Diagnosing Autoimmune Disease, Why I Went Looking for Answers

If I’m so healthy why do I feel like crap?

This was the question I asked myself for months before I finally got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I was familiar with some autoimmune diseases but I had no idea just how many there are, how unevenly they affect woman compared to men, or how difficult it could be to identify symptoms and reach a diagnosis.

Diagnosing Autoimmune Disease - If I'm so healthy why do I feel like crap? This was the question I asked myself for months before I finally got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

In the 10 years, since beginning the journey that led to losing and keeping it off almost 150 pounds, my body had become my partner. However, after a year of feeling increasingly awful, I realized we were no longer in step.

My list of symptoms ranged from depression and anxiety, crushing fatigue, debilitating brain fog, painful bloating, running made me feel like crap, intermittent dizziness, and a digestive system that sounded like an old church boiler and only worked 1 or 2 days a week.

Not to mention my weight was going up.

Honestly, it was the weight gain that was the kicker. I watched the scale climb bit by bit and with each tick up I felt my heart sink further. ⠀

I went to a functional nutritionist with a background in psychology because my symptoms seemed to spread across both areas of health.

Thankfully, she listened. She acknowledged my pain and frustration.

From symptoms alone, it was clear that my adrenal function (and all it’s tied to) was way out of whack.

At her recommendation, I requested a full thyroid panel from my doctor. A week later the results showed several imbalances with my thyroid antibodies that indicated an autoimmune disease. That is to say, my body was attacking itself – no wonder I felt terrible.

Side note: My TSH, the primary marker for thyroid, has always tested within the range of normal. If you identify with anything I’m saying or have other symptoms of thyroid issues please DEMAND a full panel. I’d been complaining of individual symptoms for YEARS and they were either treated as one-offs or generally dismissed as lifestyle issues.

In some cases a diagnosis is devastating, in my case, it was a relief. It provided the empirical data that allowed me to feel exhausted without apologizing. ⠀

I needed rest and some fairly significant nutrition and lifestyle shifts – NOW. ⠀

Nutritionally, gluten was the first to go followed soon after by dairy. These two changes cleared a significant amount of the brain fog and restored a small amount of the energy I’d been missing. After a couple months of still feeling like I had a belly full of pop rocks, I decided to begin a full Autoimmune Protocol or AIP diet to allow my gut to fully heal and more accurately identify food intolerances.

At this point, the list of things I can eat is much shorter than those I can – talk about a test of my cooking creativity!

The imbalance in my body left me truly exhausted so in June I decided to go into professional hibernation. At that point even replying to a text message was challenging so forget writing an article or video script. All things considered, it was pretty easy to take the summer off.

I also cut way back on busy work around the house, generally ignored the garden, started doing jigsaw puzzles and watched a ton of Netflix.

It was strange and freeing and such a relief.

Sure there were still plenty of things that needed my attention. Top of the list was my kiddos, providing nourishing food for the family, and a few other have to’s. But, for the most part, my job has been healing.

As a natural go-getter, I’ve always been in the mindset that constant motion leads to success. Funny thing is when I stopped things didn’t fall apart.

Sure, it won’t be easy to pick up my entire business and get going again in the same way but I’m pretty sure I don’t want it to be the same anyway.

While this change came out of left field in many ways it feels like coming full circle.

I get to start a new journey to achieve wholeness through wellness, but this time I have so many tools already in my arsenal.

So, ready or not, here I grow again!


Helpful resources on hypothyroidism and autoimmune disease:

300+ Hypothyroidism Symptoms…Yes REALLY Hypothyroid Mom

What is AIP – The Definitive Guide Autoimmune Wellness

The Adrenal-Thyroid Connection Amy Meyers MD

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