Over the years, as I was being diagnosed, treated, and in recovery for my hormone-related health conditions, I found that reading other peoples’ stories of recovery/management were really helpful. I often found a clue for myself, or an idea that put me on another path to healing.
That is why I share my story in this website. Not to complain, or stay in the autopsy of what has happened. But rather to share and explain, in case there’s a detail that helps someone else onto a path that helps their healing!
I don’t know for how long my thyroid wasn’t functioning. I just know that at in my late teens and early twenties, at each annual doctor appointment I would share my endless symptoms: extreme sweating throughout the day, tremors and shakiness; migraines three or four times a week; my hair fell out by the handful; a completely compromised immune system bringing severe allergies and falling to every flu and virus going around, from the stomach flu to larangitis and pleurisy; weight loss and muscle waste in spite of a regular appetite…I think my appetite was only thing that was regular!
In spite of sharing my symptoms over and over my thyroid was never tested.
That is, until I was in another city, and stopped into a walk-in clinic, because I once again was sick. The doctor took one look at me and asked me to extend my arms and try to keep my hands still. I couldn’t do it because I had such tremors. He immediately sent me for blood work and it was discovered that I had a severely overactive thyroid condition called Grave’s disease.
My endocrinologist shared with me that it will never be known how over-active my thyroid actually was because my test scores were off their charts. He suspected by the condition of my body that it had been overactive for some years.
Finally treating the thyroid brought on a too-low-thyroid response which needed to be corrected through medication. This severe swing in condition brought on a lengthy depression, as well as a battle to re-build my immune system and general health.
This is when I started reading everything I could find on the thyroid. It is interesting to note that in the era of the mid to late 80’s; thyroid problems were not investigated readily by doctors. And I understand that there were many reasons for that which made sense at that time. Unfortunately, I have many friends who, based on my experience, would ask their family doctor to test their thyroid and were flatly told that it wasn’t necessary.
Thankfully it’s not like that anymore! Along with regular medical care, I relied heavily on Naturopathic doctors during the years of recovering my health balance.
It’s interesting to me as I observe myself and others who share their journey with me, that the beginning symptoms of an non-functioning thyroid are mild and general. Individually the symptoms could be the flu…general tiredness, muscle weakness, nausea, headache. Until we step back and realize in the bigger picture all the symptoms run together to hint at the thyroid.
Even as recently as two years ago, I met a new friend who was telling me in conversation about how she just wasn’t feeling that well over the past months. When she recited her symptoms I encouraged her to see her doctor for a thyroid test. She reported weeks later that in fact it was her thyroid that was the problem. She went on medication and became balanced and healthy again.
It’s in those moments when I realize the benefit of thinking of my experience as a blessing in order to help others.