It’s not often that I read a book, a magazine article, or a post and immediately stop everything I’m doing to write about it. Truth be told, I can’t often focus long enough to finish anything I’m reading. Last night on my feed a random you may be interested box showed up: Hypothyroidism Ruined My Relationship. I clicked on it, but didn’t have the energy to read past the title.
This morning as I’m floating through my open tabs (which I usually have a lot of as that is the only way I can remember what to read later), I decided with a cup of coffee, it was time to skim what I thought would be a fluff piece about Hypothyroidism.
It was a difficult read once I got past the opening paragraph. I fought back tears — a lot. I fought to concentrate on the post to the end. It took a refill of coffee, a break to give my cat eye drops, add a load to the washing machine, and starting the dishwasher, but I made it through to the end. This may not seem like a lot to you, but for me it is a HUGE accomplishment.
Since I have been diagnosed with this condition, no one has understood me, to include me. When I do talk about it (which is not often) the listener will give pat answers like,”Yeah my mom has it,” “My best friend has it.” A wall comes up and we press on to other topics. Isolating me in a “woe-is-me” cocoon once again. No one wants to talk about it and so this stays bottled up inside.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I have been struggling for years, but doctors kept treating the symptoms. Gain weight, try the low carb diet, not working? How about the vegan diet. Oh, you have headaches, try lowering your stress. Can’t focus? That must be because your B level is low. Can’t remember? That’s just low vitamin D in your system (I was biking 5 to 6 times a week (outside in summer) at the time) — low D?
Finally, in April of 2012 everything hit a wall. It was brought about through a very scary (to me anyway) incident when I was told by Tanya to tell Kara something. I remember talking to Tanya, I remember saying I will tell Kara. I remember hanging up the phone. I remember dialing Kara’s number. I remember saying HI and then nothing. I could not remember what it was I was supposed to tell her. It had been less than 5 minutes between ending one call and starting the other. But the memory of that last piece of information was gone — and to this day I still don’t remember what it is that I was supposed to tell Kara.
I know some will say, “That happens to all of us from time to time.” For me, it was a wake up call. It was something that should not have occurred in a 5 minute span, but it was also the last straw in a string of things that had been occurring over the last year with increasing frequency.
I was angry at nothing. I don’t mean a little angry, I mean, off the wall full blown want to punch somebody angry because the coffee took to long to brew that morning. I couldn’t remember conversations that took place on the same day. I was obsessive about work — working almost 24/7 because I couldn’t sleep and I was fearful with forgetting to do a task. I felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I hurt so much I just wanted to end everything. I just wanted someone to tell me I was OK. I wanted someone to listen and HEAR me.
No one was listening. They couldn’t relate and the pain got worse because I was alone and trapped and confused and angry and hurting.
I don’t care much for doctors, but not because I don’t like them, I just am not that unhealthy. Mom raised us to push through the pain and not waste a doctor’s time with meaningless things like a sprained ankle.
My irrational mood swings and weight gain were very similar to what I experienced at puberty. So, I thought — incorrectly — maybe I was in early menopause. There was no other logical explanation.
On May 5, 2012, two days after my PA ran some tests, the results were back. My thyroid was non-existent, to the extent that I might as well not have had one at all. The range of a “normal” thyroid is debated by doctors to this day and unless, as in my case, it is so off the chart high or low, your doctor is liable to say it’s low or high, but in normal range. If you get that answer get more tests or find a doctor who will listen to you.
I have always had low, but normal thyroid readings, which means I should have been on thyroid medication years before I was. It wasn’t until my thyroid numbers were off the chart low — that I was finally able to take steps in the right direction.
I love my PA, she was wonderful in treating the cause and not the individual symptoms. She listened to me and ran the correct tests (a complete metabolic panel) and put me on medication that acts like my thyroid in an attempt to get my body, mind, and emotions back to what they should be.
I saw results within 2 days of starting thyroid medication. I became less obsessive, I became calmer, I even think I laughed a couple times. It was not an immediate fix, but I was so extreme in my emotions, that I noticed a difference in my body.
It’s been 3 years since that diagnosis, and I don’t know if it is a disease or a condition or whatever label you want to give it, but I am better than I used to be. I recognize the symptoms when they occur and get into the doctors office as quickly as I can so we can adjust dosage. This is not uncommon and will be a life long thing, but when I become depressed and angry and obsessive, it’s time to look it again.
The problem is the last couple of times my levels were great, yet some of the more erratic symptoms are coming back and it frustrates me.
After reading Robyn Guidon’s post, I have more questions, and maybe more tests, for my new doctor to run, to see why I am not back to my complete self. I am moving in the right direction and while I feel better than before the medication, it is still a work in progress.
So for all my friends and family who cannot relate to me today, for my distance in the past, for my lack of trying to explain or keep carrying on about “my condition”, take a few moments (I know you won’t need as many breaks as I did), to read the post by Robyn Guidon. It is well written and explains, better than I ever have, the way I felt and still do and still struggle with.