So I’m a little stunned, after yesterdays visit to the doctors to get the results of my thyroid ultrasound and thyroid blood work panel that I FINALLY got round to doing.
After five years of basically feeling like crap, seeing doctor after doctor, in some cases being treated like a hysterical “woman”, being told again and again “The tests all say NORMAL”….well, I have now been diagnosed as having Hashimoto’s disease.
One part of me feels relieved to actually have a name now for this craziness I have been feeling, yet another part of me is saying, oh hell, not that, why me and HOW? considering there seems to be no family history of it.
Basically Hashimoto’s is an auto immune disease where your body decides that your thyroid gland is a foreign enemy and it tries to destroy it.
It’s more common in women, but men do get it too. More common in middle age around the time of perimenopause, but anyone, even children can develop it too. They don’t really know what causes it, like many of these auto immune diseases. Some say it’s triggered by a viral infection. I’ve read that pregnancy can be a trigger. Wow, well, I did that four times! Oh you can read and read and be taken down a labyrinth of all sorts of suppositions and theories – Basically, from what I can fathom, they just simply don’t know.
If you have Hashimoto’s you are more likely to develop, or have other auto immune diseases, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogrens, etc.
It can take years to be diagnosed because thyroid hormone can fluctuate so drastically.
I had an incidence of being hyPER thyroid a few years ago, but now I am hyPO thyroid.
It’s also common to swing from one to the other, which explains why for so many years I have felt so crazy, swinging from bouts of depression to anxiety, fluctuating weight, fatigue, hair loss, disrupted menstruation, joint pain, muscle pain and generally having periods of feeling really unwell.
In fact, just recently I went from literally not getting off the couch for two weeks straight to a week of being almost manic – a sudden burst of mental and physical energy that had me writing songs, writing, sewing, cleaning, etc…
I kept joking with my family saying “my brain feels irritated”. They didn’t understand, just laughed, but that’s exactly how I felt. Chemically imbalanced in my brain.
The good news is it’s treatable, by using thyroid medication, but it will be for the rest of my life as my thyroid will continue to attack itself and substitute thyroid hormone will be needed to replace what my body can’t produce – or is producing too much of.
The only thing is, is that it can take quite some time to get the delicate balance right.
Some opt to try and naturally, through diet and supplements, improve their thyroid function and I have been reading and researching this.
In my situation, I am going to go with medication because it’s scaring me knowing how dangerous this can be if left for too long. (and because I’m just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!)
It can cause triglycerides and cholesterol levels to increase dramatically – and I’ve already had this occur a few years ago, where it ended up causing damage to my liver.
(Oh, now it ALL makes sense!)
Because of this it can put you at a much greater risk of heart disease, of developing diabetes etc…
That doesn’t mean I’m opting to simply take medication and completely ignore my diet and lifestyle, not at all.
I may very well end up attempting a gluten free diet as this is said to be very beneficial to people with Hashimoto’s.
I think I’m very lucky actually.
My doctor said to me “You could be eating nothing but lettuce leaves and still be gaining weight with your lab results”. Basically, my metabolism is crawling at a snails pace right now.
Though I have gained weight, it’s minimal compared to some people and I’m confident that once my energy levels are restored that I’ll be able to fix that.
This also means that I’ll be able to come off the HRT (which has made no difference at all) because they’ve been barking up the wrong tree, it seems, as far as WHICH hormones are out whack.
But it also means in all likelihood, I will need HRT at some point because women with Hashimoto’s are far more likely to have more extreme menopausal symptoms.
It’s all intrinsically linked, all these hormones, and is such a delicate balance.
The thyroid gland controls so many of the systems within the body and even a tiny imbalance can throw everything out.
My message to anyone reading this, is…..NEVER GIVE UP!
Don’t ever be someone who just sits there in front of your GP and accepts what they tell you as being gospel.
Doctors are unbelievably test oriented and they so often fail to see beyond the black and white of all their textbook knowledge.
They are not Gods.
If YOU feel something is not right within your body and are feeling definite symptoms that tell you so, then it probably ISN’T.
I have read that so often people have the entire gamut of thyroid related symptoms but because their standard thyroid lab results fall within the “normal” range then doctors simply don’t or wont test any further.
To get a definitive diagnosis you often have to have a full thyroid screening done so you can be tested for the antibodies which will show if you have Hashimoto’s, and sometimes it takes a while for this to even show up at all.
Like many of the auto immune diseases, just one “negative” result doesn’t necessarily rule it out, you have to be tested multiple times to be sure.
This is where being your own health advocate is essential.
INSIST….even if you feel like you’re being a paranoid hypochondriac!
So, that is where I’m at right now.
I’m nervous about starting a totally new medication just before I go on my first ever CRUISE in a few days time. I’m worrying myself, probably unnecessarily about how whacko it might make me feel.
I don’t want to be palpitating all over the damn boat…..turn into some manic jittery woman who can’t sit still, but that is just me being paranoid I guess.
I’m determined to go and have a GOOD TIME!