“I know it can always flare up again, but I know I have the tools to keep it in remission.”
In the months following the birth of her first child, Emily Kiberd expected to be tired. But this felt well beyond the fatigue of a sleep-deprived new mom.
Prior to having her son, Emily recalls a few health concerns, including eczema and odd tongue pain – but nothing close to this. Now, she was flat-out exhausted and experienced brain fog so severe she could barely finish a sentence. On top of that, her hair was falling out. And despite high-intensity workouts, she was unable to shed post-baby pounds.
Emily found it tough to keep up with her demanding life as a business owner and mom.
“As a chiropractor in New York, running a team of 10 employees, seeing hundreds of patients a week, I was like, ‘I can’t function this way. I can’t live this way. I’d want to sleep all weekend. I didn’t feel like I could hang out with my kid because I just could not be present,” she says.
Testing for Hashimoto’s Disease
Emily saw a variety of doctors, who failed to find anything wrong with her – and blamed it simply on lack of sleep. Then someone recommended a functional medicine doctor in New York City, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. Dr. Lyon ran a slew of thyroid tests before uncovering that Emily, in fact, had Hashimoto’s disease.
“She’s like, ‘You have an autoimmune condition. You have a presence of thyroid antibodies, which means that your body is attacking your own thyroid gland,” Emily remembers.
Emily wondered why no other doctors or thyroid tests had uncovered Hashimoto’s. Dr. Lyon explained that only certain thyroid tests will spot thyroid antibodies to indicate a Hashimoto’s diagnosis.
Emily also learned that, if she treated it early, then it could possibly go into remission without much destruction of her thyroid gland.
A Protein-Heavy, Low-Histamine Diet for Hashimoto’s
Motivated to turn around her health, Emily began a natural Hashimoto’s treatment protocol. First, she cleaned up her diet by eliminating gluten and dairy, and instead focused on protein and vegetables.
Additionally, she ate low-histamine foods, or foods that would not produce a histamine spike. That meant no fermented options or leftovers, unfortunately. Instead, she cooked everything fresh.
“I get a choice every time I put something in my mouth,” she says. “That is either going to make me feel good or not good.”
Exercise with Hashimoto’s
Before, Emily would push herself through back-to-back Soul Cycle and Barry’s Bootcamp workouts in an attempt to shed weight. But ultimately, they just exhausted her further.
“Over-training is a stressor on the body and can create adrenal dysregulation,” Emily says. “And I felt it. I would wake up dragging. And then in the evening I would feel wired, but tired. And I couldn’t go to sleep, which is a very common symptom of Hashimoto’s.”
She replaced high-intensity cardio workouts with strength training three times a week – with heavy weights with low reps and long rest breaks.
Addressing Heavy Metals and Mold Toxicity
With her doctor, Emily also began addressing environmental toxins, which can dysregulate the thyroid. Testing had turned up mold and heavy metals toxicity, plus parasites.
Before she began a detox protocol, however, her doctor recommended that she work on her gut health with digestive enzymes and other gut-healing supplements.
Then, she began protocols to clear mold and metals from her body. For mold, she took supplements called binders, which mop up and carry out toxins from the body. She also took supplements to open her detox pathways and sweated out toxins in saunas.
For help finding the source of mold exposure, she turned to mold inspectors. They found black mold in her apartment and the source: a water leak. Thus she began the long process of remediation – pulling out and replacing all the damaged areas along with repairing leaks.
When she was younger, Emily had traveled extensively, including third-world countries – the source of parasites, she suspects.
“I got sick in every single third world country I’ve ever been to,” she says.
Parasite testing can be hit or miss. A negative test doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free of parasites. Emily did a stool test that was actually run through a lab in Nigeria, which looks for the DNA and RNA of parasites.
Because many conventional physicians don’t test for parasites – at least beyond giardia and salmonella – it can be worth finding a practitioner who will run more extensive parasite testing.
To clear parasites, Emily chose the fast route: a three-day parasite cleanse.
Then, she moved on to tackle metals toxicity. Growing up, she had worked with her father, replacing roofs in the summers. She suspects the metal roofing materials as the source of her exposure. However, metals come from numerous other sources, including our water.
Reaching Hashimoto’s Remission
Though she wanted to heal as quickly as possible, Emily patiently addressed each layer of her health picture under a practitioner’s care.
Within six to nine months, she felt tremendously better. Extra weight had come off and she no longer needed daily naps to get through the day.
By nine months, her lab work showed that her Hashimoto’s was in remission and no visible signs of thyroid atrophy.
“I’m grateful that everything aligned and I had a good game plan,” she says. “I know it can always flare up again, but I know I have the tools to keep it in remission.”
To keep her thyroid regulated, Emily’s maintenance routine includes avoiding coffee, and following a high-protein diet with a mix of vegetables. She’s very careful about mold exposure, and has any living space inspected before moving in.
She also completed a sleep study, and following that, took steps to improve breathing through her nose.
Emily’s experience not only changed her personal life, but her professional approach too. As a chiropractor, she designed an online workout program to support women with thyroid concerns, called Thyroid Strong. It’s a weight-based kettle ball program with low reps to help women feel strong without overtraining.
Along with all the tactical steps she took to heal, Emily stresses the importance of mindset as an integral part.
“I think just that mindset of doing whatever it takes contributed to going into remission,” she says. “I think sometimes people get their diagnosis and there is this really strong, intertwined, not emotional attachment, but entanglement. Like ‘I am my diagnosis.’ I think it’s important to untangle yourself, especially when you’re in the darkest depths of your diagnosis, to untangle yourself and be like, ‘No, I’m a mom. I’m a chiropractor. I’m a wife. I want a strong body and a clear mind.”
You can find Emily at www.dremilykiberd.com and on the major social media platforms as DrEmilyKiberd.
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