My Story – Part III

If you are starting here, you might want to read part I and part II.

Right after getting my Hashimoto’s diagnosis from my naturopath, he advised me to go on this expensive smoothie cleanse/elimination diet. It consisted of a meal replacement powder that you ramp up for 3 weeks, eventually replacing all of your meals with it and then weaning off of it. In conjunction, there was a strict diet for the meals that were not replaced with the smoothie, and when the plan was over I was to re-introduce commonly allergenic foods. I felt great while doing and just after the cleanse. I asked one of my friends, who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine, to look over the ingredients and tell me why he thought it was working so well for me. He told me that I should be very careful because it contained a lot of harsh liver detox agents, and although I was feeling great it could set me up for a bigger imbalance or problem in the future. His opinion on the stuff worried me a little bit, but I shrugged it off and moved on to the elimination phase of the diet.

Unfortunately, I did not know what I know now about elimination diets and I went about the re-introduction all wrong. I completely missed a huge allergen, gluten, by introducing so many things at once. I was completely overwhelmed by my reaction to almost any food on the list that I tried. Soy gave me rashes, oats made my throat swell up and eggs gave me an upset stomach. At this point I was afraid to eat anything but the few foods I had been eating on the cleanse for fear of having an allergic reaction. Eating became a very anxiety-riddled time for me.

A couple of weeks after completing the cleanse was “the crash”. I started having chest pains over a few days, and ended up in the hospital having a panic attack and hypokalemia (low potassium). The hypokalemia was causing me to have muscle spasms in my chest area which were freaking me out and making me think that I was having heart problems. The week I was recovering from that I got a horrible lung infection and had to go back to the hospital one night because I couldn’t breathe. After I thought I had recovered enough from that infection, I went back to work, but I had to keep going home because I was not well enough. This went on for a couple of weeks before I lost my job. At this point I had been suffering from the chest pain for about a month, and although the infection had come and gone, my body still felt sick and completely out of whack. I lost my appetite and lost 20 lbs off of my already small frame. My blood pressure was very low and I would need help getting up and to the bathroom. I would lay on the couch all day convinced that I was dying. I lost feeling in my hands, feet, and on parts of my face and had horrible dizziness and brain fog. I went from doctor to doctor and was tested for EBV, Lyme, Lupus, RA, and MS, and nobody could come up with a diagnosis except “pleurisy”, which my rheumatologist grandfather and orthopedic surgeon uncle both called BS because it did not show up on an x-ray. I was anemic, and also had very low vitamin D and B12 although I had been generously supplementing all 3. My grandfather was speculating that I had some disease of malabsorption or that my vegan diet was making me unable to recover. I was unwilling to hear his argument, thinking that it was impossible that my diet could be contributing to my illness.

By this time, I was scouring the internet for answers since I was getting no help from the medical profession. I kept coming across celiac disease and adrenal fatigue as possible culprits. In an act of desperation, I went back to the doctor begging them to test me for Celiac disease. They didn’t want to, but of course I was right–the test came back with antibodies off the chart. Finally I had a diagnosis, and I could get started on the road back to health.

Although I was incredibly relieved and believed that I had found the source of my problem, eliminating gluten from my diet did nothing for my symptoms, besides the neuropathy. At this point I had been suffering from this for months on end with no relief and under great financial pressure since my husband was the only one working in our household and we had lots of hospital bills to pay off. I was extremely depressed and was trying to accept the fact that I could be like this for the rest of my life. My doctors had nothing for me, saying that I was not being careful enough about cross contamination within the home. They also told me that my symptoms could not be from my Hashimoto’s, since my lab tests were “normal”. I felt completely defeated.

From there, I decided that I had nothing to loose and that I would try one more thing, and that was the alternative route. I found a practitioner that was knowledgable on adrenal fatigue and trained by Dr. Kharrazian on Hashimoto’s disease. It was through this practitioner that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and began my epic uphill battle back to good health.

Stay tuned for posts detailing my recovery, in parts I and II.

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Paleo. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol. You also can find her on Instagram.

Comments

    • Mickey @ Little Fig says

      Thanks for reading! I’m planning on doing a recipe or two this weekend and then writing the rest next week :)

  1. Amely says

    I have also encountered similar events as you have detailed in your stories. Less severe, but same bouts. I am also told by the healthcare community that I am okay. However, I do have hypothyroidism and the doctor wants to do a brain MRI of my pituitary gland. He thinks there is something wrong with it. I myself have found that the lite version of paleo diet works for me along with the elimination of high salicylates and FODMAP related foods. leisure exercise/activities, although I have been more inclined to do indoor exercise activities due to environmental allergies. I feel aches and pains that come and go, but I have learned to manage and accept. I am interested to know how you manage your diet. THANK YOU, for posting your ideas and story.

    • says

      Hi Amely,
      Thanks for the message! I had an MRI also, to check my pituitary as well as look for MS (both came out fine). My thyroid bloodwork comes back within all of the accepted ranges and I was denied treatment for a long time, until I found a naturopath that was willing to let me try a small dose of dessicated thyroid that has really helped. Paleo has been nothing short of a miracle for me, and over the last year have been tweaking as I find out more about the gut and how to better help mine heal. I also have a sensitivity to FODMAPs – I strictly avoided them for a couple of months, and now I can have small amounts of the lesser offenders without looking pregnant. I believe this to be because of SIBO instead of fructose intolerance since it is getting better with time, but I haven’t been formally tested so I don’t know.

      Managing diets with chronic illness is so tricky because we are all different, but one thing rings true – keep trying things until you find something that works for you, and don’t be afraid to stick with it. Nobody can know your body as well as you do, and I think the better a person can access that intelligence the better they are going to be at determining what to/not to eat. Good luck :)

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing your story. I feel less alone knowing that you and others have gone through similar long, painful, arduous trials as myself. I’m looking forward to your recovery story.

  3. kate says

    Hi Mickey,
    I stumbled upon your story and am glad that I did. My experience has been really similar to yours, although I am still trying to find out what is going on with my thyroid… I have hypothyroid and celiac’s but no Hashimoto’s antibodies. I have a lot of the same problems with dizziness and low blood pressure, and cutting out gluten got rid of my headaches but I was really disappointed that I didn’t see much improvement otherwise. I have also been a vegan for years and have been struggling with the idea of adding meat into my diet. I have added fish but am so used to the idea that vegan is healthy, better for the environment and safe that it’s still really difficult. I might make a leap after reading your story though. Thanks!

    • says

      Thanks for the reply Kate! Have you looked into adrenal fatigue? I was convinced that my dizziness and BP problems were due to my thyroid, only to find out that it was classic adrenal fatigue. The adrenals can also cause low thyroid function if they get bad enough.

      I was very surprised when I got my celiac diagnosis that going gluten-free didn’t have a better effect on me. I did an elimination diet and noticed that I had a horrible reaction to oats (gluten free ones!), quinoa, and sorghum. This was bad because I was eating a lot of gluten-free baked goods with these ingredients. It wasn’t until I eliminated all grains but rice that I noticed a big change. I have also read about foods that cross-react with celiac, and dairy is one of the biggest ones (also quinoa, coffee, and some others). Super frustrating, but something to consider looking in to!

      I could write forever about how I feel about going from being Vegan to Paleo (I’ll probably blog more about it at some point) but it was one of the biggest factors that led me to start studying nutrition. All of my beliefs as a vegan about how I was healthy because I did not eat meat were shattered when I actually started looking into the role that animal protein, good fats, cholesterol, and the fat-soluble vitamins play in the body. I believe that anything we eat, plant or animal can be unhealthy for a human and the planet if it is not raised with care. Our culture is so obsessed about grouping foods into categories of good or bad, cancer causing or not, when really it is about the origin and quality of those ingredients that makes a difference in how they act once they are in our bodies. I think adding fish is great, and you may be able to get the nutrition you are lacking just from that, although my experience was that red meat was particularly healing for me personally. Everyone is different! If my body was able to be healthy eating vegan, I would gladly still be one because I hate being responsible for animals suffering, but I no longer have that choice. Take care :)

      • kate says

        Hi Mickey, Thank you for responding to my comment, I really appreciate it. I never comment on blogs! I had my adrenals tested a while ago and my doctor was surprised that they were normal. So far since dealing with different diets the last couple years I’ve had a lot of improvement, but at this point I just kind of feel embarrassed that I don’t feel amazing like everyone expects, including my doctors. I sort of plateaued after improving some on thyroid hormone replacement and a diet free of gluten, soy and dairy but still have fatigue, nausea and dizziness that makes a huge impact on my life. When I do the elimination diets I have trouble detecting when a food affects me negatively. I never have violent reactions, I just always feel tired. When I accidentally ate gluten early on I didn’t feel anything, same with soy. Strange! I decided a couple weeks ago to try eliminating foods with possible gluten cross-reactions including all grains from my diet and am hoping maybe I’ll start to see changes again. I would eat vegan also if I could thrive on that diet, but it has become clear that I can’t either. I think being vegan can really become part of our identity and that can make giving it up so difficult. Well, Thanks so much for posting and giving me hope that I will continue to improve! I love your recipes.

  4. Laura says

    Hi Mickey,
    Like you, I have hypothyroid issues and mine manifests itself as high blood pressure 200/120 sometimes and I am allergic to all blood pressure meds thankfully.. Like you, I also have NUMEROUS food allergies. At one point, my sensitivities were over 25 of the normal foods I ate. I also have IBS, both C and D. Leaky gut is most likely the culprit. PALEO-SCD has been a life saver, as has adding Coconut Kefir, digestive enzymes and Tropical Traditions gold label. Coconut oil. I also have to avoid all nightshades and I go to see an NAET certified Acupuncturist specializing in food allergies. I am down to 12 allergies because of her. Hang in there and keep at it. It will get better but we may need to be diligent to eat REAL food and avoid the junk for the rest of our lives.

  5. J-Rad says

    It has been over two years since you have written on here. What is going on? I want to finish the story, but I’m afraid that something happened to you in the last two years.

    • says

      J-Rad,
      I’m really healthy–I haven’t had any autoimmune symptoms in over a year. I still have some issues with methylation/histamine, which I found out recently were from a genetic mutation. I’ll be posting about that soon. Cheers!

      Mickey

  6. says

    Hi Mickey,
    Thank you for being so open and real about your situation and experiences. I have been going through so much and have been so frustrated with the lack of answers and addition of questions that I’ve received… I have had another sleepless night last night with similar symptoms you have mentioned, and have been very restricted in my eating. I am in the beginning phases of learning about autoimmune/hashi/celiac and must wait a few months to see the doctor again. His answer… I don’t know… :( I tried to add myself to your subscription list, but it didn’t work. Could you please add me? I’m a newbie so still learning. I live on the east coast, otherwise I’d definitely schedule an appointment with you! I’ve joined various FB pages, but your site is wonderful! Thank you for your testimony… especially the passing out and asthmatic part. It gives me hope that there is an answer out there somewhere. Do you have an email address that I could ask a personal question about your symptoms?
    Thank you,
    C.

  7. Katie says

    How long did it take for you to see improvements in your neuropathy? Did it gradually go away? Get worse before it got better? This is the most frustration part for me. Besides the fatigue… blah, how long did that take for you? I know it is different for everyone but I love to hear other people’s experience.

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