I don’t consider myself a sick person. No matter the malady, I hobble along until I can’t any longer. This works pretty well for me until it doesn’t. And right now it isn’t working for me. 7 years ago my thyroid and I parted ways. It hadn’t liked me for years and caused me lots of problems before I got cancer.
When my biopsy came back positive the surgeons took out the thyroid and lymph nodes. Radiation destroyed any of the the lingering tissue that might give me problems. I got the all clear in May 2006 and I thought all would be well. I take a pill that replaces the function of the butterfly shaped organ that caused me so much grief. And then I said, ” Take that thyroid. I don’t need you after all. ”
But that isn’t true. Because after 7 years, my phantom thyroid still likes to be a pain in the ass.
I went to my endo this week, not expecting any surprises. Cancer still remains undetectable, but my labs were way off. Since my last visit in February my thyroid function is no longer suppressed. In fact it was heading north of what is acceptable for a normal healthy person with a functioning thyroid. Even though I had been experiencing hypo symptoms for the past 4 months, I had chalked it up to being lazy. I thought I was tired because I stayed up too late, I thought the massive bruises I had been getting were because I was super clumsy. My puffy eyes were because of the lack of sleep. The leg cramps were from strength training. The fact I wore sweaters when it was 70 out didn’t phase me. But my body was trying to tell me that things weren’t right, and I ignored it.
I actually am not feeling well.
Now begins the game of adjusting my medication. It is not a fun game and usually involves a period of a year where I become hypothyroid, then hyperthyroid, then hypo again until the doctor and I agree I feel like a normal person. It is a long process that frustrates me a lot and reminds me that I am not as healthy as I think.
So although I don’t consider myself a sick person, I do have to admit that living with a chronic condition sucks. I wish my tiredness could be slept away. I wish caffeine would clear the fog from my head. And I wish a sweater would actually warm me up. But until my brain remembers my body no longer possesses a thyroid and quits trying to stimulate it, those things are not going to happen.
Learning to listen to my body is a work in progress. Because the symptoms of hypothyroidism are so innocuous it becomes really difficult to string together if what I am feeling is related to what I am doing, or what is happening inside my body.
The other thing I have learned is that when I am in the medication adjustment stage, I have to take things slower. I can’t say yes to everything. I can’t berate myself for the laundry I didn’t do, or the dinners I haven’t felt like making.
And lastly, I have learned I have to let my family know how I feel. When I tell my husband how tired I have been, he might be able to point out a pattern I am not seeing. When I tell my kids I need help with jobs around the house, then I don’t get overwhelmed. During this time when I don’t feel 100%, I need to give myself grace. I have to remember that I am not like most people, I live with a chronic condition, and occasionally my body revolts and forces me to slow down.
For more information on the Thyroid and diseases of the thyroid check out these websites