Thursday, October 12, 2023

My Journey to an Autoimmune Diagnosis

When I began this blog over 16 years ago, I never imagined where I'd be all these years later. Back then, I just wanted to share what we were doing as a little family in our homeschool and the joy we were finding in our moments throughout the day. As our family has grown and life has happened, there is so much more to share. And I'm finally ready to do that. But where to start? To pick up where we left off seems best, but that is such a long story. I'll try to make it brief and still give you an overview of the important bits. 

Over the last 10 years, life has been messy. I have faced taking my father off life support, the deterioration of relationships that I thought were strong, the death of both of my grandmothers and a couple of friends, walking through drug addiction and rehab with my little brother {Who's recovery has been the biggest miracle of my life! He is almost 8 years clean!!}, fighting custody battles with family for my nephew, a failed procedure and then a surgery, supporting friends through painful experiences, and a complete overhaul of my own support system. It has been hard to come up for breath at times. 

The compilation of all of those things created a health spiral for me. I was teetering right on the edge of breakage and one heartbreak after another was too much. The first winter was hard. My first symptoms were heart palpitations. From there, I had hot flashes and night sweats. My thumb began twitching. I developed pain in my elbows and the wrist pain that I had for years was more and more intense. With spring and summer came some relief from some of the symptoms. But it was just the calm before the storm.

The following winter, I suffered through the worst storm of my life. I thought the grief and the pain I weathered through that winter was going to kill me. Not sleeping, I couldn’t eat well, I lost weight quickly. To keep myself from going crazy at 2 AM, I began writing a novel. I’ll not say it is fantastic or publishable, but Ceesa (the only one I shared it with), loved it. It only took me 6 weeks to write it. It was the one thing that provided some relief. The misery of that winter drug on and on. But as it always does, spring came again. One day, I decided the dying was taking too long. I had to figure out how to live again. The weather warmed, I went into the sunshine, I visited with friends, I took the kids out of the house for field trips, and I began facilitating a summer camp. I started working to repair and maintain the camp in the spring. One day, somewhere toward the end of the spring, the grief and the pain eased, and it gave me more strength. Summer was sweeter than I thought it could be. But after that winter, my health has never fully recovered. 

I’ve always been very private about my health and family life, but friends started noticing the weight loss, the sadness. One of my friends recommended I go see an endocrinologist. Summer was too busy, but I finally conceded to go in the fall for some testing. Since then, I’ve had so many blood tests and scans, seen so many specialists, a failed procedure, surgery, and somewhere during all of it, I asked enough questions. It has taken a long, long time to figure out what my body was doing, but I was finally told I had an autoimmune disease. 

Which only left me with more questions than answers and it has taken me several more years to find direction about how to balance my Hashimoto's with everyday life. I wouldn't say I'm there yet, but I'm progressing every day into a new wellness. 

You can continue to follow my health journey through our busy days that despite it all are filled with blessings. We'd love for you to follow us and share! 

Do you have an autoimmune disease or a health concern? I'd love to hear about your journey to a diagnosis in the comment section below.

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