June 18th, 2016 | Posted By: Magdalena Wszelaki | Posted in Articles, Thyroid | Tagged , , , ,

Married to Hashimoto’s-Where’s the Woman I Married?

I met Stacey Robbins at a mastermind in Boulder, Colorado and it was very obvious she was not an ordinary gal. Her first question to me was: “So, tell me something about yourself that nobody asks about.” She’s a powerful coach and she is married to a wonderful man, Rock Robbins.

Rock is the one who wrote the article and I hope you enjoy it and pass it on to friends and family you think it could help.

To help you.

To get on board.

Because it’s is not just in your head.

And it’s not the fries that cause you to gain weight.

Rock explains.


Married to Hashimoto’s

by Rock Robbins

rock

So, if you’re a guy and you’re reading this – congratulations. That you’re even looking at this puts you into the rare category of guys who are trying to understand what your woman is going through. So, way to go. May I say that I did not fall into this category until years later in my relationship with my girl, Stacey. And let’s face it, the ‘average guy’ is probably fine if his girl is going through some health issue, as long as…

  1. He doesn’t have to do too much and
  2. He doesn’t have to think about it too much

If you’re like me, I leave a lot of the health issues to my wife as she’s just more naturally nurturing than I am. As guys, we have many other things in our life vying for our attention – family, work, friends, finances, sports, cars, (insert yours here). If you’re already active in the ‘help and support your woman’ department – awesome for you, keep it up.

I got married to Stacey about 27 years ago. Seven years in she got sick and a few years later, was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It changed our life, because it changed her life. Suddenly I was Married to Hashimoto’s.

(Hashimoto’s, for you guys who are still learning the ropes, is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the thyroid. The thyroid controls, pretty much everything from weight to moods, from sleep to sex – and about a million things in between.)

So, with that said, I want to give you some tips that will save you time, your sanity, and your sex life. Even if you only do some of the suggestions I’m about to lay out, it’s likely your life will get much better between you and your woman as she grapples with a Hashimoto’s diagnosis.

Alrighty then, let’s get right to the list…

Tip #1 – Realize that even though she looks ‘normal’, she’s not.

Here’s the thing with Hashimoto’s, when it first gets going in someone’s body they can seem totally fine on the outside. Things seem okay, but then they start dealing with things like…

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog, or fuzzy thinking
  • Pale / puffy face
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold
  • Joint pain
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate

And those are just some of the symptoms she may have before we enter the exciting world of weight gain.3

The problem is, in the beginning, we as men may dismiss these things or hope that they go away like they do with most healthy people. But with Hashimoto’s, when untreated, things can steadily move into more and more very un-fun symptoms that just don’t ‘go away’.

Tip #2 – Stop acting like this is all in her head

I wish I didn’t have to put this here, but even I have fallen prey to the ‘I feel fine, so you should too’ kind of thinking. We get so busy, that when our partner is sick, it cramps our style, and all that we want to get done. If she’s looking ‘normal’, it’s tempting to say, ‘Hey! Snap out of it, and let’s get back to the fun, and all the things we used to do.’ Again, with most healthy people, some rest and time are enough to have their bodies repair anything that’s going on, but this is no ordinary health issue.

Hashimoto’s is basically your body fighting against itself, and attacking the ‘master’ gland in your body, the thyroid.1 The thyroid’s main job is to control metabolism, which is our body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. The hormones the thyroid creates are essential to proper development of all cells in the human body.2 Whoa, let’s pause and read that last sentence again, especially the ALL CELLS part. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamin metabolism.2 The reason you’re able to sit there and calmly read this article is because your thyroid is working in concert with the rest of your body. Trust me, this is not something anyone wants, and if they do have it, they don’t want someone giving them 9 miles of bad road on how they’re dealing with it.

The whole function of the thyroid can be a hard to wrap your head around, so here’s a short TED-Ed video about it:

I’m a bit of a geek, so I like to think of this like troubleshooting a computer. If the motherboard has something wrong with it, it’s not going to matter if all the other parts are sound. Things likely won’t work properly for long, if they even work at all. And with Hashimoto’s, it can easily be misdiagnosed as other health issues; you can end up doing a LOT of troubleshooting and tests on specific symptoms for a long time before you finally get to the big picture of a Hashimoto’s diagnosis.

Quick FYI – thyroid disease alone affects 20% of American women – that’s 1 in 5! 4 Of that number, Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of low thyroid and affects women ten times more than men.5

Trust me, if she could just flip the switch to get back to ‘normal’ she would. She doesn’t want to be a drag, not feel well, be stuck wondering what to do, and be frustrated with why her doctor doesn’t seem to deal with this effectively (I’ll have more on this in another article).

So, do yourself a favor, instead of putting that energy of frustration against her, put it toward helping her feel understood, comfortable, and cared for while you both sort out the next important steps. Again, this will give you major bonus points for being part of the solution, and not just another reminder that she’s broken or crazy.

(When you get a chance, read The Power of ‘I Believe’ by my wife Stacey Robbins. And have your woman read it too.)

Tip #3 – Don’t be a jerk

This goes hand in hand with #2. Sorry to be blunt guys, but we can sometimes be dismissive when someone else is having a health issue.

“You look fine”

“Why are you just lying around?”

“Maybe if you get up and start moving, you’ll feel better.”

We can be so sure we’re right, and that we know what’s going on, we’ll treat people the way we think they are, rather than the way they actually are. And it doesn’t help us that a great share of our well-meaning primary care physicians push an outmoded treatment protocol by saying that this issue is easy to solve just by taking a pill – most of the time it’s not. Hashimoto’s usually presents itself as one complicated ass-kicking disease. Trust me, if you were going through this, feeling awful with no energy, fuzzy thinking, and pain, you’d have a lot more compassion.

If it helps, imagine the feeling after being kicked in the nuts, and the sickening and aching aftermath of that; then imagine that lingering feeling going for days on end, or months, or years. You wouldn’t want someone getting up in your face and saying…

“What’s the matter with you?”
“You look fine.”
“Just get up and act normal again.”

Tip #4 – Be a part of the team, it benefits everyone (especially you)

Hopefully, you’re already onboard with this. But if you’ve ever seen a family where the mom has been taken out with a bad cold or flu, you know what a big impact that has on the home. Meals quickly become dad making cereal, canned soup, or microwave and takeout meals for days. The house becomes a mess overnight. The sports and social schedules get jacked up if dad isn’t already clued into the regular routine. Hopefully family or friends come to help. Regardless, the impact is felt keenly in the home when the person running the house is taken out with sickness.

Now if you’re already getting in there and having her rest and eat good food – awesome. If you’re not – pick up the slack in the home, and be an agent of help and peace, it will benefit you in major ways.

The last time I had a major flu where I was taken out for 3-4 days, I remember how my wife kicked into gear and helped me (all while juggling the household, her work, her mother who was in from out of town, and our kids igloo school project that involved oversized marshmallows and a hair dryer).

I was so grateful and impressed by her steady care of me, all without complaining. This is what I try to remember anytime she needs a helping hand or she’s feeling sick or depressed.

You have no idea how much it will benefit you to invest in your woman’s health – either through caring for the immediate needs, or researching what could help. It’s like investing in an account that gets 150% interest – it’s worth everything you put in there because of the amount of gratitude, and other benefits you’ll get from a spouse who knows you have her back.

I’m not saying that you should do all of this to get sex. But hey, if you’re not being an a-hole and you’re helping her like crazy, things happen.

Tip #5 – Choose to be Mr. Consistent with whatever version of her shows up

Yeah, this one takes some intention and determination because when a woman is going through Hashimoto’s, and the attendant emotional and physical ups and down, you may get…

  • Angry partner
  • Exhausted partner
  • Frustrated partner
  • Thankful partner
  • Sad partner
  • ‘It’s all your fault’ partner
  • Fearful partner
  • ‘I give up’ partner

Let me put it this way… I have an Italian wife, who’s super passionate, creative, and very much human. We have had some amazing times, meh times, and hard times together over our almost 30 years of marriage together; there’s no one I love more than her. One of the things that has served us well throughout the years was my learning how to hug a porcupine – or love a wife who is frustrated, angry, and hopeless.

I have had times of really bringing my A game to these scenarios, where I choose to love her even though she’s not reflecting that love back to me. Other times, I’ve gotten frustrated with her and basically given her a hard time – not so helpful. Usually, I think back to the times when she helped me, and get back on track. But heck, even if she hadn’t taken care of me – I have a commitment to her that is strong that was truly tested during her many years of whacko symptoms.

So, here’s the question to you: what is your level of commitment to this person? Because it could get really gnarly in this process before it gets better. Meds, supplements, and diet changes don’t happen overnight so, even if you’re on the right track, it still takes time for her body to respond to the good things you’re doing. You should really decide who you’re going to be now, cause it’s likely going to get bumpy, possibly for a long while as you both dial in what works for her.

I’m not trying to scare you, but if you’re faint of heart, or in the ‘till inconvenience do us part’ type of commitment, it may not go well for both of you. She’s going to need to focus her energy on getting rest, tracking symptoms, food changes, mind issues, and listening to her body to find that sweet spot of what works for her.

Truly, I want you to be there for your woman, the same way I want me to be there for my wife. To put any excuses aside (if you have any) and put the time and effort that will be required to get her back to health and wholeness. Again, this is an investment that will benefit both of you.

We can do it.

You can do it.

Tip #6 – Know that it’s possible to get her health and life back.

This is important. Without hope, it would be easy discouraged. So many doctors visits and tests. Medications and food protocols. Reading thyroid healing books. Making logs of symptoms and thyroid levels. Taking walks together and talking through how we’re doing. Getting the kids on the same page. Making sure I get my time and recharge my own batteries.

But for me, I can tell you that it’s worth all the work we did to get my wife to where she is now in her health. She has more energy and peace. She knows what works for her food-wise, and what relationships don’t add to her life.

This whole adventure is more than just food or pills. You may be thinking, ‘Oh joy… there’s more?’ Yes, there’s more, but that’s ultimately a good thing. It’s highly likely that some of her prior way of thinking and living was part of the issue. The truth is that her new ‘normal’ may be very different than what it was before. Different foods, different pace, and a different way of being. What worked back then may not work for this new season.

With Hashimoto’s, her body is waving a white flag and saying, through symptoms, “There’s something going on! I can’t do this the same way anymore!” This is the opportunity to take the cue and adjust accordingly.

And hopefully, through the experiences my wife and I went through, we can shortcut you to the quickest road back to sanity, health, playfulness, peace, and even the bedroom.

You’re not alone.

We’re in this together.

Rock Robbins
(along with sons Seth and Caleb, and wife Stacey)

Rock Robbins is an Author and Coach. His e-book is “The Guys’ Guide to Hashimoto’s”. Rock is married to Stacey Robbins, author of You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone: Losing the Victim, Finding Your Sense of Humor, and Learning to Love Yourself Through Hashimoto’s – together they’re empowering the Hashimoto’s community to use this diagnosis to live a happier, healthier life. Rock lives with his wife and 2 sons in Southern California. They’re currently traveling in Europe as they write their latest book, www.marriedtohashimotos.com. Rock’s e-book is on SALE now. PRE-ORDER: $12.99 until June 19th REGULAR PRICE: $19.99 after June 19th.

Referenced articles:

  1. What You Need to Know About Your Thyroid Health – Dr. Joseph Mercola
  2. Thyroid Hormone – Science Daily
  3. Is My Thyroid to Blame? 38 Most Common Symptoms – Dr. Frank Lanzisera
  4. What You Need to Know About Your Thyroid Health – Dr. Joseph Mercola
  5. Hypothyroidism In-Depth Report – The New York Times

 

 

33 Comments to Married to Hashimoto’s-Where’s the Woman I Married?

  1. Good perspective. I think hormone distrupters should be banned and learn about hormone distrupters (#1 FRAGRANCE)

    • yeah and BPA chemical that is SO common now, especially used to seal/line the inside of aluminum food cans and many plastics. I’m glad to see many companies switching to BPA-free plastic and inner can lining, but what is the new chemicals they are using? Nobody seems to know….

  2. I am proud you wrote and shared as I have autoimmune Anemia, yes it is different but Gamma Gaurd I have been doing IV for 25 years plus and no fun, Thanks for being one honorable man who stands by his ill wife with love, tenderness and support

  3. “One of the things that has served us well throughout the years was my learning how to hug a porcupine – or love a wife who is frustrated, angry, and hopeless.”…wow, you deserve a gold star there Rock.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I have immense faith that a man as loving, resilent and caring as you will connect with me one day.

  5. I read your article and I found it to be a wonderful read. Not too many people understand what it’s like and I feel horrible for my wife and what she is going through. All the time I wish I could take all that pain away. At the risk of sounding selfish though, I wonder if there are any articles for the spouses to read about their partner living with someone who has hashi’s. You know as well as I do that it’s not easy for us either obviously they are going through something that’s very difficult and changes from day yo day and for us to make those adjustments to can be rough. Thank you again for your wonderful article and I’ll be looking forward to reading more.

    • Hi Joy,

      Yes, please flip the roles here and see how you can recognize the white flags—this line is powerful “With Hashimoto’s, her body is waving a white flag and saying, through symptoms, “There’s something going on! I can’t do this the same way anymore!” This is the opportunity to take the cue and adjust accordingly.- It is even supportive that you have read this article 🙂 Wishing you well. ~HB Team

      • Hi Rock, thank you for your article. My wife was diagnosed 5 years ago. Yes working through her diet and has had her ups and downs. Our economic situation hasn’t helped. She into a lot of stress.
        Now with the pandemic, the kids that had left the house, are back at home, and sometimes don’t know how to deal with her mom. You should include advise for kids, (young adults) and make them conscious that her mom is not going crazy or senile.
        For me, it has been very helpful to know the symptoms, and deal with her accordingly. Again thank you.

        • Thank you for the feedback Oscar. That is a good idea. Maybe you could help your young adults, and teach them what you have learned along the way. Stay safe and well. HB Support

          • My wife was recently diagnosed. We have two children our daughter (4) and our son (1). She has a very hard time interacting with them and if she does it’s usually in the form of yelling and being annoyed. I do my best to deflect that anger from them and take it myself. Or even try to get her to realize that she isn’t talking to adults she’s yelling at small children for very minor small things. At times I feel like the kids do better when she is gone visiting her sister who now lives in a different state. Can anyone help me with this situation, I can handle her mood for myself, but it breaks my heart to see my children run away from their mom because they know she won’t be very happy.

    • My husband has Hashimoto.
      He is sometimes a wonderful, charming man. Mostly he’s an angry, self hating, difficult to be around, negative person. He gets angry at everything from traffic to the way I said something benign.
      I keep reminding myself not to ask “WTF is your problem?”, but “Have you taken your meds?” Living with him is exhausting. I feel emotionally abused. We have no friends, he’s impossible to get along with. It’s like he goes around looking for a place to put that unexplained anxiety and anger and always finds it in someone’s behavior. Usually me.

      When I was married to my late alcoholic husband, I had AlAnon. There’s no such thing for this situation.

      • It’s important to care for your own health as well, Elizabeth! There are many online support groups for partners, friends, and family of those with Hashimoto’s or other thyroid issues. We hope you and your husband both find the support you need.

        – HB Team

  6. Thank you so much for this, it can feel so lonely to have Hashimoto and even if my partner can get angry and frustrated with me it feels good to read this and know that someone out there understands this.

    • Rock. Thank you so much for this moment. I needed this article more than I can explain 🙏🏾

      • I was diagnosed in 2016. I have read this article time after time. I do not have much support in my life and this helps to know there are others who go through the same things I do.. Thank you.

        • Hi Melissa,
          Thank you so much for sharing. We are very pleased to be able to support you. If you ever need more info, please send us a message at [email protected]. We also offer a very support community group on Facebook if you’re interested in joining.
          Healthy Regards,
          HB team

  7. Thank you so much for this article. I have Hashi and have been struggling with so many debilitating symptoms that my husband has had to grapple with. I sent him this in hopes he gets it.

  8. You spoke to my heart from the heart. Just starting this journey and it’s not easy. Mustering strength to love more fiercely. Thx for sharing!

  9. This is super helpful and it’s nice to see husbands reading this and responding positively. I have to admit my husband however would read this and because he is a person who lacks motivation, (sadly, he always has), he would take this and end up putting more burden on me. How? He will throw tons of suggestions at me or things he read to do, new recipes, etc. and would not take the initiative to do any of it himself. His idea of helping is asking me questions and sending me links. The worst part is he feels pretty good about himself like he’s done a good job.. Do you have suggestions for how to teach partners that taking initiative means to do the “doing” not just put it right back on your wife?

  10. Thank you for this. It is nice to imagine that people exist who would be willing and able to be there and do this much for their beloved!
    My (now) ex-partner has depressions himself and i had migraines already before getting hashimoto. He has lots of understanding for my sickness (we both have for each other) but no energy either to support me or “do the doing” that i cannot manage on the bad days. This text would make him give up immediately – it would just be a too high expectation.
    This sickness actually did make us break up – even though there is love and care for each other. With low to no libido, no energy, strange moods and so on… it is hard to keep up the spark and the hope. All we have left is acceptance and quite some peace with each other and both our limitations…
    I have changed from very social and extroverted to withdrawn and introverted and wonder if i’ll ever even feel good enough to get out there again to flirt or get to know someone… Would you have fallen in love with your wife if you had met her after getting sick??

    • Hi Philine, relationship dynamics can be complex and challenging. Even more so when health challenges are involved. It’s difficult to not go down the “what if” or “what could’ve been” train when we are grieving a relationship. We hope that you are filling your days with self-love and nourishing yourself in ways that support your highest self. Be gentle with yourself.

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