Who’s this Lori chick? I’m a 40 year old mom, part owner of CrossFit San Ramon, always running and always short on “me time” & free time. It was my type A personality that facilitated the eventual undoing of my health, a timeline that is crazy to me when I sit down and revisit it. My health has taken me on quite the journey, one of which I’m (now) thankful I can share with the world, to help those of you that have found your way to our website. A stubbornness that can only come from an Italian Taurus like myself (just ask my mom), and a determination to LIVE for my daughter and a longing to enjoy an active life again with my partner, Tim. I just wouldn’t give up, and with the help of many, and the Autoimmune Protocol, I’m back to good. Here’s my story:
I have my MA in English, and yet life has led me down the path to extensive training in fitness and nutrition. I, along with my partner Tim, own CrossFit San Ramon where I coach classes and teach nutrition courses and enjoy helping people discover and maintain better health.
I wasn’t always in the “know” of what healthy eating really was, and for a while I could have cared less, weighing in at a solid 220#s at 5’3”. But I digress, to age 11,the start of my timeline of health gone bad, and how I ended up with Full Blown Hashimoto’s right before I turned 40.
Yes, that’s me, age 33
While my mom was battling bladder cancer and getting through a divorce, I became an emotional eater. Pair that with hormones, mega stress, and the dreaded period starting, it was the perfect storm for a life time of health struggles. Week long periods, severe PMS, (which lead to a PCOS diagnosis in my late 20s when I was trying to conceive). Age 13 I had tonsillitis 11 times in a year. Severe allergies to various foods, grass and trees. Weight issues, being made fun of for most of my school years, until I resolved to a life of slim fast and 800 calories a day. Even then I was never super skinny. Acne, headaches, painful periods plagued me throughout Jr. High and High School.
Even when I was staying active and following weight watchers in my 20s, maintaining a decent weight was never easy. My TSH levels were always “normal” so no one stopped to think my thyroid was an issue. I got up to 205 when I was 20 and then by 23 I had managed to get down to 145 Pounds, I looked and felt healthy. I wrapped up college, graduated and moved to Nevada to get my MA and teach at UNR. A few weeks after moving my grandpa died, he was my world, and that marked the last time my health was decent, until right before my 40th birthday. The stress of that loss kicked me into a depression, severe weight gain, zero energy and a fatigue that was indescribable. My thyroid was out of control, and not one doctor could help me. I was diagnosed with PCOS shortly after and miscarried one year before conceiving Ashleigh, at age 30. The level of devastation was tremendous. Everyone around me was having babies, and I was just sick, cold, tired, fat and miserable. Through fertility treatments, which consisted of taking metformin to help my ovulation, I conceived Ashleigh. It was a High risk pregnancy with so many complications, an emergency C-section at 37 weeks to save us both, and by divine intervention, she was born and I was ok. I was elated to be a mommy, but not even that happiness could give me the energy I was lacking. Again, no one caught on that my thyroid was the culprit, until I left my GP and went to an endocrinologist in Reno. My numbers we’re not too bad, but they put me on Armor thyroid to see if it would help. My nutrition was still crap, gluten, dairy, fast food, sugar, so every meeting with my doctor every 6 months we had to up the grain of the Armor to get better results. I was able to function better, but hadn’t had a day of feeling healthy and truly good since I was 10, and at this point I’m 32. I was getting tired of feeling like crap, and that being the norm.
When my little one was 6 months old my (now ex) husband lost his job of 13 years – remember the crash of 2008? We do! The stress was immeasurable, it took him over 2 years to find a job and move us back to California, in which time we lost everything. And you guessed it, my thyroid tanked again. I ran on adrenaline because every day was fight or flight. Moving back home to the bay area brought me closer to family and friends, and with that I started feeling better as we started over.
Back in California, and yet again, my new doctor couldn’t understand why I was on thyroid medication because my TSH was greater than .45 by .5– I mean HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT? So I had to politely ask for the full T3, T4, etc. workup so we could look at all the markers, and low and behold – the numbers were not normal. Back then it was my T4 that was whacked. It was about this time that I was to my wits end. I’m in my mid 30s, I’m tired of being fat, I’m tired of feeling like sh!t, and I’m tired of doctors not knowing anything about my health. Can someone please provide me with WHY this Hypothyroidism is happening? And until recently, no one could.
Onto the next stressor – At the start of my divorce, Ashleigh was 5, I was obese and I needed a change. I joined CrossFit San Ramon and gave it my all. May of 2013 I took a nutrition course and dove into Paleo eating. For an Italian that loved cheese, pasta and all things bread, this was quite the switch. I was a woman driven – about to be a single mom, and I felt the insatiable need to be healthy for my daughter, TO LIVE for her. I went from 220-145 in less than 6 months, and amazingly enough, came off my thyroid meds and was FINE. Better than ever. How nice to be small, fit, healthy, in a wonderful relationship and be rid of all the obnoxious thyroid side effects; cold hands & feet, irregular periods, inability to lose weight, getting sick at the drop of a hat…you know the drill!
I stayed healthy until 2 years later – exactly 2 years, May of 2015, when Tim and I went up the coast and took a fateful Outrigger canoe trip. Water splashing in my mouth was enough to give me Giardia, and it was over 7 months until I was properly diagnosed, at which time it was discovered I had H.Pylori as well. So long small intestine and stomach health! I had zero energy, I was back up to 165 while eating paleo and working out as much as I could with little energy I had. I was always cold, irritable, tired, cranky, negative and the IBS was indescribable. So I talked with our amazing in house nutrition expert and I asked her who I should see about Allergy testing – because clearly, something was making me sick and setting off my thyroid. She sent me to Linda Clark, NP who runs her practice, Universal Wellness Associates. These two ladies saved my life, where conventional medicine had been failing me for decades now.
Linda ran really extensive blood work on me. The results were devastating, and I clearly remember sobbing at the gym when I got the results. On paper it looked like I was dying – thyroid, pituitary gland, liver, kidneys, all showing damage. I remember Linda saying that we couldn’t do food allergy tests when I was this bad, that it would show too many false positives, and that she was certain I had a parasite. I got to send my stool sample to Georgia to DNG labs and a week later I saw the positive results for H.Pylori and Giardia and a severe issue with fecal fat, meaning my liver wasn’t working well. How in the absolute f*ck could this be happening to ME? I felt so betrayed, so cheated, so bitter, so ALONE, so completely pissed off and like giving up.
7 months of Naturopathic treatment and I was rid of the parasites, but I still wasn’t feeling 100%. We ran another thyroid test and this time I tested positive for the Anti-body marker, meaning I had Hashimoto’s. It was a devastating blow, the parasites did me in, it still makes me cringe when I sit here typing this.
So now I’m back on thyroid medicine – all Naturopathic, this time bovine thyroid from New Zeland. Anti-inflammatory supplements, more gut healing supplements, AIP instead of just Paleo – and I can say, after this last round of bloodwork, I’m 100% better. More energy, vitality and health than ever before. Crushing my CrossFit workouts, playing with Ash and her friends, enjoying life, stopping to smell the roses, sleeping and caring for myself. The road to get here has been hard, trying, testing, rewarding, glorious, terrifying, surreal, educational, triumphant, and who knows what else is in store…
I have spent hundreds of hours studying, researching, biohacking, learning all the tips and tricks of AIP, making it accessible for myself and others. Teaching, sharing and instructing countless people with thyroid and other autoimmune disorders. It’s amazing that this is where life has taken me, and although the struggle was all too real, what a blessing to have experienced and lived through it so I can help others.
What a fated encounter that Katrina and I should start talking about our Thyroid issues at the gym. We decided that we should work together to make AIPCommunity and help as many people as we can by sharing all that we have experienced. Sharing recipes, tips and tricks to make your lives easier. Making AIP accessible is what AIPCommunity is all about. Life can be challenging enough, let’s make the healing part less complicated, shall we? We’re here for you, let’s get YOU better!
All About Katrina!
This disease can sometimes have you looking back on your life and trying to find out where you went wrong. I always “thought” I was a pretty healthy person. Yes, I did binge on boxes of mac and cheese in college and the lived the SAD life (Standard American Diet). I struggled with my body image and it was never easy for me to lose weight. I often felt that if I looked at a piece of chocolate I would gain 10 pounds, which brought me to Weight Watchers and countless hours at the gym. But honestly, if I look back on my life there were a number of warning signs that I would end up with autoimmune disease. My mom and grandmother had low thyroid, I struggled with adult acne, short brittle nails, and I had constant yo-yos in my weight.
It was about 6 months after my son was born that my autoimmune disease changed my life. I started losing my hair, I had horrible brain fog, and even after consistently jogging 5 miles with the stroller I still looked about 4 months pregnant. I couldn’t lose the baby weight no matter what I did. The funny thing about hypothyroidism is that the symptoms are very similar to postpartum. So when I would talk about it, most people replied, “this is your new mom life.” One morning, however, after sleeping 15 hours and still waking up tired, I knew something was wrong. Finally, I went to my primary care doctor and my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) was at 26, normal range is from 0.5 – 4.0! After about 2 months of starting thyroid medication, my hair started growing back, and I had most of my energy level. It was then, however, that I started getting symptoms of other autoimmune diseases, most noticeably, my joints started swelling. I went to countless conventional doctors, and all of them assured me my blood work was normal and there was nothing they could do to prevent other autoimmune diseases. I even had one doctor say, “all we can do is wait for the next autoimmune disease to develop and then we can treat it.” But for me, this wasn’t an acceptable answer.
This disease takes a lot of tenacity, heart, or for lack of a better word, stubbornness, and stubbornness I know to a T! Deep down I could feel something was off and I started researching on my own. I made a goal to read a book a week, and I listened to Podcasts as I drove to work. Everything I read pointed me to the Paleo diet. I went Paleo and within a month began feeling about 90 percent better. I found my strongest triggers were sugar, wheat, dairy, and alcohol… wah wah!
I was starting to feel like my old energetic self, so we started to try for a second baby. After 15 months postpartum, we got pregnant again. We knew the risks, but we were hopeful for a normal pregnancy. We miscarried at 8 weeks and my symptoms of AI resumed shortly after. It was then that I discovered AIP and I now feel I am finally on the road to recovery. I am so thankful for my amazing Naturopathic doctor helping me along the way.
Lori and I are here to tell you not to give up! We understand this disease can wear you down and make you feel like throwing in the towel. Meeting Lori was kismet as we both have a passion for the information we are learning and want to reach out to build an AIP community. If we can help one person heal faster in their journey we will have succeeded! We are here to listen and help make your journey as stress-free as possible. Please vent with us, share your struggles, and as a team we can help get you back on your feet!
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu