Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Living the Hypothyroid Life

It all started when I was in a bathroom at a restaurant when my cousin commented that there seemed to be something protruding from my throat. I didn't notice it before but when I was staring at it in the mirror it did seem that there was a small lump. My mother told me to go and see a doctor, which I did. 

I found out that I was hyperthyroid and the lump on my throat was possibly nodules due to the disease. I took the required tests (T3, T4, TSH) and I took medication that the doctor prescribed until the tests resulted in normal thyroid levels, otherwise known as euthyroid. My doctor then told me that I would be fine.

A cousin of mine told me that thyroid disease is something that you live with for life and that my doctor (an ENT) was wrong about me not having follow-up appointments. She recommended her doctor, an endocrinologist who upon seeing my latest tests told me that I didn't have any thyroid disease since my levels were normal.

How was I supposed to know that these doctors would actually be wrong and that I should be on the lookout for it because it comes back?

Years later I again noticed a lump in my throat. I again went to an ENT for treatment and was (again) diagnosed as hyperthyroid. After a few months the lump, the nodules started to feel like they were restricting my airway, particularly when I lie down. The doctor gave me two options, radioactive iodine treatment or surgery. Since I was told that there was a risk of not being able to have a child with the former, I opted for the latter. The nodules were biopsied and thankfully I told that I was cancer-free.

Today I live with less than 1/4 of my thyroid. I have to take thyroid medicine to help my thyroid function properly given how much of it I have left. Thyroid issues can cause the lack of some of the body's essential hormones due to that there are several meds that I take to supplement the additional nutrients that I need.

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These days I have one of those medicine containers to help me remember which meds to take during the day, for the morning and the evening. Then I must make sure that I monitor my thyroid levels regularly -- at least every three months. Depending on how I feel, I must have follow-up appointments with my doctor monthly, quarterly, or every six months.

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The thyroid life is not easy. I am now hypothyroid, which means that my metabolism is slow, and this is something that I struggle with so much because I am overweight as a result of it. Because of the excess weight, I need to monitor my blood sugar and cholesterol, as well as my blood pressure. It’s not fun. It’s a lot of work.

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My thyroid levels change from time to time so regular tests are a must so that my medicine can be adjusted accordingly. Sometimes I just wish that I didn’t have to have my blood tested so often but that’s something I must do. It’s something that I need to deal with for the rest of my life, along with other thyroid-related issues (fatigue being the worst of it for me).

I’m thankful that I found a website and community of people with the same issues online. It’s good to be able to read stories from people who are dealing with the same thing and finding other ways to cope with this disease.

Life with thyroid disease is not perfect and I admire those who live with it who do not appear to be having any trouble with it at all. I hope I can get to that level of ease with this disease. I'm thinking of shifting to a new doctor soon so I can try a new treatment plan, which wouldn't hurt because things haven't changed for me positively for a while.

Is there anyone out there with the same disease? How do you cope?


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