Wednesday, July 17, 2013

That time my thyroid hated me...

After I calfed my first kid, in 2007, I became completely run down, exhausted, hair falling out and a raging lunatic. I would cry at the drop of a hat, and felt like my newborn son hated me. My endocrinologist, encouraged me to get blood work done. Pffftttt. Stupid Dr...what does he know, plus, the thought of taking my newborn son into a lab with me around ALL THE GERMS was just out of the question. So my psychosis moved onwards, and I continued to spiral downwards. My face became puffy, my anxiety and depression seemed to be out of control, and I was gaining weight, despite hardly ever eating + breast feeding.

At this point my endocrinologist, who also happens to be my baby daddy, laid down the law. I WOULD get my labs done, I WOULD take the baby in public, and NO he would not catch Ebola from accompanying me. Hmmmph. Asshole. I did it anyways. Had my blood drawn, had them send the results to Dr. C. Whatever. Everything was going to be normal. I just KNEW it. Because I'm me. And I know. Better than a physician. Duh.

My hubby brought my blood results home. Something had popped up. Oh. Humph. I was severely hypothyroid. Suffering from a condition called "Postpartum thyroiditis". This occurs when a pregnancy triggers your immune system to attack your thyroid. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis was the cause. I could barely pronounce this. Holy Guacamole.

Dr. C promptly started me on Synthroid. I was now one of "them". One of those crazy women muttering about her thyroid and how it was the cause of ALL BAD THINGS EVER. Worst part? It was going to take 4-6 weeks for my medication to kick in. 'Scuse me?? Ummm hi, Mr. Endocrinologist....I'm your wife...I need INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Fix me. Now. I'm not just "some patient". He was all "sorry bout ya" and told me to keep taking my drugs. I sobbed. I now had to take this tiny pill every morning. On an empty stomach, nothing else. I THEN had to wait 30 minutes before administering coffee or food into my mouth. ERMAHGAWD. He was killing me. This was terrible. This was worse than my diabetes in my mind. This was A PILL. Aghhhhhhhh!!!!

Fast forward 5 years. I have good months and bad months. There are days {ahem, sometimes weeks} where I forget my medication. I have a LIFE ya know, thyroid. Dumb. But then I get run down, my face and joints get puffy. Then I cry at the drop of a hat and start feeling stabby towards ALL THINGS. And I can't shit for days, and all I want to do is nap. Usually the Endo knows when things are off. Better than me. Sometimes I think he should become a thyroid expert or something.

My hair has never been the same. It's more brittle and can fall out in gobs. My nails break more easily. My temper can go from zero to WATCH YOSELF, FOOL in a matter of seconds. The weight gain. OHHHHH the weight gain. Really, Endo Gods? You couldn't have just left my waistline alone? This is hard enough as it is! I try to check my levels every 3-4 months, or more often if I'm feeling off. But sometimes it's like, well....is this diabetes? RA? Thyroid? Syphilis? Brain tumor? How am I supposed to know!? I've been on pretty much all doses of thyroid medication. From 50 to 300 mcg. There have been days I take a week's worth because its been that long since I've taken it. My memory? What memory. The sick joke is that you can't remember the last time you HAD a memory when you have thyroid disease.

Recently I began following a popular thyroid disease support site. It has a super hip name and is endorsed by a B list celebrity. Hmmm.. Cool. I can dig it. They claim that the only way to take your thyroid meds is if it's "natural", AKA dessicated {dried pork jerky} pig thyroid ground up and put into pills. In endocrinology we are taught that this stuff is the devil. That it's inconsistent and all over the place and that most Drs don't even Rx it correctly. So of course, I forced my husband to give this to me. He said I would be sorry. I told him he was a nay sayer, just like all of THEM out there. So I started it. This pill I had to take TWICE a day, once being at lunch. Ohhhhhhh shit. It just got real up in hurrrrr. I can barely remember to EAT at lunch, let alone REMEMBER TO REPLACE A HORMONE IN MY BODY.
1 month goes by. My trainer is seeing I'm struggling working out, I'm going to sleep at 7pm and my face turns round, like a mutha effin moon. Endo sayssssss: check your damn labs. Verdict? Most awfulist thyroid levels of all time. Ohhh. Oops. So yeah...about that pig jerky I've been taking....not real sure it's working that great for me. So now he has me back on Synthroid {synthetic thyroid hormone} and a dose of Nature-Throid in the AM and at lunch. After a week I'm feeling a bit better, but would still like to be asleep. Like right now. Like in bed writing this with my eyes closed. Please.

All of my thyroid patients out there I know can relate to this. You're not alone! Even the wife of a board certified Endo struggles with this. Like a LOT. So know the signs and symptoms of hypo {low} and hyper {high} thyroid.
As seen here: http://thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf

Annnnnnnd here: http://thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hyper_brochure.pdf

And know that your primary care doctor may be following a lab's guidelines for what a "normal" thyroid level should be. 60% of our thyroid patients were told at one point or another, that their levels were normal. When they were un-normal. And whack. So do your due diligence when getting checked out and push for more than just a "TSH" test {which is most Dr's idea of "checking" your "thyroid", even though TSH is made by the "pituitary gland"}. And if you have diabetes, your chances are increasingly elevated for developing thyroid disease. Have a blood relative with autoimmune disease? Increases YOUR risk for autoimmune thyroid disease {Hashimoto's & Grave's}. I tell my parents that they genetically screwed me.

Oh...and for all of you that take thyroid replacement, make sure you're taking it CORRECTLY. First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, with a sip of water, nothing to eat or drink for 30 minutes and at LEAST 4 hours apart from vitamins. Iron and calcium will actually bind to the thyroid hormone = you won't get your dose. Many patients are NEVER told how to do this. Which sucks for everyone involved! DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC. Wait...now I sound like an after-school ABC family movie. But for real, y'all...be educated.

So that's all I got about thyroid. Can you tell I hate it? And it hates me? Yep...me too.