Ten years ago I was diagnosed with an over active thyroid. Before I’d even sat down in the chair at my GP’s clinic, he’d printed off the prescription and told me I would be on the tablets for at least 18 months.
It wasn’t explained to me that I had Graves Disease.
It wasn’t explained to me that I would be seriously ill for a number of years.
It wasn’t explained to me that my personality would undergo a total transformation, that every system of my body would
be affected and that I would have to fight through each day not to to fall asleep, upset anyone or stop the suicidal thoughts that had begun to plague me as I wondered what was wrong with me.
It sucks. It really does
Ten years later I have come through the other side.
It’s been a tough journey and one that has had a silver lining.
I remained totally ignorant about my condition for years. I had zero energy. Some days I couldn’t even hold my arms up long enough to brush my teeth so learning about my thyroid condition was very low down on my priority list!
Post thyroidectomy, I was angry. I had began to learn a little before they took out my entire thyroid. I read, I Googled, I listened to podcasts and I ha become my own human guinea pig. Experimenting with gluten eradication saw my goiter reduce by two thirds its size. Then they cut my throat. Retrospectively, I firmly believe it could have been avoided.
However, this experience, however hard and horrific it has been, has shaped my entire existence as it is today. It propelled me into the world of natural medicine and, after three years of biochemistry, I came out of the College of Naturopathic Medicine as a Nutritional Therapist specialising in the condition that changed my life.
I am now in a privileged position to help others down the path that I have steadily trudged, not only within the clinic, but with educational events. Education is so important to me. It not only provides a space for thyroid patients to learn about their condition but it provides a much needed space for patients to identify with each other within a condition that is difficult to diagnose, frequently dismissed and rarely understood.
I have always wanted to build a thyroid conference, even before I qualified. When I was at my lowest, I desperately wanted to be in a space where someone could tell me what was wrong with me and how I could fix it. The Universe listened, and in late 2016 a chance meeting with the established and renowned naturopathic endocrinologist and published author Roderick Lane led to the inaugural Thyroid Conference in Bristol, 2017. My spiel about the thyroid basics, Roderick discussing iodine use, Jonathan Cohen outlining private testing processes and Emma Moorby talking ketogenics, made it a fantastic event.
This year we are bigger and better. There are a host of new speakers, delivering on their specialist subjects (stress management, immune system modulation, gut microbiome) all relating to thyroid health and how to manage the condition. I will be there educating on the thyroid, how it can go wrong and what you can do to help yourself. It’s the content I would have wanted to hear; simple, empowering and hopeful.
I really am excited about this year. It’s going to be a great day and I hope you can make it!
See you there!
I never knew there were so many different types of tired before I began this journey! Who knew!??
Here’s all kinds of types of tired…….
Partied out tired:
I could party all night, work all day and function. Yes I’d be tired but I would Still Function. I knew my bed was calling me and that it was a safe bet that I’d be in at some point during the evening. This is a “I’m tired but I’ll be in bed soon tired” (I mean, invariably I’d end up partying again but hey….you know what I mean by this kind of tired). Eventually I wake up somewhere dribbling. Not so much these days. Obviously.
The best kind of tired in my humble opinion. When I’ve worked my butt off, sweated myself insane (and look the most unflattering I have EVER looked) and I get in the shower where my legs can barely hold me and then……once I’m blow drying my hair……I realise I’m ok! Then it hits me. Just before bed. I’m realllllly tired out. Worn out. Phew! Physically worn out. My mind is ok. My body is thanking me and hating me at the same time! I’m ready for some sleep kinda tired. Awesome.
Self care is key. Especially as next week is the Easter holidays!! Two small children, self employment, a ton of you lovely people to help out and War & Peace to read at bedtime (a bucket list job) in an attempt to stay off my phone in the evenings!
So that’s me done. Please take care of YOU. You are precious. There is only one of you.
And Don’t smack anyone in the face. Remember that they just don’t get it.
Women have always been powerful healers. We know this. It is in all of us. Over the medieval years the world changed, and medicine was developed as a new “industry”. All of a sudden, if you were female, you were not allowed to practice. Anything practiced by women was termed “a bit dodgy” particularly if you were a herbalist or healer.
We’ve all heard about the Witch Trials. But did you know that an estimated total of 40,000-60,000 people were executed during the European witch trials? Shocking. Just for burning incense, giving out free hugs or popping on a mud poultice on a scratched leg. Makes me so crazy mad. So crazy mad. Thank GOODNESS that times changed.
We can all heal each other to a certain degree. Women it seems more so than men. We instinctively know what to do as human beings when one of our tribe is poorly. Sooooo many people tell me they don’t know how to massage……we all have it in us. It goes as basic as giving a hurt part of the body a rub. This in scientific terms, increases circulation bringing fresh nutrients to the area to help it heal. Giving someone a hug when they are hurt or sad can increase the hormone oxytocin and calm them down, giving them a sense of feeling better.
So what’s my point? I wanted to acknowledge all those women that lost their lives or were prevented from practicing something they truly loved doing. I wanted to say HEY WE ARE SO LUCKY TO BE ABLE TO LIVE THIS WAY and that we can appreciate and love natural medicine for what it is. Science based, root cause, natural medicine. Adaptive medicine, functional medicine, biochemistry, nutritional therapy, whatever you want to call it…..it’s come a long way but it’s the same as it was. Healing. It’s just that with the incredible ability of modern technology and science, we can take bits apart, study cellular dynamics and make it even more tailored, preventative, restorative and amazing! It’s just awesome. Have a great day and remember when you next see a female health professional, tell them they’re great!
What makes me an “expert”?
Expert. Such a hefty word. Thyroid Expert. It gives the impression that I Know About Everything. Absolutely everything there is to know about the thyroid gland. And I really don’t.
However what I do know comes from years of personal experience.
I know how it feels when things don’t work the way they should.
I know how it feels to have fatigue (to trudge through treacle up a hill with lead boots on).
I know how it feels when other people in your life say they’re “tired too” and you know they have NO IDEA what you’re talking about (and you want to smack them in the face!)
I know how it feels to be frustrated, scared, in pain, exhausted and confused.
I know how it feels to have put your conditioned confidence in the medical profession and get absolutely nowhere. To not be heard and to be let down.
It really sucks.
I know all this because I have Graves Disease. The doctors say I’m cured because I had a total thyroidectomy in 2012. I don’t believe this to be true. Things still happen in my body. The thyroid wasn’t the problem. It was my immune system.
I refused to be poorly and began a journey that led me to studying biochemistry, the power of the body at a molecular level, and I began to get better using myself as a guinea pig!
I discovered soooo much that I made a decision to help as many people avoid a total thyroidectomy (TT) as possible.
Although the TT wasn’t particularly horrendous, it did seem totally unnecessary. Taking out the entire thyroid gland (one of the master glands that kinda helps control every cell int he body?!?) can’t be a good idea. Can it? Anyhoo, I found out too late that there was a natural alternative to managing my Graves Disease. (I mean, come on, if you have a headache, you don’t chop yer head off!!!)
So…… this is why I trained to do what I do today. To help you guys. I’m now one of the new kids on the block in terms of Team Thyroid. Peatfield and Skinner (RIP) were the original UK thyroid experts and Roderick Lane helped them endlessly.
Roderick and I worked alongside each other last year to deliver the UK’s first patient to patient thyroid conference. A space to encourage, educate and empower people to take charge of their thyroid health. It was awesome and a dream come true for me. There’s no need to be poorly. We can all get better.
I cried the first time I made my kids tea without feeling fatigued. I just cried and cried as it felt like a miracle. Every day before that moment, I had dragged myself through the process. And it wasn’t even cooking. It was chopping some cucumber and putting some pizza in the oven. It felt like I’d climb a mountain each time.
Today my life is completely incomparable.
Whether it’s a thyroid condition (hyper, hypo, postpartum, nodules, the list is endless) and you’re getting nowhere with your doctor or whether you just want to feel “well” again and have no idea what’s wrong, I “get it”. I really do.
Be good to yourself. You’re doing better than you think 🙂