Please welcome my guest today, Claire Moffatt. Like others who have searched for answers over the course of many years, she tells a story you might find echoing your very own. She has always been interested in health and wellness, but after not feeling well for many years Claire was propelled to dive deeper with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Not only do we share a Hashimoto’s disease diagnosis & health coaching certification from the same school, it seems to me we are both determined women.
This is our interview on August 16, 2016. I am happy to relay her diagnosis story and, following that, how food has become a part of her healing. Now let’s hear from Claire:
I have Hashimoto’s disease. It’s been over 15 years since I started questioning my health or lack there of. It was slow at first: weight gain, exhaustion. I thought I was working too much. I thought that I was just getting older (in my 20s). I was still running, eating okay – not too many overly processed foods. I finally checked in with the campus doctor during graduate school. They basically told me that I was lying about how much I exercised, what I ate and told me I needed more sleep. That response really started me heading down the rabbit hole. I felt a little crazy. I felt like I wasn’t over eating. I was sleeping a lot. I was exercising but things were getting worse.
I knew something wasn’t normal but I didn’t know what.
As an aside, when I went back and reviewed my bloodwork from that time I was already trending toward Hashimoto’s just based on my TSH levels. And none of my doctors ever thought to do a comprehensive thyroid panel. As I said, I wasn’t overeating but I sure was eating the wrong thing…gluten. I was in graduate school and it was cheap.
Through all of this, I managed to receive my MPA, get a job, get promoted, and get married while feeling like I was in someone else’s body. I’m lucky that I achieved what I did. I expect that most people with this disease, especially when it’s undiagnosed, can’t imagine getting up in the morning. It’s debilitating. I remember explaining it to someone like there was always this huge weight on my chest. While good things happened, I lost a lot of who I was. My confidence was often diminished. I wasn’t a very good friend, wanting to withdraw because again I felt like a different person.
All the while being told that nothing was wrong with me.
“Luckily” in 2008 I had chest pains one day. My doctor, who always had the excuse that I was working too hard, ran bloodwork and an EKG. The EKG was normal, thankfully, but my TSH level was elevated-not super high but higher than the normal back then (which is higher that the normal is now) and trending up. She put me on 5 mcg of synthetic thyroid (T4) and said that I didn’t need to see a specialist.
I don’t remember feeling much different. Several months later I miscarried, probably because I was under-treated. I didn’t know to flag the thyroid condition as an issue and no one asked. I then sought out an endocrinologist. My synthroid prescription was raised and eventually added in a low dose of Cytomel (T3).
I felt a bit better but it never lasted. I brokeout in hives on my arms, legs and torso that would last several days then go away for a couple of days and then reappear. This lasted 15 months. I thought I was losing my mind. The dermatologist couldn’t explain it. I finally saw an allergist and she said I had a gluten sensitivity. This is the first doctor to even broach the subject of nutrition!
Thank you, Claire for sharing your story up to the point where an exploration on nutritional healing is about to begin. We’ll continue with Part 2 of her journey next time.
Does her story resonate with you? Get in touch here at Nutrient Dense Eating by Claire.
Till then, cheers.