I’ve decided to write about something I don’t often share with others. In fact, only those close to me know about this. After some encouragement from friends and family, I felt the need to share this so that maybe others can take comfort if they share similar experiences. A little over 3 years ago, I got really sick. In the emergency room with IV’s kind of sick.
Up until that point, I thought I was invincible. I worked overseas. Survived a bout of Dengue fever in Haiti, worked back to back to back shifts in the human and social services fields and then could still fit in a long distance run before sleeping. Then one day I thought I had a bad cold coming on…. or maybe a nasty flu. All I knew was I had a high fever and I just couldn’t swallow without significant pain, which was especially terrible because for some reason my appetite was unreal. I needed to eat and eat and eat yet I was dropping weight like crazy. My heart was racing and skipping beats all the time and I couldn’t get through even 1/4 mile of a run. In true invincible fashion, I kept working through it for a few days until I just couldn’t get out of bed one morning.
Fast forward to the hospital where they start saying words like enlarged thyroid and suddenly I’m being scheduled for cat scans and x-rays. At the age of 26, I was pretty scared. It turns out, I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My thyroid went out of control because my own immune system was attacking it and I was told by doctor after doctor that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. They told me that now my life would consist of medicine and blood tests to keep it under control.
I. Was. Devastated. In fact, I still have days where I get so frustrated with a handful of hair coming out, a brain fog so intense I can barely function through my work day, exhaustion so severe I can’t keep my eyes open in the afternoon, or shivering from being so cold in the summer. I try to brush it off, but let’s be real. It sucks. I wouldn’t tell anyone otherwise. I’m not going to be one of those people who tells you that this changed my life for the better. Though it has made me want to work in the health and wellness field that much more. It has made me appreciate my good days where I’m feeling healthy. It has also made me appreciate running that much more.
Here’s the thing though, it won’t just go away. For a lucky few, yes they will magically get better, but for most of us living with Hashimoto’s is a lifetime battle. I won’t pretend that I’m an expert on thyroid issues on this blog – I’m certainly not. I can only write about my experiences (and I’ve had quite a few) in hopes that it will make someone else feel comforted that they’re not alone. So from time to time, I’ll write about it on the blog.
My advice if you’re struggling with this. Don’t lose hope. Stay as strong as you can through the bad days, surround yourself with those that understand and support you, keep fighting to be heard at your doctor appointments, and keep learning what works for you.