I, Dayna, have been battling a few health issues for the last few years, hypothyroidism(Hashimotos), alopecia, and low iron. Although I have continued to run, race and workout it has been a struggle.
I found out I had hypothyroidism almost 2 years ago. I started to fall asleep on my breaks at work, I was going to bed as early as 7:30, and I constantly felt like I was going to faint. I started having muscle aches and joint pain so bad that I was convinced I was developing arthritis through-out my entire body. I was gaining weight despite running at least 50km per week and eating really healthy. I started having night sweats, waking up in the middle of the night, my hair, clothes, and bedding soaked. During the day, I was so cold that I would have a hot bath just to kill the chill that ran through my bones. Then I started losing my hair in large patches. I remember feeling full of panic and I started to cry. I looked and realized I had lost all the hair from my arms, legs and even most of my eyebrows. I knew I needed to figure out what was happening in my body, I knew something was wrong, I could feel it inside me. I was tired of constantly feeling like I had been hit by a bus.
I was diagnosed in the ER with severe hypothyroidism (specifically Hashimotos) severely low iron levels and anemia. The doctor literally asked me how I was still able to get out of bed in the morning, let alone run, because my levels were so low. After that visit, I was put on iron pills and synthroid (levothyroxine) which is a synthetic hormone replacement for thyroxine, the hormone your thyroid gland naturally produces. It helps your body be able to regulate its energy and metabolism. I also started injection treatment for my hair loss. After about two weeks of taking synthroid I started to feel better. But after a while I started to retain fluid in my face, and legs. I was put on a diuretic to try and reduce the water retention. I decided I did not want to be on all these medications so I went to a natural-path. I have now been on Natural Thyroid (Armour in the US), a natural medicine for 1 year. I am no longer retaining water, and my thyroid levels are back to normal. I am feeling more awake every day, I have lost weight, I can run again, my anxiety and depression are gone, my hair has grown back and I am no longer having night sweats. I feel so much better, but through changing my diet and exercise regime I finally feel like my old self.
This year, my focus was to finally tackle my hypothyroidism instead of focusing on racing.
Together with my natural path I have created a natural plan that works for me and it has been the best decision of my life. I am still on Natural Thyroid, a holistic thyroid medication. I have also had food sensitivity testing to find out what foods trigger my autoimmune disease. I found I was allergic to dairy and gluten, and so severely to gluten that it was causing inflammation in my cells and preventing my thyroid medication from working properly. Also due to Hashimotos, my body has a difficult time absorbing iron so 2 times a week I go to the natural path for a Metabolic shot with B vitamin complex and folic acid to help my body absorb iron easier. I also put citrus on my food sources of iron (mainly leafy greens) because it helps your body absorb iron better. Before this, I was always out of breath, dizzy and unable to run well, simply because my body had less iron, meaning less oxygen carrying capacity to my cells. I am now regaining my energy.
Learning about my autoimmune disorder has empowered me to make changes in my life and has helped me feel like myself again. The most important thing for me was learning how different foods were affecting my thyroid and when I did, I decided to change my diet and cut out all Dairy, Butters, Dressings/Sauces, Gluten and Sugar. My diet is strict, but I no longer get head-aches, muscle aches, stomach- aches(which are my reactions to gluten) and my energy is much better.
My typical daily diet:
-7:00 AM, 1 egg (After I work out from 5am to 6 am)
-9:00 AM Vega shake with berries & water
11:30 kale salad with 4 bean mix NO DRESSING, mixed with lots of veggies
3:30 Snack- mixed bag of cut veggies NO DIP
6:00 Dinner- fish veggies and mix salad.
My love and treat is coffee with lactose free milk.
I also changed the way I am exercising. I cut down my running and started going to the gym every morning before work for weight training. I have become stronger, leaner and faster and my energy is much better. I have lost 2 sizes, 10lbs and most importantly, I feel like Dayna again.
It isn’t easy to make a drastic change in your life, but I promise you it’s worth it. I am a busy mum and wife, I work full time, commute nearly 2 hours to work each day, walk or run my dog every day, co-manage Run Like A Girl, and host group runs on the weekend. What I am saying is, everyone lives a busy life, and change can be hard, but you have to focus on yourself sometimes. When you aren’t feeling yourself, and you are not healthy, you need to figure out what is wrong and do something about it. You only have one life, and your happiness and health are so important. I am excited about not only how my body has changed, but most importantly that I am finally starting to feel like my old self.
I want to thank my running fiends for always supporting me on my tough days where running was so hard, mostly Penny Rundle, Kyle Conway, Hailey Van Dyk, Courtney Burt and Chris Hardy. Running friends are the best friends, and runners come together and lift each other up.
I also want to thank my husband for being so supportive through all this, and during those long nights helping me with the tummy aches, muscle aches and head-aches.