My Diagnosis of an Auto Immune Disease
By Logan Kaufman
I’m a 26 year old male, a CrossFit trainer, and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism). It is an affliction that can wreak havoc in your life. I’m sharing my story to raise awareness and to possibly help those who may find themselves in a similar situation.
I do not know exactly when I started feeling the symptoms of this disease but in hindsight I believe it could possibly have been mid 2015. The disease has a way of slowly sneaking up and debilitating your body and mind until you can no longer ignore a disturbing sense that you are morphing into a person you do not recognize. Instead of going through life with a spirit of happiness, creativity and a lust for life, I became a person frequently experiencing overwhelming fatigue and detachment from all that I loved.
In Feb. of 2016, I started to progressively becoming more tired every day. I started to gain weight. I was constantly sick with colds and sore throats. Everyday at the Box I was asked, “Logan, why are you always sick?” I thought my repeated colds were because I didn’t have a strong immune system at the time. Due to being sick and fatigued my workouts cut back to about 3 times a week. I constantly felt frustrated with my family and friends, even my girlfriend, because it felt like they were putting demands on me I didn’t like or want or could handle. Of course none of this was true…it just felt that way. I know how terrible this sounds but to be accurate and to help others I must tell my story as accurately as possible.
By March 2016 I would leave work and go to my local market and get myself desserts before going home to sleep. I would eat cookies in the car so my parents, who were already troubled and disturbed about the amount of desserts I was consuming, wouldn’t know how much I was really eating. I would do this on weekdays. I then used Friday as an excuse to eat as much dessert as I wanted since it was the weekend. I was angry that I had to deal with my dad who was always on my case about the amount of sugar I was in-taking. My father was very worried and right to be so concerned. But at the time, I didn’t know why he was being such a pain in my ass. (For some, hypothyroidism and sugar disorders of one kind or another can go hand in hand. But at this time I had no idea what was going on.)
For more information see: https://chriskresser.com/thyroid-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome/
In April, I was visiting multiple doctors because I was always sick. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease and I was clearly addicted to sugar.
It was during this time that I began to realize I was loosing certain feelings that made me, what I call, “human”. I lost my sense of humor, nothing seemed funny. I didn’t feel loving toward anyone. I didn’t feel helpful, etc. I started losing feelings for my girlfriend, for no reason. She was once my whole world. (Hashimoto’s affects every system in your body and it was affecting the chemistry that affects my feelings and emotions.)
I no longer had feelings for my closest friends or my family that I had loved so deeply. I would literally have to tell myself that I cared about people. Eventually, I got to the point where I would routinely wake up Monday through Thursday at 3:50am for training at the Box and tell myself, “I need to care for these people, I need to care for my CrossFit members”. By noon, every day, all I wanted to do was go to bed and never wake up.
Monday mornings, the start of each work week, my legs would shake. I felt like I had done 1,000 squats. The fatigue was more sever than after FRAN. I felt there was no reason to discuss this with anyone, because it just didn’t sound real. It seemed that telling people about the pain I was going through would just sound too dramatic when added on to all my other symptoms.
By June 2016 I no longer cared about my girlfriend or had feelings for my family…. nothing! My business was just a place to work, then go home, sleep and eat cookies. I was at a new all time low.
I don’t know how to explain the feeling of not having feelings towards anyone. I felt I became like a robot. I just did what I remembered to be good and hoped no one would notice. However, the people that were close to me knew something was wrong.
There is one day I will never forget. I went to the beach with my brother Shane, Robert (who is like my brother) and my two friends, Frank and Will. We were playing Spike Ball. They all took off their shirt and for the first time in my life I questioned if I should take off my shirt. I knew I was overweight. I’m 5’8″ and was weighing 198 pounds at this point. I took off my shirt. Regardless if they all looked at me differently or not….I felt like they did. I knew I was no longer the Logan I once was. That was the first time I went home and cried. I felt like I had absolutely lost an important part of me.
By now I had settled on a doctor who had taken a deeper look into my complete health…not just my thyroid.
I told him I wanted to conquer my health problems naturally. He said I had a 20% chance, at most, of reversing the Hashimoto’s and he prescribed other supplements to support my body.
By August 2016 I’m eating healthy, playing soccer, and losing some weight, but feeling detached with no feelings towards anything or anyone. At this point I didn’t know any difference. Not feeling was my new normal. I worked…I slept. I cried everyday after work. I didn’t have a clue why. During that period of crying I felt crazy to be addicted to sugar and sleep. My attitude then was, “Don’t F*+#k with me and if you tell me I have slept enough hours already I will rip your head off”.
I remember at some point in all of this, my mother came to the Box and told me about this scary event that happened on the road and how she thought she could have died. While she was telling me about this crazy story all I thought was, “Shut up, I’m ready for my nap, I don’t care.” I have a very strong connection with my Mom and I didn’t care at all about this horrible incident that terrified her.
I went on about my life as me being me. I ate good some days, then not so good others. You could say I was trying. One thing I liked to do was play soccer. Soccer, somehow emotionally allowed me to experience some joy. Movies were another big way for me to experience some enjoyment. You may then ask, “Logan, then you must have had feelings?” It is hard to explain but the fun sensation you typically have when you’re with your friends doing different things, the flush you have when you are with the one you love, the feeling of emotional hurt by someone saying something cruel… those emotions where gone…they just didn’t exist.
In mid August I reached a new realization in my life. I had been trying to cure my disease naturally and it hadn’t worked. I thought my life was over. I had been shaking for 24 hours. I called in to speak with my doctor. His office told me I would not be able to talk with him for 19 days. This was my breaking point. I wasn’t going to last one more day. I desperately told the nurse if I can’t talk with him I am going to drive to the office. Five minutes later the doctor got on the phone and said, “Logan, what’s wrong?“ I urgently said, “Remember I was going to see if I can do this naturally, well I need to go on the treatment now. I’m not feeling myself at all.” He put me onto natural thyroid and other supplements to support my thyroid and immune system to help boost my energy. I continued to improve my diet and get off sugar. After about a month I started to get some energy back.
On October 19th I had a “moment” of truly reconnecting with my feelings. I remember the exact day. I felt more human, and started to reconnect with my emotions. I know how weird that must sound, but it’s true.
Two to three weeks later, the bad downhill trail started to take an upward turn. I am much better now and very grateful. I’m getting back to ME! It is so difficult for others to understand how hypothyroidism can cause so many disturbances in one’s mind, body and soul. The lab studies and other tests confirm the disease but tells you nothing about how it impacts your emotions, physicality, and personal relations, including those you deeply love. It also doesn’t brace or educate you on the other possible serious medical conditions that can arise from or were possibly the cause of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease.
My journey with this disease continues to unfold and the lifestyle I choose concerning stress, sleep, supplements and food choices, are paramount to how well I feel each day.
Unfortunately very little has been written describing the experiences of men and their journey with hypothyroidism, and so I am hopeful that my story will help someone else, male or female, going through a similar struggle.
My door is always open if you need help, guidance or just someone to talk to.