It was my first of three appointments at my holistic dentist to get my silver fillings removed.  I was excited to see how much better I would feel once they were all out, or if they would even make a difference at all.  I laid there in the dental chair, anxious, yet peaceful, while the dental assistant and my dentist started to prepare everything.  They brought in some kind of machine, an oxygen tank, opened up a window and left the room.  I didn’t think anything of what they were doing, since I was “relaxing” and watching a movie anyway.  Then, here came the dental assistant.  I swear she walked in looking like an astronaut or some type of chemical biohazard worker.  Next, came my dentist, wearing the same thing.  I can honestly say that I panicked.  A little voice inside of me was saying, “What the hell is about to happen here?!”  The dental assistant put an oxygen mask on me and turned on the machine.  Then they both put down their mask shields and started with the procedure.  I was laying in that chair thinking to myself, “Is this the actual proper way to remove silver fillings?  Because if it is, then not only have I had years of exposure with these things in my mouth, but they were being removed incorrectly!”  Once the procedure was done, I of course had a lot of questions for my dentist.  She went on to explain that the open window and the air machine were both things that either sucked in the vapors of the amalgam as they were being removed from my mouth or were pushed out of the dental room through the window to air it out.  I wore the oxygen mask and had the oxygen so I didn’t breathe in the invisible vapors and the same thing went for them with their masks and suits.  I went on to tell her how I was shocked with how the removal was done because I’ve had amalgam fillings all my life and not once have I ever seen a dentist ever wear protect coverings or masks, not even on myself!  So think of how much dentists are exposed to them too!  It was crazy.  I went on to have my next two appointments which were all pretty much the same and I kid you not, once all of my fillings were out and replaced, I felt like a normal person again.  I definitely was not perfect because I still got tired easily and still had to balance my daily activities but for once in 6 years, I felt normal for once.  It was a miracle!

There is a park, that is right next to my children’s school and I told myself that one day, I was going to be able to job around it at least once.  I was never a runner, I actually hated running, but being able to job around that park, would signify to me that I was in a healthier place.  So although I felt unmotivated, I knew I had to start somewhere so I started off slowly walking around the park.  When I say slowly walk, I really do mean, I slowly walked.  You know how people kind of browse walk down the aisle of a grocery store, yeah, like that.  It was a challenge for me because there was a time where it was tiring for me to walk a slow pace with my kids up to their school campus.  But I was determined and I knew I had to start somewhere in order to build up my stamina again.  I probably walked at this pace for at least a month before I started to walk a slow pace.  Then my slow pace walking, turned into brisk walking.  The brisk walking last a while, probably a few months.  I felt pathetic but for me it was a huge thing, so I was somewhat proud of myself.  I still wasn’t shedding the weight but I kept having to remind myself that all of this work I was doing wasn’t about losing weight anymore, it was about staying healthy.  It was a hard concept to stick by but I couldn’t shed weight like how I used to when I was younger, plus I had this thyroid thing working against me and my body was healing from years of being sick.  After the phase of brisk walking, there was tabata walking.  I would walk as fast as I could for 20 seconds and then walk at a normal pace for 10 seconds, totaling 4 minutes.  I did this for 16 minutes and would call it a day.  Once I hit that 16 minute mark, my body was telling me that it was done and couldn’t do anything else.    This is what I continued doing for a long time.

I was still reflecting on this whole autoimmune thing and was asking myself questions like, “Where did I go wrong?  What could I have done to prevent this and when did it actually all start?”  As I had mentioned in my previous post, I truly believe it was when I was 19.  I was a freshman in college and it was a huge transition for me.  I went from hanging out with one group of people to being surrounded by a huge melting pot of people with different cultures, attitudes, perspectives and opinions.  I decided to join a sorority that year and I enjoyed the experience very much.  Then I got sick.  It started off as a simple cold or flu and when it went over a week, then I started to really worry.  This simple cold/flu turned into my lungs hurting when I was breathing, I was coughing up yellow/brownish phlegm, it was horrible.  I attempted to go to Kaiser to get checked out but the doctor was so mean to me.  I remember him saying that he couldn’t see my ear canal, so he decided to do an ear wash on the spot.  But when his assistant started it I started to cry, flinching and pulling away because, I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a double ear infection.  The doctor took his gloves off, said that if I all I was going to do was sit there and cry, he wouldn’t be able to do his job, so he couldn’t help me.  Then he walked out.  So I gave up on Kaiser at that moment and I hadn’t realized that I should’ve just gone to my college campus health clinic since it was so close to me.  The doctors there couldn’t really figure out why I was so sick.  They diagnosed me with bronchitis, bruised ribs from coughing so much, a double ear infection and sinusitis.  I believe it took me almost a month to get better.  Little did I know, that was the beginning of my health issues.  I started to get yeast infections because of all the antibiotics that I was taking but no one ever told me about the whole good and bad bacteria thing and that I should take probiotics after to maintain good gut health after taking antibiotics.  I even discovered that I was allergic to cats and having seasonal allergies.  Every year since I was 19, I had bronchitis like clockwork and each time I had it, I always took antibiotics or had an inhaler.  I ate pretty much I wanted.  I didn’t eat fruit because I always had this mindset that since fruit wasn’t filling to me, I’d rather have “real” food that filled me up, like the pastas, the pizzas, meat and potatoes.  I hardly ate veggies because I didn’t really cook for myself and thought veggies were boring.  I did exercise, but I was an elliptical girl.  I went to the gym and stayed on the elliptical for half an hour and if I felt adventurous, I’d go on a couple of leg machines.  But that was it.

Back to the park…I was at my 16 minute max for a long time.  I would say almost 6 months.  My stamina began to increase and I eventually made it to being able to walk/fast walk around the park for 30-45 minutes and that was a huge thing for me.  Just when I thought I had a hold on my hashimotos and trying to balance everything, the kids went on summer break and I experienced my very first flare up.  It was all totally my fault though!  Somehow, I thought I gained super powers and thought of myself as this cured, invincible, no more hashi’s woman, who could eat however she wanted.  I was pushing my limits and wanted to see just how far I could take it.  When I took the kids out to bouncy houses or play areas, I would sneak in bites of their pizza crust or take bites of their fries and I felt like I didn’t feel anything.  So I pushed it more.  I’d have nachos and I’d eat cheese.  I did, most of the time did try to pick healthier choices.  I’d still eat a burger without the bun, but I would have cheese on it and I did have the fries.  If we had mexican, I’d only eat the meat with all the lettuce and tomatoes.  So I did try and always altar my food choices to healthier one’s as much as I could.  But I think I pushed way too far because the flare up came.  I started to notice that my throat felt swollen when I swallowed.  At first I thought it was a sore throat, but then I noticed the front of my throat, where my thyroid is located, started to look puffy and slightly swollen.  I felt extremely exhausted and worn down, I was short fused and felt extremely uncomfortable.  I was taking naps after lunch and I had no energy or desire to do anything.  Thankfully my holistic doctor gave me a regimen to follow to bring down the swelling but it took me a month to get back to normal.  That was the last time I was going to push myself I thought.

The next time I talked with my doctor we did another thyroid panel.  I was expecting my antibodies to be in a high range because of the flare up that I had before that but to my surprise, my numbers had gone down to the lower 200’s.  I was so surprised!  It also meant that I had the green light to do the HCG injections and diet.  I was a little nervous about having to stick myself with a needle but my doctor gave me the okay and thought it would be beneficial for me.  The diet wasn’t so hard since I had done the drops and diet a few years back, so I knew what to expect.  I didn’t lose as much weight as I had wanted to.  They say that you’re supposed to lose 30 pounds but I had only lost 18 pounds and expected to gain back 5, which is what happened.  But I was happy to have lost that amount at all since all the food changes and exercise I was doing didn’t make a dent in my weight at all.

So the biggest lesson I learned after my flare up was balance.  This was all about balance.  If I didn’t sleep enough, I knew I couldn’t do anything too strenuous the next day.  If I knew I was taking the kids out to a party or a play area, I would take it easy the day before.  On the days I did do something, I made sure I rested once we got home.  Gone were the days where I would push myself to workout longer than I wanted to and I took a lot of breaks in between things I did at home.  It was frustrating because I wanted to be able to do the things I wanted to do, when I wanted to and how I wanted to.  There was a person inside of me itching to come out, but I couldn’t allow it because of the risk of getting a flare up or wearing myself down.  Then there was the frustration of always tweeking my medication.  It was always too little, or too much, increase it or decrease, your thyroid is too high or too low, it was about balance.  Surely, from that point, I was hoping it would be smoother sailing.