Danna Bowman, Founder
A story about an amazing woman and her journey to health with Hashimoto’s and Epstein Barr. (Linda Wilbert-Stewart, FDN, HHP, Contributor and Thyroid Thriver)
Early years And Emigration To The USA
Linda Wilbert – Stewart was born in 1958 in a small town in Germany. While still young, she learned from her mother and grandmother how to cook healthy meals from scratch. Her family had a big garden from which vegetables were usually taken and eaten with eggs from free roaming chickens. They also enjoyed delicious meat and milk from healthy cows.
Linda became an Occupational Therapist in 1988. She loved and practiced her calling to the best of her ability. In 1996, she moved to the USA with her husband and 2 children. Like every other immigrants, she and her family faced challenge with foods. You could say the family had “diet shock” and you would be right!
Eating out in the USA made her and the family sick no matter what they tried – pizza, Chinese, or hamburger. Needless to say, she had no idea how bad the food was in the US. Foods were contaminated with herbicides and pesticides; and animals were injected with antibiotics and growth hormones. It was that bad!
Diagnosed With Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) And Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Sadly, in 2004, Linda was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and was very sick for 2 months with low grade fever and extreme fatigue. At a point, her condition was so bad that she couldn’t get out of bed. In response, her doctor gave her a prescription for antibiotics. But sensing that the stuff would not help her condition, Linda refused to take it and instead went to a natural food store and got a multivitamin and tea to stimulate her immune system. She felt much better within a week.
However, after the EBV infection, she never felt the same again. Other conditions soon developed. She suffered repeatedly from muscle pain and constant fatigue. Worse still, her physician couldn’t explain what was going on.
Again, in 2009, Linda was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Her TPO antibody count was 600. She was given a prescription for 50mcg Synthroid (thyroid medication with T4 only). However, after just 2 days of taking it, she developed heart palpitations. And despite her doctor reducing the dosage to 25mcg per day, the heart palpitations continued. She was sent to a cardiologist who gave her a heart monitor for 2 days which showed that her heart was fine.
Prior to her taking Synthroid, she never experienced heart palpitations. Of course, her doctor didn’t think it was the cause. And instead of investigating the cause thoroughly, the doctor switched her meds to Levoxyl, another T4 thyroid medication.
Her heart palpitations stopped, but she soon developed muscle pain, spasms, and weakness, and brain fog. The brain fog was so bad that she couldn’t match the words on her shopping list with the products in the store.
With such disappointing experience and wanting the best medical care, she switched to another doctor who put her on Armour Thyroid, which made matters even worse. She spent 2 weeks on Armour and was hardly able to walk or stand for longer than five minutes. Obviously out of ideas and not willing to help any further, her doctor’s nurse told her that she needed to wait eight weeks to come in, and then they would check her thyroid hormone levels.
The Breakthrough And Further Challenges
Alone, betrayed, scared and confused, Linda decided to go online to find a solution. She learned that Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and she proceeded to join online support groups, which talked about the connection of the adrenal glands in the hormone cascade, called HPA-HPT-axis.
In January of 2010, she got off gluten and soon her muscles started to relax and the pain almost subsided. By March 2010, she no longer needed thyroid medication. In that same year, she started a treatment for Hashimoto’s that targets the immune system.
The practitioner she chose for the Hashimoto’s treatment had bad bedside manners and used a supplement protocol that wasn’t geared toward an individual approach. Several times, being on a detoxification program, she collapsed and almost lost consciousness.
In Hashimoto’s, the immune system branches of TH1 or TH2 will be used. Either one of them can be dominant and she was TH2 dominate. The practitioner stimulated this branch and matters got worse and worse with extreme pain on her thyroid area to the point that she didn’t know how to lie on her pillow at night. She had “restless leg syndrome”, and sleeping was a real issue. She became extremely nervous, suffered headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain from head to toe. A blood test revealed that her TPO antibodies now were >15.000 from taking Armour Thyroid. Functional tests, such as a saliva hormone test showed that her adrenal glands produced 3x the amount of cortisol than what was normal. A parasite test indicated a parasitic infection.
Over time, she started to feel better. Motivated by her personal experience, she decided to become a Holistic Health Practitioner in 2012.
Unfortunately, this training did not give her the chance to order functional test kits and she started the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) Practitioner program with Reed Davis. The study of FDN required that she test herself with hormone testing, gut and liver function test and parasite test.
Her training enabled her to notice in the hormone test result that she had several underlying causes that elevated her cortisol levels. She also had a parasite called Cryptosporidium parvum, which explained her stomach pain. In addition she had blood sugar dysregulation and food sensitivities. It is very common to have repeated parasite infections when the gut is not healed, which the treatment by the Hashimoto’s practitioner didn’t take into account.
The liver function test showed that her body had trouble digesting proteins and that she had oxidative stress. However, she developed a protocol for herself which was approved by her mentor and over time, she felt much better.
In June 2015, Linda was involved in a car accident. She sustained bruises from head to toe on her right side. This caused TMJ problems with extreme shooting pain going through her right ear and along the upper and lower jaw, and along the teeth, which needed to be corrected.
The TMJ treatment lasted 6 months with weekly visits. But this was not the worst. Two days after the accident, she experienced extreme dizziness and she had to go back to an ER, where they conducted an ultrasound on her carotid arteries, and a CAT scan for her head. The doctor sent her home with Tylenol and an ice pack yet again. By the way, Tylenol reduces Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant produced by the body. She knew that she was low on Glutathione because of the Organic Acid Test she had run on herself.
Of course, her doctor didn’t test her Glutathione status. So, Linda asked herself, why in the world would she take a drug that reduces an antioxidant which was so desperately needed for her head and body injury? Needless to say, she increased her Glutathione intake and added a lot of Vitamin E, C, a multivitamin, Turmeric and others to help her body heal, especially the brain. None of the doctors she consulted with after the car accident ever mentioned supplements to heal her brain.
It took four months and several different specialized doctors, including a trip to UNC Chapel Hill to get the diagnosis of Perilymph Fistula, which is a hole in the middle ear and which causes dizziness because the lymph is leaking out. Perilymph Fistula is very common in accidents involving a side airbag hitting the head. All the while, none of the doctors believed that she was severely dizzy. The list of drugs she got was long and one stands out: anti-depressants. Of course, this is what they give if they don’t know what to do and don’t even care about getting their patients well. “Take a pill and get the hell out of my office,” was what she experienced.
In October 2015, she had an ear operation to fix this condition. For once, she hardly felt dizzy and this lasted for one week. Then, the dizziness increased and changed to a swaying sensation that came on suddenly to the extent that she never knew if she was “pushed” to the front or back. Her surgeon’s nurse recommended the use of a cane. And so, Linda walked around like a 90 year-old grandma.
In 2013, Linda founded her company, Exclusively Holistic, in order to help others with similar problems and to stop the trial and error method used by so many physicians.
Today, Linda is happy to be a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner simply because she experienced neglect from incompetent and uncaring physicians who just pushed drugs on her. But, she knew that she could support her body with healthy food, internal and external stress reduction and herbal supplements to support her body to heal itself.
Linda’s qualifications and knowledge base:
- Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner®.
- Certified Holistic Health Practitioner with diplomas in Herbal Remedies, Anatomy & Physiology, Internal Cleansing and Detoxification from the Natural Healing College.
- Certified Health Coach from Beyond Organic University.
- Took classes in Functional Blood Chemistry to be able to educate her clients about the meaning of certain blood test results.
- Module one & two MTHFR, Methylation & Biochemistry master course
- Module three Estrogen Methylation and Detoxification master course.
- Stays up to date with ongoing courses such as MTHFR, Estrogen dominance, Gut healing through Spore Probiotics, Immune modulation.