For years I had been dying bit by bit, and I could not stop my downward spiral. I am presently 52 years of age, but the dying specifically started when I was 32 years of age and had my first child, Esther. When baby Esther was 4 months old, my husband decided to move us all back to his home country of Australia. I began to suffer extreme exhaustion. I thought if I would eat cookies or sleep, then tomorrow I would bounce back, but I did not bounce back. We moved to Australia and I tried to make new friends but I became more and more exhausted. Doctors later discovered that I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or autoimmune thyroiditis (my immune system had attacked my thyroid gland) and prescribed a synthetic thyroid hormone that they told me I would have to take the rest of my life but would make me as good as new. (It did not.)
“For years I had been dying bit by bit,
and I could not stop my downward spiral.”
At this time I began to suffer incredible joint and muscle pain. I could hardly walk or even take care of my baby, and my debilitated condition scared me. I had been raised on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania where I drove tractors and broke horses. It seemed impossible to me that now I could hardly move, and I decided it had to be connected to my thyroid problem. I will never forget how my Australian doctor derided me, saying that a connection between joint and muscle pain and low thyroid function had never been shown to exist. Feeling ashamed I turned away. He told me I probably had arthritis.
“I could hardly walk or even take
care of my baby, and my
debilitated condition scared me.”
Other doctors gave me extensive tests and told me that this pain was in my head (it was not arthritis), for every test they performed showed me to be just fine. I now knew that in order to survive I had better find the answer myself or my life was over. Through trial and error I discovered that certain vitamins and calcium tablets enabled me to function better, but most of the time I was in pain. I used to take 2 ibuprofen every 4 hours during the day until my stomach hurt so much I could not take it anymore. If I ever cleaned my house or washed all my dishes or tried gardening, I would get sciatic nerve pain that ran from the top of my head to the sole of my foot on my left side. Over the years I took lots of Darvocet for that, but any pain killer I tried left me feeling like I was in a haze.
If calcium tablets helped me with my joint and muscle pain, nothing helped me with the devastating pain I had with my periods. Since I was 13 years of age, I always had seven full days of heavy bleeding and cramps. When I got into my 20s, I began to suffer the shakes during my periods and times when my face would literally turn white and the blood would seem to drain from my head. During these times I had problems thinking and remembering, and even talking. It was dangerous for me to drive when the blood drained from my head, for I could not concentrate and would almost wreck. After awhile I learned that I would be sick a week before my period, the week of my period, and part of the week after, as my body adjusted to all the blood loss. I only had one week of every month that was sort of normal, but that was clouded by muscle and joint pain and maybe sciatic nerve pain. I prayed and prayed to God for help but there was none. Like many people, I felt I was being punished for something, even though I was not sure what.
When I was 35, I had my second child, Jessica. The pregnancy was as difficult as the one with Esther, for I threw up the entire nine months. It was a living hell, but I survived by the grace of God. Year after year, I hung on and existed and put my life into my daughters, but there was no life for me. Finally, when I was 38 years old, we all moved back to the U.S.A.; to California. My health problems continued. Sometimes my husband would become so concerned that he would send me to doctors who tested me and told me nothing was wrong with me. A doctor prescribed Paxil (an anti-depressant) but I had a severe reaction to the drug and he mocked me and told me that I could not have a reaction the first day; that it takes weeks for the drug to have an effect. I would never take any anti-depressant after that, and I began to stay away from doctors.
“A doctor prescribed Paxil
(an anti-depressant) but I had
a severe reaction to the drug
and he mocked me […]”
As my daughter Esther grew and blossomed as a person and made straight A’s in school, I encouraged her that maybe she could go into medicine and discover a cure for people like me. (She is now a junior at Wheaton College, still making straight A’s and studying for her MCAT this spring.) Four years ago, when I was 48, my new OB/GYN told me that I should go on the pill and have a period every three months. She also told me that the terrible headaches and migraines that I had could be helped with Imitrex. Again I had extensive tests and was told that there was nothing wrong with me. I felt so stupid, but at least I would not have a period every month and I began to take lots of Imitrex to make it through life. (Later, my health insurance forced me to take Relpax which I did like better.)
Two years ago, I tried another doctor who promised to help me with my period problems. I decided I wanted a hysterectomy to end my pain once and for all. She gave me a questionnaire and when she discovered that my father had been mentally ill, she frowned at me and told me that all my problems were psychological and that I had better deal with my issues with my father or else. She dropped me and had no more to do with me. I was stunned by this and left crying and crying, for I had had therapy for years to deal with my father issues and had come a very long way. What else could I do? Do you mean it was all my fault that I had these health problems? At that point I knew God had to be punishing me, and I realized there were no answers.
Last year, in July of 2005, I had to see the OB/GYN who was prescribing my birth control medicine. She said I had to come completely off of the pill for three months to see if I was now menopausal. I came off the pills and had a period and then began to decline at a very rapid rate. I no longer felt that I was dying bit by bit every day, but that my life on this earth would soon be over. I could not imagine that I would ever live to be 62. I now took Relpax daily just to be able to function with the pain. During all these 20 years of thyroid problems, my weight had crept higher and higher. The pain in my stomach from all the pain killers caused me to drink milk constantly to kill the pain. I weighed 200 pounds and the weight I carried had wrecked my knees, which made grinding noises as I walked.
Although I felt I was a walking dead man, I realized that for me to be alive was good for my daughters, for I could still love them and talk to them and be a part of their lives. In August of 2005, I took my daughter Jessica to a soccer tournament in Huntington Beach, California for a weekend. I lived on Relpax to make it through. On the way home I tried so hard to concentrate, although my brain was in a haze. Near home a policeman pulled me over for driving at 90 mph. I had no recollection of doing so and it frightened me so much. I was not coping anymore. I could not trust myself to drive.
“Although I felt I was a walking dead man,
I realized that for me to be
alive was good for my daughters,
for I could still love them and
talk to them and be a part of their lives.”
My husband had read an article on a Southwest Airlines magazine about Dr. Hotze and his program, and he had urged me to call them almost a year prior to this, but I had told him that I had no desire to deal with any more doctors who only ridiculed me and told me everything was in my head. But in August 2005, I knew that I was reaching the bottom. When I read on the website that muscle and joint pain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, I was shocked. I called and set up an appointment for September 6th. Here is a photo of me at the airport on that day, on Relpax because my nerve pain was so terrible. Dr. Sheridan said he felt he could help me but I hardly dared believe him.
I came home and started taking the bio-identical thyroid and female hormones that the Hotze program advocates. Within a week or two, when I went to the soccer field to watch Jessica play (she is a senior in high school and on a club team), parents would ask me what was happening to me. Weight began to fall off of me without my having to try anything but the yeast-free diet. My clothes started to bag on me. Since I started the Hotze program I have never had to take a Relpax. I have never had a sciatic nerve pain. I have had no migraines. I have never had another period and I have never had a hot flash. I began to be able to exercise by walking 10 minutes a day and then 30 minutes and then 40 minutes and telling myself that I was going to get my life back. I began to walk with a swing in my step and without pain. It is incredible. My incontinence disappeared. My fatigued adrenal glands have grown stronger and now I bounce back after a full day of cleaning or yard work. I could cry I am so happy. My stomach pain has even gone and I need no antacid tablets. I now feel younger and like I can have a life yet at 52. I am no longer dying but finding out anew how to live. It is amazing.
I recommended my husband to the program and he has lost weight and seems younger. My daughter Esther was showing signs of hypothyroidism, already in college. She was feeling tired all the time and they told her she was adjusting to college life. She did not think that could be true since she was a junior. Esther had had allergies and asthma since she was in fourth grade. Since she started the program after Christmas break, she has seen incredible changes in her life. She now bounces out of bed with energy and goes all day. We are so glad we discovered Dr. Hotze’s program before she started med school and gets little sleep. Last night she called me and said, “Oh mom! I forgot to tell you but for the last three weeks I have used no Flovent or Albuterol inhalers, nor have I used any singular and Clarinex.” I consider this an immense miracle. Here is a photo of me at present. I have lost 51 lbs. since September 6th.
“I consider this an immense miracle.”
Does my family love Dr. Hotze’s program? You had better believe it. Now instead of dying bit by bit, I am getting my life back bit by bit. Thank you soooo much!!!!!
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