Hashi & Me is a series of stories for people with Hashimoto’s told by people with Hashimoto’s and other thyroid problems. In each piece, one of us will share our experience with Hashimoto’s, our personal findings and tips. We believe one person’s experience can be useful for others, especially to newly diagnosed people.
This week meet Allison.
When did you discover you had Hashimoto’s? Tell us your story.
It’s been almost three years now. I had been having pain and pressure in my throat/neck for a while, along with chills, exhaustion, body aches/pain, and an increase in migraines.
I’ve had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) for years, and so I was familiar with some of these symptoms. Not feeling well wasn’t new to me—but I knew this felt different. The throat and neck issue was something I hadn’t had before.
I went to my primary care physician and my ENT, yet neither thought much of my situation.
Finally, I got an thyroid ultrasound which showed nodules. The next step was finding an expert. There were no thyroid specialists in my city, so I searched elsewhere. That’s how I found my way to Dr. Brittany Henderson. She performed an ultrasound in her office, along with a biopsy. Both—along with my medical history—confirmed Hashimoto’s.
What did you learn since? Do you have some tips or findings to share with other Hashimoto’s people?
I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible. I’m a believer in knowledge—and it’s a confusing and overwhelming time when you are diagnosed and feeling sick.
I’m lucky to have an endocrinologist who is a thyroid expert and passionate about helping patients. She and I both realized that there was a need for comprehensive information to reach Hashimoto’s patients — to give then help, hope, and support. That’s why we wrote the book “What You Must Know About Hashimoto’s Disease.”
What does your day with Hashimoto’s look like?
Mornings aren’t my best time, generally. I try to start with some stretching and a few minutes of meditation.
My day depends of several factors, including how much sleep I got (or didn’t get), if I’m eating healthy, if my CFS is flaring up (which can trigger a Hashi’s flare-up), and a little luck, I think.
Once I get going, I generally feel a little better. I eat steel cut oatmeal with berries and crushed up Brazil nuts every morning to get a healthy start. Then I usually do some writing.
What’s the biggest struggle and biggest victory you experienced?
The biggest struggle was getting diagnosed. It’s frustrating and demoralizing when the way you feel is minimized.
Once I found someone who was outstanding in the thyroid field, I felt a huge sense of relief. I went through a lot: biopsy, other tests, radioactive iodine treatment, and finding the right medication dose. But once I knew I had a partner in healthcare, and that I wasn’t in it alone, I knew I would be okay.
What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed to ease their first steps with Hashimoto’s?
Be your own best advocate! I can’t stress this enough. You know your body best. Listen to your body. Listen to your instincts and inner voice. If something feels wrong to you, address it. Even if it takes a while to get the right help, keep advocating for yourself.