Susan Mann was seven years old when she was diagnosed as having Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.
According to a recent article in the online magazine Your Tango, Susan’s physician indicated that other than the medicine she was already taking, there was nothing else he could do for her. He said that she would have to live with constant pain. He saw her once every year with no improvement and no other recommendations.
Susan had to wear a heart monitor and was subjected to numerous tests for five years. The symptoms kept getting more severe and she was exhausted, angry, and depressed with bouts of anxiety. The medication was not helping.
Susan described a cycle that kept going nowhere. She would go to her doctor’s appointment with the same symptoms. Her doctor would increase her medication and tell her that there is nothing more that he can do then send her off.
Her mother repeatedly asked if there was anything that the doctor could do to alleviate her pain and discomfort. She was told over and over that Susan had to just accept her disease and live with it for life.
She felt that her doctor was unsympathetic and did not really pay attention to her symptoms. Her parents thought that she should be tested for recreational drugs because of her behavior.
A New Doctor and Another Disease
When Susan was eighteen the family located another doctor who ordered and reviewed a complete blood panel. Apparently her blood work had not been updated since she was seven years old. The doctor discovered that Susan also had Lyme disease in addition to Hashimoto’s. In a way Susan felt relieved now that she knew the cause of all symptoms.
At the same time Susan’s mother and sister were also examined. The family was alarmed when they were told that both her sister and mother also has Lyme disease since it usually is transmitted through a tick bite. The family was not aware of any incident that involved ticks.
About Lyme Disease
The CDC describes Lyme disease as a bacterial infection which is transmitted through the bite of an infected black legged tick. Symptoms usually include headache, fever, fatigue, and erythema migrans, which is a skin rash. The disease can be transmitted to a fetus during pregnancy.
If Lyme disease is not treated, the infection can lead to heart disease and can spread to the nervous system and joints.
Susan made reference to material she read that was written by Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, a chiropractic physician. Dr. Hedberg wrote that the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
According to various studies, Borrelia can cause Hashimoto disease through ‘molecular memory’. While in a defense mode, the body attacks the infection and also targets and weakens the thyroid gland. Not only is the thyroid weakened, but it also weakens the immune system. The result is an auto-immune thyroid disorder.
About Hashimoto’s Disease
Susan referred to a definition by The Mayo Clinic for a description of Hashimoto’s disease which is also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Inflammation from Hashimoto’s leads to hypothyroidism (under active thyroid).
Hashimoto’s mostly occurs to women of middle-age. However, as in Susan’s case, anyone at any age can be affected.
It seems Susan’s previous doctor had given Susan and her mother inaccurate information by saying she did not have to eliminate gluten from her diet.
Susan checked the Healthline.com site and found that although gluten does not cause Hashimoto’s disease, it may cause inflammation or destruction of tissue (autoimmune response).
Susan, now a student at the University of Florida, has made a point of not eating foods containing gluten. She has eliminated processed foods and sugar from her diet. Gentle exercises such as yoga and going for walks have helped tremendously.
At first her condition was difficult to treat because it had been misdiagnosed for such a long time. However, her earlier symptoms such as weight loss, swelling, and hair loss have now all but vanished. Susan reports that other minor health problems have been resolved. Even her mental health has improved.
Susan’s new doctor changed her thyroid medication by substituting one that did not cause anxiety. She takes about twenty daily supplements due to her many vitamin deficiencies.
Her Lyme disease is under control and she has been able to switch from her prescription medication to herbal supplements to treat it.
About Root Cause
Susan’s current doctor recommended a book called Root Cause by Izabella Wentz, who also struggled with Hashimoto’s. While Dr. Wentz was studying for her pharmacology degree, she researched Hashimoto’s because the information she was being given about the disease was inadequate.
The same misleading information is given to most Hashimoto’s patients. They are told, as in Susan’s case, there is very little that anyone can do. As Susan found out, this is not true.
Susan found Dr. Wentz’s book not only informative but comforting. She read that she is not alone and that there are thousands of patients with Hashimoto’s. However, they are not given proper care and information.
Susan’s Father Has Regrets
Susan is saddened when she hears her father apologize to her for not getting her to a more informed doctor. He says that he feels guilt for having her suffer unnecessarily. Her father has always taken care of her. Now he feels that it was his fault for not understanding what was happening to his child.