The Food Diary in the Wild: a shock Hashimoto's Thyroiditis diagnosis
Sasha went to the doctors for a routine pre-trip checkup and came out with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
But she didn’t let that stop her - instead, Sasha used her diary to manage her symptoms during her masters degree fieldwork!
Every month in our newsletter we feature a diary in the wild...in other words, we love to tell the stories of diary users: what they use them for, how they're getting on, their stories. You can sign up to read them first here.
Today Sasha tells us how she healed after a shock diagnosis of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in 2016.
"My journey with autoimmune disease – and finding ways to track and heal my symptoms – began in August 2016, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis at a routine doctor appointment. Naturally, this was quite a shock. I mean, I had gone in there to have some paperwork filled out saying that I was in good health in order for me to do my master’s fieldwork abroad! I wasn’t supposed to come out with any sort of diagnosis… but I did.
I didn’t think too seriously about how my lifestyle affected my autoimmune disease – and vice versa – until I was completely rundown the following month during my fieldwork: working twelve- to fourteen-hour days, community across town for interviews in forty-degree heat, and stressing out about deadlines and handing everything in on time. My symptoms ran completely wild: brain fog, short-term memory loss, digestive issues, hair loss, hormone acne, insomnia, and emotional distress, to name a few. And I had previously been a person who was known by her friends to be on top of everything – I never lost my wallet or forgot my keys, missed an appointment or was late for class. And here I was, struggling to make it through a single day. My health deteriorated so quickly that I came home two weeks early from fieldwork to get a second opinion from an endocrinologist in the United States (where I’m originally from), and from then on, I started taking thyroid medication and doing more to identify my symptoms and heal them.
I’ve only just discovered the Food Diary Co.’s wonderful journal a few months ago, but it has been instrumental in helping me identify patterns of behavior that cause symptom flairs in my Hashimoto’s – ones that I had never paid attention to before. After looking back at previous entries, I recently realized that I am highly reactive to dairy (specifically milk and hard cheeses) and acidic fruits (like tomatoes – which is hard, because I currently live in Turkey). So, I said goodbye to those foods and my gut health has improved significantly; I haven’t had any stomach pain or digestive issues in over a month! Similarly, I’ve noticed that when I don’t get enough sleep, I have significantly more digestive issues than when I get a good night’s rest, so I love that the journal has a section to track sleep patterns, too.
Overall, the Food Diary Co. diary has allowed me to be more proactive with my health than ever. Having a book where I’ve written all of my symptoms, behaviors, food, exercise, sleep, and emotional patterns isn’t just helpful for me, but also for my doctor when it comes time for check-ups. And having an organized way to track my symptoms has helped me eliminate most of them. This journal isn’t just for people with autoimmune disease like myself – it’s for anyone who wants to dial in on correcting specific areas of their health to improve their overall wellness. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful product!"
- Sasha Ward, Istanbul (currently in San Francisco)
Thank you so much for sharing with us Sasha! If you want to hear more helpful stories of people who've used their diary as an amazing tool to get healthier, sign up to our newsletter and they'll drop straight into your inbox!
Ps: if you're a diary user and love it so much that you want to share your story too, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'my diary story!'. We love love love reading and sharing them!