Kristin Kilmer Wellness

Holistic Health and Wellness Coaching

January is Thyroid Awareness Month – Coming out of the Thyroid Closet

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Thyroid disease is running rampant in the United States and the sad thing is most people don’t even know they have it or how serious it can be due to a wide variety of symptoms that often get diagnosed as something else including mental illness.  I, myself was undiagnosed and misdiagnosed with a myriad of labels for over 25 years.  I was treated, the symptoms would subside for a bit and then come raging back with full fervor.

According to Mary Shomon, a leading thyroid patient avocate and Guide for the About.com Thyroid site, “It is estimated that as many as 40 million Americans may be suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed thyroid conditions.”

I was one of them.  I just thought for the most part that I was crazy and would never heal, despite my efforts and tens of thousands of dollars spent on a myriad of doctors, healers, energy workers, nutritionists, psychics, seminars, therapists, self-help gurus, etc.  I now see the light at the end of a very long, arduous tunnel.  But its still a journey and while I can fall into the victim mentality at any given moment, it is also one that I now embrace as my teacher.  If I change my perspective, perhaps I can see that I am so strong that I was chosen to experience this and every symptom because Spirit knew I wouldn’t give up, that I WOULD find the root cause.  And along the way, I would  find such a deep level of compassion for the human condition so that I could really put my ego aside and be of service to others.

And that is now what I choose to believe.

Thyroid disease has given me so much knowledge and it is my intention and my soul’s path to share my education and experience along with that of many experts, so that others may get on the path to healing much more quickly.  My hope is that some of these undiagnosed Americans can avoid what I went through and still struggle with on occasion:  The countless hours in bed unable to move from extreme exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, the compromised immune system (frequent colds and flues even while being the healthiest eater I knew), digestive disorders that would keep me doubled over for days and sometimes take me to the emergency room; the constant shame, crying, and depression so bad that I didn’t want to live, yet I judged as ridiculous and melodramatic.  The years without a menstrual cycle yet with triple the symptoms, cysts and threatened infertility.  The eating disorders that I thought I had and couldn’t control because my hormones made me constantly hungry.  The sleepless nights for years and years from extreme anxiety and worry,  the isolation as I didn’t want people to know how much I was suffering because I had to be a put-together fabulous designer and I never new why exactly I was the way I was.

Plus, when I’m good I’m so funny and fun to be around!  My humor is what has gotten me by.  I have even laughed at myself after the fact of some of the crazy situations I have found myself in because of this.  Like the one day my roommate came home to find me in me in bed with stones all over my body, holding a cross in my hand and crying and chanting.  Typhoid Mary became my new nickname.

But that is the sneaky thing about Thyroid disease, as there are good days with glimmers of hope nestled in between such a black hole of darkness, one can go a lifetime without many people knowing including oneself.  But in that darkness was so much shame and embarrassment due to my inability to maintain control of my body and emotions, even though with all of my education and soul-evolvement I knew better; hence, the self-abuse.  There was the loss of some key relationships due to acting out from bad medications and/or terrible symptoms, the poor decisions that caused my life to unravel because I was in such a fog and incapable of trusting my intuition, even despite my heightened clairvoyance that somehow allowed me to constantly advise my peers.

The extreme fluctuations in my weight both directions:  often I would experience a 15 to 20 pound weight gain in only one month and then hide for months because I was so ashamed and I couldn’t get it off despite my tremendous efforts, extreme obsession and even vigorous exercise which often left me unable to move for two days after.  I would take heavy medications yet still try every holistic treatment, every diet on the planet.   Little did I know how that would shape my future career but first, to be continued was:

The Drama.  The Craziness.  The Self-Created Drama…or so I thought.

I allowed my once extremely successful interior design business to deteriorate because I was constantly sick, couldn’t focus and the stress of it all made me even worse.  So many days I would suck it up on appointments while practically holding my breath and then sob in my car unable to move in between them.  I remember shopping with a client once and having to excuse myself periodically to go cry in the public bathrooms.  Plus, I simply lost my joy and passion for anything creative.  Luckily for me, there is something so loving inside of me that keeps me fighting and searching for answers.  I’m constantly in school or taking a course to improve myself in the hopes that at any given moment that lightbulb would just pop on.  No pop for me, my psyche is on a dimmer switch with a slow illumination process.

So I went with that theory:

Having already a large bandwidth for everything holistic and also honing in my spiritual, intuitive gifts by attending a rigorous 18-month clairvoyant training program, I was still missing many pieces of the puzzle so I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, seriously an amazing school that I feel should be a prerequisite for everyone on this planet.  It changed my life but unfortunately not for the better initially.  I remember flying to New York for the first conference and missing half of it because I had such abdominal pain, fatigue and nausea that I had to stay in bed in my hotel, but upon my return I was determined that I would heal once and for all, yet I didn’t.

I released the psychiatric and endocrine drugs and it took my healing to a whole new level.  I finally knew it was my thyroid, despite so many contradictory lab tests (more on that in subsequent posts).  I tried everything imaginable to detoxify my body.  I listened to all of the lectures and so many on how the body was naturally inclined to heal itself and I believed it, and still do…to an extent (there were also the constant reminders that western medicine was responsible for keeping many alive and it was for every individual to choose the best path for themselves).  I was cleansing my body, of sugar, alcohol, coffee, food allergies, heavy metals, candida, leaky gut, parasites and on and on.  The detox symptoms kept me in bed for days on end again and again and furthered my isolation from friends.  I ingested green smoothies by the gallons, every herb and superfood on the planet, had more colonics, took more infrared saunas.  I meditated, I prayed. I practiced yoga a minimum of five days a week.  I became scared and paranoid of food as I thought one wrong thing would make me sick, yet often it did.  I went with a natural thyroid doctor that convinced me to keep going and I could heal it naturally.  He saw me falling apart for six months, sobbing in his office, reacting with anger, and so weak, unable to work.  I felt like a failure and my mistrust and disdain for him and myself grew.  Here I was becoming an expert yet, gaining 20 pounds and still without energy and still totally depressed when my fellow classmates were curing themselves of cancer, healing themselves of eating disorders, chronic conditions, etc. and I was binging on healthy food.  What was I doing wrong?  I wanted to believe so badly with the school’s top expert’s scientific data and now many extremely knowledgeable mentors in my life that I could heal this naturally but I was falling down the rabbit hole even further. I seemed to have glossed over those experts that talked about Armour and other natural thyroid options.  The school’s main objective is too really get ALL of the theories out there due to the extreme differences in “bioindividuality,” and it was a classic case of one hears what they want to hear based upon their beliefs in the moment.  Those around me saw marked improvements (fewer and fewer digestive nightmares and a few more good days here and there) but I was still wallowing in this low-thyroid cloud of hopelessness.  I was stubborn and now, I was disappointed in western medicine AND holistic health.

But I learned and firmly believe that all elements of natural healing and high powered nutrition is completely necessary but is indeed a journey and its not easy or practically everyone would be healthy.  Natural healing takes time.  After all, it took us a long time to deteriorate.  However, we do sometimes need help from the western world; yet, that is a challenge because such a high percentage of it is total crap.  It is statistically proven that the second cause of death in the United States is iatrogenic, which means adverse conditions brought on my a medical doctor or health care facility.  Luckily now we have naturopathic medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, functional medical practitioners, functional endocrinologists and other new professions that can fuse the two for the challenging cases like mine and millions of others by treating the ROOT of the problem from every single angle, instead of masking the symptoms with drugs that only work temporarily.  I do have to say that some anti-depressants and ADHD medications saved my ass temporarily on more than one occasion (though never fully…I was still crazy), but the devastation that occurred once they stopped working after a year or two was infinitely worse.

Ultimately now with the overabundance of (often contradictory) information out there, its about REALLY going inside, trusting your own body and intuition and finding that balance and that dance while having some type of witness with you on that journey. The ironic twist is that in the psychic/spiritual world, the thyroid is often labeled as the “window of the soul” and our direct connection to our higher self and inner wisdom so until I got the proper treatment, I wasn’t able to fully trust as I was felt my “soul-connection” was lost.

After completely surrendering and giving up everything, including my home in LA,  I started taking natural dessicated thyroid despite over a year of resistance from fear of prescription drugs after so many nightmares and disappointments of the wrong ones.  While Naturethroid may not work for everyone, as through my research some people do better on a natural compounded T3 or this or that, or this or that and on and on, for me it is seriously like the universe took out a golden, psychic spatula and cleaned the cobwebs out of my brain and soul.

I wish as I wrote this that I could say I was completely victorious; my spiritual beliefs don’t want me to put out anything negative for then I have sheer paranoia that I will create more of my illness; and the vicious cycle continues.  But I am honestly better and better and now able to really walk my talk.  I finally decided that I will love myself enough to not care what others think anymore (especially my  “self-judgemental self”), and share my story and my education as it is now vast…and this is not just about me anymore, its about millions.  Thyroid disease can ironically  be a selfish, narcissistic one as well; one becomes self-obsessed due constantly feeling bad.  The loved ones in my life know this and experience this first-hand.  To me (and probably to them), its a constant broken record of the “cow chewing cud” in my brain.  But this is the reality of my existence which I have kept hidden to most until now.  With the energies of the new year, with all of my knowledge as a health counselor and clairvoyant, and from my own clients, mentors and new naturopathic doctor,  I will heal once and for all this year or at least be able to cope with the layers of the onion better as they peel away.

And again, while I am doing better than ever,  I am still on this path to healing; however, its now a loving one wrapped in acceptance which is a crucial factor.  In the past, I always wanted to go away, I wanted to know why with all of my efforts I wasn’t getting the results as those around me (compare and despair).  What was I doing wrong, where is this blind spot in my psyche that I’m just not seeing, why was I so horribly unworthy of optimal health?  I demanded the universe to tell me if and when I would heal!  With all of this, what kind of hateful message was I sending to my cells and to the disease itself?  How can one heal if they are hating a part of themselves?  That lightbulb is finally getting brighter, WITH the help of proper treatment, especially natural desiccated thyroid (that is the rub); but as the biochemical is improving, it is helping in doing the MOST important tasks at hand:   Changing internally, living from my heart, loving what is, and being grateful.

When it gets hard for me to not look at the “why didn’t I try this sooner” or the “could haves” or the “should be’s” I am finally able to “change my script” and know that without all of this I wouldn’t be able to help the thousands that I am destined to serve.

Now for the educational part (one of many to follow):

This is a description from www.thyroidawarenessmonth.com:

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck. The hormones released by the thyroid control energy and metabolism, and are essential for many important physical functions. When undiagnosed and untreated, thyroid problems can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms, including weight gain or inability to lose weight, depression, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, low sex drive, hair loss, high cholesterol, infertility, and other troublesome issues. Because symptoms can sometimes be broad, thyroid disease is often misdiagnosed as a mental health issue, and symptoms attributed to lack of sleep or exercise, overeating, or other lifestyle issues.

Yep…and then some.  It is really important that the public know just how much it can wreak havoc on someone’s life:

Janie Bowthorpe, the creator of “Stop the Thyroid Madness” and truly a force to be reckoned with as a top avocate in thyroid disease awareness has created a wonderful, depressing (haha) list of symptoms.  As I read them the first time, all I could think of was, “umm, check, check, yep, oh yes, that’s me, check, really, that one is because of low thyroid too, am I really not crazy…?” and on and on.  Please read her site in detail and buy her book if you are struggling with any of these symptoms, despite any other illness you think you may have and it has become such a great help for me and my clients:


Important to Note:
 This list is based on symptoms as reported by a variety of hypothyroid-diagnosed patients. Some patients have some symptoms; other patients may have others. However, these are also lingering symptoms that patients report having while on Thyroxine T4-only meds (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroxine, Eltroxin, etc) and with a so-called target TSH.

But there’s MORE! In order for symptoms to qualify to be on this list below, these ALSO had to be symptoms which were improved or totally eradicated when these same patients worked with an informed doctor and got on natural desiccated thyroid like Naturethroid, Acella, Canada’s Erfa, compounded or others, and found their optimal dose (and in the presence of good adrenal function and adequate iron labs):

  • Less stamina than others
  • Less energy than others
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to hold children for very long
  • Arms feeling like dead weights after activity
  • Chronic Low Grade Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Often feeling cold
  • Cold hands and feet
  • High or rising cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Palpitations
  • Fibrillations
  • Plaque buildup
  • Bizarre and Debilitating reaction to exercise
  • Hard stools
  • Constipation
  • Candida
  • No eyebrows or thinning outer eyebrows
  • Dry Hair
  • Hair loss
  • White hairs growing in
  • No hair growth, breaks faster than it grows
  • Dry cracking skin
  • Nodding off easily
  • Requires naps in the afternoon
  • Sleep Apnea (which can also be associated with low cortisol)
  • Air Hunger (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
  • Inability to concentrate or read long periods of time
  • Forgetfulness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Always gaining weight
  • Weight loss (a small minority experience this)
  • Inability to function in a relationship with anyone
  • NO sex drive
  • Failure to ovulate and/or constant bleeding (see Rainbow’s story)
  • Moody periods
  • PMS
  • Inability to get pregnant; miscarriages
  • Excruciating pain during period
  • Nausea
  • Swelling/edema/puffiness
  • Aching bones/muscles
  • Osteoperosis
  • Bumps on legs
  • Acne on face and in hair
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Hives
  • Exhaustion in every dimension–physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Inability to work full-time
  • Inability to stand on feet for long periods
  • Complete lack of motivation
  • Slowing to a snail’s pace when walking up slight grade
  • Extremely crabby, irritable, intolerant of others
  • Handwriting nearly illegible
  • Internal itching of ears
  • Broken/peeling fingernails
  • Dry skin or snake skin
  • Major anxiety/worry
  • Ringing in ears
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Inability to eat in the mornings
  • Joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel symptoms
  • No Appetite
  • Fluid retention to the point of Congestive Heart Failure
  • Swollen legs that prevented walking
  • Blood Pressure Problems
  • Varicose Veins
  • Dizziness from fluid on the inner ear
  • Low Body Tempurature
  • Raised temperature
  • Tightness in throat; sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Allergies (which can also be a result of low cortisol–common with hypothyroid patients)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Sore feet (plantar fascitis); painful soles of feet
  • now how do I put this one politely….a cold bum, butt, derriere, fanny, gluteus maximus, haunches, hindquarters, posterior, rear, and/or cheeks. Yup, really exists.
  • colitis
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • painful bladder
  • Extreme hunger, especially at nighttime
  • Dysphagia, which is nerve damage and causes the inability to swallow fluid, food or your own saliva and leads to “aspiration pneumonia”.

In other words, if you feel you have many of these symptoms, and have never received a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, it’s time to visit a doctor. But informed patients who have walked this path ahead of you strongly encourage you to learn from other patients i.e. to not let a doctor solely diagnose you simply by the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) lab, but to do the free T3 and free T4. And just as importantly, to listen to your symptoms, not just an ink spot on a piece of paper.

Or, if you have received a diagnosis and still have many of these symptoms, it’s time to become more informed about better thyroid treatment and all things related to being hypothyroid. A summary is on the Things We Have Learned page, or even more detail in Chapter 3 in the revised STTM book–all to make you more informed with your doctor.  YOU are your own best advocate. Teach your doctor!

Thank you Janie, for your amazing work and allowing me to see that for me personally, the right thyroid medication WITH natural healing is really the best answer.  Not one or the other.

Thank you to all who have gotten this far in this blog…please reach out to me (free, 50 min. consultation) or a doctor if you are suffering.  Its really time to heal.

In gratitude, Kristin Kilmer

6 comments on “January is Thyroid Awareness Month – Coming out of the Thyroid Closet

  1. Judith Ann Brodzeller
    January 10, 2013

    Kristin- We’re sooo proud of you and know in our minds and hearts that, once and for all you will become totally healthy this year.
    Love you Mom

  2. Michelle Chalfant
    January 10, 2013

    What a story!!!! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey, it’s been an honor. You are one of the strongest women I know.
    Sending you much love and light.
    oxoxox
    Michelle

  3. Ashley Burnell
    January 11, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your life with me…may you continue to bless all those who cross your path ❤

  4. toriquisling
    January 11, 2013

    Hi Kristin – nice article – I know you’ve had so much energy in that 5th chakra (all the intellectual voices seeking an answer) — of course the thyroid makes sense — look forward to your next installment. Love you! xo Tori

  5. melissadishes
    January 16, 2013

    thanks for sharing your story!

  6. karey
    January 16, 2013

    Thank- you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your journey, I knew I was not alone,after getting Janie’s book and finding the facebook site has helped me believe there is an answer for all the crazy things that I have been dealing with all my life.

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2013 by in Health, Uncategorized.
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