I was diagnosed with thyroid disease at 17 years old following a Thanksgiving visit to Grannie’s home near Hamilton, Ontario. No more than thirty minutes after we arrived, Grannie told my mother matter-of-factly “Debbie has a goiter.”
I’ve undergone biopsies and goiter removal and the inevitable diagnosis of a lifetime dependency upon thyroid replacement medication. Not only am I the third direct generation, there were at one time nearly 40 members of my mother’s family, male and female, afflicted with thyroid disease. My family has undergone most every type of thyroid treatment known. In addition to surgical goiter removals, there have been radioactive iodine treatments. I’ve also had family members later diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid.
At 45 years old and as an uninsured American, I don’t take any thyroid medication. I can’t afford the bi-annual blood tests to regulate the synthetic thyroid dosages.
I did regularly take my Synthroid .15 mg dose when I was insured. For several years, my doctors would not prescribe a generic version due to some concerns with effectiveness. At that time, I was only required to get my blood checked once per year and with good insurance, it was affordable.
While I’m sure some of my weight issues can be directly attributed to the end of my Synthroid prescription, I also know that my love of great food, beer and wine has much to do with it. I try to watch what I eat but I’m more concerned with my mental health and keeping it in check.
Many thyroid disease sufferers also undergo symptoms of depression. I did go through this at one time a few years after my divorce. I was not taking my thyroid pills and my boss finally confronted me and ordered me to the doctor on the spot. Living in a small town does have its advantages and I walked one block and asked to see Dr. Chu. He drew my blood and the results were SURPRISE! my thyroid was out of whack again.
Within a matter of weeks after re-starting my Synthroid, my attitude was much better.
As a matter of practice these days, I make a point of keeping my mental health in check. I try to keep a sense of humor about everything and refuse to get completely stressed out about things I can’t change.
When the day comes that I can once again afford insurance or my Medicare kicks in, whichever comes first, my very first telephone call will be to a doctor to request a thyroid test.