This article is untended for diagnosis of any medical condition nor advocate or prescribe any specific medication or treatment. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for proper diagnosis or treatment of any disease or condition.
During 2002, I began to feel tired every day. As months went by, the tired sensation grew worse, and I developed a hard lymph node under my arm. I was terrified. I finally spoke up, and at my doctors office, was treated like a paranoid child. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. But if you feel you need to do something, I’ll send you to a surgeon since you’re so upset.”
A series of x-rays and mammograms proved nothing. I went to the surgeon’s office, the lymph node was removed and a biopsy proved it was normal. During this time, however, my condition worsened.
My throat had developed extremely painful bumps under the skin, and I felt as though I were dying. Swallowing, turning my head, eating, sneezing all sent me through waves of agony. If I walked across the floor, I held on to things to keep from falling. I felt as though I were wearing a lead suit. I had also gained weight even though I was eating next to nothing. My behavior had become erratic, even terrifying to me. I wasn’t myself.
I returned to my doctor’s office, determined to get an answer. I demanded another doctor, not the one who acted as though I were an idiot.
The clinic’s main doctor took one look at me and said he thought it was my thyroid. He consulted another clinic doctor who had expertise in the area. She agreed and ordered a blood test. It proved I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis- a condition where my body’s own immune system, probably triggered by a virus, was attacking my thyroid.
I began taking thyroid medicine, Levothyroxine- a synthetic thyroid hormone in 2003. As the dose was changed to match blood tests and my symptoms, I felt better. The excess weight began to drop, and I felt like myself again. Of course, this took place over several months.
Many women are treated with a sense of “nonsense” by doctors. Thyroid problems are often vague, and are misdiagnosed as other conditions. This leads to frustration on the patient’s part, increased health costs overall, and malpractice suits for the wrong diagnosis and treatment.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms, unexplained weight gain, brittle hair, nodules or lumps in the throat, extreme tiredness or ‘you’re not yourself,” go to your doctor. Don’t let the doctor blow you off- ask for blood tests to see what’s going on. Keep in mind that in the beginning, my blood tests looked normal even though I had symptoms.
Don’t give up. Keep going back. Let your doctor know you want your thyroid monitored, if you think it’s what’s going on. If your doctor refuses, see another doctor. It may prove to be your thyroid, it may prove to be something else. It’s worth finding out.
I take a pill every morning with my coffee, then an hour later I have breakfast. I let any Pharmacist know I take Levothyroxin when my doctor prescribes anything. I’ll be on this for the rest of my life, and that’s okay. I get my blood monitored once a year, and so far, everything’s remained stable.
If you miss a pill, don’t take two. Just take the next dose the next day. Don’t make the decision to stop taking it. Your thyroid controls every system in your body- you need it.
It is a manageable condition- I live an active, happy life.