How I Reversed Autoimmune Disease
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Today, I live a fairly ‘normal’ healthy life. I wake up feeling rested and refreshed. My hair no longer falls out. I no longer wake up feeling tired, irritable and in pain. I have the energy to get through my day. You would have never known that in 2010 I was diagnosed with three autoimmune/endocrine disorders.
In 2010, I spent most of the year in and out of emergency rooms and doctor’s offices. I felt like a lab rat. I had blood tests, urine tests, fecal tests, radioactive iodine uptake test, thyroid scan, x-rays, hysteroscopy, colposcopy, pelvic ultrasounds, an MRI, and even laparoscopic surgery.
Symptoms of my first autoimmune disease (hyperthyroidism) started to appear in the winter of 2010. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was put on Tapazole (Methimazole) along with beta blockers and sent home. Later that year, my endocrinologist told me the cause of my hyperthyroidism was the autoimmune disorder Grave’s Disease.
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Months into my ordeal, I started experiencing sharp ongoing pain in my pelvis and lower back. The pain was sometimes so severe that I was unable to move or walk. During my many trips to the emergency room, I was told by several doctors that I most likely had a bladder infection or appendicitis. I knew that it was something else.
Finally, after a pelvic ultrasound and MRI, the scans showed that I had two large masses on both of my ovaries. My doctors were unable to tell me if I had cancer, so I was scheduled for an emergency laparoscopic surgery in January 2011. It turned out I had stage 4 endometriosis.
Endometriosis has not yet been classified as an autoimmune disease. The inflammatory nature of endometriosis seems to trigger an imbalance in the immune system. Inflammation plays a role in the pain and other symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases, just as it does with endometriosis.
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My diseases did not appear overnight. It took years for them to develop.
Looking back at my childhood, I had suffered with immunity/hormonal issues throughout most of my life such as psoriasis, eczema, allergies (i.e. hives, hay fever and rashes), and irregular and painful periods.
I realized I had to listen to what my body was trying to tell me. My medical doctors were unable to give me any possible solutions to reversing or improving my conditions, just how to live with them. I knew that I did not want to live with autoimmune diseases and hormonal imbalances the rest of my life. If I could identify the triggers, maybe I could reverse my conditions. And that is exactly what I did.
I reversed my autoimmune/endocrine disorders.
So how did I do it?
I used the 4R approach. The details of each step are highly individualized, but I will share with you some of the things I did:
- Remove – triggers and toxins
This step includes removing any food and dietary triggers, as well as environmental and lifestyle. I took acidic inflammatory foods out of my diet such as gluten, dairy and soy. I removed environmental estrogens from my body i.e. conventional meat, eggs and dairy (animals given exogenous hormones contain relatively high concentrations of estrogens) and industrial estrogens i.e. pesticides, plastics, phthalates.
I started consuming dairy alternatives such as coconut milk. I started buying my meat from local farmers. I switched my plastic containers over to glass or steel. I started to use non-toxic home and personal care products.
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- Replace – healing foods/nutrients and toxin-free alternatives
I had leaky gut syndrome which is almost always associated with autoimmune disease. I needed to heal the lining of my GI tract. I started to eat healing foods and minimize my intake of processed foods. I had tests run to determine by nutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin D. It was also important to get plenty of sleep (9 to 10 hours a day). Replenishing my energy was critical for my recovery.
- Repair – gut and tissues
I repaired my gut and tissues with specific supplements such as digestive enzymes and a multispecies probiotic.
- Rebalance – mind, body and spirit
This last step includes healing your mind, body and spirit. Your mental health is connected to your overall wellbeing. The gut is now recognized as the largest virtual endocrine organ of the body. The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and enteric nervous systems.
I slowed down. I started participating in activities that made me happy. I learned how to manage my stress levels. I connected with positive like-minded individuals.
Reversing my conditions did not occur overnight. It took 2 ½ years to reverse my conditions.
If you suffer from an autoimmune/endocrine condition or hormone imbalance, please do not give up hope. I reversed my conditions because I was determined to heal myself.
Believe in yourself! Never stop searching for your answer.