What is a Thyroid?
I am a Thriving Thyroid Warrior! I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease in November 2002 after about 6 months of thinking I was going insane, literally. I swung back and forth with my moods, I shook like a drunk looking for a drink and I was the thinnest I had ever been at 156lbs. I know what you’re trying not to think…..156lbs, really. But I’ll tell you for someone of average build and a height of 5’10” that’s pretty thin in my book. I gained 80lb over the next 10 years. Gaining that much weight and not being able to lose it completely changed how I perceived myself.
I thank my old room-mates cousin and friend for noticing my symptoms. She should have, she had the same ones haha. She was the first person to tell me I wasn’t going to end up in a padded room with no visitors. Looking back I should have known Grave’s was a possibility, my grandmother had it and so does my aunt. My aunt and I actually have almost identical symptoms, go figure. I just never connected the dots. Just for those of you who aren’t aware, thyroid disease is not only hereditary but environmental, developed during pregnancy, or developed after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.
I made an appointment with my GP who confirmed with blood tests that I did indeed have Grave’s Disease and I was sent off with a recommendation for a specialist called an Endocrinologist. This doctor scared the crap out of me! My first appointment he did an ultrasound and told me they had found something he called “hot nodules”. Say what!?! Is he for real? He basically saw growths on my thyroid gland and worried they could be cancerous. The word still freaks me out. Thankfully they weren’t but I know many that have had it be cancer and that is no picnic, my friend. The doctor recommended a procedure referred to as RAI, Radio Active Iodine, and told me that once it was over I would just need one pill a day for the rest of my life. I certainly hope lightening doesn’t strike years later when a patient finds out a doctor lied. It was not just one pill. I went for bloodwork ever 3-6 months for over 5 years before I stupidly stopped taking medication for 2 years out of frustration. NEVER STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION! I pulled my head out of my @$$ and ended up with a really great doctor who helped me achieve optimal levels for the first time since I was diagnosed. I was and continue to be grateful to Dr. Bubb for giving me my life back.
You don’t realize how withdrawn you become and how much you isolate yourself until its 12 years later and your friends no longer ask you to hangout or to events because they know you won’t show. The anxiety is awful! I’ve still never had a doctor explain to me how much my thyroid controls my entire body. I learned that from the amazing women on a Facebook support group. I learned what not to eat and why it matters. I learned so many symptoms I was experiencing throughout the past decade were related to my thyroid not functioning proper. For those unfamiliar there are over 300 symptoms you can experience when you aren’t medication optimally. I am slowly trying to put myself back out there but am now socially awkward and panic on large groups but I’m trying and that’s all I can do.
So there’s little background on my crazy. I’m no longer bitter about a disease that was controlling my life for so many years because I now control the disease. I know what to do and what to ask of my doctor to ensure I receive the best care possible. Having information and a great support group are key for me. Relating with thousands of women across the world over a butterfly shaped organ in my neck has given me peace. I’m not alone. I can help others who are in the same boat I was in 5 years ago. I continue to thrive each day, sure I stumble once in a while but I refuse to fall.