By Susan Jacobs
After decades of swallowing my words and running from my truth, my thyroid said, ‘enough,’ and went into overdrive, causing me to develop a raging hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease. When diagnosed, I didn’t know what a thyroid was, let alone where it was located in my body. I came to learn that it is a small but mighty and critical butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s Apple, that regulates our hormones and lots of bodily functions.
To alternative and holistic healers and us yogis, the thyroid is associated with the fifth chakra and is about all things self-expression, communication, truth, and creativity. The fifth chakra supports us in expressing all that we are meant to be, speaking and owning one’s truth. In short, it’s pretty darn important that this critter works properly.
So it was with huge alarm that I received this news, but an even bigger challenge was, there I was, face-to-face with the ultimate test: Could I hold onto my belief that not only do we subconsciously create health conditions that force us to look at what is going on with our life, but that we also have the power to heal ourselves? It was easy to strut strong to that belief when healthy, but suddenly I was going to have to walk the walk, and stand tall while navigating the traditional and alternative medical worlds.
Reality hit hard; I had to make life saving or life-threatening decisions. Before long, my strut went limp and I was caught between confusion and fear. Should I take the dangerous, though seemingly ‘safe’ Western medical route, covered by insurance, or trust my expansive network of alternative healers, none of whom were covered by insurance? At the time of my diagnosis and for many years thereafter, nothing holistic was covered by insurance, which meant it would be an expensive journey. I also always believed in integrative medicine—East meets West—and while I predominately chose East for my process, I did integrate elements of West.
From the hyperthyroid, I felt like there was electricity running through my veins at all times—as though I was shooting espresso intravenously. At its worst, my resting heartbeat was over 100bpm. The Graves’ disease caused me to have double vision, so thanks to my holistic eye doctor, my contact lenses were switched out for glasses with plastic prisms taped to the lenses. While somewhat unsightly, this did correct the double vision symptoms.
If the physical symptoms weren’t bad enough to deal with, my endocrinologist scared the crap out of me every time I went for blood tests, telling me I was putting my life in danger and being irresponsible. He wanted me to follow the standard treatment of drinking radioactive iodine to kill my thyroid, causing me to ultimately become hypothyroid, and on medicine for the rest of my life.
If I chose that treatment, I would have been so radioactive afterwards that I wouldn’t have been able to be around children or animals for a couple of days.
Sure, sign me up, that’s right up my alley. Ultimately my endocrinologist fired me as his patient because I wouldn’t succumb to these ‘routine,’ yet radical Western treatments.
Perhaps I was risking my life, but I believed I could heal. I didn’t have a clue how this was going to unfold, and despite leaving his office after each visit in tears, I mostly held strong. Not only was the doctor against my decision, I also had to endure the forceful opinions of my family and friends.
It sucked, was horrible all around, and was probably the most difficult experience of my life. At some point along the way I had my ‘ah ha’ moment. Why did I get a condition that affected my throat and eyes? What wasn’t I saying and seeing in my life? And then the floodgates opened.
With the help of an incredible posse of alternative healers including acupuncturists, homeopaths, naturopaths, astrologers, tarot card readers, nutritionists, and a whole lot more, coupled with Yogi Bhajan’s teachings, my Kundalini Yoga practice, and various books including Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa’s Meditation as Medicine, Carolyn Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit, Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart, and Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, I started to seek answers within.
Through this process, I became a much more active and conscious participant in my healing, not solely expecting that a treatment method would do the trick, but that I had to get to the root cause which only I had the answer to. This perspective required tremendous energy, focus, and discipline to maintain (and a ton of tears!), and even though I experienced the benefits and saw the proven results, sustaining that level of conscious living remains a constant challenge.
Diet and lifestyle played a big part in my healing, but I believe the most important factor was becoming able to see that I needed to speak and live my truth. When I started doing that, my blood numbers and symptoms balanced out.
Mine was a long, hard journey that was accomplished 95% holistically, the exceptions being two eye surgeries for the Graves’ disease, a year on the thyroid drug PTU before my body rejected it with a negative liver reaction, and a short stint on beta-blockers to protect my heart.
It took me a long time to come full circle in my healing before I realized that I am my BFF (best friend forever) and my best, most trusted guru. When I speak and live my truth and am disciplined with a daily practice of three simple actions—Kundalini Yoga, journaling, and meditation—life flows, stress is minimized, and I receive answers and a sense of direction.
I can now happily report that for the past three years my thyroid has been in remission, my numbers are balanced, and so is my life. I sit here reflecting on all that’s been, the choices and mistakes I’ve made, and lessons learned. I’m healthy, strong, and generally at peace. My eyes are wide open, my vision is clear, and I trust the process of life. As Louise Hays says, “You can heal your life.” I’m living proof!
Giving voice to things that matter is the heart and soul of who Susan Jacobs is and what she does. Susan is a writer, storyteller, strategist, and world traveler. With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, communications, and business experience, she works helps clients stand out in the marketplace. Susan is a published author and contributed to the book "Pain, Purpose, Passion: That Was Then, This is Now" and the upcoming, “Step Forward and Shine.” She has a book publishing deal with The Round House Press and is working on her first memoir. She is a contributing blogger for Huffington Post, Yogic Living, Thrive Global, and Identity Magazine, and her writing has appeared in FourTwoNine Magazine, Extreme Sailing Series Official 2018 Guide Magazine, Aquarian Times, Spirituality & Health, PR Week, and IndieWire. She has traveled extensively and prefers off-the-beaten-path places that require a passport. Find Susan at www.bluezanconsulting.com