Wednesday, 23 February 2011
See this website for more info. on ithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid. My purpose for this post is not to medically teach you about the thyroid, but to share my personal story of what life is like when it does not function well. I would be delighted if, through sharing this, it helps just one person who may have similar symptoms find the correct diagnosis and get the help that is available.
Knowing what I know now, I would say that my thyroid story began when I was a teen, even though I was not diagnosed until I was around 23 years old. The signs were mild, but they were beginning. I would feel panicky and fearful about things. After we got married, which means I got older :), the signs increased. My fears and panic attacks increased and my first severe episode was when I woke up in the middle of the night and begged Dave to call the ambulance, for I was dying! He called my parents instead (smart man!) and they came over and helped to calm me down. These episodes increased and did not limit themselves to the middle of the night. We soon moved into Strausstown and I remember thinking that I could not drive down main street, for the houses would fall in on me. Yep! You guessed it! Poor Dave thought he married a crazy woman! I read a really good book that helped describe what happens in your body when you have a panic attack and provides ways to deal with them - "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Claire Weekes. Because of the book, I was able to live my life and not be totally controlled by my attacks. I had Ben, we moved out of town, and my condition worsened. Ben spent 98 days in the neonatal unit at Reading and I remember driving down (I would drive myself every other day and the other day I would go with Dave in the evening). Anyway, I would get down there, stare at my teeny tiny little man and wonder how on earth I got there and how on earth I was going to get home. I thought I would need to call someone to come for me, for I was physically and mentally exhausted! I know that this kind of situation would make anyone exhausted and stressed and I believe that it was the straw that brought the camel's back. I could not do my housework, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Finally, I went to the Dr. (don't ask me why I waited so long - I think I was chalking it up to the stress), for I needed to tell him that I was anemic and needed help (yep, I was one of those dreaded patients that thought I could diagnose myself). He took one look at me and told me I had a thyroid problem. He was correct and I started to feel better within 2 weeks of starting meds.. That was 22 years ago and the beginning of this wild roller coaster ride of finding the correct dose of meds. After every baby was born, my symptoms would return, my dosage would increase and since Oliver (who is 8) was born, it increased more than once until it had reached the high dose of 225 mcg. I had times of great frustration (still do) about this condition wondering what caused my thyroid to dysfunction in the first place. Was it my diet, was it stress, was it inherited? And then why can't we get it regulated and be able to stay on the same dose forever? Are there alternatives to meds? (don't go there) and does stress cause dysfunction or dysfunction cause stress? I have become so familiar with the symptoms that I know when I need to have blood work done. My first symptom will be mental - the brain fog, the inability to make decisions, can't think and process things, can't remember names and simple things that I know that I know. I will experience morbid thoughts and slight panicky feelings (which have disappeared after being on synthroid). Physical symptoms will be that my heart will feel like it is pounding out of my chest or not pounding enough, pain in my shoulders and chest, change in my menses, and moods, and can't sleep. Or I will be so tired that I am afraid that I won't wake up if I do go to sleep. Do you know that some believe that a large percentage of women that were in the mental institutes years ago simply had an undiagnosed thyroid disorder? Thankfully, Dr.'s have become more knowledgeable about this disease and now we are able to be mental but stay in our own homes! No, honestly, I have often wondered what is normal and if I will ever experience it. Oh, by the way, what is "normal"? I need to know so that I can recognize it when I arrive there. Enough joking! It's not funny! :) Well, anyway, here recently, within the last year, something has been changing. I became symptomatic, had blood work and it came back low, which means I need to lower my dose to 200mcg. Took that dose for awhile - another test - again too low, lower dose to 175. Took that dose for awhile, can't remember how long (thats part of the disease)- another test - too low - lower dose to 150. By this time, I am amazed. I cannot tell you, without seeing my medical records, the last time I was on 150! Well, I was on 150 for about 6 weeks and I knew the Dr. blew it this time for taking me too low. Boy, do I hate the brain fog!! So, does my family - "mom, I told you that already," "mom, what is to eat? I don't know I can't think about that" "oh, I totally forgot.." "mom, can we do this or that? after long delay.... I don't know..." Whew! Time for more blood work. Yesterday, I got the results.....too low, lower dose to 125! I'm blown away! I have not been on that dose for years and years!! What is happening? Is God choosing to heal me? I did not lose weight, we have been eating healthy for years, our lifestyle hasn't changed. The only thing is that I started seeing a different chiropractor and have been under his care for some time. I don't believe in the hocus pocus stuff that some chiropractors do (my chiropractor don't either), but I do believe that pinched nerves have a huge effect on the area where the nerves are feeding into. Now, I have more questions, but I am very happy in the direction things are going. I don't know the reason why the direction changed, but I am very thankful to the Great Physician. Sad to say, I will remain sceptical for the next few months to see what happens. "Oh, ye of little faith..." That's me, I guess!
Until next time.............