Love, Pomegranate House

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Getting Personal {Part 3} – A Life Changing Diagnosis

Before we get going with part 3 of our infertility story, I want to say thank you again. As difficult as it has been to write our story, you guys have been so incredibly encouraging. I truly can’t thank you enough. Keep the prayers coming, we definitely need them. Also, sorry this post was a week in the making. Our internet has been out and we finally got it resolved and switched providers so I don’t have to try to write these posts on my phone. 😉

Thyroid Problems

Anywho, the way this whole infertility series came about was out of a desire to write this post. I wanted to tell you guys why recipes haven’t been shared as much on LPH recently as they had been in the past. To tell you why recipes I would be sharing from now on would be a different kind of recipe. So here we go. At this point in our journey with infertility, I finally started to get some answers and diagnoses. In part 1 and part 2 of our infertility story, I shared with you guys about our first and second miscarriages. Part 3, in short, will be about a diagnosis that lead me to become gluten-free and change my way of life.

After our second miscarriage, I was devastated and desperate for answers. Answers as to why we kept having miscarriages, why my progesterone was always low, and why I always felt so crummy. I refused to see my OBGYN due to her negligence with our last miscarriage. So I went on a search for a doctor who would provide us with some answers. I was desperate to someone, ANYONE who would run a complete blood panel and check all my hormones. I didn’t care if they were a bum in an alley with connections! Okay. Not really. I didn’t want to get hepatitis or anything so a legit person was preferred. I had asked my previous OBGYN to do a full hormone panel back in the days before miscarriage #2 but she refused on multiple occasions. Why? I have no freaking idea. You think she would want to help figure out what was going on. Arg. Sorry… trying to still let go of that anger and frustration.

Thyroid Problems

After asking around and doing a LOT of research I found a fantastic natropathic doctor who specialized in fertility in Chicago. Luckily for us, we were heading back to Chicago for the holidays. I was able to get an appointment for the middle of December. I had a wonderful appointment and had my blood drawn for a full hormone (and then some) panel. A few days later, my results were in and we had a follow-up appointment.  The results showed that my hypothyroidism was not under control with my current medication. And even more so, it was at that appointment that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Sounds fancy, right? Well, it isn’t. In fact, it sucks. It sucks the big one. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which your thyroid is attacked by your immune system. And when your thyroid is attacked by your immune system, it becomes inflamed. And because your thyroid is inflamed, it doesn’t work properly (aka under-active), thus leading to less hormones in your body. Hashimoto’s is something I will have for my entire life. Woo. Go body. Way to fight yourself. Stupid immune system.

Oh, you want to know the symptoms of Hashimoto’s??

  • Fatigue and sluggishness for no apparent reason (Check)
  • Increased sensitivity to cold (Check)
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin (Check)
  • A puffy face (Check)
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unexplained weight gain and difficulty losing weight (Check)
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in your shoulders and hips (Check)
  • Pain and stiffness in your joints and swelling in your knees or the small joints in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness, especially in your lower extremities
  • Irregular or heavy menstruation (Check)
  • Depression (Check)
  • Dry, thinning, brittle hair (Check)
  • Difficulty getting pregnant (Check)

Imagine me as a pale skinned, overweight, balding vampire with bags under my eyes (for years), wearing a sweater in the summer while needing to poop. OH OH! And never being able to get pregnant. Sound like a joy, right!? Weirdly enough, I was actually thrilled to have this diagnosis. Not because I was excited for a lifelong disease to deal with but because I FINALLY had an explanation for how crappy I had been feeling and for our difficulties getting pregnant. And sometimes, getting a diagnosis is half the battle.

Thyroid Problems

With this new diagnosis, we returned to Denver. I was determined to get things figured out. Within a week I had found a new general practitioner who switched my thyroid meds. And within one week of being on that new med, I felt like a whole new person. Scratch that. I felt like a human. When you spend your life in a fatigued stupor, sleeping 12+ hours a day, and still dying for another nap you feel more like a zombie. I didn’t even realize how bad I was feeling until all my symptoms started going away.

I also went on a researching rampage. I read anything and everything I could about Hashimoto’s, desperately trying to figure out how to manage this disease. Time and time again, research paper after research trial, I kept reading that gluten was a trigger for an immune attack in people with Hashimoto’s. (What that means is that gluten is tagged by my immune system as an enemy invader. But the molecular makeup of gluten and thyroid tissue are similar. So when I eat gluten my immune system starts attacking both the gluten and my thyroid. This leads to an even more inflamed thyroid and me feeling REALLY crappy.) I didn’t want to believe it. I mean… I love gluten. Gluten is my best friend. Plus gluten is such a buzz-word right now and I am not one who dives in after trends. Especially food trends. So I kept searching for evidence that I did not have to cut gluten out of my diet. And I just couldn’t find it. I even spoke with a very very dear friend who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s years ago. She also confirmed that she feels the best when she is gluten free. That convinced me.

So 8 weeks after being diagnosed, I decided to break up with gluten. Give it a go. See if it made any real difference. Much to my dismay, I found that cutting gluten out of my diet made me feel even better. I was more awake during the day, slept better at night, lost 15 pounds, got a regular period, my face thinned out, and my joints even felt better. Six weeks after cutting out gluten, I dipped my toe back into the gluten-y pond. Holy moly was that a mistake. The following day I felt like someone had kicked and stabbed me in the stomach. All I wanted to do was barf and sleep. So yeah. Apparently me and gluten are NOT best friends. That jerk.

In short, I’m trying my best to get healthy. And for all of those gluten-free judgers, who think I’m doing this just for the trend…. let me just say: WHY ON EARTH would I voluntarily give up bread? And pasta? And soy sauce (yeah… gluten hides everywhere!)? And salad dressings? And cake? Just doesn’t make sense. I’m working hard to lose weight and get my thyroid back to normal. And for now, that means no gluten. Because I want to be nothing but healthy for our future littles. Maybe when that happens, we will get to hold them in our arms. And hopefully, HOPEFULLY a baby won’t be far in our future. (Not an announcement.)

And that is how I went from a gluten-loving fiend, to a gluten-hater. And that is why I haven’t been posting many recipes on LPH anymore. I’m still trying to figure out this whole “gluten free eating” stuff. I’m trying to find a balance between what I love and want to eat and what I should be eating. And I want to share nothing but the most delicious recipes for all of you guys. For both the gluten free and gluten full.

Moral of the story? I miss gluten. But I feel way better when I’m not eating it. And the bread cravings have finally subsided.

How many of you are gluten free? Or on an altered diet due to your health?

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22 thoughts on “Getting Personal {Part 3} – A Life Changing Diagnosis

  1. Yikes, that really sucks. 🙁 So sorry…I would also be really, really sad if I had to give up gluten. But yeah, totally obvious that you needed to do it. Have you ever tried using zucchini to make noodles? I’ve heard it works really well (could do lasagna or buy a noodle-maker type thing to make noodles). Zucchini really is a weird vegetable…can kinda transform into whatever you want!

  2. I feel your pain and frustration – I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s syndrome in March and I had to plead with my doctor to run the tests to find out for sure. It’s been a long summer filled with blood tests and increased medication doses, but it feels good to know that I’m not alone. 🙂 I haven’t gone gluten free, yet, but after every bad day that I have, I think about it more and more. Is your household gluten free, or just you? My husband really doesn’t want to go gluten free with me, but I think it’d be easier for me if he did.

    • Hashimoto’s is the worst, isn’t it Jenny!? And you definitely aren’t alone. My household isn’t 100% gluten free. Dishes where it is easy to accommodate both, I do. Like pasta. I’ll make up a gluten free pasta and a gluten FULL pasta. But sauces and such I make gluten free for both of us. And I’ll buy buns for grilling for the hubby but I’ll just eat my grilled meat without a bun. My husband normally doesn’t even notice a difference in the GF food. And after a few weeks, the bread cravings went away so I wasn’t so tempted by them. I hope that helps! 😀

  3. Glad for you that you found answers and hopeful for you that the positive effects of the treatments will result in even greater joys!

  4. Absolutely love that water cartoon!! With all my food issues I can really identify.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how I look at it, SUGAR is just as bad for me as gluten. So not only do I have to avoid baked goods, I have to avoid gf baked goods too. So unfair!

    Glad you have found some answers and I continue to pray for your health.

  5. Hi dear friend! Thank you for sharing your story, once again. As you know I have Hashimoto’s Disease too, and I just want to remind you that its total possible to live a happy healthy life with it under control. 🙂 There are some really good gluten free flours and products out there too, so hopefully you’re finding some good replacements for the foods you love! I’m proud of you!

  6. Congratulations on your diagnosis. It will be difficult but you CAN be gluten free. You know now to look for all the “hidden” gluten, but be sure to check things like vitamins, soap, shampoo and cosmetics too. It’s everywhere!!

  7. Hello! I feel your pain! I fall into the overactive thyroid area, although my Dr. says that they have straightened me out with meds and have dismissed me with normal thyroid readings I still feel not so good. I also have interstitial cystitis, another auto immune disease that is very painful with no cure of course! Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on about me, just wanted you to know I follow a blog/web site by Magdalena Wszelaki, she is a pro on everything thyroid. I think you’ll find her site helpful in every way. Best of luck!

    • I’m so sorry, Jamie! Sometimes the greatest struggle is to find a doctor who will actually listen to our complaints and symptoms rather just relying on test results. That has been quite hard for me to find! I hope you get it all figured out soon, though! Thanks for the heads up about the site.

  8. Thank you for the information. I also have an under active thyroid and am taking a med for it. Now you have me wondering if I should have this blood test too. Geez !! don’t know if I could completely give up gluten though !!
    I love, love, love fresh yeast bread ( make my own), cornbread and pound cake !

    • I thought the exact same thing, Ann! I could NEVER give up gluten. But when you feel SOOOO much better without it, your opinion changes. If you do decide to get the test, just ask for the hashimoto’s antibody test. Best of luck!

  9. I am so happy for you to have finally gotten some answers. Think some doctors don’t like it when people don’t listen to them. You have to do what is best for you, what you know to be right.
    If it means being gluten free for you to be well and have possibility of having baby/ies then why not? I fit several of the categories of Hashimotos except for being able to have babies and the cold doesn’t bother me as I’ve been told it should. Everything else sounds like my life. Your experience has helped to educate me further.
    So glad you got correct meds for hypothyroidism. Think I need to see somebody else. Maybe doctor I told you about in Grand Junction. I have read that general GP/s don’t know how to read the TSH test correctly, they over simplify. So glad for you to have lost some weight, that must have felt incredible. Know my situation is different due to my birth and having had thyroidectomy.
    Good luck to you and hope I hear from you and your progress. Happy days
    Byebye gluten. Maybe I’ll have to try it also.

  10. T, sorry this comment is so late in coming! Somehow I missed the new post. I am so sorry your body is working so hard against you! But they say knowledge is power, and like you said, diagnosis is half the battle. So I am so glad that you have been empowered with new strategies for healing and I’m so happy you already feel better! I did’t realize you had those symptoms. That seriously sucks…I’ve dabbled in gluten free cooking since some of my friends don’t eat gluten and it’s becoming a more widespread issue, like you said. I just wanted to mention that this summer I made a strawberry rhubarb pie using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free crust flour. It was super yummy! I’m sure there are ways to get down the right combinations of gluten free flours and xanthum gum, etc., but I sure love the convenience of those pre-made mixes. Best wishes in all your new food experimentation. Love ya.

  11. So glad you got some answers! Courtney O’Dell from Sweet C’s Designs (who is the one with the great fertility doc/OBGYN in our area—you should contact her!) has loads of GF recipes on her site b/c of her little boy who has sensory issues. She’s a great cook and a foodie, so I trust her stuff. 😉
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  12. I completely understand! It took a long time to figure out what was making me so sick, and it turned out to be gluten and dairy. I was thrilled to finally have some answers and since giving them up I feel so much better, even though I really want a grilled cheese sandwich. I’m glad you also got some answers and are starting to feel better. As a side note, read the soy sauce labels closely. Some of the big name brands are gluten free, and are a lot cheaper than the specialty stuff.
    Al recently posted..Guest Bedroom: PaintMy Profile

  13. Hey Friend,
    Sorry for the late response. Somehow I missed this post until now! Thanks for sharing about your struggles. It helps me to know what you are dealing with and how I can pray for you. I totally understand how wonderful it is to get a diagnosis even when you know fully that the diagnosis sucks. And I understand what it’s like to feel miserable on a daily basis. It sounds like you are heading in the right direction with your health! I will be praying that life normalized for you!

  14. Hi Talitha. Two years ago this coming April I was asked by my trainer if I would consider giving up gluten for one week. I always felt so puffy and bloated. Now I’m a bread lovin’ kind of girl too, but I said “ok, I’ll give it a go.” Well, one week is now two years. And I eat bread! And pasta…and cake, and chocolate chip cookies. I just use rice pasta and almond flour, etc. You’ll find the recipes that you’ll love and that work for you. Now, another side to this story is that my husband is trying to really watch his carbohydrates. So I am too. Not having the cookies, cake, very much pasta, etc. and guess what? The weight is coming off. Now it’s all about moderation. All that said, it is ok to live a fun healthy life gf.

    I’m so sorry you and your husband are going through a difficult time with having babies. I truly love that you guys are people of faith and trust God, it’s not just words you are saying. Hang in there and trust him for He knows what He’s doing.

  15. Wow. I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog (via a pinterest post about your very cool world map!) I have Hashimoto’s and so does my daughter. Thankfully I was able to get pregnant with Chlomid and taking Armour Thyroid and I now have three children, 24, 22, and 19. I was diagnosed hypothyroid way back then but was only recently tested for Hashimoto’s after my daughter was diagnosed. I have been resisting going gluten free but you just increased my motivation! I have cut way back on wheat and definitely feel better, but it looks like cutting it out completely would be the best thing. I will pray for you and your infertility struggles. It’s a hard road. I’m so thankful that you are getting some answers and that you shared this for the benefit of others!

  16. Hello
    I’ve always wanted to use a personal trainer, at least for a few sessions to get some new ideas and have someone push me through my harder workouts. Maybe I’ll have to re-evaluate my budget for next year to work one in.,,