Beyond Healthy: How Janelle Pica Overcame Hashimoto's Thyroiditis to Become a Strengh Champion

Last updated date: 01:47:33 25-06-2016
Disease/Condition: Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Name: Janelle Pica
Primary Therapy Used in Healing: Paleo Diet Healing Practitioner:  N/A

My name is Janelle Pica, and in 2007, my life changed. I went from being a happy, healthy young adult to quickly becoming ill with an autoimmune disorder. When I returned home for my summer break form college, I told my parents that I did not feel well at all. I had struggled through my spring semester with repeated palpitations and ever increasing tremors. I told my parents that during the last two weeks of my semester, I had dropped 12 pounds and noticed my hair beginning to fall out in chunks. By the time I got home, I felt nothing but severe exhaustion and a heightened state of fear. That summer I was convinced I was battling for my life, as I could not explain what was happening to me and why it was happening to me in the first place.


After months of waiting to hear back from what seemed like several thousands phone calls, I managed to make an emergency appointment with an endocrinologist in September 2007, the start of my Junior year in college. I was sent for several lab studies and a thyroid ultrasound. The results? I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a disease where your own immune system begins to attack your thyroid gland inappropriately. I was told I had high levels of thyroid antibodies and had developed a 6 mm nodule on my thyroid (basically, a potential goiter subject to grow at any given time). High antibody levels cause a slow and steady destruction of the thyroid gland, and the symptoms with Hasimoto’s Thyroiditis can vary greatly. During the summer when I became ill, I was experiencing what is known as “hyperthryoid” symptoms. My metabolic rate was on overdrive and no matter what amount of food I ate, I could not keep weight on me. Also, hyperthryoid symptoms are marked by panic attack, tremors, and hair loss, all of which were my major complaints at the time.

Upon my follow up appointment at the end of September 2007, I was told that there was nothing I could do to help my condition. The only thing I could do was wait until my thyroid gland shut down entirely so I could be placed on thyroid hormone replacement therapy. When I asked how long I would have to wait for that to happen, I was told it could take up to ten years.


I was devastated, and for three years after that appointment I was an emotional wreck. I was bitter with the medical community because I felt like I was thrown out to the wolves. I was scared to death that my condition would become worse. I was mad at God because I did not understand why, at the age of 21, I was left to deal with such a crisis of health. It all felt so unfair. For those three years, I sank into a depression that only made my health all the worse. When my hyperthyroid episode would subside, I would feel chronically fatigued. I would gain weight, lack any energy to exercise, and would come down with repeated sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, and well, just a whole lot of infections. My immune system was not up to par. I felt helpless, living in limbo until that day would come when I would be medicated like everyone else I knew who had thyroid disease.

Fast forward to July 2010. I was speaking to a friend about my health and was referred to a book called “The Paleo Diet” by Dr. Loren Cordain. My friend had advised that there was interesting and convincing information pertaining to endocrine and autoimmune disorders in the book. Not only that, the author had discovered a method of eating that could minimize the bizarre symptoms related to endocrine and autoimmune problems. I was skeptical at first, but that seed of hope lead me to drive to the nearest Barnes and Noble to purchase the book. I came home, grabbed a notebook and a pen to take notes, and DEVOURED the information. While Dr. Cordain’s book did not guarantee my health would return, the book DID suggest that there was a possibility of being able to reverse the inappropriate autoimmune response that was wreaking havoc on my thyroid. I decided to pick up supplemental reading from Rob Wolff’s “The Paleo Solution” book. Mr. Wolff had more research articles that linked dietary elements to autoimmune and endocrine conditions. THIS WAS IT! This was what could help me! I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was going to learn about my condition as much as possible, change my diet, and pray that something positive would happen to my body in the mean time. Of course, step one for me was to find a good endocrinologist to follow up with me, as I knew I did not want to see the first one ever again.

By December 2010, I found an endocrinologist that was knowledgeable about diet and autoimmune issues. She agreed to follow up with me on a regular basis (normally at six month intervals) to see any changes in my antibody levels as well as the size of the nodule on my thyroid. Within the first six months, interesting things were happening. The panic attacks had ended. My weight stabilized and no longer fluctuated wildly. My hair was growing thicker by the day. My hands weren’t shaking. My energy skyrocketed. The infections all went away. I was able to exercise again. In April of 2012, I had routine lab work drawn and an ultrasound done on my thyroid. My Dr was happy to report that my antibody levels dropped, and the nodule in my thyroid was no longer causing problems. When she asked me if I had changed anything significantly, my only response was “Well, I just changed my eating and exercise habits. I never once thought the effects could be THAT dramatic!” But they were. Much to my amazement, my health had returned! My endocrinologist typed away some notes on my medical records and told me not to come back into the office for 3 years because I was “beyond healthy”.

Kettle Bell
The Paleo Diet gave me my life back, ripped me out of a dangerous depression, and inspired me to help others reach for exceptional health themselves. Now, at age 27, I am taking my health and fitness to new heights. l am a certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor through Dragon Door and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For me, these certifications wouldn’t even be an option had I not reached the level of health I have reached now through dietary modifications. Not only do they represent personal triumph for me, they allow me to teach others how to exercise functionally for optimal health. I intend to help others in any way I can to reach optimal health knowing everything that I know now about diet and exercise.

Reprinted with Permission of

 To get started on your own amazing journey towards health and fitness viisit Janelle's new website She’d love to be of service to you!

Posted by Admin - on Jun 25 2016 01:47

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