I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about the Autoimmune Protocol I followed for two years to put Hashimoto’s into remission. When I began the AIP I knew it as the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol which was put together by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. It stood out to me amidst all the other healing protocols for these reasons:
- Sarah Ballantyne is a mom so presumably her ideas would fit a family lifestyle.
- She holds a PhD in Immunology and she could explain fairly complex biology in clear and straightforward ways.
- She pulled in pieces of research and information that seemed connected to her autoimmune diseases and built a protocol around it that other people had success with. One of her initial followers, Mickey Trescott, had reversed Hashimotos using the protocol.
- The protocol bore some resemblance to the initial diet my endocrinologist had me try to level my blood sugar and get some energy coursing through me.
After seeking to follow the protocol for 18 months I had normal thyroid numbers and much better self care. I was off my Synthroid medication. Now I could call it the Almost Impossible Program. Almost impossible because most people that I talked to (doctors, friends, family) couldn’t believe I was doing it (especially for so long) nor could they believe it would actually deliver results. Despite the fact that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I’m really grateful I invested time, resources and energy into learning more about how to live well in this body of mine.
I have been off my synthroid medication for 8 months. I had my 6 month follow up in February and my antibodies were the lowest they’ve ever been, my thyroid hormones were were great. I’m telling you this to give you hope because bodies can heal. I have been told (repeatedly) by all manner of individuals that this doesn’t happen. I have been told by a small handful that it can. Anything is possible.
I remember sitting on the living room floor with Ritchie 2 years ago. I’d just been to the doctor where they suspected I had celiac disease. I was devastated because autoimmunity can be a slide and once you have one disease it’s easy to start collecting disorders until eventually your body is just mired in dysfunction. I sat there feeling so disheartened at the prospect of that and also humble. Like, well, if this is what God wants I will accept it. But, like many of you, I had other plans! Mainly living with and loving my family having adventures, using my gifts and skills to help other people grow. These last few years have been an interesting adventure in cultivating a deeper understanding of the interesting tapestry that is woven from personal choice and God’s will. Sitting on the floor in tears, I didn’t feel like I had filled the measure of my creation, there was more for me to do. And not in a self-aggrandizement kind of way, just in a mothering-give-back-to-humanity kind of way. So I asked God to help me figure out a way to do that, to fill the measure of my creation. I remember praying to be healed and then over time I changed my prayers to ask for the gift of healing. Instead of relying on something external to change my circumstance, the gift of healing meant asking God to teach me about this beautiful creation of his (the body) and to help me understand it and how to work with it’s natural tendency to heal. I think sometimes we think of the gift of healing as something we have and use for other people but in my experience asking for the gift of healing to heal myself has been a different kind of prayer leading to a beautiful journey. Like any artist, I have found my Heavenly Father to be more than willing to share the intricacies of His creations with me. Tune into your inherent strength & divinity, be brave enough to seek it and see what happens!
In early January, I found myself face-to-face with some surprising bloodwork and in an effort to understand what was going on with this body of mine, I began to see a new endocrinologist. She made some pretty severe diet recommendations and encouraged me to follow them for 6 weeks to see if we could adjust a few metabolic processes. Little did I know this would be my baptism into the world of genuine body awareness. I have always had a belief that my body is the house of my soul but never have I felt (noticed? appreciated?) the inherent unity that my soul has with it’s earthly vessel. As I received people’s regrets regarding the state of my health, I felt such a sense of defensiveness about this mortal tabernacle that is an integral part of me. It has definitely been really hard and frustrating but sometimes I also say “You don’t need to feel sorry for me, this is my body and it’s struggling right now. I am going to figure out how to help it heal if I can but even if I can’t it’s the only body I have.” As I joined the same team as my body I began to realize different ways that I’ve been in a combative relationship with it at times. Whether it was injuries, body image, illness, infertility, I’d begun to think of my body as a drag on my existence instead of my tether to existence. I have been graced with a dawning awareness that this body, just as much as my spirit, will give me cues regarding my divinity and the work I have on earth. Whereas my spirit used to be the supreme dictator over my flesh, the two are becoming a more balanced team as I recognize the parts of me that are heaven and earth.