Ten years ago I was diagnosed with an over active thyroid. Before I’d even sat down in the chair at my GP’s clinic, he’d printed off the prescription and told me I would be on the tablets for at least 18 months.
It wasn’t explained to me that I had Graves Disease.
It wasn’t explained to me that I would be seriously ill for a number of years.
It wasn’t explained to me that my personality would undergo a total transformation, that every system of my body would be affected and that I would have to fight through each day not to to fall asleep, upset anyone or stop the suicidal thoughts that had begun to plague me as I wondered what was wrong with me.
It sucked. Big style.
Over a decade later and I’ve come through the other side.
It’s been a tough journey and one that has had a silver lining.
I remained totally ignorant about my condition for the first four years. I had zero energy. Some days I couldn’t even hold my arms up long enough to brush my teeth so learning about my thyroid condition was very low down on my priority list!
Post thyroidectomy, I was angry. I had begun to learn a little before they took out my entire thyroid. I read, I Googled, I listened to podcasts and I had become my own human guinea pig; experimenting with gluten eradication saw my goiter reduce by two thirds its size. Then they cut my throat. Retrospectively, I firmly believe it could have been avoided.
However, this experience, however hard and horrific it has been, has shaped my entire existence as it is today. It propelled me into the world of natural medicine and, after three years of biochemistry, I came out of the College of Naturopathic Medicine as a Nutritional Therapist specialising in the condition that had changed my life forever.
I am now in a privileged position to help others down the path that I have steadily trudged, not only within the clinic, but with educational events.
Education is so important to me. It not only provides a space for thyroid patients to learn about their condition but it provides a much needed space for patients to identify with each other within a condition that is difficult to diagnose, frequently dismissed and rarely understood.
I have always wanted to build a thyroid conference. Even before I qualified. I used to build events regularly in my “previous life”. Have always loved it. When I was at my lowest, I desperately wanted to be in a space where someone could tell me what was wrong with me and how I could fix it. The Universe listened, and in late 2016 a chance meeting with the established and renowned naturopathic endocrinologist and published author Roderick Lane led to the inaugural Thyroid Conference in Bristol, 2017. The event began with my spiel about the thyroid basics, continued with Roderick discussing iodine use, Jonathan Cohen outlined valuable private testing processes and Emma Moorby finished off by outlining the dietary basics of ketogenics. It was a fantastic event.
This next year was bigger and better. A host of new speakers, delivering on their specialist subjects (stress management, immune system modulation, gut microbiome) all relating to thyroid health and how to manage the condition. I held on the fort on the basics, educating on the thyroid, how it can go wrong and what you can all do to help yourself.
I aim to deliver the content I would have wanted to hear when I was still so very sick; simple, empowering and hopeful information.
I’m not sure when we will be able to do this in the future. When will there be a time again where we are free to enjoy meandering about our beautiful event spaces, identifying with and supporting each other, mooching about the stands learning about and enjoying products that could help us all (we often have freebie supplements and edible goodie stands!).
For now, let’s support each other, listen to each other, be kind to each other and to ourselves and look forward to a time when we can all be in the same room again.
I look forward to that day. Stay tuned….it’ll come sooner than we all think!