When Pearl Thomas and Fabienne Heymans contacted me about their passion to create a non-profit dedicated to people suffering from the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I knew instantly that this was an organization I wanted to support. I am happy to be on the Advisory Board of Pearl and Fabienne’s Hashimoto’s Awareness.
Written by Fabienne Heymans & Pearl Thomas, Hashimoto’s Awareness
Pearl and I were simultaneously raising awareness of the disease individually, holding our own support groups, had active Facebook pages, and we were exploring ways to expand. At the time, Marc Ryan L.Ac. and functional practitioner, was giving us both consultations separately. One day, he suggested that we connect because we were both living in New York City and had the same passion to be of service to the Hashimoto’s Community.
On March 16, 2014, we met in Hu-Kitchen; now, our favorite paleo diet restaurant on 5th Ave. We immediately saw the possibility of creating something bigger than ourselves together! Our combined energy was effervescent and both of our big dreams coincided with each others. We were both in remission from Hashimoto’s and passionate about sharing our journey with all who were still struggling with the disease. It was simply serendipitous! We became teammates and dear friends to-be. Together, we became unstoppable. We immediately filed for a non-profit organization known as HA! Today, we have launched a campaign on Crowdrise.com and with the funds we are starting to organize the very first National Conference for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis!
It is truly by accident that I was diagnosed after being sick nearly all my life. I experienced highs and lows, as you all know, I am sure! The symptoms included brain fog, extreme fatigue, joint pain, hair loss, thinning skin, sensitivity to perfumes, just to name a few.
By February 2012, my immune system was at its worst! Menopause only made matters worse. I was scheduled for surgery to remove one of my parathyroid glands which was inflamed to twice its normal size! The scan of the thyroid gland showed many patches on the tissue and a biopsy confirmed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Yeahh, thank you God!! Ironically, one of the best days of my life!! I finally had an answer to my question about why I had all these symptoms. I finally confirmed that, “NO, I wasn’t crazy” all these years!
The surgery was supposed to be a minor procedure. But, my body, after fighting all these years, on every level of my being, was emotionally, psychologically and physically exhausted.
After the surgery, I was not waking up from the anesthesia. The entire day went by and still I wasn’t coming back from the place between life and death. To keep the story short, I finally woke up with the determination to make a difference for all the people that are in despair, struggling with Hashimoto’s, and who don’t know how or where to look for support.
All my life, the medical field insisted that all my lab tests were normal and therefore they claimed that my symptoms must be of psychological origin. I promised myself that no one should ever be in this position ever again and from there everything changed!
After reading Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal I researched and found a Functional Practitioner in NYC. I learned the critical importance to stop eating gluten completely. I started taking the right supplements according to Dr. Kharrazian’s protocol and I started feel significantly better.
Although the journey is ongoing, I have a strong support system and a great community as a resource when I need it. Today, I live a productive life in NYC and dedicate my days to empowering others with Hashimoto’s to live a symptom-free life.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in February of 2012. I was fortunate enough to have been referred to a wonderful integrative physician who gave me proper testing for early diagnosis. Months leading up to my appointment, my personal trainer noticed my energy levels going down in our high intensity workouts. I was cranky, my hairline was thinning and I was experiencing 2-3 inch hives on my calves, that were itchy, brown colored and stuck around up to three weeks. I took action and made an appointment for blood work.
Two weeks later, at my follow-up appointment, I was diagnosed. My TSH and TPO levels were off the charts. I was instructed to start a natural hormone medication Nature-throid, stop eating gluten, wheat, soy, and dairy and was instructed to start adding supplements such as Liquid D3, B-12, Omega 3’s, probiotics, and meditation. (Speak to your doctor before trying supplements to be sure they are right for you.)
At the time, I realized this was a serious condition and it was time to act NOW. I chose to start doing some research. Fortunately, I stumbled across a book by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, who some call, the Functional Medicine Guru, the book is called, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal and I started reading. I found out that Hashimoto’s disease was killing my immune system, brain function, and circulatory system. Everything he wrote about from vitamin deficiencies to recommending a diet free of gluten, soy, wheat, corn and eggs; I was dumbfounded. This book was my best friend. His research gave me hope that I could put this disease in remission quickly. I followed his protocol diet and began my journey to remission.
Six months later after following Datis’s protocol diet, I was sleeping better, finally losing weight, my hair was thicker, and I was no longer depressed or experiencing anxiety attacks. It was working. Changing my diet was working! I then went for my next round of blood work and my results came back, my TSH and TPO were now in normal range! My doctor stated, “You are a miracle walking. I have not yet seen someone’s levels go up so quickly.” I was in full remission from the disease. And in that moment, I knew this was possible for others.
Today, after three years in remission, I’ve dedicated my life to being of service in the Hashimoto’s community. And through that, I am the Co-Founder and Co-Creative Director of the not-for-profit, Hashimoto’s Awareness. I work alongside an incredibly talented and driven friend and kindred spirit, Fabienne Heymans, who is also in remission from the disease. As we work with some of the top experts in the community, we have a great vision for this organization and how we might be of service in many ways to others. We are committed to bringing clarity to the community that is in need of education on this serious disease and we believe we will make the difference worldwide.
What I will share with others struggling with the disease is that you are not alone. Remission is possible if you’re willing to do the work. We are here to support you in an empowering way and we promise your journey to remission will be inspiring, powerful, and supported by a community that stands as your greatest fans.
About Hashimoto’s Awareness
Hashimoto’s Awareness committed to bringing clarity to the community of people suffering from the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. According to the AACE, 30 million people in the United States are diagnosed with hypothyroidism and 90 percent of those people have Hashimoto’s Disease. HA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.