My junior year of high school, 2015 to 2016, was a very difficult time in my life. I was not feeling well, I had gained weight, I just wasn't myself. I went to my annual doctor appointment. As doctors do, she checked my lymph nodes, throat etc. She had this funny look on her face as she felt my neck and asked if I had ever seen anybody about my thyroid. Your thyroid is a small little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. The gland produces hormones that regulate a bunch of things in your body. She had noticed that mine was larger than normal. They did some blood tests and told me to go to the endocrinologist (thyroid doctor).
The blood tests showed that I was anemic due to an iron deficiency, but that my thyroid levels were normal. I went to the endocrinologist and after a few appointments and giving my blood a couple of times, finally, we had come to an answer. They told me I had Hashimoto's disease and then sent me out the door.
As happy as I was to have answers for why I had been feeling the way I was, I was very frustrated with the whole endocrinology experience. They didn't explain what this thing was. They just told me I had it and my mom and I were left to research what was going on.
Hashimoto's is explained as the immune system producing antibodies that seem to think the thyroid gland is foreign matter and attack it in attempt to destroy it. So the thyroid gland enlarges in order to compensate for this. Symptoms include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, puffy face, brittle nails, hair loss, weight gain, joint pain and stiffness, memory lapses, period issues, etc.etc.etc.
There is no known cure for Hashimoto's. Basically put, for the past few years, even though this is happening in my body, my thyroid levels are normal, so until they change and I develop something called hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) I am in a waiting game. Which kind of sucks. I've had to deal with feeling the symptoms progress but not being able to do much about it.
The symptoms I've encountered are hair loss, brittle nails, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, joint pain, period issues, and memory lapses. Obviously none of the symptoms are the end of the world, they're just incredibly annoying. The combination of it all can become overwhelming at times.
My last appointment I really tried to address my memory loss because it started to seriously concern me. After more blood tests, my thyroid levels are still normal (surprise), but I did find out I am also B12 anemic, which explains why I was having memory issues. I would get started on my period, but that would be an article in itself, let's just say it's doing better now, but for awhile, it was miserable.
While this obviously isn't life threatening, these little things combined can be very obnoxious. For now I just take multiple vitamins to keep myself healthy and to deal with the anemias. I'm hoping to just get answers as to what's going on. I don't like to feel sick, and it feels like when I am sick, that I'm sick forever.
I am very fortunate that what is going on with me is mild compared to what could be going on. I just wish that there were more answers and not this grey area of unknown. No matter what, I will always strive to be adventurous, to do whatever I want to, and work to feel my best. No, these stupid things do not define me, they may set me back, but any obstacle can be overcome, you just have to figure out how.