Living with Thyroid Disease

What is Thyroid Disease? Well, its something I live with everyday. It took me years to get my particular thyroid condition, Hashimoto’s Disease under control. Your thyroid produces a thyroid hormone which controls certain aspects is your body. An abnormal thyroid can effect the way your body burns calories, and can cause how fast your heart beats. Thyroid disease can produce either too much or too little of the hormone.

An overactive or under-active thyroid can cause multiple symptoms. Weight loss or weight gain, feeling tired,restlessness fatigue and heart palpitations just to name a few symptoms. Your thyroid gland is a small “butterfly” shaped gland that is located at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland makes a hormone that travels in the bloodstream to several parts of the body. This hormone controls your body’s metabolism, including how fast your body burns calories and how fast your heartbeats.

My particular symptoms, began out of the blue in December 1996, I was 35 years old and healthy or so I thought. My husband and I had been married since February of that year and decided in June that we wanted to try and have a baby. So the journey began. I stopped the birth control pill and was ready for nature to take its course. I was almost certain that I would get pregnant fairly quickly since it only took two months to get pregnant with my first child. I was surprised that the calendar had already rolled into December and I wasn’t pregnant. The one thing that I did notice was that since getting off of the birth control pills, my periods were very erratic. Lasting only a day or two, or not at all.

It was late that December one evening when the first “episode” happened. I was washing my hair when this overwhelming tightness, wrapped around my chest and back with the sensation going down both arms. It scared me because it was so intense. I went and laid down on the bed waiting for it to pass. It felt like it took forever to stop, when clearly it was only a couple of minutes that it lasted. I got up and sat there for a minute. It was over and I never said anything to my husband. I think mostly because I was afraid of the unknown of what it actually could be. I never had another episode after that.

It was mid February when the same intense symptoms started back again. This time however, they were happening almost everyday and several times throughout the day. I finally told my husband and set out to find what what happening. The first Internist said it was my heart since I was having palpitations and my pulse would race during the “episodes”. I had two separate stress tests and also wore a holter monitor. But everything was fine with my heart. I was gaining weight, my hair was falling out, I cried all of the time. But the worse was that it hurt to put pressure on my skin. I was beside myself.

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Finally, the Internist ran blood tests which included a TSH, T3 and T4. They all came back abnormal. I was never more relieved to have an abnormal lab test(s)! My thyroid journey had just begun. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism, or under active thyroid. With this disease, your immune system attacks your thyroid. It took several months to begin to regulate my thyroid. Besides the medication levothyroxine for my thyroid, I was put on a beta-blocker for my blood pressure. I was always tired, never had any energy. It was after several months of feeling this was that I decided to find a new internist. This new internist also specialized in endocrinology which was right up my alley. The very first thing that he did was take me off of the beta-blocker and put me on a very low dose blood pressure medication. It took months, but my thyroid levels remained within the normal range and the weight that I had gained slowly began to come off. I continued to see my internist twice a year, with new labs being drawn each time. My thyroid continued to remain stable as the years went on. Only occasionally, did the levels increase to the point where my medication was adjusted. Unfortunately I was never able to conceive. I remained off of the pill until I finally ended up having a hysterectomy in 2010 due to severe uterine fibroid’s.

I always knew in my heart of hearts, that I would never get pregnant a second time. On occasion it would sadden me, even today some twenty three years later. But, life’s journey changes and you move on…… I moved on. I do not let my thyroid condition change the way I live. I’ve been blessed with an Endocrinologist that is on par with my health. My thyroid disease has been under control for over 12 years. With that I extremely fortunate

Things Remembered

So, take it from me. Don’t let any thyroid disease hinder your life. There is no cure, but 100% treatable.

Please contact your physician should you experience any out of the ordinary symptoms. Remember, your body is trying to tell you something.

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