Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, terrible symptoms, and a lump in my breast.
My story begins three years ago when breast cancer and thyroid disease are discovered within the same year. I was 34 years old when I found a lump in my right breast. I believed that this was surely something simple because there’s just no way that a young woman with four kids could possibly have breast cancer… right?
My gynecologist tells me that the lump is most likely a cyst, but wants an ultrasound to be sure. I walk in confident that there is no reason to be concerned. Quickly, the simple ultrasound turns into a dreaded biopsy. The next day, I walk out of the mammography office with x-rays in one hand, a cancer diagnosis in the other, and appointments scheduled with both breast cancer and plastic surgeons.
My world suddenly seems to be spinning out of control.
Over the next few months, surgery removes the tumor and I begin looking into natural alternatives to prevent re-occurrence. During this time, I find a doctor that believes in healing the root cause and not simply treating disease with medication alone. She also relies on accurate and full sets of blood tests as the basis for treatment.
After discussing my symptoms and previous health concerns, she wants to check my hormone levels and insists on running a complete thyroid blood test.
What’s more? She believes that proper nutrition and gut health are vital to my recovery plan.
I’ve never heard these things from a doctor before.
When my lab results come back, I receive not only a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, but full-blown Hashimoto’s Disease. I can hardly believe that in a few months’ time, I’ve not only been diagnosed with cancer but discovered that I had an autoimmune disease, as well.
If we could rewind my life and then press play to watch the decline in my health unfold, you would watch me receive an incorrect diagnosis repeatedly. For years I was asked in doctor’s offices if I had ever had my thyroid checked due the small (albeit noticeable) goiter in my neck. Every time the doctor would run labs, and every time I would be told that I was only borderline hypothyroid. Apparently, medication wasn’t necessary.
It was the same story every… single… time.
As an adult with four children, I began having symptoms of anxiety and depression, fatigue, digestive issues, brain fog, and hair loss. These are all common symptoms of hypothyroidism. My doctor at the time checked my thyroid by ordering a blood test and once again said that it was perfectly fine. So, he blamed childbirth, low serotonin levels, fatigue from looking after young children, and unhealthy food choices as the culprit for my symptoms. He sent me home with a laxative, instructions to rest more, and to clean up my already healthy food choices, along with an option to take a prescription antidepressant.
Fast forward to my diagnosis of thyroid disease.
Why did it take over twenty years to get a correct diagnosis?
How did this doctor know that I had thyroid disease when all the others had not?
What made her different?
The answer is quite simple…
My previous doctors had been taught and trained to order the standard TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test and that was all. If the TSH came back within range, then no other tests were needed.
A cookie cutter approach like this will not work for everyone.
It’s an absolute necessity to find a thyroid-literate doctor like those at Paloma Health who understand that a full set of lab tests are needed to receive an accurate diagnosis of thyroid disease.
My doctor prescribed a thyroid hormone replacement medication that would help me to feel better.
She also understands that managing and healing from Hashimoto’s Disease also requires specific nutrients and a tailored diet plan for each person’s body and condition.
Additionally, she recommended to me a liver detox because mine appeared to be sluggish and unable to convert the inactive hormone Thyroxine (T4) to the active hormone Triiodothyronine (T3).
There are so many parts to healing from hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease. Having a doctor and nutritionist working with you to connect the dots and create a tailored care plan for your health makes such a huge difference.
I’m so thankful to have finally received a correct diagnosis and to have found a doctor that could truly walk beside me and help so that I could begin to heal.
In part two, we’ll look more in depth at my treatment, how I learned to manage symptoms, and heal from this disease.
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