Raina Kranz, Thyroid Thrivers
My name is Raina and I just turned 50 years old this past June.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in August of 2012 and seven weeks
later I was then diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
My story is rather simple, mostly because ignorance was bliss. At a very
young age I started to make very big changes in my lifestyle that most people
don’t do until they are in their 40’s or 50’s.
Oftentimes, my family members brought to my attention, quite often, how
I took after my father’s side of family. My grandmother, on the short and round
side and my father although 6 feet tall was overweight, his sister, my aunt was on
the heavy side. While on my mother’s side of the family, everybody was thin.
It’s a hard thought process to take on at 10 years old. I wasn’t overweight. I was
very active through my teenage years, but when I turned 18 and started college,
I put on some weight. Unable to walk up a flight of stairs without running out
of breath I realized I had to do something fast because I didn’t want my family
members to remind me of what my future holds, if I continued in this direction.
Without knowing anything about nutrition, I started a diet.
I ate breakfast every morning, cereal with skim milk, no
sugar and a banana. Lunch was a slim fast drink and dinner
was a lean protein with vegetables…no bread, no sugar, no
sweets. I lost the weight and joined, don’t laugh………
Richard Simmons Anatomy Asylum where I bounced my
way to becoming physically fit. Shortly after joining, I
became an aerobics instructor and my life’s journey changed forever.
At 25 years old, I was working at a destination 5 diamond spa & resort and in
the health & fitness field full time. Back in school for anatomy, kinesiology,
physiology and nutrition and never happier. That is about the time I learned that
my father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Loaded with new knowledge and
the skill set to really make a difference in my lifestyle, I decided to really change
my lifestyle even more, as to prevent myself from falling ill to this disease and any
other disease that I could prevent with healthy, sensible eating and exercise.
I had already stopped drinking soda, eating fast food and fried food. Now,
I was on a mission to remove all bad sugar, white flour and bad
fats out of my daily eating routine. Water, coffee and red wine was all that I
drank. I started hormone free meats, eggs and dairy. My family thought I was
out of my mind.
My father had two heart attacks and two surgeries’ and his health got
progressively worse. My grandmother passed away of colon cancer and my aunt
doubled in size, while I maintained a healthy life and exercised 5-6 days a week.
In 1997, I rekindled a relationship with my first love and for the next 11 years,
I lived an emotional rollercoaster. I gave him my power and relinquished all
control for his love and he brought me nothing but pain. I loved him so and yet I
was being strangled of every bit of strength and sensibility I had inside of me. My
health suffered immensely. Within a few years I started to gain weight, hardly
slept and I am sure that my adrenals were an absolute mess. The stress caused
me to break out with the hives from head to toe it was so bad that I had to go to
the emergency room. It was about this time I started to notice food sensitivities
to wine and salt. Eating out became a nightmare since most restaurants over
salt their food and I had to give up the red wine. In my research, I came across
candida as a possible cause for my sensitive digestive issues.
At 35 years old, cleansing the candida
became my new life. I tried everything
and it took years before I could feel
that the overgrowth of yeast was
under control. About this time, I
went mostly gluten free.
In 2007, my father past away from what they said was complications from
uncontrolled diabetes. I was more determined than ever to fight heart disease,
diabetes and obesity. As a personal trainer it’s been my mission to educate and
motivate others to alter their lifestyles so they too can live a healthier life, but
I was putting on weight. Even though my eating was cleaner than ever and I
was working out 5 or 6 times a week. Sleeping became so important to me
that I started to take daily naps between my morning and evening clients. Not
to mention, my rollercoaster relationship was taking a toll on me and I was
unable to stop the cellular damage to my body. I did this to myself by
allowing and remaining in this unhealthy, destructive relationship.
Then in 2008, I had an epiphany…..I kicked that man to the curb. Looking at
myself in the mirror and seeing the person I had become, I just cried. Where was
that bright, shining, happy person I knew I was once was? She was beaten down,
shriveled up and lost. That is when I decided to turn everything around and get
my life back.
Finally, I met a wonderful man and we are still
together, living under the same roof, going on
6 years now. I am happy, safe and in a healthy,
supportive, loving relationship.
In 2009, I started to have some issues with my menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding
that incapacitated me and left me bed ridden for days at a time each month. I just
thought I was going through the normal changes at 45 years old that most women
go through. My Ob-gyn, suggested that I start birth control to help lessen the
monthly issues. So, at 45 for the first time in my life I was on birth control. This
was the alternative to a partial hysterectomy. On birth control, for 60 days,
I spotted every single day. The doctor now suggested the next step , as
September 2009, I was in surgery having this procedure done. I
remained on the birth control for another two years and I decided in 2011 to get
off because my body was telling me something was wrong. I was doing great off
the birth control as I have not had a period since the ablation, pure heaven.
Mother’s day May 2012, at my sister’s home for a family gathering. I couldn’t fit
into a darn thing. I was so bloated and uncomfortable nothing was fitting and
I was completely frustrated. In my mind, I knew something was really wrong. I
got onto a scale in her bathroom and I couldn’t believe my eyes, 160lbs. How
the heck did that happen? I put on 18lbs in 3 months and I have been eating and
exercising the same as always.
Fast forward to August 2012, thankfully, I went to see a new doctor. He did a
full blood workup on me. Two weeks later, I was being told that my TSH was
10.5 and I was hypothyroid and this was the cause of my weight gain. In shock
and at a loss for words I just broke down. How could this happen? I have done
everything right since I was 25 years old. Now I am being told I have to go on
medicine, this is everything I fought so hard to avoid. My doctor was great,
he gave me choices of NDT, synthroid, Iodine or a thyroid supplement. I sat
for a few moments and asked a few questions, but something in my gut said
go with the synthroid. I figured I could go home and do some research. If I
wanted to switch to something else I could just go back to the doctor, he would
Within a few days I started to notice some weird symptoms. My throat became
more swollen than it already was; I was coughing and having a hard time
swallowing. A phone call into the doctor and a script for an ultrasound was being
faxed over immediately to the hospital. My ultrasound showed nodules on both
lobes and it gave cm sizes of all of them. Obviously, I was scared to death. That
afternoon I started to really research thyroid disease and began to understand
the tests, the results and the symptoms. I thought back on previous blood tests
I had had over the years and recalled being told that I had a sluggish thyroid.
I do not know what my TSH was at the time of those tests, but since the doctor’s
weren’t really concerned and I wasn’t overweight..I just let it go right over
September 2012, 8 weeks after being diagnosed with hypothyroid and having an
ultrasound that sounded like I had Cancer, I met with my new Endocrinologist.
He sat with me and went over my family medical history, my medical history
and my current symptoms. He performed another ultrasound in his office and
began to explain what I was seeing on the
screen. The nodules reported from
the ultrasound several weeks ago was
mis-read. They were actually shadows
which showed the destroyed thyroid
cells from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
A big sigh of relief, no cancer. Just a
but a Japanese man, now resides
in my throat –Hakaru Hashimoto!
I had to find some humor in all this.
A full thyroid panel of tests revealed
TPO antibodies of 115 confirming Hashimoto’s and in addition low D3 and
high calcium. My doctor suggested Vitamin D3 3,000 IU’s to start, no
more calcium supplements and switched my synthroid to Tirosint 25mcg.
I went home feeling like all my problems were solved and the weight was just
going to fall off and I would never need another nap ever again. Then reality set
in. Every day was different…I had energy one day and I crashed the next day. I
was bloated and inflamed all the time. Spending hours on the computer to try to
understand what was happening to me and why the medicine wasn’t working as I
thought it should. Coming to understand that the autoimmune disease was more
of the issue than the hypothyroid, I began to learn all I could about Hashimoto’s.
By the time I went for my next blood test, I had a list of supplements and
symptoms to talk over with my Endocrinologist. The biggest symptom I noticed
was the change in how I was able to exercise. Fatiguing so fast and crashing right
after exercise…I was losing my desire to go to the gym because the pain I would
feel in body was not the normal delayed muscle soreness I was used to. I couldn’t
push the same amount of weight and it took days for my body to recover. I found
myself napping for hours just so that I could function and continue working
as a personal trainer. This had become an actual conflict of interest to my
On the list of supplements I shared with my Endocrinologist was
something called, l- glutamine? This is supposed to help with muscle recovery.
To my surprise my doctor was very familiar with it and suggested that I increase
the dose. He went over my list of supplements and made dose suggestions for
everything. This started me on my Hashi’s supplement regime and till this day I
am on all of the starter supplements and much more. The test results from blood
work that day revealed an increase in medicine was needed and I am still on that
dose of 50mcg of Tirosint, to this day.
My Training was still inconsistent; I had great days and bad days. Some workouts
were a complete struggle and some I had energy all day. No weight loss, but I was
happy to start feeling a little better in my skin and in my training again. Napping
was still part of my daily routine and I have just come to accept that I need it. I
am on my feet 4-5 hours in the morning, training clients and getting a workout in
for myself. Then I resume again in the late afternoon to the evening not returning
home till after 8:00 pm, Monday thru Friday. Long hours, long days and I just need
that nap in the middle to get me through the day.
About one year into the disease, I begin to notice subtle digestive issues that
would cause me mild to extreme discomfort around the same time every month.
It lasts for about a week and then just goes away. I could not put my finger on it
and I was not sure what was triggering it, but it seemed to really affect my uterus
and my bowel movements. Advil did nothing for the pain. I mentioned this to my
boyfriend, but he thought I was a hypochondriac and it fell on deaf ears. Six
months of this and then one evening, I felt something similar that I haven’t felt in
4 years…low back pain and a headache. Mentioning this again to my boyfriend,
but this time I swear it felt like I am getting my period. He laughs..yeah right!
That morning promptly at 3:00am, I awoke in a complete panic as the bed was full
of ……screaming get up get up…I ripped the sheets off the bed and ran to the
bathroom where I sat crying not understanding what was going on now. My
wonderful boyfriend made a special trip to the drug store at 3:00am to buy me
some tampons because for the last 4 years I had no need for them. Sheets in
washing machine and a new set on the bed, I felt the relief leave my uterus and
all the pain I was feeling was gone. Apparently, my body was trying to have a
period for the last six months and it finally was able to, for some reason. This
brought me to the realization that the thyroid medicine is really working now…it
has balanced my other hormones in my body and now everything is working
Every month since, thirty days on the nose I get my period. It lasts
3-5 days, it is very light like it was before I had the issues at 45 years old. This is
where ignorance bliss, I only found out recently that my menstrual issues were
connected to Hashimoto’s and I most likely had it for at least 8 years before being
diagnosed in 2012.
Exercise was now getting better. I haven’t lost any weight but I was gaining
muscle again. The scale was still reading 156 – 160lbs and I wasn’t happy about
that but I was feeling better.
March of 2014, another mysterious out of nowhere symptom seems to be
inhibiting my well-being. The Bloating, gas, diarrhea, ear ringing, nausea,
headache, exhaustion every day for two months straight had me perplexed. I
couldn’t figure out what it was and finally decided to see an ENT. Calling every
ENT within a 20 mile radius of my home, I was told it was a 2-3 week wait before
I could get an appointment. That is when I just picked myself up and took myself
to the emergency room. A CT scan and a 900.00
bill, along with a diagnosis of Rhinitis is all I
have. This doesn’t make sense with the
symptoms I’m experiencing and I am even
more confused. Once again I find myself
researching to figure out what this could
possibly be. Histamine Intolerance, an
overload of histamine in the body that
becomes toxic and causes; bloating, gas,
ear ringing, nausea, hives, headache
and many more symptoms too. It is
actually a pseudo allergy, mimicking allergy symptoms but the cause is actually
an enzyme that people with autoimmune disease have less of or low activity of.
That enzyme is Diamine Oxidase and now I have come to learn I also have low
stomach acid and that is also common with autoimmune and hypothyroid. Hello!
My daily supplement regime was growing by leaps and bounds. For someone who
never wanted to be on medicine I am now a full supplement supply store. I was
able to resolve this issue by removing and then limiting all high histamine foods.
Adding the right digestive enzymes, more probiotics and Claritin was now also
part of my daily supplementation.
It wasn’t until June of 2014 when I heard of Izabella Wentz and I listened to her
on the Thyroid Summit. This was when all the pieces of the puzzle fit. Somehow,
intuitively my body had been talking to me since I was 25 years old and I listened
with all my heart. I may have gained the knowledge along the way but my body
and soul new it all along. Eliminating the foods that would ultimately be my
demise had assisted my immune system to fight off the autoimmune disease that
I was destined to have. I had discovered my “Root Cause” and it was genetics
and emotional stress. Hashimoto’s revealed itself to me at 48 years old and not
sooner because of those lifestyle changes, so early in my life. Unfortunately, I did
not take care of my emotional wellness and
that stress was the trigger. Eleven years of
sadness, depression, heartache, loss,
no sleep, and abuse caused my body to turn
on the DNA switch that I inherited from
my father’s side of the family. I now believe
based on what I know about Hashimoto’s
thyroiditis, that my father was most likely
undiagnosed with this disease and it may
have been his actual reason for his passing.
He had all the signs and symptoms, insulin and blood pressure medicine was really
unable to help him. I found out shortly after my diagnosis, that my Aunt, his sister
had thyroid cancer in 2012 and her two daughters both have Hashimoto’s and one
had thyroid cancer, as well.
Ignorance was bliss. I had a wonderful life not knowing, not aware of what was
happening in my body and what exactly I was doing that was actually slowing the
process down. Now aware and empowered, I can live with this disease knowing
that I can beat this and I am in control. My antibodies are down to 78 from 115
and I am down 4lbs on the scale. My waist line is getting smaller and I am feeling
better every day. I never stop researching and learning. My life’s mission is still
to motivate and educate others, but that has now expanded to the thyroid
community, my second family, which I love.
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Questions or anything to ask Raina about her lifelong health battle and underlying thyroid issues? We want your thoughts in the comments section–Please!