Health Update

I had my first follow-up appointment last week, after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s two months ago.

And there was good news!  I do not have any additional autoimmune diseases and the amino acid injections are working.  My antibody counts cut in half in two months.  The goal of the amino acid injections is to target and prevent the antibodies from replicating, halting the destruction of my thyroid gland.

I am continuing my elimination diet, and eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free (outside of a little bit of fruit) as a lifestyle.  It’s hard work to change habits, to face cravings and not indulge them, to say “no” to so many foods offered to me.  Some people ask, “When do you get to stop that crazy diet?” The answer is: I don’t.  It’s how I’m going to eat for life, for my health & energy’s sake.

What’s changed?

  • Consistent sleep, rather than long periods of insomnia
  • Curbing sugar cravings and replacing those with bone broth, fermented vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil.
  • Acne has cleared up going dairy-free.
  • Increased energy, both mentally and physically.  Less brain fog.

I will continue injections at least for the next 10 months, continue with my nutrition plan, follow-up lab work and appointments, and I’m starting PT to try to help with leg pain I still experience.

Thanks for celebrating with me 🙂



Resurrection Reality

Yesterday, we celebrated the epicenter of the Christian faith-the resurrection of Christ.  A time of anticipation and heightened emotions.  Maybe a time to more readily hope in Christ’s power, to remember the centrality of the Christian faith.

But maybe not.  Maybe a time of pain and grief, and it’s hard to celebrate with “everyone else.”  Maybe a time of questions, but it doesn’t seem like the correct time to be skeptical.  Maybe a time of confusion, as the resurrection doesn’t seem to fit with reality.

Post-Easter, the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus encourages me.  These men were close friends with Jesus’ disciples, saw the crucifixion, and knew that Christ was no longer found in the tomb, and heard that He may have risen from the dead.  They were talking on the road when Christ appeared on the road with them, and they didn’t know it.  Christ acted like he didn’t know about anything that was going on.  Christ then opened the Scriptures, showing them how all Scripture points to His Person-and the reality of his death and resurrection.

But these men didn’t recognize Christ Himself until he took the bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them.


Why? I don’t know for sure.  But I take comfort that there seems to be a vibrant reality that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper.  That I, a believer who doubts, forgets, questions, laments, and gets angry with God, I am brought to recognize Christ, who gives Himself to us in the Lord’s Supper.  I need to know that He is here on Easter and every day.  I need to be free to admit that I’m human-dependent, weak, and limited.  I am made to need Him; and He needs to give Himself to me.  And He gives Himself to me, as one who is broken, as One who rose again with his wounds visible.

So on this day after Easter, know that Easter is not simply just to remember that Christ died for your sin and rose again conquering death and restoring your relationship with God.  These events are historically true, and it is faithful to remember and are central to the Person of Christ.  Yet in this account, these men did not recognize Christ in Scripture, in prophecies fulfilled, in making “connections” between present events and Scripture.

Christ among them with His broken body: this was their comfort.  

I pray that this Easter is not a time to “forget your pain because Christ rose again and is victorious over sin and death.”  May this Easter be a time to declare that “The Lord has risen indeed” and then tell your story of walking on the road with Jesus and not recognizing Him, whether because of confusion, pain, grief, or ignorance.   I pray He is known to you in the breaking of the bread, that His presence, and His broken body be your source of comfort.

He rose the wounded healer; the resurrection reality is that He makes Himself known, slowly and over time.

Take comfort that He still bears your wounds.  Rejoice that Christ is alive, yet know that the celebration does not negate your pain.

You are known by the Wounded One.

A Small Celebration

Last week, I got to experience my own personal Spring Break in Memphis.  I drove south, spent time in 70 degree weather, and soaked up time with my best friend, Chels.  We spent time in a park, watched lots of March Madness, and made a pizza.

The pizza making experience was meaningful for several reasons:

1. We wanted to make a pizza together over Christmas break and that didn’t happen.

2. I’m on a pretty crazy diet right now, so we made the crust out of cauliflower and our own sauce without all the added sugar.  She also discovered that dairy free cheese exists at Whole Foods!

3. Chels researched how I could still eat pizza, and texted me updates before I got to Memphis about how she combined many different recipes.

4. I have an auto-immune disease and Chels has cancer.  We both have such limited energy, so making a pizza was our big event of the day, even our week.

And yet, even this “big event of the week” wasn’t glamorous.  It was very everyday and mundane.  Making the pizza took a long time and I was hungry and grumpy, trying to enjoy the process, even though all I kept seeing was more and more dishes and less and less energy.


But we did it!  And as we sat down to watch our beloved Wisconsin Badgers’ debut game in the tournament, I just looked at my friend and was thankful.  I have a friend who encourages me to be faithful in the mundane, by her sheer existence, and how she fights for her very life. And I’m doubly blessed because she looks at me, and sees someone who is brave, rather than someone who has a “less severe illness.”  Our friendship is marked by good/hard conversations, park walks, basketball games, lingering meals, goofy texts, repeated “classic” questions, and our love of T-shirts and sweatpants.

Our friendship has been cultivated in the slowness, in our rest.  Even as long hours of rest are a necessity and we mourn, for we are still in our 20’s and desire to be healthy and vibrant.  But a really strong love has been built.

Do we wish our lives were different?  Yes, absolutely.

Would we sacrifice our friendship to be someone different? No.

We’ve learned to grieve and do the difficult every day together, and 7 hours apart.

And we’ve learned to be glad in the small pizza celebrations.

What are you celebrating with friends right now?  

For Every Season

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what has been planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.


A time to break down.  That’s my current season, even as the building up finds its way in, every time like a surprise.

Sifting through layers of my life has allowed me to see the core of my identity, years of running, and misplaced affections.  Lingering in this season is scary, but it’s necessary.  Breaking down can feel like failure or giving up, but in reality it wipes away the facade.  And the scarier part comes in letting people see the breakdown and in learning to explain how you are changing and why.  Some people have been disappointed, yet others have come alongside and slowly commence the build-up process.

Which seasons define your life currently?  How do you feel being in that particular season?  Who is coming alongside you?


Self-Esteem, Aldi & Avacados

It’s amazing how human it is to put people in categories or to make quick assumptions, rather than wonder about their story.  I do this-you do this-it’s human.  A simple way I regularly experience labels sounds like this: “the girl on the Paleo diet,” “the healthy girl,” or “the girl who eats a salad for lunch.”

Sometimes I laugh.  For so long, I was “the girl who ate whatever she wanted because she was a runner.”  Frosting and graham crackers was the favored snack I would eat after my track meet was over.  I have a ravenous sweet tooth, that I’ve had to work on in the course of changing my diet.  In the past, I would not have been called “healthy” because of my eating habits, but instead because I ran.


And now, it’s quite the opposite.  This picture displays what I bought in the check out line at Aldi a few weeks ago.  The grocery list was: 3 bags of whole almonds, 3 avocados, celery, green peppers,  carrots, Roma tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli and olive oil.  The remark from the lady behind me was “Well, aren’t you healthy?  I wish I had discipline for that.”  In another previous Aldi shopping experience, a lady was actively recruiting me to be her nutritionist and quickly inform her about “healthy versions” of foods.

My current diet consists of: meats (minus some), veggies (minus potatoes-insert sad face), nuts (minus some), chicken broth, fermented vegetables, and grapefruit.  A not as restrictive diet with lots of meat and veggies and very few carbs and sugars is called the Paleo diet.  So sometimes I’m the “Paleo girl.”

Yet underneath all the small-talk and banter at the grocery store, I am forced to lament.  I am not healthy, but sick.  I buy groceries like I do, because I have to depend on the food I eat to help me get better.  But people think I look fine and assumptions are made.  I daily navigate letting people assume but also looking for proper situations to be honest and inform.

In those interactions, though I am forced to see myself.

Do I go about my daily life, observing and wondering without critiquing, or making assumptions so I feel better about myself?  

Do I wonder about “why” with compassion, admitting that I don’t know what it’s like to live with another person’s particular hardship or setback? 

Culturally, dieting is trendy.  And the assumptions made about me sting because I actually don’t want to be put up on a platform for my disciplined eating habits.  And I often don’t want to hear that “I’m fine just the way I am” or “Honey, you don’t need to lose any weight.” My self-esteem is rolled along the conveyor belt with my avocados.

And in the grocery store, my mind jumps back to a scene four years prior.  I was at a routine doctor’s appointment in Chicago checking my thyroid levels.  I explained that my fatigue level was high, and that I got more fatigued by exercising. My doctor then launched into a monologue, expressing that I was more fatigued because I gained two pounds and I should be exercising 6 times a week instead of 5.  It was my fault.

I wasn’t the magical formula girl.  I couldn’t just make my fatigue go away by random gluten-free diets, being really structured, or working out.  Yet because I have to make tenacious (or random trial and error) decisions about my health, incorrect assumptions will always be made at some level.

But I hope, that along with me, you want to be known.  In spite of the incorrect assumptions made about you .  Simply because you think that knowing and being known is worth the risk.

Come and Rest Awhile

Eighteen months ago, I faced a crisis.  Exhausted and scared, I felt trapped in my job, knowing that I couldn’t fulfill my expectations.  The only life I knew was a busy one-and I thrived living that way.  I was good at keeping up with long distance friends, being involved in many things, and people often encouraged me for my intentionality and my ability to balance all my activities. Yet, I was facing the fact that I couldn’t “do it all” anymore.  Fatigue had gotten to be too much, and I needed to say no.

But I was terrified.  Quitting my job?  This was not the kind of decision that Alyssa Storrs made.  But I did.

What I did not know at the time, was that I was scared to rest.  Scared to know who I really was without the busyness.  

Rest is an invitation, but for so long I viewed rest as an inhibitor.  I longed to not miss out on life, so I despised my brokenness and my weary body.  I grew jealous of all the 24 year olds who get to live a healthy, energetic life.  There is a place to grieve my fatigue-and I still grieve it every day.  I cannot escape what I am unable to do.  It took time to realize that I needed to rest, and I needed to learn to enjoy it as much as I could.

Rest is an invitation, but rest is hard.  Especially if a restful lifestyle is the goal, and not just “coming up for air” every few months, gasping for breath because life is relentless adrenaline.  I realize in this discussion that all of us are called to different amounts of activity and of rest, and that a conversation on rest still could be stomping grounds for comparison.  Yet, if we’re honest, saying no and being honest about what we need is hard.

Some things that replenish me are easy to do and I naturally enjoy them.  Sometimes restful things are still hard work because I am not naturally drawn to them.  Restful or healthy things for me to incorporate into my life include: cooking, yoga, reading, walking, writing, time with people one-on-one or in small groups.  My list includes more than this, but this activities are regularly incorporated several times into my week.  They are my healthy ‘weekly rhythms.’  I’ve had to work harder to incorporate cooking and yoga.  My diet has changed so much in the past year, so I need to re-learn how to grocery shop and give myself more time to make meals.  Since I used to run regularly and am naturally drawn to cardio workouts , I didn’t like yoga at first.  Since it’s harder for me to stay motivated doing yoga regularly, I try to go to a group class once a week.


On a restful Indy downtown walk this winter

Rest is an invitation to know yourself better.  I’ve had to struggle and grieve in rest’s free space.  I’ve learned to celebrate small victories, even if the victory is “I’m less frustrated.” I’ve reflected and seen how my busyness has hurt people, and when I do not take time to reflect I do not see my sin clearly.  Through resting, I have a deeper commitment to learn and grow, even if it’s in the smallest of ways.  In rest and adding margin to my life, I have an added flexibility to rearrange plans.  I take myself and my plans less seriously.  Rest allows deeper enjoyment in life-whether rest is being outside, watching a show, or eating a meal more slowly with friends.

Christ offers the invitation of rest.  He welcomes those who are weary.  He does not despise us.  For feeling burdened and tired is a human condition.  And He loves us as human, so we don’t have to strive to be superhuman.  Rest and be bored.  Rest and enjoy.  Rest and realize who you are.  In the moments of margin, we encounter the One who calls us to rest. 

How do you define yourself in your rest?  How do you think Christ views you in your rest?  What  rhythms of rest would you like to incorporate weekly?

Making Room

I recently finished the book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine Pohl.  The book is a beautifully written non-fiction work calling Christians to rethink hospitality as “welcoming of stranger” rather than just entertainment.  I am challenged to look at my life and see how my unique circumstances intersect with a lifestyle of hospitality, and reflect on I am made to be both host and guest.  Solidarity among different groups of people can occur when we admit our weariness, brokenness, and need and regularly provide healing places and friendship for each other.

Making Room

What makes a space inviting?…Hospitable places are comfortable and lived in; they are settings in which people are flourishing.  Although not necessarily beautifully maintained or decorated, they are evidently cared for.  Such places provide the people that inhabit them with shelter and sanctuary in the deepest sense of these words-not only with the shelter of physical buildings but also with the shelter of relationships.  Such places are safe and stable, offering people a setting where ‘they can rest awhile to collect themselves.’ Hospitable places are not frenetic, though people within them may be busy.  When sanctuary and a slower pace are combined, there is a sense of peace. In such places life is celebrated, yet the environment also has room for brokenness and deep disappointments.  Such places make faith and a hospitable way of life seem natural, not forced.  Hospitable settings are often enhanced by the simple beauty of creation, where body, soul, and spirit are fed by attention to small details such as attractively prepared good-tasting food, or flowers from a nearby garden.”

Do we desire a slower pace of life so hospitality can be a reality?  Do we desire to be faithful in the mundane, to celebrate and grieve as rhythms of life?  What simple changes can we make to be more hospitable people?

Leaning Towards Lent

Last week I listened to a bunch of interviews about diet and health for those with autoimmune disease.  What struck me was that these professionals viewed food, nutrition, and the body with the utmost respect.  These doctors respected and believed their patients with all their “crazy” symptoms–and yet their patients had to work really hard to improve their health through lifestyle changes.  Soon I will start a diet that is pretty restrictive in most people’s opinions, but with the goal of restoring my health.

And then I started thinking about Lent.  Giving up something for 40 days.  Should I give up cheese? Chocolate? Wine? Bread? Oh wait-I’m already giving up all those things!  Honestly, I haven’t decided what I’m giving up yet.  But the “what” isn’t as important as reminding myself what Lent is all about.  I think it’s human to approach Lent and giving something up as a means of self-improvement.  Let’s just pull out those New Year’s resolutions we only kept for 7 days and try again.  Maybe I’ll lose weight if I give up sweets.  Or at least somehow I will be a better person coming out of Lent because of my self-restraint.


I will fail during Lent.  I like cheese, a lot.  And when I’m hungry self-restraint doesn’t sound fun, even if I told God that I’m giving something up for him.  And Lent isn’t about me “doing something for God” at all.  Lent in the historic church calendar is about sharing in Christ’s sufferings.  Yes, it is about looking to the resurrection-but not too fast.  We are called to live in the somber days-the mundane days filled with intense suffering.  The practice of giving something up reminds me of my weakness, my sin, the intensity of my desires, the pain of this world, and that I must take comfort that Christ still suffers with me, with us. He was tempted as we were-yet without sin.  He intercedes for me, even as I break my Lenten promise.

Christ suffering

Lent isn’t about “what I’m getting out of it.”  Lent is about living-and actually leaning into suffering.  Not to glorify it-but suffering exists-it is everywhere.  And Lent is a fixed reflective time that calls believers everywhere to see suffering and not run. It is a call to see Christ in His suffering-and not detest that our Savior was one who was despised and rejected.  Why again do we worship the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief?  That question must be answered anew during Lent.

As I listened to those health interviews, thoughts of health and my body being restored ruminated in my mind.  But my diet isn’t a “quick-fix, try-this-for-5-weeks-and-you’ll-be-better.”  I will eat this way for the rest of my life.  Because my body is broken, yet health is still attainable.  I must “suffer” in my restraint for health’s sake.  Knowing Christ in His suffering, in my suffering, is for my health.  Even when I hate it.  Even when I run.  Even when I cuss God out when I have to lie in bed all day for yet another day.  Yet He is gracious and kind and persistent in his pursuit, even when I close my eyes because His pursuit is too painful to feel.

Isaiah 53:11 “Out of the anguish of his soul, he shall see and be satisfied…”  Christ claims me for His own, out of the anguish of his soul.  I’m so thankful that He sees through His pain, because so do I.  Somehow I am healthier because of my anguish.  As I lean towards Lent, it is my prayer for you, and for me that we are brave enough to see from the anguish in our soul.  We truly do share in His sufferings.

Hashimoto’s Healthy

On Tuesday morning last week, I took a seat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office.  I was ready,  as ready as I could be.  Desiring a clear diagnosis for the last 10 years has allowed me to feel the spectrum of emotions.  These emotions have ranged from hopeful to jaded and everything in between.  But I did not wait for the doctor assuming the worst.  You see, part of my story is that I’m really used to hearing the words, “You’re fine.” In these years, I have been diagnosed with a few different conditions, but my symptoms only continued to worsen.  Yet, as far as the doctor was concerned, I ate a healthy diet and I exercised.  I was the model patient with a minor low thyroid issue, and the doctor just couldn’t quite figure out the right dosage.

I wanted a diagnosis, clarity, an action plan as I waited for my name to be called.  Over the past year, I have resigned from 3 different jobs because of my health.  I’ve spent time scaling back, taking time for solitude, self-care, cooking, leisurely exercise, reading, writing, counseling, doctor’s appointments, healing.  You can be sure that I will blog more about this later.  But even as I pursued health to the greatest extent I knew how, I still was exhausted, unsure of how to help myself.  More than that, I was losing grasp of how to relate to others well.  Social situations grew more and more taxing.  Some days I was bedridden without a logical reason.  Others, I could get up, but making a meal and washing dishes warranted two hours of lying on the couch.  There still were alright days sprinkled in, where I could enjoy the company and conversation of a friend.


Yet, as I waited, I wanted answers. 

As the doctor led me through lab results, treatment plans, and charts he explained that I have Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune disorder where antibodies damage the thyroid gland, inhibiting the process of making thyroid hormone. After the medical explanation, the doctor started to talk time line of my treatment plan.

Twelve to Twenty-four months. 

Many months (probably a lifetime) of crazy restrictive eating, yoga, slow rhythms, and supplements, hoping for increased energy and joy.  Now, this isn’t new.  Most everything is just more of the same, just refined with greater clarity.  And also add amino acid injections every 3 weeks.

The two biggest questions I get are:

1. How are you feeling?

2. Can Hashimoto’s be reversed? 

To #1, I’m thankful and tired.  Every day is still a lot of hard work.  But I’m thankful for a great doctor and nutritionist who listen well and help plan treatment that is going to be most helpful for me.

To #2, the answer is “Time will tell.”  I may never be 100% again, but it’s still possible for me to regain lost strength, energy, and stamina.

My goal is to be Hashimoto’s healthy.  As healthy as I can be in my worn out body, that just wants a break most days. As healthy as I can be, even if I’m still exhausted.  As healthy as I can be, even if results take time.  Or don’t come.

What do you desire for your health?  In what ways are taking care of yourself right now?