Welcome! My name is Jane and I’m here in the hope that sharing my story will somehow help you with yours. I’ve spent the last five years on a deep journey to uncover the layers driving autoimmune disease in my body. And perhaps you can relate. Throughout this process I have become clear that although everyone’s path to healing is quite different, there are foundational principles and elements that are common to all. My hope is to illuminate these components and provide a basic roadmap to follow as you too discover the path towards the life that is calling you.
Five years ago I was living in Boulder, Colorado as a 28 year old with a seemingly great life. I was recently engaged to my college boyfriend, was working for a startup software company that took me traveling across the country, and was living the mountain lifestyle of skiing, rock climbing, biking, running mountains and meeting friends for happy hour after five. I had also started my own physiology consulting company called Physio-Logic and was selling Plain Jane almond butter at my local farmers market in an attempt to engage people on the importance of nutrition.
A lot was happening. And on the outside it looked quite beautiful. But on the inside I was deeply hurting and struggling with a critical internal voice and physical pain that told me I couldn’t keep living this way. Something wasn’t right, but I was scared of what I might find if I slowed down to listen.
With a background in human physiology and a lifetime of athletic endeavors, I was quite confident I knew what was needed for a healthy life. I ate a mostly organic diet, bought grass fed meat and there was no shortage of exercise in my life. But looking a little deeper, I was desperately attempting to keep up with the Boulder image where how you looked seemed more important that how you felt. So although I knew quite a bit about health, I was chronically underfed and stuck in a cycle of not eating enough, moving too much and using happy hour as a way to make it ok.
It was also during the time in Boulder of what became known as the 100 year flood where five straight days of torrential rain caused massive flooding, leaving basements water-logged and house walls supersaturated.
I was internally anxious with thoughts that seemed perpetually negative and racing. I couldn’t quite place the exact discomfort, but it felt like this deep down tug to acknowledge that I wanted to live life differently – to have a sense of purpose and meaning and connection. I felt desperate but didn’t know how to create the life that my insides were asking for.
I had recently been chosen to co-lead a two-day training seminar at work. Representatives from all of our customers flew into Denver to hear about the latest features and software rollouts. I would literally be speaking to over 200 people for 6-8 hours per day for two days. Oh, and did I mention talking in front of people has always made me nervous? Like I was the kid at school that walked speechless through the halls hoping my basketball skills and math homework would somehow articulate the words for me.
As the conference day drew closer, the anxiety and stress level in me was sky-rocketing as I tried to manage a couple businesses, plan a wedding and maintain the weekend adventure schedule with not enough food or rest. I was living on the edge.
I remember taking the stage the morning of the training with this overwhelming anxiety in my throat – like that feeling you get right before you’re about to cry but are trying to suppress it. However, as I stood up there and began to speak, something in me began to shift. I was uncomfortable with everyone watching me, but there was also something I liked about teaching people how to use our software to make their lives easier. In fact, I was having a bit of fun for a change.
As day two of the conference was wrapping up, I vividly remember being in the women’s bathroom washing my hands. I looked at myself in the mirror and said to reflection, “I like speaking in front of people.” And as the words came out of my mouth, there was instantaneous internal response that countered – “Yeah! Imagine if you were speaking about something you actually cared about!”
The next morning, I woke up and knew something was terrible wrong. There was this deep dark menacing edge of fatigue mixed with this equally debilitating anxiety that had my mind in overdrive. I was sweating, my heart was racing and it felt like hands had been placed around my throat and had begun to squeeze. Was I having a panic attack? Thoughts raced through my head as I tried to explain this unbearable internal discomfort I could not escape.
Looking back now, I was incredible lucky on so many levels. My fiancé and I both had physiology backgrounds and went into high gear trying to figure out what was going on inside me. Within two weeks of researching, we concluded that based on my symptom picture and throat sensation, something was very likely going on with my thyroid gland. I had also read that most practitioners only test one lab value – TSH - when evaluating thyroid function. I walked into the lab at Boulder Community Hospital and discovered I could self-order my own thyroid panel – making sure to include the T4 and T3 hormones as well as thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TG) which are rarely ordered by most endocrinologists or PCPs.
I still remember where I was sitting when the lab called to give me the results. My T3 levels which show metabolically active thyroid hormone were below normal and my TPO antibodies were greater than 1000. Greater than 1000, I remember asking?? Given this information it was clear my internal symptoms were from the autoimmune disease known as hashimotos thyroiditis.
Within the next 2 years I went through a series of massive change. I found out I was living in an apartment with toxic mold from the flood. I got married and divorced. I changed jobs twice, quit both of my own businesses and drove out to Seattle to begin Naturopathic Medical School at Bastyr University.
In the posts to follow, I hope to illuminate a deeper understanding of what drives autoimmunity and disease in general. In addition, I hope to share the foundational principles and elements that are the building blocks to create the conditions for health and open the door to the life that is longing to be lived.
Thank you for joining me on this path!