To be able to speak so publicly about an issue concerning you personally is a feat that not many can conquer. To publish, and mediate what is going on in your personal life takes confidence in the security of what your body cannot do. After searching extensively on the internet as to how people experience and deal with Hypothyroidism, I have found that not many people talk about it. The fact is that Hypothyroidism is a life-long disorder, with no cure; that being said I believe it is time to be more vocal about the disorder and the effects that it has on the body.
I was first diagnosed in 2011, when one day I was wondering why I lose so much hair throughout the day. Soon after that I got my first round of blood work, (nowhere near the last) and it turned out I had a pretty severe case of hypo. I was immediately prescribed Synthroid, and an appointment was set up to see an endocrinologist approximately two hours from where I live.
What some may be asking is what exactly is Hypothyroidism? The term describes an under active thyroid gland which can make you experience:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Heart Problems
- Birth Defects
The issue is that with Hypothyroidism, it is all a game of getting the right level dosage given to you to ensure that you don't experience these symptoms too heavily. Me personally, I would always struggle with fatigue, being constantly cold, thinning hair, and later, goiter.
Through the years the endocrinologist was not as necessary anymore, however I went to see her about every 6 weeks following my blood work to see if my levels were finally in normal range; this took about four years. On my second last to visit, I had stated that I had noticed that it was a little more difficult to swallow, and after a simple physical, the doctor had ordered an ultrasound to ensure there was no abnormal growth within the thyroid gland. Me being a sophomore in high school, I thought of worse case scenarios, thinking about the fact that what they find could be potentially cancerous. To my best luck, it was only a goiter; and while that doesn't sound too great, I don't know one person that would rather go through cancer than a constantly enlarged gland.
Not many people here at school know about my disorder, seeing that I am not too vocal about it. I figure that everyone has something going on in their life, and that because having a disorder has become part of my everyday life, I have normalized it. The reality is that there are some days that no matter what you do, nothing warms me up, and that I could easily sleep the day away and still struggle to get out of bed after 16 hours. I live in a constant fear of thinning hair and easy weight gain. Having a disorder includes accepting the fact that you will take a pill every single day for the rest of your life. Having a Hypothyroidism makes getting out of bed feel like you're climbing a mountain, and that three sweaters may not be enough.
It has been 6 years since I have been diagnosed, I have been poked and prodded and examined too many times to count. I have a disorder that will affect me for the rest of my life, and I fight with it everyday. Having a disorder is sometimes a battle between body and mind, and it's been 6 years, and my mind has one every single fight.