Hypothyroidism – My Journey thus far

3858108794b9892f451936c680e4c824With the promise of a future. I am finally able to talk about it… I have alluded to it, wondered about it, cried over it, not understood it, questioned God, questioned myself, questioned our medical system…and finally, feel like yes, it sucks, but no, it doesn’t have to be what defines me from here on out. Doesn’t have to be my stealer of joy and hope (although some days it still has a pretty hard push). I have learned so much over the past 8 months, about my illness, treatment and about how God still works.

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A little background
1990’s – Sometime before the year 2000 I was diagnosed hypothyroid as a child. Took a pill every day, never thought anything of it.

2000’s – I knew I was a moody teenage, but I was a teenager, I was suppose to be moody… As a young adult I started being able to recognize the lack of energy or the connection to depression or weight gain and sure enough every time I felt like something was off, my bloodwork would show a need for a dose increase. It was pretty easy to manage and I would hear here and there about how its a chronic illness and kind of thought, “hey its really not that bad, just take a pill and your fine, I don’t know what the big deal is about…people just want an excuse maybe”.

2013-2015 – Pregnancy was hard on my body. I had 0 energy, was sick for almost the whole time and my thyroid med doses kept going up and up, but I was assured this was normal and they would go back down after pregnancy. After the birth of my daughter, nothing seemed off, I was tired, but I was also not getting any sleep…and could excuse it. I was surprised when my post-partum bloodwork showed I needed another increase, but didn’t think too much of it. We began to care for another child, with some emotional needs that greatly effect daily life. I was exhausted, but had so much to deal with that I didn’t give it much attention.

It wasn’t until the baby was 12 months old that I began to think, “oh I feel like I need a dose increase” – was feeling extremely tired even though the kids were sleeping better at night and I was no longer nursing, I couldn’t blame those on how I was feeling. Depression was setting in, extreme moodswings, LESS energy then when my kids were not sleeping, and my hair was falling out. (TMI ALERT: My period had also returned and was terrible…unpredictable and extremely heavy).

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I at one point in the spring could count over 50!!! I stopped counting there because it was very depressing and the last thing I needed was to fuel that fire.

I went to get my bloodwork, and was SHOCKED when it came back normal. I had recently started setting intentional time aside to spend in prayer and bible reading, had gotten back involved in church, was trying to eat better…doing everything I could to take care of my spiritual and physically life and was feeling like I was barely existing, definitely not living! I felt like Job. I was having daily conversation with God about how hard it was to trust him when I feel like everything I care about is being affected. I couldn’t be the wife or mom I wanted to be, or even the person I knew God was calling me to be, but I knew that my only option was to seek out God, to seek prayer. I couldn’t get through whatever was going on by myself. And if its not my thyroid, then what? Was my new normal going to be merely laying on a couch forever? What kind of childhood would that leave my children with? would I ever be able to work again? What if it was something far more serious?

Coincidence or prayer. I have no doubt that the next steps had God’s hand all over them. When I went into the Dr to tell her that despite the results, despite another dose increase, I was feeling much worse then I had ever felt in my life, she suggested to test for everything else that might make a person feel like I did. Iron, Glucose and 20 other markers….and unknown to me she had included a full thyroid panel. Everything came back “in range”. The days between getting the results and seeing the Dr to formally go over them were some of the hardest most depressing days I can remember.

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But God had a plan. He had me at a Dr who, unlike many dr’s who do not look beyond TSH, would have, still suspected a thyroid problem. She told me that looking at the test results even though they were both in range my T4 (thyroid storage hormone) was at the high end of the range…thanks to my synthetic medication, but my T3 (the thyroid hormone that actually gets to your cells) was at the very bottom of the range…which would explain everything! If my body wasn’t able to actually use the medication then I was falling more and more hypothyroid. Switching meds seemed to be the next step…I will post about it in an upcoming post!

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