Making Peace With My Thyroid...Finally
A couple of week's ago I went back for my check-up after being on 50 mcg of Synthroid for two months and I am SO HAPPY to report that after over a year of struggling to get my hypothyroidism under control my TSH is (in my doctor's words...) "Perfect"!
It only took my new doctor 4 months to get my Synthroid dosage right and when he entered the room and presented me with the results of my blood test (1.4 TSH...) I breathed a sigh of relief. Ever since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I must admit that I have been pretty angry. Angry that I have a thyroid problem, angry that I have to take medicine every day, angry that for a very long time I didn't feel like getting off of the couch, angry that no matter what I did I couldn't lose weight...just angry that this thing called a thyroid appeared to be getting the best of me. I only tell you about my anger, not because I think I have it worse than other people; I realize that my problem is very small compared to the health issues that many people are going through. I tell you about it because I have to be honest about my feelings AND because I am the sort of person who allows anger to drive me...drive me to find answers and make things better.
I had no idea that a poorly functioning thyroid was my problem and perhaps that is because it was slowing getting worse over time. Had my husband not gently insisted I have a complete blood work-up, I still would not know that I had a problem. I was a work-out fanatic; working out 2-3 hours a day. I even worked out with a personal trainer and I worked out hard. My diet was great and neither one of us could figure out why I couldn't seem to make the numbers move on the scale. Well, being told that I had hypothyroidism caused me to begin to read all sorts of articles and books on the subject; I wanted to know everything there was to know about the condition. Below are a list of the symptoms of hypothyroidism: (www.womentowomen.com)
- severe fatigue, loss of energy
- weight gain, difficulty losing weight
- depression and depressed mood
- joint and muscle pain, headaches
- dry skin, brittle nails
- brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss
- irregular periods, PMS symptoms
- breast milk formation
- calcium metabolism difficulties
- difficulty tolerating cold and lower body temperature
- sleeping more than average
- diminished sex drive
- puffiness in face and extremities
- bruising/clotting problems
- elevated levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and heightened risk of heart disease
- allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
- persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
- tingling sensation in wrists and hands that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome
- memory loss, fuzzy thinking, difficulty following conversation or train of thought
- slowness or slurring of speech
- appearance of a goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid that is externally visible
WOW! I had so many of these symptoms. The thyroid controls the hormones in your body and can cause EVERYTHING to get out of whack. A TSH of 5 used to be considered a "Normal TSH", however, the new standards put it at about 2. I agree with this because the way you "feel" has a lot to do with your correct TSH. My doctor always asks, "How do you 'feel'" and I have learned that this is a very important aspect of managing one's hypothyroidism. I didn't truly "feel" my best until my TSH got down to the 1.4. And once I began to 'feel' better, I was suddenly able to physically do more; it was actually amazing since I had felt like doing nothing for so long. In the past month I decided to go back to yoga. I have always loved yoga classes but found myself unable to hold the poses or even my balance so I just quit going. When I started back, it was difficult, both physically and mentally. However, I stuck with it and in no time I was back in the swing of things. Around the same time, I started walking about 30-40 minutes a day. This past week I felt well enough to run a little two days and add a pilates class (a class I had not done for about a year...).
Today, I went to the run shop in town to purchase a new pair of shoes. While there, the owner (a woman in her 30's...) was asking me how I had been. I told her about my thyroid issues and she surprised me telling me that she had been on Synthroid, herself, for years. I was taken aback! This wonderfully fit woman also had hypothyroidism?! And then she told me her story. She was training for a Ironman competition when she found out she had it. Contributing her tiredness to the intense training and also (like me...) not really recognizing the other symptoms she was having, a friend did and told her she needed to have a blood test done. When she received the results she found that her TSH was OVER 100! We talked for quite a while and she gave me great encouragement that I would just continue to feel better and better over time.
I will say that I have made peace with my thyroid. I always knew I had one but I never knew its function or importance. I am not angry any more, just thankful. Thankful that my husband insisted that I have that blood test done, thankful that I found a wonderful doctor that has worked with me to get this condition under control, thankful that I am finally on the correct medication, thankful that I once again feel like getting up in the morning and am able to function normally. I am thankful that I have finally made peace with my thyroid.