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my health by using healing modalities that focus on energy work. This healing energy work comes in a variety of forms, and I’m sure there are some not listed here: reiki, EFT, qigong, shiatsu and BodyTalk. While I’ve had great success with a couple reiki sessions, I can tell you that my body responds really well to Bodytalk. What works for you may be different; don’t be afraid to experiment and keep an open mind.
Grounding, aka Earthing. Back to the fact that our bodies are energy, this growing trend has really helped me with my energy levels, cognition and ability to focus. The earthing concept is that our bodies can exchange electrons from the Earth to balance our hormones, circadian rhythms and basically give us an antioxidant boost. A year into my recovery, I was still having a lot of cognition issues that didn’t seem to be fixed by medications. I never received a resolution for this through my physicians. I was really having a hard time with my thought processes, finishing sentences without stumbling on my words, communicating through texts and emails, etc. I would frequently scramble my words (there, their and they’re), which I have never had trouble with my entire life pre-thyroidectomy. After a few weeks of grounding on a regular basis, I saw a noticeable difference in my cognition and my ability to focus.
Diet and Supplements. If you’re dealing with thyroid issues, you’re already dealing with energy balance throughout the day. Minimizing sugar and caffeine has been helpful to me. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had a pretty bad sugar addiction my whole life. Like buying cookies on the way home from a stressful day at work and devouring half of the package before I get home, kind of addiction. More to come on tips, tricks and resources for you on this, as well as how to kick the sugar addiction for good. Also, food is medicine. I’ve discovered some pretty cool resources for this as well. The point is to avoid unhealthy cravings and eat whole, organic foods.
Exercise. I know, I know. You hear about this from everyone. Yada, yada. But truly, this is also a key element to keeping your energy balanced throughout the day and helps maintain your overall health. There are so many types of exercise and workout routines. What is the best method? The one you will do. Just get moving, even if it’s a short walk. For me, my cup of tea is outdoor recreation or any activity while being out in nature: hiking, mountain biking, skiing and running. More to come on this in later blog posts.
Sleep and general self-care. Sleep is critical to overall health. I used to be a prime example of what not to do. Although chronic anxiety and stress likely played a role in this for me, I was burning the candle at both ends for a good portion of my life. I was a non-traditional college student and worked full time while taking full time credits, had at least two jobs AND a busy social life well into my late 20s. As a result of this, my sleep patterns were inconsistent and I wasn’t getting enough sleep in general, usually four to seven hours, with a nine or 10 hour crash on the weekends. I was even guilty of pulling all-nighters on occasion when I was playing catch up on homework, writing a paper or cramming for a test while I was in college. There are a lot of factors that go into getting a good night’s rest, and I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks with you to maximize your sleep time and setup a productive day/sleep path toward healing.
Gratitude and the power of positive thinking. I definitely wasn’t a negative person before I started on my healing journey, but I’ve struggled my whole life with anxious thoughts, not loving myself enough and getting stuck in a state of worry and lack of abundance. I have some tools to share with you that will help with this.
Thank you for following my journey! Please keep checking back as I’m taking a deeper dive on these topics, plus so much more to help you in your quest for healing.