This was me 18 years ago. I was 21-years-old and VERY obsessed with my looks. Yeah, I was a svelte snob. Back then I was a senior in college and more concerned with dating and fun than my health. Part of the secret to my lean legs and arms was that I hardly ate. And I hardly ate because eating made me sick. I also fought fatigue on a daily basis, but I figured it was due to college stress.
Ten years later I delivered my first and only child two months early. Two years after that, my fatigue was much worse. I was taking two to three hour naps daily. I chalked it up to the fact that I had a hyper toddler. But the IBS was worsening, too. By the time my little girl was in preschool, I was sleeping about 12 hours a day. Doctors said I was being lazy, and despite the myriad drugs they crammed down my throat, I became so sick that I thought I was dying. By this time my entire body was covered in rashes, bruises and I’d gained 20 pounds. My neck had also swollen to the point that I choked on my food. Can you believe I still had a hard time convincing doctors something was wrong with me?
Finally, one doctor believed I was sick. She put me on depression drugs because ‘my depression was depressing her’ and sent me to an endocrinologist because she suspected thyroid disease. This endo (who supposedly specializes in the thyroid) said nothing was wrong with me and so did his colleague. I found a new endocrinologist, one with a Harvard medical degree. She had no idea what was wrong.
By this point, I was so sick, I could hardly function. There were days when I’d sleep up to 14 hours. I was too sick to eat much, yet I continued to gain weight. My preschooler spent much of her after-school time playing alone. I was tired, in pain and riddled with guilt. The worst was the fear of dying and leaving my little daughter without a mother. A far cry from the party girl of my youth.
But I mustered enough strength to take my health into my hands and surf the internet. Doctor Google helped me to diagnose my illness. I went to my endo and asked her to test me for Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease. The test came back positive and she put me on thyroid hormone. It gave me more energy but did little to diminish the debilitating fibro pain. By this point, I was dependent on prescription pain killers to get through each day. This doctor said little to me about diet, vitamins or other hormone levels that generally go hand-in-hand with my disease.
Then I met my friend Alice. She runs a Hashimoto’s support group on Facebook called Hashimoto’s 411. You can also find me there as a moderator. She turned me on to holistic health as a way to treat my disease and introduced me to the book that changed my life, written by Dr. Kharrazian.
I’ve discovered that I am extremely intolerant to the protein gluten, found in most breads and pastas among many other foods. I also have a few more trigger foods that cause pain throughout my body. I had my daughter tested and found out she has a high antibody count against gluten as well. We are both gluten-free with amazing results. My naps are down to about 15 minutes a day. I have switched doctors and see a holistic MD and chiropractors who treat the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s. The weight is slowly coming back off. I am exercising and feeling better than I have in years, but this disease still has taken a toll on my body and robbed me of precious time with my family. I would not wish it on anyone.
During the height of my illness, I’d have a few days or even a few weeks where I felt somewhat normal. This was when I’d write. I wrote Krysta’s Curse during the onset of my decline. This may be why this book is darker than my other YAs. I also wrote a few adult comedies which are published under another pen-name, although these books are not appropriate for my YA audience. Why did I write them? Well, I’ve always believed that adversity is handled better with laughter. And believe me, I needed the laughs.
My health journey to hell and then back has helped me grow as a writer and as a human being. It has given me introspection into true human suffering and made me a much better person. I am no longer that silly superficial snob you see in the above picture, but a person who has experienced pain, fear, hope and resurrection.