There is a saying out there, “Hike your own hike.” Everyone hikes with a different story. Ambassador Mickey explains how her hike involves the Mad Hatter.

I hike with the Mad Hatter on a regular basis. See the Mad Hatter and I are rather close in fact we’ve become inseparable friends. When you hike with Mad hatter it’s like a whirlwind of excitement and fear. Sometimes a bit of both at one time causing fluttery anxiety. Mad Hatter and I came close to a pretty bad crash and burn at Medicine Bow Peak this past summer. Tripping over her feet and her mind wasn’t processing fast enough to help her plant her foot firmly into the ground, Mad Hatter had a very close call.

One minute the Mad Hatter has an extremely clear mind and the next there’s a dark fog coming over us and we can’t think straight. Our decision making skills go from 100% to -50%. Mad Hatter also has times where she doesn’t fatigue or become breathless and then moments later she’s laying down and napping like sleeping beauty. Sometimes she becomes anxious at everything around her and its pretty impossible to get her to calm down. Forgetfulness and confusion is a distinct trait of the Mad Hatter.

I live with the Mad Hatter everyday, not knowing if it will be a good day or a crazy day. I have hashimoto’s thyroiditis AKA Mad Hatter’s Disease. They call it Mad Hatters disease because its ability to change drastically in the blink of an eye. There are so many things that your thyroid controls and I can’t begin to lay out just how much that affects day to day life. One day my thyroid level is normal and working perfect and the next day my thyroid takes a leave of absence.

As a young mom my nails and hair began to be brittle and dry to the point of pain. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I was always exhausted beyond belief. The doctor’s tested my thyroid and said it was normal for new mom’s to have these symptoms. They gave me vitamin D and I was on my way. About a year later at age 23 my whole body hurt to walk across the floor. My joints throbbed to the point of tears. This is when they tested my inflammation levels and tested me for Lupus the first time, it was negative. Doctor then diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, basically because my inflammation levels were elevated, but they had no explanation as to why.

I moved on I continued to work out and to eat a pretty strict diet. At 25 I lost twins in a miscarriage. We then had a successful stressful pregnancy. I had bleeding everyday until I was 16 weeks pregnant. I still personal trained and taught Zumba, because it was my lifestyle and wouldn’t effect my baby, however it did drain my body. After having Raylan I had 3 more miscarriages until I became pregnant at 28. Wyatt was my successful last pregnancy and I hiked the entire pregnancy with Raylan, 1.5, in a carrier on my back. I was tired and often breathless, but I felt great after.

Shortly after having Wyatt my life became unhinged. I began having anxiety attacks about everything, my hair was now falling out by the chunks, feeling depressed and hopelessness on a daily basis.

Over the summer I continued hiking through the pain and fatigue, because it kept my depression and anxiety at bay. Not only that, my kids needed to be outside. I would wake up with my whole body hurting, but I had a hike planned with my kids. So we loaded up in the truck and off we went, at least 2 times a week. I wasn’t giving in and my kids had no idea how exhausted or how much pain I was in, nor would I ever complain and tell them.

I went to the doctor another time, the doctor gave me depression medications. He saw the four kids and assumed that it was postpartum. Shortly after, I received notice that my doctor had changed and I had a new primary doctor.  I immediately scheduled another appointment with my new Doctor. This time leaving my 4 kiddos behind. I asked for a complete thyroid panel and an antibodies test. After the appointment, I received a call and the doctor asked me to come back. That is when I was diagnosed with hashimotos. I was surely on the path to recovery, right? Wrong.

The doctor explained my thyroid is dying because my body is attacking it. He explained that it had been missed several times because in my file it said I was postpartum, so it was never suspected. The damage had begun and it was irreversible. Hashimoto’s is treatable, but not curable.

October 2017, I had been on my medication for almost 2 months. I was feeling better. November came, I started to have flutters in my chest. I was told not to engage in any strenuous activity. That meant no hiking. Then December my flutters, became severe chest pains that mimicked heart attack symptoms. Doctors once again stressed no hiking; the Mad Hatter and I have been benched for a bit until the Hatter can get herself under control again.

This has had me really broken up. Hiking is the one thing that provides me release from life’s stress. When I hike it is like nothing else matters, except my feet underneath me. Since October I have been pretty distraught and I have kept it to myself for the most part. It has taken a huge toll on my emotions and mental health not being able to hike. I let it really bring me down. I haven’t wrote about hiking or talked about it since it made me incredibly sad to think I can’t hike. Anything to do with hiking just made me upset, it made me ugly cry! It was a set back that I was not prepared for. I didn’t want to share what was going on because it made me feel incredibly weak and like I let people down who were counting on me. Until last week when I reached out to my fellow Hike like a Woman Ambassadors. I finally shared what was going on with me. I felt a huge relief when they all stood beside me and encourage me it was going to be OK. Not being able to hike has taken a huge toll on me, but I am sure glad I am surrounded by an amazing community of strong women through Hike like a Woman.

“Your setback is the platform for your comeback”
-Unknown

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