Green Banana Blog

WALK ON: Living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and My Journey to Wellness

Dec 30, 2019 | Acupuncture, Well Packs, Wellness

I DID A BURPEE TODAY!

And this is why I am so excited about it…

 

The burpee. It’s a plank, a squat and a jump. While it requires some strength and a bit of agility to complete this exercise with proper form, it’s not that difficult. To me, the gymnast, the athlete, the fitness enthusiast, a burpee is far from a complex maneuver. As easy as it sounds, there was a time, not long ago, when I was not well enough to do a simple burpee. There was a time, in my not so recent past when every joint in my body screamed with a pain that had rendered me so weak, I could barely open a door or hold a glass of water. A pain that made those first steps out of my bed in the morning seem like a sad, unachievable task. This most recent Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis flare up, changed my life. 

The Claw. 

Throbbing, aching, swollen. Every part of me hurt. I felt hopeless, and the worst part, my hands! In the morning they would be wrenched and contorted into this awful claw-like position that took at least a half hour to ease into normalcy. (Try using a claw to dial the phone to call the first patient of the day to ask, “Can we push your appointment back? I woke up with a claw and I can’t unscrew this toothpaste cap.) I’m thankful to be on the other side, making jokes about the claw, but at the time my condition had me sobbing through the night, wondering what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t healthy anymore. The pain would radiate up my arms, into my shoulders and chest, it was debilitating- but putting a hold on life impacted me the most. 

Life On Pause. 

How can you just stop…everything? Everything that was once a therapeutic outlet became an obstacle. Yoga. Writing. Playing instruments. Working out.  In a moment, everything stopped, not because I wanted to quit or because my doctors told me to stop, for months I simply couldn’t. Please know, I’m not seeking sympathy, nor do I intend on turning this into an Anna banana trauma drama. I am telling you this so that you can understand why that burpee is so monumental for me. With the help of a team of doctors, practitioners and my personal commitment to a nutritional protocol, two years later, down the day, my hands are finally functional again and I have returned to all the things I love to do.

It Takes A Village. 

As a society, we are impatient when it comes to our health and healing takes time!  It requires willpower and diligence, especially when we take the natural path to wellness. I could have gotten the quick fix. I could have taken the steroids and anti-inflammatory medications that any primary care physician would routinely prescribe, but that was the Band-Aid and I was looking for the cure! On this journey, one of the most profound takeaways for me was relinquishing control and learning that I couldn’t do this alone. I had to ask for help. It was a part of the process that was new and scary. My success is merely the story of a village. A village of individuals who listened and helped. A village of outstanding human beings that helped me take those first daunting steps to open the door to a new way of living. 

Getting Back to Me

Exercise: 

My first day back to the gym, I did tricep extensions, with no weights in my hands. That was all I could do. And as I looked at the reflection of myself, knowing what I am capable of, all I could see was the pain that strangled my ability to function. I had some moments. There were moments of holding back tears of frustration. Moments of personal embarrassment, remembering the version of myself that could train for hours with ease. But I kept going back. I needed to challenge my mind and build my strength. Although there were many days I didn’t feel like working out, group training held me accountable. It was not long before I noticed that it also helped to improve my energy, my mood and the range of motion in my hands and shoulders. I have the trainers at MacGregors, to thank! For offering a community of acceptance and a place that has tested my body, mind, and spirit in all the best ways, thank you. For patiently providing me with the modifications I needed so I can get back to something that feels like me- thank you!

Acupuncture: 

I drove over an hour every other week to see an acupuncturist and herbalist. At first, it was difficult to hand over my health concerns to another acupuncturist.  While it felt like an odd thing to do, it was a fundamental step in my healing process. I had to allow someone else to help me. It was in the care of that other acupuncturist, where everything clicked into place. Nutritionally, emotionally, spiritually- these acupuncture treatments transformed my physical health. Treatments left me feeling lighter and it was not long before I noticed improved breathing and posture. It was on the acupuncture table where I was able to attain the balance that my body needed. Thank you, Vicky, from Jade and Cinnabar Acupuncture. The healing you bestowed upon my life inspires me every single day.

Chiropractor: 

I became religious about seeing my chiropractor. Apparently, my spine was so locked up, there were certain adjustments that could not be performed because the pain was so intense. I asked to do it anyway. Despite my tenacity for getting better, my chiropractor modified my treatments so I could get relief without pain. Not only did I need adjustments in my back, I also needed an adjustment in my perspective. A body, with or without pain deserves to be handled with care. Thank you, Dr. Brian, from Compass Chiropractic,  for providing a gentler approach; you single handedly (no pun intended) guided me towards a life that is much kinder towards my body. 

Massage: 

A weekly massage became a part of my new wellness routine. It sounds luxurious but it was rigorous. For months, my massage therapist worked her fingers to the bone to break up the concrete that was in my joints and muscles. It hurt. I ached long after I left our sessions. Slowly but surely, mobility returned where before it was lacking and so much of the pain that I felt eventually melted away. Thank you to my trusted massage therapist, Shawna, for doing the hard work (literally) of healing my body and (actually) holding my hand through it all. 

Reiki: 

      The discomfort in my upper body made it extremely difficult to lay still, this made Reiki a challenge for me! Although I recommend this ancient healing practice to others, it didn’t automatically occur to me that I should go, too! I needed to continue to trust my gut and seek the stillness I was trying to avoid. Although it’s difficult to articulate, regular Reiki treatments helped me to simply feel better. Our sessions gave me a sense of support and clarity that helped me to navigate the uncharted waters of this autoimmune disease. Ultimately, my life and health have been greatly benefited from Jenn Hilling’s healing energy. Thank you for opening my Chakras and my heart to consistent self-care. 

 

Therapy:

That’s right! I saw and still see a therapist. I didn’t think I needed it. I didn’t know I had something to talk about. But, as an acupuncturist, my days are spent referencing the concept that our negative life experiences surface through physical pain in the body- I am not exempt from this. While it’s easy to diagnose and treat physical discomfort, managing emotional pain is sometimes more difficult. I found that consistent visits with my therapist made a positive impact on my physical health. Therapy helped me to learn how to celebrate my body’s capabilities while giving me the confidence to let go of the rest. Thank you, Patricia Cook, from Sunrise Counseling for giving me the gift of a listening ear and for providing me with the safe space I needed to validate my voice. 

Friends, Family and You:

To every family member. To every friend. If you carried a bag of groceries for me, or if you simply took the time to understand what I was going through, you have been a healing presence in my life. To my husband, John. You are my rock, my slow and steady, that warmth, that sweet smile pushing me through it all, thank you. In all the subtle and profound ways, you all were there for me, thank you!

 

Wellness. It’s a journey. Walk On. 

 

The burpee. It’s a plank, a squat and a jump. While it requires some strength and a bit of agility to complete this exercise with proper form, it’s not that difficult. To me, the gymnast, the athlete, the fitness enthusiast, a burpee is far from a complex maneuver. As easy as it sounds, there was a time, not long ago, when I was not well enough to do a simple burpee. There was a time, in my not so recent past when every joint in my body screamed with a pain that had rendered me so weak, I could barely open a door or hold a glass of water. A pain that made those first steps out of my bed in the morning seem like a sad, unachievable task. This most recent Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis flare up, changed my life. 

THE CLAW. 

Throbbing, aching, swollen. Every part of me hurt. I felt hopeless, and the worst part, my hands! In the morning they would be wrenched and contorted into this awful claw-like position that took at least a half hour to ease into normalcy. (Try using a claw to dial the phone to call the first patient of the day to ask, “Can we push your appointment back? I woke up with a claw and I can’t unscrew this toothpaste cap.) I’m thankful to be on the other side, making jokes about the claw, but at the time my condition had me sobbing through the night, wondering what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t healthy anymore. The pain would radiate up my arms, into my shoulders and chest, it was debilitating- but putting a hold on life impacted me the most. 

Life On Pause. 

How can you just stop…everything? Everything that was once a therapeutic outlet became an obstacle. Yoga. Writing. Playing instruments. Working out.  In a moment, everything stopped, not because I wanted to quit or because my doctors told me to stop, for months I simply couldn’t. Please know, I’m not seeking sympathy, nor do I intend on turning this into an Anna banana trauma drama. I am telling you this so that you can understand why that burpee is so monumental for me. With the help of a team of doctors, practitioners and my personal commitment to a nutritional protocol, two years later, down the day, my hands are finally functional again and I have returned to all the things I love to do.

 

It Takes A Village. 

As a society, we are impatient when it comes to our health and healing takes time!  It requires willpower and diligence, especially when we take the natural path to wellness. I could have gotten the quick fix. I could have taken the steroids and anti-inflammatory medications that any primary care physician would routinely prescribe, but that was the Band-Aid and I was looking for the cure! On this journey, one of the most profound takeaways for me was relinquishing control and learning that I couldn’t do this alone. I had to ask for help. It was a part of the process that was new and scary. My success is merely the story of a village. A village of individuals who listened and helped. A village of outstanding human beings that helped me take those first daunting steps to open the door to a new way of living. 

Getting Back to Me

Exercise: 

My first day back to the gym, I did tricep extensions, with no weights in my hands. That was all I could do. And as I looked at the reflection of myself, knowing what I am capable of, all I could see was the pain that strangled my ability to function. I had some moments. There were moments of holding back tears of frustration. Moments of personal embarrassment, remembering the version of myself that could train for hours with ease. But I kept going back. I needed to challenge my mind and build my strength. Although there were many days I didn’t feel like working out, group training held me accountable. It was not long before I noticed that it also helped to improve my energy, my mood and the range of motion in my hands and shoulders. I have the trainers at MacGregors, to thank! For offering a community of acceptance and a place that has tested my body, mind, and spirit in all the best ways, thank you. For patiently providing me with the modifications I needed so I can get back to something that feels like me- thank you!

 

Acupuncture: 

I drove over an hour every other week to see an acupuncturist and herbalist. At first, it was difficult to hand over my health concerns to another acupuncturist.  While it felt like an odd thing to do, it was a fundamental step in my healing process. I had to allow someone else to help me. It was in the care of that other acupuncturist, where everything clicked into place. Nutritionally, emotionally, spiritually- these acupuncture treatments transformed my physical health. Treatments left me feeling lighter and it was not long before I noticed improved breathing and posture. It was on the acupuncture table where I was able to attain the balance that my body needed. Thank you, Vicky, from Jade and Cinnabar Acupuncture. The healing you bestowed upon my life inspires me every single day.

Chiropractor: 

I became religious about seeing my chiropractor. Apparently, my spine was so locked up, there were certain adjustments that could not be performed because the pain was so intense. I asked to do it anyway. Despite my tenacity for getting better, my chiropractor modified my treatments so I could get relief without pain. Not only did I need adjustments in my back, I also needed an adjustment in my perspective. A body, with or without pain deserves to be handled with care. Thank you, Dr. Brian, from Compass Chiropractic,  for providing a gentler approach; you single handedly (no pun intended) guided me towards a life that is much kinder towards my body. 

Massage: 

A weekly massage became a part of my new wellness routine. It sounds luxurious but it was rigorous. For months, my massage therapist worked her fingers to the bone to break up the concrete that was in my joints and muscles. It hurt. I ached long after I left our sessions. Slowly but surely, mobility returned where before it was lacking and so much of the pain that I felt eventually melted away. Thank you to my trusted massage therapist, Shawna, for doing the hard work (literally) of healing my body and (actually) holding my hand through it all. 

Reiki: 

      The discomfort in my upper body made it extremely difficult to lay still, this made Reiki a challenge for me! Although I recommend this ancient healing practice to others, it didn’t automatically occur to me that I should go, too! I needed to continue to trust my gut and seek the stillness I was trying to avoid. Although it’s difficult to articulate, regular Reiki treatments helped me to simply feel better. Our sessions gave me a sense of support and clarity that helped me to navigate the uncharted waters of this autoimmune disease. Ultimately, my life and health have been greatly benefited from Jenn Hilling’s healing energy. Thank you for opening my Chakras and my heart to consistent self-care. 

 

Therapy:

That’s right! I saw and still see a therapist. I didn’t think I needed it. I didn’t know I had something to talk about. But, as an acupuncturist, my days are spent referencing the concept that our negative life experiences surface through physical pain in the body- I am not exempt from this. While it’s easy to diagnose and treat physical discomfort, managing emotional pain is sometimes more difficult. I found that consistent visits with my therapist made a positive impact on my physical health. Therapy helped me to learn how to celebrate my body’s capabilities while giving me the confidence to let go of the rest. Thank you, Patricia Cook, from Sunrise Counseling for giving me the gift of a listening ear and for providing me with the safe space I needed to validate my voice. 

Friends, Family and You:

To every family member. To every friend. If you carried a bag of groceries for me, or if you simply took the time to understand what I was going through, you have been a healing presence in my life. To my husband, John. You are my rock, my slow and steady, that warmth, that sweet smile pushing me through it all, thank you. In all the subtle and profound ways, you all were there for me, thank you!

 

Wellness. It’s a journey. Walk On. 

 

Healing the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, can sometimes feel like an uphill marathon. As I have learned, any quest that is worthwhile, there will be pain, sweat and sometimes, tears. But it’s in the struggle where we learn the most about ourselves!  This autoimmune disease was an unexpected hurdle that has pushed me to understand my body in a new way. The pain of this illness has challenged me to exchange old ways of thinking and poor habits for self-discipline and self-love. I understand now more than ever, natural healing is a journey with no shortcuts. Despite the fact that flare ups are going to be an inevitable part of my life, I now have the tools and knowledge to calm it down. I may not be able to do a handstand today and in the cold my hands are a quiet, aching reminder of the girl who was afraid to wake up with claws, but today, I did a burpee. Two years later, I am a living example of the human body’s capacity to heal.  I am humbled to the grace of Universe for the experiences and people who have helped me to deal, heal, and walk on! 




Thank you for reading! Are you living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? Leave me a comment and tell me about your experience managing flare  ups and symptoms. 

 

Healing the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, can sometimes feel like an uphill marathon. As I have learned, any quest that is worthwhile, there will be pain, sweat and sometimes, tears. But it’s in the struggle where we learn the most about ourselves!  This autoimmune disease was an unexpected hurdle that has pushed me to understand my body in a new way. The pain of this illness has challenged me to exchange old ways of thinking and poor habits for self-discipline and self-love. I understand now more than ever, natural healing is a journey with no shortcuts. Despite the fact that flare ups are going to be an inevitable part of my life, I now have the tools and knowledge to calm it down. I may not be able to do a handstand today and in the cold my hands are a quiet, aching reminder of the girl who was afraid to wake up with claws, but today, I did a burpee. Two years later, I am a living example of the human body’s capacity to heal.  I am humbled to the grace of Universe for the experiences and people who have helped me to deal, heal, and walk on! 

Thank you for reading! Are you living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? Leave me a comment and tell me about your experience managing flare  ups and symptoms. 

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