The Bumpy Road To AIP
I will be showing a series of pictures over the coming days to share some of the stages I have been through on my journey through chronic illness. From having three autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s, to health, harmony & wellness by adopting the autoimmune protocol using food as medicine and other lifestyle changes.
This picture was taken way back in 2009 just before I saw my all time favourite band in the world Fleetwood Mac with my sister Pia (she is on the right). This was approx 6 months after I gave birth to my son, I was so sick!!
It was so all-consuming that I could hardly think about anything else, every single day was just about survival, going through the motions to look after my family. That was it, every day, just barely surviving. I couldn’t even look forward to sleep as insomnia and pain were my constant companion. There is nothing crueller than being so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open, and not being able to switch off from the pain and thoughts to get deep restful sleep. Soul destroying is the best way to describe it.
I was around 89 kg (196 lbs) 😨, under my make-up was a face like a pizza, my eyebrows had all but fallen out, my hair was falling out in chunks, my skin was so dry and the soles of my feet were so cracked I had to cushion them with cotton wool and band-aids. Even though I was beyond tired I couldn’t sleep, I was constantly constipated, bloated, angry, moody and snappy all the time. I would cry for hours on end with guilt all the while plastering on a happy ‘mask’ whenever I had to reluctantly leave the house. That is the tiny tip of the iceberg of what I was experiencing at the time.
Yes, I may look happy in this picture and I was beyond ecstatic to see the band that wrote the soundtrack to my life but, even the process of getting ready to go out had exhausted me before I even got there! All I kept thinking about was how awful I was going to feel the next day, in reality, it was a week or more because that’s how long it took to recover. I clearly remember when my husband had to leave for work the next morning, I cried because I just was so tired, mentally and physically exhausted. I just couldn’t face the day looking after my baby boy left alone by myself. It really took the shine out of being a mother, that should have been an awesome experience for me, but it wasn’t.
It wasn’t too long after this that I couldn’t take any more of doctor’s telling me it’s ‘all in your head’ or ‘there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just a new Mum, you’ll get over it’ or ‘you just have to learn to live with it’.
So I hit the net and spent all the time I could through ridiculous brain fog and exhaustion, researching desperately trying to find answers.
While researching I discovered natural hormone replacement and integrated medicine, hello light bulb moment 💡!! I went to my doctor and excitedly told her of my discovery, she told me point blank, I will never forget it, she said ‘you have had this for over 10 yrs, you really need to get over it and live with it, and if you want to pursue natural treatment I no longer want to treat you as it is dangerous’! That was THE last straw! Needless to say, I never went back. I was fuming mad at this response, and it was just the fuel I needed to declare to myself “I am not going to give up and I will hunt high and low to find a way to beat this!”
I found an integrated doctor and waited an agonising 3 months to get an appointment, (turns out there is a real shortage of doctors that have this expertise). When I finally got in to see him with all my previous test results and medical history, after a quick perusal the first thing he did was immediately give me an iron injection, he said that I was so anaemic that I was close to needing to have blood transfusions! My previous GP told me my iron was a little low and I should just take a multivitamin!!! I discovered that it is impossible to convert thyroid hormone without sufficient iron levels, so all the time the mainstream doctor had been upping my dose of Thyroxin to help elevate my symptoms was virtually useless, because I had virtually zero iron stores to convert T4 into T3 which essentially renders it useless, it was any wonder I felt so terrible!
So I went through a load of testing including leaky gut, adrenals, detox pathway etc and started on natural desiccated thyroid replacement and a bunch of supplements and slowly in about 6 weeks I started to lose some weight and I improved slightly. Actually, at the time I felt the best I had in years but I still was nowhere near ‘well’ by any stretch of the imagination and knew that it would take longer to see results.
Well, the results never really came; sure there were improvements but nothing to get really excited about. Yes I lost more weight slowly and generally I was better than in a long time but it just wasn’t enough and again I thought this as good as it’s going to get and I kept plodding along thinking well this is my lot and I have to live with it. Even though something deep in me kept whispering there is more keep searching, keep hunting, and I did but it took several more years.
In the next picture story, I am going to share how going through one of the most horrendous soul destroying flares of my life led me to finally find the AIP.