A Story About Remission
Last month I had the pleasure of speaking with Liz Schau, who has been in medication-free remission from Hashimoto’s for four years (even though she was up to 175 mcg of Synthroid at one point). As a result of her journey, Liz now dedicates her time to helping others with autoimmune conditions! I came across Liz’s story a few years ago during my search and was inspired to find my root cause as well.
I hope that her story inspires you to find your root cause too!
Liz’s Root Cause
Liz never felt healthy as a child. Something was always off. She constantly had sore throats, ear infections and battled with her mood. She was always on antibiotics. She was the kid that often missed field trips due to a stomach ache or some other ailment.
Things took a turn for the worse when Liz got to college, she began dealing with extreme fatigue, gained weight and dealt with a persistent sore throat on a daily basis. During her third year in college she remembers being so exhausted, she would sleep through the night, wake up at ten, eat and then go back to sleep again.
After breaking up with a boyfriend, she gained 60 lbs during a seven-month period. At this point, her period had stopped, and she developed palpitations and had frequent urinary symptoms. This led her to seek care at her university’s clinic, where she was finally diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the summer of 2007. She was given Synthroid and told that everything would be back to normal within two months.
Unfortunately, as for many of us, the normal never came. After college, Liz moved to New York and was frustrated that the medications were not helping. She continued to get worse and continued to seek medical care.
Finally a diagnosis…
Finally, a doctor at a NY walk-in clinic tested her thyroid antibodies, and the antibodies were in the 500 range (normal is <35). This was the first time she was told that she had Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition. She was upset that the original doctors never mentioned that she had an autoimmune condition.
Liz was up to 175 mcg of Synthroid but never felt well. She kept getting worse and worse. She felt fat, depressed, tired and bloated. She experienced hives, recurrent infections, and menstrual irregularities. She felt like she was not going to be able to go on.
Taking charge of her health…
However, feeling unwell was a blessing in disguise for Liz, as it led her to find the root cause of her condition, allowing her to treat it and put her Hashimoto’s into remission.
Like many of us, she started to “Google” her many symptoms and stumbled upon Candidiasis. She ran out and bought the Yeast Connection by Dr. Crook. This book explained that Hashimoto’s can be caused by Candida.
A light-bulb went out in her head, and she knew this was it, and that she was going to be able to get herself well if she worked hard enough.
So she took charge of her health…she started a basic anti-yeast diet avoiding mushrooms, vinegar, processed foods and yeast-leavened bread.
She was amazed to see that her thyroid numbers improved dramatically after being on an anti-yeast diet for four months. She continued on the diet until she learned about the gluten/autoimmune connection. She then discovered that she was also reacting to dairy.
Over the course of 1.5-2 years, Liz dabbled in different diets, including a Candida diet, grain free diet, raw foods diet, paleo/primal diet, and the Body Ecology Diet. She found that some of the diets agreed with her and made her better, but that the raw food diet did not.
She started taking probiotics and raw fermented foods to add beneficial bacteria back into her body.
Her TSH began to normalize, and her antibodies disappeared. It had been a “spontaneous remission” according to her doctor. Under the supervision of her doctor, Liz was able to wean off her thyroid medications in August 2009. She wasn’t on a a low dose of medications either; she was up to 175mg of Synthroid per day! Her thyroid was able to regenerate after the triggers were removed!
“The doctor was not interested in the diet I was following, or in any of the reasons why I thought I was getting better. He said ‘Don’t tell me about your diet.’ However, I believe that healing my gut was the key. The yeast overgrowth and food sensitivities were the real issues”. Liz says.
Now that she has healed her gut, she has been able to introduce a lot more foods, including properly prepared grains, fermented foods, real fats and dairy. She is a proponent of the Weston A. Price Foundation and of using healing and native foods.
She continues to monitor her thyroid and has had a normal TSH during her last pregnancy, and her last antibody test (which was done in December 2012) showed that her antibodies were still below 10. She believes that Candida will always be an issue for her, but knows what she needs to do to control it.
To those that are still struggling with Hashimoto’s, Liz says
“It’s a journey. It took me almost two years to get better, keep working on it!”
“I see the best results with people who are motivated and willing to change!”
“In general most people with autoimmunity need to find their food sensitivities, heal from infections and eat organic, however, bio-individuality is important; not everyone will respond to the same interventions. The foods that heal one person may not be the same for another.”
“Treat your intestines like gold. They control your immune system.”
As a result of her healing journey, Liz decided to become a holistic health coach and dedicates her time to working with people with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune conditions. More information about Liz’s story can be found on her website: http://lizschau.com, and you can listen to her share her journey here.
PS. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 Thyroid friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter for free by going to www.thyroidpharmacist.com/gift. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways and helpful information.
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