Where’s My Thyroid, Again?? (Owning My Toughest Journey Yet)
I knew I wasn’t feeling myself. But I just tried to keep going. After beginning my motherhood career at 22, it was normal for me to have ups and downs, fatigue, all those “mom” things. I had a deep and intense belief in my body to heal if I gave it all the tools I possibly could. But after I had my tenth baby, I knew I was in a very different place.
Yes, I’ve had a few babies. . .the medical term for it is “grand multi-para.” My pregnancies and postpartums have gone well, I’ve always checked in with my midwives and my naturopath, always striving to eat well and do well in general to keep up with my mom gig (keep in mind, the “mom gig” is my dream, so I’m always positively fueled by “momming” and wild, driving horses couldn’t tear me away from it . . .)
But that said, soon after Susanna was born, I was just too tired, and waaaaay too grumpy. I wasn’t myself. Then I noticed several other symptoms such as an increased heart rate, breathlessness, anxiety, heat-intolerance, shakiness, swollen throat, and most terribly, my eyes had begun to swell. Strangely, nursing my sweet little one was one of the main things that kept me going . . . Every. Single. Day.
You know how there’s usually one thing that we as women kind of like about our appearance? That one thing that’s “ok” in our minds about how we look? (Check out my blog here about self-image.) I’m pretty darn hard on myself, like any girl out there, but I did like my eyes (they’re blue like my mom’s blue). But I began to dread looking in the mirror.
All of these things made me tank on the inside, and my normal “go get-em” mindset faltered. I knew enough to know that my physical body was saying something, and that it was a message from the real “me” (we’re spirit, with a soul, in a body, after all). Now the problem. . .finding out what “I” was trying to say.
Now let me stop here and make something really clear. I’m just a mom. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a specialist in the medical field and I’m most certainly not acting like I know what YOU should do about your basket of troubles. But I DO want to share my story, so at the very, very least, maybe you’ll find courage and hope where you may be. (I’m also under stupendous care from my naturopath so please no worries for me as you read.)
After I began to accept I was in a terrible place (even my husband had a tough time telling me this, I’m sooooooooo resistant to any kind of admittance of defeat) I gathered up my skirts, so to speak, and started up a new journey to find some “why’s and what to do’s.” So here goes, though this is only the tip of the “thyroid iceberg.”
First, I didn’t even really realize where my thyroid actually was! I had such a wake-up call! After researching the typical allopathic protocol for hyperthyroid (which boiled down to thyroid removal or inserting radioactive iodine) Zo and I decided we would methodically and watchfully embark on an intense natural protocol and keep our options open from there. I look back now and thank God for his resolve and belief in not only what we could do naturally-speaking, but what we hoped for supernaturally from our loving Father.
So with all the natural thyroid helper things, I took off with a vengeance. Collectively I began to think “thyroid support,” and anything or everything I found to that end, I did it. A few major players here were natural iodine/iodide (a critically needed mineral for females, especially, it’s lacking in our soil), an array of therapeutic-grade essential oils (which I was relatively new to at that time) and several other supplements such as a natural thyroid hormone, selenium, probiotics, spirulina, to name a few. And as for food, I worked on avoiding processed junk, used raw and whole dairy, fermented foods, lots of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocados, etc.), pastured protein, and the expected fruit and veggie load and alkaline water.
I’ll enter here that I also began to ditch every chemical in our house I could find. I no longer used bleach, window cleaner, toxic yuck soaps, detergents, toothpastes, etc. They all had to go. After learning about a little thing called “endocrine disruptors,” I became Ninja-like about getting this stuff away from our home. This is a whole entire blog possibly forthcoming, but suffice it to say, there’s a way to help your environment be more health-supportive, and it actually doesn’t cost more. No, you can’t get rid of everything that’s on the world toxin list, but you can do what you can do, and that’s what I did. (An excellent resource on this subject is the Netflix documentary “STINK.”)
Keep in mind, I had been through several pregnancies at this point. I’d never really run into any major trouble, and I did my best to put a lot of good stuff in my body. I wasn’t close to perfect, but with my mission at hand I was always thinking about how to keep my health in mind. So with that said, let me state most emphatically: I don’t think (from my experience) that food/supplements/oils or anything else “natural” can save you. (For that matter, I don’t think medicine will either, though many lives have been prolonged!) I think the good and natural stuff can FACILITATE health. But that brings up my biggest revelation of my thyroid journey.
I have known lots of people who throw everything but the kitchen sink at their bodies, expecting them to straighten up and act right. And believe me. I get that. But there’s something deeper going on. Have you ever thought about the fact that when a person dies, their body just sits there, or falls over, or whatever? They’re very obviously not here anymore. Let me say respectfully, no one is home. Well, this truth began to work on me in an intense way. I realized my body is just a reflection of me, it’s just a tent that carries me around in this earth-realm. My body is reflecting ME, so if something is going on in my BODY, what is actually going on in ME???
Herein lies my biggest gift, courtesy of that little butterfly organ called my thyroid. I began to do the most intense soul-searching of my life. I started asking questions of myself, questions about my emotional state, and digging down into that stuff that no one wants to talk about. This was a huge, many years process and it is still going on. It has actually become a part of my daily routine. I realized that I am a spirit (and IN CHRIST, I have completeness already!) and I have a soul…my soul contains my mind, will and emotions. That’s were the rub comes in when it comes to TRUE health and healing.
I read research (not to mention the Bible) that confirmed that 75-98% of all physical illness stems from toxic emotions. It’s always funny to me when science states the obvious. We weren’t created to carry things like worry, unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety, etc. Without addressing our emotions, we are literally just putting band-aids all over our body. They aren’t doing anything. Nothing. Sure, the band-aids may stave off the inevitable, but getting at the root of the problem? No way. (A great resource for ditching toxic emotions is Dr. Caroline Leaf.)
And here’s the icing on the cake. I looked up every scripture about healing in the Bible. There’s almost 200 of them. I said them, prayed them, wrote them down, sang them, said them, again, and again and again. My mental and emotional outlook began to change. The changes happened like peeling the layers off of an onion. Painfully slow, but sure, steady progress.
Since I’m a mom, I’ll do what moms do. I’ll repeat myself again. (And then there’s a quiz. Just kidding!) I’m just a mom, not a doctor. This is my story. No one’s story looks like anyone else’s. But here’s a few absolutes I feel I can pass on to you in summary, along with my heartfelt prayers for you for total, inside and outside health and healing:
*I* am responsible for my health. (There are many who can help and guide me, for which I’m grateful, but, I’M RESPONSIBLE.)
*I* must be consistent to maintain my body, naturally. I must move from intervention to prevention. I must remove the obvious toxins from my life, as much as it’s humanly possible.
*God* is responsible for the supernatural in my life, as I trust Him. Truthfully, this is the foundation of this whole thing. And oh yeah, our ultimate healing WILL eventually be heaven! 🙂
As I mentioned above, my journey still continues. I still have little thyroid flags popping up here and there that require a good kick in the pants as well as lots of self-care. But the journey has changed me. I’m ever so grateful for this earth-time I enjoy every day. I am living in my dream.
And I’m grateful for each one of you, because many of you have watched me walk through this event, struggling and questioning, and I’ve only felt your support and prayers. Thank you for this. And know that without a doubt, I will continue to think of you. . .
Prayers for health and healing,
P. S. You are welcome to message me privately if you’d like to talk further about my journey. 🙂 And btw, please forgive the abundance of “me” pics, I just wanted to give you a good idea of my progress.
Facebook: Jennifer Travis Dunford
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