Editor’s note: This is not medical advice that would necessarily work for you – please see your health care professional/s and work together on a plan that works for you.
My alarm went off at 5.30am this morning. Like it does two mornings each week so I make it to my 6am yoga classes.
There is not even a hint that the sun is close to rising.
But I get up. On auto pilot, yes. But I get up.
Two years ago I would not have even set that alarm. I would have used the lack of sunlight as a sign/excuse to snuggle even further into the loving arms of …
Mr SY my doona.
I would have forced myself up an hour later, justifying my slothfulness because of the season.
I would not have had this smug look on my face a hour and a half later either …
I’m not sharing this with you in the hope that you’ll bestow on me some kind of medal of honour. Far from it.
I’m sharing this because like many things in life, it’s a good thing to stop occasionally and reflect back on just how far you’ve come.
And it’s a good thing to stop and reflect on how you’re really feeling health wise, take stock and think of changes you could make (more on that below).
I’ve been consistent at this healthy living business for almost two years now.
In a nutshell, I’ve had the auto-immune thyroid condition, Hashimotos, for about 17 years. Mine is a frustrating story shared by many with auto-immune conditions. The merry-go-round seeking answers via health professionals is one I’ve wanted to jump off many a time.
But I haven’t.
I’ve stuck at my quest to wake up most days with energy. To not just look at food and put on 3kg – in one day.
In all honesty, I’d forgotten what FEELING healthy felt like. My normal was far from normal.
Now, I finally feel like I’m edging my way to normal-normal.
Writing that sentence scares me though.
I have this fear that I can slip back into the old normal just like that. I’d say it’s not rational but my health history shows that it is.
Over the 17 years I’ve had good and awful health periods.
The last few months have fallen into the VERY GOOD category.
The only change I’ve made – and it’s a big one – is to the type of medication I’m now taking for my thyroid condition.
After a year of working closely with my super GP (email me if you’d like his details) to stabilise my thyroid function levels as best as they could be stabilised with synthetic thyroid medication – thyroxine (artificial T4) and tertroxine (artificial T3) – I was switched in January to a natural desiccated thyroid extract that is made from dried pig thyroid glands and its composition includes both T4 and T3. It’s a prescribed medication that can’t be bought over the counter and is created by a limited number of compounding pharmacists.
It’s not cheap and I’m not having much luck getting my health insurance company on board with a rebate on my extras policy either.
I’m very happy to fork out the money for this – and for quality medical advice – that is making a difference.
When we started the new medication, my GP said he’d had a 90% success rate with his patients taking the extract. Only 10% reverted to their previous medication.
I’m always worried when they throw those percentages around. I was in the 10% of (unlucky) women who had their period return 10 weeks after giving birth, even while breastfeeding.
Not this time. It seems to be working.
I noticed a difference within three weeks. And the strength of my prescribed dose was upgraded two weeks ago and there’s been improvement again.
I wake with more energy. I have less slumps throughout the day. There has seemingly been some shifting of weight.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the latter.
My dream is that this medication will put my body on a level playing field – so that all the good stuff I do food and exercise-wise will pay off over time.
A big key to maintaining that good food and consistent exercise focus was ditching the scales two years ago.
I know this is not a motivator for most people but for me it’s enabled me to switch my focus to FEELING healthy.
No longer was the number on the scales dictating those feelings and sabotaging my long-term goals.
Another big lesson I’ve learned on this “journey” is that I’m pretty damn proud of myself for never given up trying to find long-term solutions for living with this condition.
There have been many brick walls in the past 17 years. I’ve left specialist room in tears because of their inability to really listen to me and understand that I wasn’t feeling well, despite what blood tests might indicate. I’ve sat in with GPs who’ve known less about the medication they were prescribing than I did.
I’m a mum, a wife and a business owner. I’ve just had to get on with this thing they call life.
But I did so in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to stop until I found the health support I needed.
That’s my biggest message to you.
If something doesn’t feel right and you don’t feel like you’re being listened to by your GP, go to another, and another, and another. Don’t stop.
My condition isn’t life-threatening, it’s life-limiting but I know that the greatest lesson it’s taught me is that I know my body better than anyone else.
I want you to trust any niggling instinct or unease and seek answers until you find a solution that works for you.
Stepping off the soapbox now 😉 I’d love you to share with me your health story. How are YOU feeling right now? What time did your alarm clock go off this morning?