Monday, August 22, 2011

Hailing Yellow Taxi Cabs

Image via

Scaling the Mountain: Part 2
Part of "A Journey to Charis"

(This post regarding my health journey will get a bit more medical and scientific.  
Just thought it may be of some help to someone, which is why I'm including it.)

In my quest to understand what had become some type of polyglandular autoimmune disorder, and specifically Hashimoto's thyroiditis, I came across a book that peaked my interest.  The author, a specialist in treating thyroid disorder, seemed to be the only one on the internet who was truly addressing Hashimoto's as an autoimmune disease.  Why would we treat this disease as a thyroid problem, when it is, in fact, an autoimmune disease, he asked?  I kept wondering about this idea.

I contacted a friend whom I knew was being treated for Hashimoto's.  I  knew she was climbing mountains, water skiing, and dancing... living her life with energy and vitality.  I discovered her doctor was a mere mile from my home and had trained under the author of the book I'd found, Dr. Kharazzian.  This wasn't just a coincidence, but I believe a confirmation from the Lord, that I was on the right track.  I bought the book, read it from cover to cover in a weekend, went to a seminar, and made an appointment to see this doctor as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I began to get a head start and put some of the treatment in action myself, mainly going completely gluten-free for life.  At this point the thyroid hormone I was taking wasn't making a significant difference, and I would have ingested anything if I was assured it would help.  Giving up gluten was really the least of my worries.  

My doctor would describe the necessity of this change in a visually helpful way.  Thyroid stimulating hormones are like passengers looking for taxis.  The carriers of these hormones are like little taxis that take the hormones to the various body systems that utilize them.  The thyroid antibodies (this is were the autoimmune aspect comes into play) are like terrorists who are hijacking the taxi cabs and eating away at the thyroid, so that the hormones can't get where they need to go.  The standard treatment is to supplement with hormones so that they have a greater chance of flagging down the taxis, but this method does not address the problem of the terrorist action.  The terrorists keep multiplying as a result of a faulty immune response.  You can either keep upping the thyroid hormones in order to try and counteract the terrorism, or you can address the immune system so that the the terrorists (antibodies) will dwindle in numbers.

Although the former scenario works for a while, this autoimmune condition left unattended can lead to spleen problems, leading to weight gain in the stomach and thigh area.  It can also lead to other  autoimmune issues such as cancer, diabetes, lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and the like.  While you can never completely turn off the autoimmune response once it has been turned on, it can, in fact, be managed and maintained, reversing the pervasive antibody problem.

Oh, and how does gluten play into this scenario, you ask?  (Get ready to get a little more scientific... )  Gluten and thyroid stimulating hormones have a very similar molecular structure.  Therefore, if there is gluten roaming around in my blood stream, the thyroid antibodies will multiply in response.  If it is my goal to heal my immune response, reduce antibodies, and avoid the development of other autoimmune diseases in the future, I needed to provide the right conditions.  Gluten can stay in one's bloodstream for up to six months, so it's an all or nothing decision.

Well, au revoir gluten... it's been good knowing you, but being healthy is better than you taste.

(**These thoughts are my current understanding of my health issues.  I am definitely not a medical professional... please let me know if you think I may have misstated anything.  Thanks!)

1 comment:

CoachZ said...

So many evidences of God's grace and loving guidance! This was one of the biggies, but there have been so many throughout the year!

Praise and thanks to Him! And one day you will reach your goal of riding your bike to his office!

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