My thyroid story: I can still remember something strange that happened to me back in elementary school. I am trying to run towards a group of my friends to go play with them. But my feet feel heavy, like lead. I can’t seem to be able to run. Stuck in slow motion. Then all of a sudden, the bell marking the end of the 15-minute recess rings. It feels like it wakes me up. Like I zoned out for a while. This is when I notice I am still standing at the same spot. I feel scared and confused. I was 7 or 8 years old.
As a teenager, around 15 years old, I started losing my hair. Of course, the doctor didn’t take it seriously. So, to prove my point, after every shower, I would collect the hair that fell out and place it into a small zip lock back. A separate zip lock bag per shower. ONLY after doing this did the doctor take it more seriously. Unfortunately, thyroid issues were not yet well known. I was instructed to use hot oil and massage my scalp when showering.
The turning point
The turning point was when I was in college back in 1991. One night, I woke up feeling nauseous. Once I sat up in bed, I felt like someone had me by the shoulders and was moving me side-to-side. I ended up emptying my stomach… thankfully the washroom was right next to my bedroom. And so my search to a solution continues.
After visiting 3 doctors, I finally found one that was comfortable with sending me to a thyroid specialist. Doctor one found sand-like lumps on my thyroid but was not comfortable sending me to a specialist. (I still don’t understand why). He then recommended me to doctor two. Doctor two also wasn’t comfortable sending me to a specialist although she agreed it was my thyroid. (Were they afraid of the thyroid specialist?). It was doctor 2 that sent me to a doctor she believed would be ok with referring me to a thyroid specialist. In comes doctor 3. FINALLY, a doctor willing to get to the bottom of things and do something about it. This doctor looked up all of my symptoms, did his research and agreed to send me to a thyroid specialist. YES!!
If you have any thyroid issues, you know how awful it can be to feel out of whack.
The light at the end of the tunnel
The thyroid specialist explained to me that I was hypothyroid. He sent me for a blood test for TSH, T3 and T4. Within one afternoon, I had seen the specialist, had blood work done, gotten the results, and was prescribed Synthroid meds. I felt relieved, understood, and that things were going to be ok.
For the first 20 years on Synthroid, the meds did not need any adjustments and I felt great. But after my two pregnancies, we had to up the meds a bit in order to rebalance my thyroid. Enter peri-menopause and yes, you guessed it, upped the meds once more.
Some symptoms I had that you may think as peri-menopause but wasn’t:
Irregular menstrual cycle
Tingling and numbness in hands and/or fingers
Feeling like the floor is moving underneath you (vertigo)
Dry skin and brittle nails
Irregular body temperature
Thankfully, since August 2017, it has been pretty stable. YAY!!! Who knows what will happen once I enter menopause. I am going for blood tests every 3-6 months to stay on top of things.
There are SO MANY symptoms and it can be confusing to diagnose. Doctors may give you a difficult time with this saying you only need your T3 done. Stand your ground. The T3 test is simply not enough. It is best to test the TSH (Pituitary), T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (Triiodothyronine).
When my thyroid is off, I feel “off”. I am either lose my appetite, or I am always hungry. Always tired, or have difficulty sleeping. Gaining weight, or losing weight. OK. Losing weight may seem great but it really isn’t when it is out of control. Without changing my easting habits, I got down to 110lbs. I was so skinny my husband was afraid to break me in two when he hugged me. My happy weight is 124lbs.
The worst symptom for me is the loss of focus. When your brain doesn’t process info, working slower and taking longer to make sense of things. It leaves you feeling like you are losing your mind. It has been so bad that I would not take the risk of driving my vehicle.
Again, there are many, many, many symptoms. I wish I could cover them all through my own thyroid story. You can find lots of articles listing general symptoms. Please keep in mind that not all have made the list.
If you have a thyroid story, please share it with us in the comments below. We are all in this together. Sharing helps us deal with it, helps us understand it, and lets us know we are now alone.
Yours in health, happiness and success, Nancy Shimmy