It is said our livers are the generals of our bodies. They control and direct so many functions (more than we can ever hope to truly understand) and are the true work hub of our bodies. Yet in the past I paid so little attention to my liver and what it needed to be healthy, instead exposing it, knowingly and unknowingly, to toxins that harm and clog it (e.g. alcohol, heavy metals, products made with synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, gas/petrol fumes, chemicals in paint, etc) and to ever increasing amounts of fat in my diet. So it is actually no surprise that Henry (yes, my liver now has a name to personalize it when I check in!) decided to let me know enough is enough. And he did so by shutting down the conversion of essential thyroid hormones my body needs, which ultimately left me constantly exhausted, some days dragging myself out of bed with a foggy head that could not think clearly and absolutely no energy to make it through the day. Never mind the bloating and weight gain, dry itchy skin, hair falling out, eyebrows disappearing, fingernails that were weak and brittle and carpal tunnel pain. And he didn’t do it all fast, looking back I can see this all happened over many, many years and there were indications that go way back to my childhood, but when it all culminated in my late 40’s I was a mess.
Allopathic medicine’s answer was to substitute the missing thyroid hormones with chemical hormones in the form of pills never looking for the root cause. And while the standard treatment worked to give me more energy initially, a few months later things deteriorated again and were way worse, requiring ever increasing amounts of pills and various combinations just to get through the day. I was desperate to feel well and this desperation kicked my inner researcher into gear. When I had the energy I read & listened to everything I could get my hands on. I found there is no shortage of advisors on how to live with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but I wanted to heal. I wanted to be off all medicines and to feel my body come alive again. And I was prepared to use my body as an experiment and, initially, try anything that came my way.
On the advice of many thyroid “experts” I gave up gluten, dairy and eggs. The removal of gluten helped my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I had had from childhood to clear up and mostly go away, my gut was happy! The removal of dairy helped clear my sinuses and constant post nasal drip, again something that had plagued me since childhood. And removal of eggs cleared up intense heartburn that had been worrying me for many years. All this was good! But it didn’t help with my thyroid hormones and the symptoms from the lack of the thyroid hormone T3 in my cells. I tried all the supplements that were touted as being the best for thyroid healing, taking an ever increasing pile of pills and although there were small improvements, I still wasn’t feeling healthy. There are a number of thyroid healing diets that are promoted as being the only thing that will help, but for me they are just too restrictive to follow long term and be a part of my family. I was frustrated.
I studied T4 to T3 conversion and what blocked it reading anything I could get my hands on. And when I allowed myself to tune in and listen to my inner knowing, I felt sure the answer lay in my liver but the blood tests available in allopathic medicine came back in the “normal” range and my doctor said there was nothing wrong there. But something niggled anyway.
For my birthday in 2019 my husband gave me the gift of a reflexology session and it was here that the first link came into my awareness. Theresa, the practitioner, told me that my lymphatic system and particularly my spleen were very clogged and I needed to work on getting them cleared. She gave me a few tips and I went on my way and started my research anew. Around the same time I went to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor for help with excruciating pain in my left elbow and numbness of my arm at night that I had struggled with for 18 years. I had tried everything allopathic medicine had to offer for this, undergoing numerous tests and nothing had helped. Even the carpal release surgery I had for my carpal tunnel syndrome only helped my right hand, and the pain in my left elbow was even worse. After a while this TCM doctor decided it was my liver and we did some acupuncture which helped a bit and he said I would have to continue on a weekly basis for many years to resolve the blockage. Sadly I didn’t have the medical benefits or cash to support that many visits and I had to quit seeing him. But his approach and focus on my liver once again pointed me in the right direction especially when I stopped seeing him and the pain came roaring back worse than before.
And so I kept reading and trying different things. One of the books I read was by Anthony William, The Medical Medium. To be honest I had read his thyroid book a couple of years before but had dismissed it. I guess the time wasn’t right then, but something prompted me to read it again and this time round my spiritual beliefs allowed me to accept that he gets information from Spirit. While I was initially skeptical that a virus, Epstein Barr, was causing my issues the concepts he put forth about the liver and that when it is clogged from toxins and too much fat it causes dirty blood and for the lymphatic system to get clogged up too, really got my attention. Based on what I was reading I decided to try some of his suggestions and just see if it helped with anything. I had nothing to lose.
I started with the concept that our livers wake up around 1-3am and do their cleansing & detoxification of the blood, all of which needs to then be eliminated from our bodies in the hours afterward and our livers need support first thing in the morning to repair themselves after getting rid of the “junk”. I learnt that one of the key things our livers need to regenerate is pure sugar from natural sources such as fruit (not from refined sugar/carbohydrates) and this sugar needs to be provided without anything else, especially anything with fats. If fat is eaten with the fruit then our liver needs to process the fat first (which can clog the liver again) and the benefits of the fruit are wasted. So I decided to change my morning routine to eat only fruit and pure (nothing added) fruit juices until lunchtime giving my liver as much sugar love as I could. And for the rest of the day I allowed myself to eat whatever I felt like, although I did also try to cut back on fats (contrary to the current high-fat diet fads). I also still avoided gluten, dairy & eggs. And having been constantly told by my doctor to watch my blood sugar levels I monitored them super carefully as I was concerned that too much fruit (something I had been constantly told is bad) would send me over the edge. I also spent several weeks having Anthony’s heavy metal detox smoothie once a day.
Much to my surprise my blood sugar levels stabilized and even dropped, the weight started to come off, the bloating and inflammation dissipated, my hair stopped falling out, my nails are tough and strong and I now curse them for how fast they grow, my eyebrows have grown back, I have lots of energy and can easily get out of bed, and my thinking is mostly clear , but even more surprising was the realisation one day that I had not had any of the excruciating pain in my elbow or numbness in my arm & hand for several nights in a row. It was gone! And at my most recent thyroid hormone level check we were able to reduce my medications by half – what a bonus!
In learning to love my liver I have remembered the interconnectedness of mind, body, spirit and emotions and how any negative influences on one impacts another. This has meant a huge shift in my approach to my life and how I look after myself. For example all of my life I had also struggled with anger. I would get angry easily at the slightest provocation and it was explosive anger, you didn’t want to be near me I promise! In Chinese medicine anger is associated with the liver and blocked or stagnant Qi and so my issues with anger all now make perfect sense with all that I have learned about my liver and the problems I was having with thyroid hormone conversion. With the changes I have made to focus on, love and support my liver, my anger is way down. I am much slower to anger these days and many of the things that would have really got me going in the past, now just pass me by without any interest on my part. I have been completely amazed at how calm I am under circumstances that would previously have had me boiling over. And as I have learned to love my liver I have learned to love myself more and more, again something that wasn’t the case for much of my life.
I still have a ways to go to heal completely and get off the chemical medications, but I am a long way from where I was in 2013/2014 when Henry started giving me ever larger signs that he was in trouble and that if I continued on my path I would be facing ongoing and deeper health issues. I now have a better understanding of how much my liver does for me and how it supports my other organs and cleansing my blood. I know it can regenerate itself and it is my responsibility to thank it, show it love and give it every opportunity to thrive so I can live my best and healthiest life, physically, emotionally and spiritually..
My journey has also taught me that we are all unique and what works for one is not necessarily a one size fits all. There are many well meaning “experts” out there but not everything that worked for them will be a fit for me & my unique circumstances. I have learnt to turn inwards and ask my body (especially Henry) and my Soul what is needed and whether a food, diet or supplement is right for me. Some days it is, some not. And what is right for me in this particular time may not be next year so there is constant refinement and reflection, but it is all guided by me and my unique needs.
I felt guided to share my story and my hope is it inspires at least one of you to show your liver some love and live your best possible life. If you are struggling with any health issue, consider the root cause (or at least part of it) may be a problem with your liver. It may be a virus that has taken up residence without you being aware of it, or an overload of heavy metals, toxins or fats. You have nothing to lose by giving some liver love a try and oh so much to gain if this is your problem area.
I’m available to love and support you on your journey if you have any questions, need help, to compare notes or just a friendly ear. This is something I am passionate about and I know you can do it. Just remember to check in with yourself and listen to what your Soul and body are telling you, you may be very surprised.
With love always,