Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Thyroid is NOT my friend!

Six months after my second child was born, I got sick.  I wasn't sick in the classic sense.  Instead, I felt like I was disappearing.  That may sound strange.  I thought I was suffering from post-partum depression and a little sadness about giving up a very lucrative and rewarding career.  I was raised to be a working woman.  I know now that I did the very best thing for my children and love being their teacher.  But, I was actually sick, not depressed. 

Slowly, I needed more sleep, up to 14 hours a day, endured horrible headaches, lost hair, had dry skin, was constipated (sorry if TMI) and felt depressed.  I also had tingling hands.  If that wasn't enough, I started to feel like I was choking.  I wasn't choking, but I felt like I was.  It became very distressing and my husband insisted I go to the ER.  Something was choking me.  It was a goiter.  My thyroid had grown so large, my neck was swollen (didn't notice myself because I was 70 pounds overweight at the time), but it was also putting pressure on my windpipe, hence the choking sensation.  They tested my thyroid levels. Low and behold my TSH was incredibly high (double digits - 89) when normal is between 0.5 and 3.  I was prescribed a low dose of Synthroid and was given instructions to get to my doctor on the next business day.

The nurse-practitioner I saw was petrified and referred me to a surgeon to have my thyroid removed.  The surgeon read the report and sent me to an endocrinologist.  After a month wait to get in, I finally saw one of the best endocrinologist in town.  He did a blood workup and one of the most thorough exams I had ever had.  He called me a week later to explain my problem.  It was Hypothyroidism secondary to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  He increased my Synthroid dose, told me to schedule another appointment in 6 weeks and hung up.  I didn't get anymore information from him.  Thankfully, I felt much better pretty quickly.

However, my system goes through spurts when I feel yucky and figure it is my thyroid.  More often than not, I am right.  One of the sad, sad side effects, which the doctors didn't explain was how the thyroid works in the body.  The thyroid is responsible for metabolism.  Every cell in the body relies on thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism.  So, when you are not producing enough of those important hormones, your metabolism suffers.  Fun stuff when you are trying to lose weight!  Or maybe not?

I have been having one of those yucky spurts lately.  I usually start to feel like I am disappearing again.   I haven't had my thyroid levels checked in 9 months, so it was time.  Well, my weight loss of late can be explained by the fact that my levels WERE off, except in the other way.  I was over-corrected and my TSH was at 0.12.  So, my "easy" loss of five pounds was more likely a side-effect of  hyperthyroidism.  My meds are corrected.  Disappointing from a weight loss perspective, because I know it will be harder but at least I am feeling better.  Those five pounds lost just seemed too easy.  Now I know.

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