My Journey with Autoimmune Disease

I was planning on writing a post on three things I’ve learned from chronic illness, but then I felt I should share my health story for background. Let’s just say the post got REAL long, so I’m splitting it into two posts. Lessons learned to come. 🙂

I had a lump on my neck when I was ten. My nana noticed it one time when she was over for a visit, and I went to the doctor and they put some cold slippery stuff on my neck and rubbed it with something they called a wand. It turned out that I had a goiter from a chronic thyroid condition called Hypothyroidism. It makes me cold and tired and messes with my hormones.

Then in college, I started having intense stomach pain, followed by acid reflux. I got the pain when I ate those normally risky foods like gluten and nuts and dairy, and when I ate things that shouldn’t make your stomach hurt like fruit and chicken. I even got the pain if I didn’t eat soon enough.

I’ve been on pills to regulate my thyroid for the past 17 years, and to block my stomach acid for the past six. I thought these two things were separate, but after a host of confusing symptoms this summer, I was officially diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is most likely the root cause of both of these chronic conditions.

There is no cure for Hashimoto’s (the disease I have), but there are ways to help curb the symptoms. I’ve been working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner on healing my gut, adopted a pretty extreme dietary change (going on two months!), and have been putting my input strength to good use—reading, talking, researching, listening—anything to learn more.

I’ve checked out stacks of books from the library, downloaded countless podcast episodes, created and grown a Pinterest board of recipes I can eat, and had numerous conversations with others suffering from autoimmune disease or other chronic illnesses. And I know I’ve just barely skimmed the surface.

I know it’s important that my disease not define me, but it’s definitely taking up a whole lot of head and heart space lately. When I’m asked how I’m doing, I often answer with some sort of evaluation of how I’ve been feeling or how eliminating or reintroducing foods is going. It’s just what’s on my mind, since my body is feeling it so acutely.

So thank you, friends, for having patience for this ol’ body of mine. Thank you for loving me well and teaching me much… but I don’t want to get into that here, so you’ll just have to come back for my lessons learned. 😉

I’d love to connect if this is something you want to talk more about!

Love, Team Douglas

2 thoughts on “My Journey with Autoimmune Disease

  1. Fun fact: I actually went and saw/met Sarah Ballantyne at a book signing a month or two ago! I went with a friend who’d read her books and listens to her podcast and had no prior knowledge myself of who the heck she was or what the heck she wrote books about, so it was really an Autoimmune Disorder 101 for me, or at least as much as can be learned from questions asked by the audience, lol. I didn’t really know this thing existed for people and I had no idea how she took the Paleo diet and kind of merged the two to create something that has now been scientifically proven to work (pending repetition, of course – that’s the good old scientific method for yah!). Good luck on your AIP journey!! P.s. I have been working with a nutritionist recently (along the lines of stress management and crossfit #GAINZ) and totally understand how a simple question of “how are you?” can launch into a full blown nerding out about what you’re eating and how it makes you feel, and everything you’ve learned so far, so yeah, get on the “talking about your diet” train! CHOO CHOOO!

    1. CAROLIIIINE!!! I love everything about this comment so much! That’s so awesome that you went to her book signing and got a mini education! And it is seriously cool that she made AIP… I am so thankful. Also, love that you’ve been working with a nutritionist and totally get the #foodtalkalldayeverydaylyfe! We should nerd out together some time soon!

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