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18 Months Postpartum: Hashimoto’s Seesaw Starts Stabilizing

IMGP8379At a year and a half postpartum I’m feeling more optimistic about balancing life as the mother of a toddler and coping with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

I remember last year coping with this condition wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.  My thyroid levels were staying stubbornly stagnant – on the high end of the normal range.  I was dealing with symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and it was taking a while to get back to a regular monthly cycle.  While this was a frustrating season to endure, my endocrinologist encouraged me to stick with the medication dosage I was on, believing things would eventually improve.

Slow and Steady

Since October of 2013, my thyroid levels have steadily improved.  My endocrinologist acknowledged that being postpartum depleted my thyroid and it needed some time to stabilize.  This is not uncommon among women with Hashitmoto’s thyroiditis and those diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis.

Also in October of 2013 I had an annual physical exam in which I underwent a full round of blood work.  This was the first time my vitamin D lab results were not within the normal range.  From October until mid-January I was prescribed to take a weekly vitamin D supplement to help overcome the deficiency.

What Helped

For a little over a year I’ve been trying to eat less gluten.  I decided to try the gluten-free approach because, in doing some personal research and talking with other women with Hashimoto’s, I learned that it isn’t a diet that will help improve thyroid function but it can help reduce the severity of certain symptoms.  While I’ll be the first to admit that every now and then I have the occasional slice of bread, I have noticed significant improvements in my overall digestive function.  I’m also trying to reduce my caffeine intake which isn’t easy being a mom.  Yet, I’ve noticed that on the days I drink less caffeine my energy level stays at an even keel.  This is a gift because this allows for me to keep up with my toddler, and stay more engaged with her world of learning and growing throughout the day.

What I believe also helped with the slow and steady improvements was listening to my body, and living out the mantra ‘stay faithful to the process.’  With that in mind I’ve been consistent in taking my medication at the same time every day; I wait at least 30 minutes before I eat or drink anything. I’ve also been adhering to what is recommended on the prescription bottle which is to not take antacids, calcium or iron within four hours of taking the medication.  This might sound simple, but taking daily thyroid medication as prescribed is important because it maintains a consistent level of thyroid hormone within the body.

On a positive note, after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2011 I joined a local Toastmasters public speaking club.  I became a member because I wanted to find my voice; a voice that had the potential to be permanently changed as a result of a partial thyroidectomy.  While my physical voice didn’t change, I still felt like it was important to improve my written and oral communication skills.  Lately, as a stay-at-home mom, attending Toastmasters meetings has become a great way to get out of the house.  It has also been a great way to gain support as I learn how to become more articulate about my faith and living with this chronic condition.

Next Steps

At the end of April I had another round of thyroid blood work and an office visit with my endocrinologist.  I’m thankful to report that my thyroid levels continue to improve, and I’ve been prescribed to take a lower dose of daily thyroid medication.
My endocrinologist asked me how I was doing and I said, “I’m feeling the best I’ve felt since before getting pregnant.”  It’s true.  I’m really starting to feel more stable, in what has seemed like such a seesaw these last couple of years.

Within eight weeks from the visit I will have another round of blood work done to make sure this lower dose is sufficient.  My hope is that I will be able to continue on this lower dose, and start getting back into a routine of monitoring my thyroid levels once every two to three months.

 

About the Author
In 2011 Stacey Thureen publicly shared her health journey from diagnosis, to treatment, to acceptance of her thyroid autoimmune condition.  Since then she has become a mom, and she also writes about the thyroid for Answers.com.  Stacey has been featured on Everyday Health, I am Second, and in EmPower Magazine published by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.  You can learn more about her, and read her blog, at www.staceythureen.com.

This post contains opinions of the author.  AutoimmuneMom.com is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances.  Camino Real Ventures, Inc., the company that makes AutoimmuneMom.com available to you, does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website.  Your use of the website is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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