Over the past few years, hubby has been experiencing more and more health problems. It seemed like he'd barely recover from one cold or sinus infection before he was down with another. His blood pressure went up, he was constantly tired and increasingly moody....clearly something was wrong, but we couldn't figure out what it was. Our family doctor sent him to several different specialists, but the only answer we got was, "Well, at your age you have to begin to expect some of these things." That is not the answer you give an engineer, folks! So after considerable frustration, Jon found a holistic medical practice and was able to get an appointment.
We weren't sure what to expect, having never seen a holistic practitioner, but the sheer amount of information they wanted even before his appointment gave us a pretty good sense that they would be thorough. And boy, were they ever! His first appointment was 90 minutes long (and when does that ever happen?), and he came home with all sorts of information about possible causes, etc. They'd also taken blood for a lot of lab work, and about a week later we got those results. Jon has Hashimoto's disease. It's an autoimmune disease that seems to primarily attack the thyroid. It also seems to be tied to food allergies/dietary choices, which means that a large part of the treatment involves a total dietary overhaul. That's where things get tricky.
The doctor recommended a gluten-free/dairy-free diet for Jon, as that seems to be very helpful for most Hashimoto's patients. Jon's bloodwork also revealed that he's allergic to a number of foods, including chicken, peanuts, honey, bananas, apples, blueberries, garlic, and almost all types of dairy. Obviously this makes feeding the poor guy interesting! We normally do a LOT of chicken, and our whole family loves cheese, but those are out for him. It's incredible how many things have gluten or dairy products in them that you just wouldn't expect. Friends keep suggesting various recipes to me, only to realize they have cheese, or milk, or wheat, or.....you get the picture! I'm really changing how I grocery-shop and how I cook. It's going to take a while for us to get the hang of all this, and figure out how to keep Jon healthy without totally depriving the rest of the family of things like cheese and ice cream. :-/
While this has definitely been a bit of a shock, it's actually been good for Jon in a couple ways. For one thing, he now knows what's going on with his body, and that it's something treatable. Hashimoto's explains almost all of the symptoms he's been experiencing, and it's a relief to know that it's not just because he's over 50 (or worse, that it's "all in his head"). Having a concrete treatment plan is very helpful, and takes away that feeling of helplessness. And in just a couple weeks Jon's already feeling much better and has lost some weight as well. So even though it sounded kind of scary at first, finding out he has Hashimoto's has actually been a relief overall. Now I just have to learn a different style of cooking. Recipes, anyone?