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24 Months Postpartum With Hashimoto’s: Hit the Reset Button

Mother and daughter in a parkIn my last post when I was 18 month postpartum, I mentioned that I’m starting to feel more optimistic about life as a mom with a toddler and managing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  I also wrote that I’m starting to feel stable, in what has seemed like such a hormonal seesaw during postpartum.

As AutoimmuneMom.com founder Katie Cleary talked about in one of her recent posts, self care is important for those of us moms managing chronic autoimmune conditions.  I couldn’t agree with her more because this past summer my husband was working on a house project that resulted in a finger injury.  This injury reminded us of how fragile life is. It also reminded us of our daily dependence on faith to get us through the good and challenging seasons.

Making Lifestyle Changes

At around the same time our toddler became my daily workout plan!  In order to have enough physical and mental energy to keep up with her, along with the responsibilities of the household, I found myself having to cut back on certain activities that I had relied on as outlets.  This included running, swimming or even attending a local Toastmasters public speaking club meeting. After much prayer, I came to this realization that I needed to cut back because my menstrual cycles became irregular, and I started losing weight.  I noticed that my husband’s injury, which required surgery and physical therapy, was a good opportunity for me to hit the reset button and find a better way for exercise and self care.

I checked in with my primary care to make sure the irregularities weren’t because of something else, such as Hashimoto’s.  Thankfully, after an office visit with my PCP, full metabolic blood work which included testing thyroid levels, and a visit to my OB/GYN, everything was fine.  I’m certain this was my body’s way of responding to an elevated stress level; at least I had the peace of mind knowing it wasn’t something else.

While I felt like I missed having more time to do those other things, I know this is just a season.  So what did I do for exercise and self care?  I came to enjoy walking to the park with my daughter.  This daily part of our routine became relaxing exercise, my daughter got social interaction as well as physical activity, and I got to meet other moms in the same stage of life.  Some of them are also living with a thyroid autoimmune condition, or have a family member who is.

I recently read a great article by the Detroit Free Press about the positive benefits to walking.  Writer Cassandra Spratling said that, “The benefits are numerous, including building cardiovascular strength because it works the heart muscles, improving balance and posture because it encourages an upright, steady gait, improving muscle tone because it is a weight-bearing exercise, improving endurance because the more you do it, the more you can do of it, and walking releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones.”  Another benefit to walking?  It’s good on the joints, which is a big plus for joint pain/inflammation due to an autoimmune condition.

Other Forms of Self Care

I’ve continued to eat a reduced gluten diet. (I’m not perfect at this because I still take the occasional indulgence for a slice of pizza or a donut.)  I don’t have a gluten allergy but I find that eating less gluten has caused improvements in some of the symptoms that are also related to Hashimoto’s. (bloating, constipation, inflammation, etc.)  And due to the menstrual irregularities and weight loss that I experienced this past summer, I’ve cut back on drinking caffeine.  I don’t feel like I have a ton of energy to burn these days, and sometimes I do need the occasional nap, but I do feel like my energy level is more steady now than it was two years ago.

Checking In

In mid-October I had my annual physical exam. By that point my menstrual cycle was back to normal, and my weight stabilized.  My thyroid levels remained at a good place and no adjustments were needed to my medication.  My metabolic profile also came back good, so I don’t need to take any supplements such as vitamin D or calcium; a year ago I needed to take vitamin D.   The next appointment is with my endocrinologist at the end of January 2015.

How about you? As we enter the last few months of 2014, what are some steps you’re taking for self care and to check-in with your doctors?

 

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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Comments

  1. I think that you write right and useful things. Many moms need to read this article.

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