As I sit here and type this I have this uncomfortable feeling in my neck area. It feels swollen, and tender. In fact, it also looks swollen. I don’t have a sore throat, but I do feel run down. I’m exhausted. I’m so exhausted, I feel like I could fall asleep, right this very minute. My brain feels foggy. It doesn’t feel clear, and sharp. In fact, if you asked me to remember everything I have to do today, I will most likely have to grab my calendar, and not because I’m a super busy mom, and it’s easy to forget, but because lately I’ve suffered from memory loss. And speaking of loss, I’ve been loosing handfuls of hair, which leaves me with a ton of baby hair at the front of my hair-line, and a thin pony tail. As I type on the keyboard I can feel my nails which were thick and strong six months ago, now feel brittle. A simple tap on the keyboard could bend them right back, causing them to break. And finally, I’m freezing. I’m wearing a sweater ( which I notice fits a bit tight) socks, slippers, the heats on, and I still feel like I’m sitting in an ice rink!
Six months ago, I didn’t feel this way. I was full of energy, my hair and nails were thick. I rarely felt cold. My memory felt sharp, and I felt clarity. I did not feel like I was getting the flu everyday! My clothes fit me, and I simply felt normal. In other words, I wasn’t suffering from symptoms of my Hashimoto’s disease. However, that’s the thing about living with a chronic autoimmune disorder like Hypothyroidism; sometimes you feel great, and sometimes your body and mind feel off.
Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.
The resulting inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to a underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
The doctors thought it was odd that at such a young age, (I was twenty when I was diagnosed) I was suffering from hypothyroidism. However, the test results proved them wrong, and since then, I’ve taken a daily dose of synthroid, along with regular blood tests to test my levels. Over the course of the decade, I’ve had to adjust my levels accordingly a few times. Sometimes the blood results would show that I was wasn’t balanced, therefore the doctors would adjust my medication.
This past year, has been a busy one. I admittedly haven’t always put myself and my health first. Recently I went in for blood work because I’ve felt off-balance and the woman at the clinic was concerned because the last time I came in for some testing was in January. I swear it felt like I was there maybe five months ago. Needless to say, it was clear to me in that moment, how fast time flies, and that I was taking my health for granted. I wasn’t making my health my number one priority.
The reason I’m opening up about living with hypothyroidism is because it’s a huge part of my life and it affects me internally, and physically. It may seem like I look healthy on the outside, and for the most part I am. However, right now I’m feeling completely off balance. And, I don’t want to suffer in silence.
There are also millions of people out there living with this disease who are unaware of it because the signs and symptoms can be ignored as being tired from being busy.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Hoarse voice
- Unexplained weight gain — occurring infrequently and rarely exceeding 10 to 20 pounds, most of which is fluid
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in your shoulders and hips
- Pain and stiffness in your joints and swelling in your knees or the small joints in your hands and feet
- Muscle weakness, especially in your lower extremities
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
If you’ve been feeling like this, I would go and get some blood work done. If a disease like this is left untreated it can cause a variety of complications.
In conclusion, I want to feel better. I want my hair and nails to feel thick again. I want to remember my appointments and feel energetic. I don’t want to let this disease take over my life. After all, I only get this one life and I ultimately want to feel good on the inside. More importantly, I want to take action on ways I can treat this disease naturally with whole foods, and exercise, rather than simply relying on a pill to make me feel better. If you have any suggestions, or know of any holistic approaches I am very open to learning more.
A girl fighting an autoimmune disease who wants to live life to the fullest.