Rocky View Publishing assistant editor shares battle with thyroid disease
Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:13 am
How can one tiny gland put your life on hold?
Itís been nearly a year-and-a-half since I was diagnosed with thyroid disease, a diagnosis that Iíll be honest, I didnít think was all that bad.
Nor, did I realize the true effect it would have on my life.
Previous to this, I had been very fortunate. I had boundless amounts of energy, stable moods, I didnít have to watch what I ate, had strong healthy hair, a healthy weight and clear skin.
I always knew things would change as I got older, but this hit hard, and it snuck up on me.
What might be the worst part, is the little information and reliable medical advise that exists.
While all, and there have been many, of the doctors Iíve seen have been brilliant theyíve all had different opinions and treatments.
One course of treatment at one level, wait six to eight weeks, get results, try a different level, wait six to eight weeks and the cycle continues.
All the while, you continue to struggle daily with no energy, low mood and a rising level of frustration.
Researching the disease will bring up countless ďsupport groupsĒ with hundreds of people Ė just like me Ė that are fed up, exhausted and left hopeless with the lack of control over their treatment.
That tiny little gland in your neck pretty much controls everything. Everything.
It controls your mood, your metabolism, you hair, your skin, your heartbeat, your mental health, the strength of your muscles, can cause depression and anxiety in those with an underactive thyroid, it can lead to a stroke if the levels are too high, can cause fertility issues and it goes on.
If the treatment isnít exactly spot on, you live in a constant haze of the life you once had, unable to do the things that you once loved.
I loved running, still do, but now I canít run longer than 10 minutes at a time, a far cry from the marathons that I loved participating in.
My diagnosis came after I went to the doctor complaining of exhaustion. I used to sleep 11 to 14 hours a day and was still tired, I gained 20 pounds in weeks, my hair fell out in clumps, my hands and feet were blue they were so cold all the time and I had a depressed state of mind.
For someone that was very much in control of her life for years Ė and liked it that way Ė it was torture, frustrating and exhausting.
The mood swings can cause havoc on relationships, and your inability to control them is devastating.
Iím one of the lucky ones, my partner has been there every step of the way, constantly reassuring me that it will get better and we will find the right treatment.
Iím not sure I could do this without him and I canít imagine going through this alone.
This isnít a life-threatening disease like cancer or diabetes I know that, but itís life changing.
Thereís no charity runs for thyroid disease, thereís not a lot of support outside the online world, and to be honest people just donít understand what itís like unless you have it or live with someone that does.
There needs to be more support, communication and more education to truly understand why this happens and how we can more effectively manage it.
But until that day, we just keep trying new options and just keep hoping things will get better, even if you donít really believe it.
While it may take me 10 times longer than it used to, I still run and will be running in the Calgary half marathon in June and Iíll finish the race, even if Iím the last across the finish line.
I wonít let thyroid disease take that from me.