living your best life with thyroid disease
I have Grave’s Disease.
Whew. I’m glad I got that out of the way.
It can be hard to get up close and personal here on the blog, but I’ve become more and more convicted that I should share this part of my life. After all, thyroid disorder is increasingly common in America, and yet is still largely misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
I’ve struggled with the affects of this disease for years, and I’m sharing about it today in the hopes that it can help someone else.
Here’s my story.
When I was in my early 20’s I began experiencing some alarming health symptoms. I couldn’t sleep, my hair was thinning, and I felt like my body was operating on overdrive. As a type-A kind of gal who had just taken on a new job in a new city, it took me awhile to realize my symptoms went beyond generalized anxiety.
In fact, I was experiencing heart palpitations that were becoming increasingly scary.
One day I finally drove myself to the ER after feeling like my heart was going to leap out of my chest. I’ll never forget the readout on the heart monitor. My pulse was 197, then 68, then 142, then 89. Fast, slow, back and forth, on and on. Second by second, my pulse was ever changing and erratic.
I could tell the doctors were worried about my heart, and it was terrifying.
Thankfully, after many stressful hours and tests, it turned out that my heart itself was not the culprit.
What I had was much less serious – an autoimmune disease with an ominous name: Grave’s Disease.
Grave’s Disease is a disorder affecting around 2-3% of the population that can cause all the symptoms I experienced, and more, by causing hyperthyroidism.
If you’re here today because you also have a thyroid disorder – you’ll probably want to know how I decided to treat it.
Eventually, I opted to treat with radioactive Iodine, thereby destroying my thyroid and causing the opposite symptoms – hypothyroid disorder.
Hypothyroid disorder can be easier to treat with less risk. Since I didn’t have children yet, this seemed like the “least bad” option.
Today, having lived with the affects of this disorder for nearly 15 years, I can say it’s usually nothing more than a nuisance. I take a pill daily, and get blood work every 8-12 weeks.
Unfortunately, even when it’s well managed, unpleasant symptoms can emerge. My skin is on the drier side and needs lots of moisturizing. Sometimes, I’ll experience increased anxiety. Occasionally, the beds of my nails will change, and I’ll experience hair loss. Usually, it’s fairly minor hair loss, but on at least one occasion, it was extreme (…and super traumatizing – I’ll leave that for another day).
Fortunately, after a lot of trial and error, I’ve found a number of self care practices that have helped me improve and even reverse some of the worst symptoms.
get Healthy Skin and Hair – combatting the affects of hypothyroidism
Of all the thyroid-related side effects I’ve had, hair loss is the worst for me. You don’t realize how much hair can be part of your identity until it’s literally going down the drain.
I recently experienced another hair loss episode. I lost quite a bit of hair along my hairline, and my hair became fragile and broke off. During these episodes, my skin is also affected and becomes dull and ruddy. No. Fun.
Know what else isn’t fun? Sharing a photo of it.
Just like we put concealer on a blemish or wear a top that conceals that problem area, I usually choose to blog photos that represent my best self.
However, it’s not my *whole* self.
Chances are, you can relate to this in some way.
I truly was willing to try anything to reverse the damage the latest episode had caused, and thankfully I’ve had great success with my latest regime.
My friend Abby hooked me up with a regime by Monat designed to control the damage and restore hair growth.
Monat is a line of naturally-based, anti-aging haircare – from shampoos and conditioners to treatments for hair growth, damage control and styling products.
I’ve been using it for just about a month, but I’m already seeing results.
Currently, I’m using four products all designed to promote hair health and growth. I’m using an intense repair treatment directly on my scalp twice a day, as well as a complimentary shampoo and conditioner. Since I do have fine hair, I’ve also been using a thickening spray to give the appearance of fuller, thicker hair (it. smells. AMAZING.).
As a bonus: they also happen to have a pretty great line of children’s products, like this gentle detangler spray that works amazing, even on my youngest daughter’s baby fine hair.
If you’ve been thinking about trying this line, I encourage you to give it a try and see for yourself. Right now they have some amazing holiday gift sets that make it easy to try it or gift it to someone at a great price.
Side note: I want to be clear here – I do not make a sales commission for sharing any of the products mentioned in this post with you. I’m recommending these products because I’m personally seeing positive results.
I’ve taken multivitamins daily for my whole adult life. I was always told all multivitamins were alike and I believed it. But, I recently discovered how drastically a great multivitamin can improve your health, wellbeing and outward appearance when it’s tailored to your needs. I began taking a raw multivitamin with higher doses of the essential things my body needed: biotin, magnesium, vitamin D and more. I definitely notice when I forget to take it – it’s that good!
My latest skincare regime has had impressive results on my skin. If you haven’t heard of BeautyCounter, you’re going to want to make this a part of your routine.
Not only does BeautyCounter have better ingredients ( and a long list of 1,500 questionable chemicals they’ll never use in their products), but it’s amazing.
I’m totally hooked.
As I mentioned earlier, my skin is very dry, but this hydrating regime is changing all of that. I’m using the cleansing balm (ah-mazing), serum, moisturizer and eye cream. It’s like my little dream team.
It made a visible difference in my skin within days – and that’s really saying something. To get started, I recommend you stop what you’re doing right now and at least give the cleansing balm a try – it will make you total believer in what this whole line can do for you.
Self care with a thyroid disorders isn’t about indulgent spa days or a getaway weekend.
For starters, self care with a thyroid disorder means getting enough sleep. For me means at least seven hours of sleep. With three little ones and work that starts before the crack of dawn, that’s not always realistic – but it’s always the goal.
Self care also means getting regular lab work, choosing the brand name of medication (generic Synthroid isn’t as reliable), and waiting an hour before eating or drinking after taking medication, so it can properly absorb.
There is no “cure” to thyroid disorder, but ongoing treatment can mean living a normal, healthy life. It’s a journey, and one I plan to share more of in the future.
If you’re interested in any of the products mentioned above that have helped me during my journey, please take a moment to take a quick quiz to help you assess how you can have healthier skin and hair, as well.
And, if you’re interested in getting $200 worth of products free, my friend Abby can help you out!
Do you suffer from a thyroid disorder, or know someone who does? I’d love to hear more about your story and any tips you’ve learned along the way. Please drop me a message below, or if you prefer, send me an e-mail to connect at fivemarigolds(at)gmail.com.
I’d love to hear from you!