Hypothyrodism: Glandzilla Attacks from Inner Space

It’s not often that I read a book, a magazine article, or a post and immediately stop everything I’m doing to write about it. Truth be told, I can’t often focus long enough to finish anything I’m reading. Last night on my feed a random you may be interested box showed up: Hypothyroidism Ruined My Relationship. I clicked on it, but didn’t have the energy to read past the title.

This morning as I’m floating through my open tabs (which I usually have a lot of as that is the only way I can remember what to read later), I decided with a cup of coffee, it was time to skim what I thought would be a fluff piece about Hypothyroidism.

It was a difficult read once I got past the opening paragraph. I fought back tears — a lot. I fought to concentrate on the post to the end. It took a refill of coffee, a break to give my cat eye drops, add a load to the washing machine, and starting the dishwasher, but I made it through to the end. This may not seem like a lot to you, but for me it is a HUGE accomplishment.

Since I have been diagnosed with this condition, no one has understood me, to include me. When I do talk about it (which is not often) the listener will give pat answers like,”Yeah my mom has it,” “My best friend has it.” A wall comes up and we press on to other topics. Isolating me in a “woe-is-me” cocoon once again. No one wants to talk about it and so this stays bottled up inside.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I have been struggling for years, but doctors kept treating the symptoms. Gain weight, try the low carb diet, not working? How about the vegan diet. Oh, you have headaches, try lowering your stress. Can’t focus? That must be because your B level is low. Can’t remember? That’s just low vitamin D in your system (I was biking 5 to 6 times a week (outside in summer) at the time) — low D?

Finally, in April of 2012 everything hit a wall. It was brought about through a very scary (to me anyway) incident when I was told by Tanya to tell Kara something. I remember talking to Tanya, I remember saying I will tell Kara. I remember hanging up the phone.  I remember dialing Kara’s number. I remember saying HI and then nothing. I could not remember what it was I was supposed to tell her. It had been less than 5 minutes between ending one call and starting the other. But the memory of that last piece of information was gone — and to this day I still don’t remember what it is that I was supposed to tell Kara.

I know some will say, “That happens to all of us from time to time.” For me, it was a wake up call. It was something that should not have occurred in a 5 minute span, but it was also the last straw in a string of things that had been occurring over the last year with increasing frequency.

I was angry at nothing. I don’t mean a little angry, I mean, off the wall full blown want to punch somebody angry because the coffee took to long to brew that morning.  I couldn’t remember conversations that took place on the same day. I was obsessive about work — working almost 24/7 because I couldn’t sleep and I was fearful with forgetting to do a task. I felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I hurt so much I just wanted to end everything. I just wanted someone to tell me I was OK. I wanted someone to listen and HEAR me.

No one was listening. They couldn’t relate and the pain got worse because I was alone and trapped and confused and angry and hurting.

I don’t care much for doctors, but not because I don’t like them, I just am not that unhealthy. Mom raised us to push through the pain and not waste a doctor’s time with meaningless things like a sprained ankle.

My irrational mood swings and weight gain were very similar to what I experienced at puberty. So, I thought — incorrectly — maybe I was in early menopause. There was no other logical explanation.

On May 5, 2012, two days after my PA ran some tests, the results were back. My thyroid was non-existent, to the extent that I might as well not have had one at all. The range of a “normal” thyroid is debated by doctors to this day and unless, as in my case, it is so off the chart high or low, your doctor is liable to say it’s low or high, but in normal range. If you get that answer get more tests or find a doctor who will listen to you.

I have always had low, but normal thyroid readings, which means I should have been on thyroid medication years before I was. It wasn’t until my thyroid numbers were off the chart low —  that I was finally able to take steps in the right direction.

I love my PA, she was wonderful in treating the cause and not the individual symptoms. She listened to me and ran the correct tests (a complete metabolic panel) and put me on medication that acts like my thyroid in an attempt to get my body, mind, and emotions back to what they should be.

I saw results within 2 days of starting thyroid medication. I became less obsessive, I became calmer, I even think I laughed a couple times. It was not an immediate fix, but I was so extreme in my emotions, that I noticed a difference in my body.

It’s been 3 years since that diagnosis, and I don’t know if it is a disease or a condition or whatever label you want to give it, but I am better than I used to be. I recognize the symptoms when they occur and get into the doctors office as quickly as I can so we can adjust dosage. This is not uncommon and will be a life long thing, but when I become depressed and angry and obsessive, it’s time to look it again.

The problem is the last couple of times my levels were great, yet some of the more erratic symptoms are coming back and it frustrates me.

After reading Robyn Guidon’s post, I have more questions, and maybe more tests, for my new doctor to run, to see why I am not back to my complete self. I am moving in the right direction and while I feel better than before the medication, it is still a work in progress.

So for all my friends and family who cannot relate to me today, for my distance in the past, for my lack of trying to explain or keep carrying on about “my condition”, take a few moments (I know you won’t need as many breaks as I did), to read the post by Robyn Guidon. It is well written and explains, better than I ever have, the way I felt and still do and still struggle with.

              Hypothyroid Mom:

The Two Big Problems with “Typical” Thyroid Hormone Treatment – Part 1

                  Hypothyroid Mom:

    The Two Big Problems with “Typical” Thyroid Hormone Treatment – Part 2

    How Are You

    How are you? Do you ever notice how often we ask this or have it asked of us? I have come to hate these three meaningless words. I mean really, how are you supposed to answer that?

    The expected answer is “I’m fine”. Which translates that all is right in my world, even if it isn’t.

    You can’t answer it honestly, I mean who really wants to hear, “I’ve been better.” or “I’m depressed.”

    Now granted, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but I can count them on one hand. After a while you can’t keep telling those people on your one hand that life is not good. Who wants to be around a depressed, in a rut, struggling with life person?

    For me, life is a struggle talking to people and I realize a major factor of that are these three words. I don’t want to lie, but at the same time, I can’t tell the truth. No one wants to hear that I’m struggling in my life, not that it’s horribly bad, it’s just when things are off kilter it overwhelms me. I have lost focus and I don’t know how to bring peace and calm and tranquility back into my life.

    These three words cause a lot of miscommunication in relationships. I think it is because not only is the question meaningless by the shear fact that it is an opener to a conversation brought about by years of habit, but it puts both people in an awkward position. The answerer lies about what they feel or the questioner feels awkward by a truthful answer they don’t know what to do with.

    I’ve never been good at small talk, somehow I find it empty and meaningless. I often confuse people when I first meet them. It’s because I am socially awkward and shy and horrible at small talk. I find it easier to start the conversation in the middle, but unless you’ve know me for a while, you’ll just think I’m weird.

    These three dreaded words can be a safe haven when I enter a room where I know absolutely no one. It’s easier when it’s a stranger, I don’t have to be honest with them about how I feel and they don’t expect anything deeper than the pat answer.

    My friends say that I am not shy, but I know differently. I tend to grow quiet around new people because I know what is expected of me in the first five minutes of meeting someone new. After the habit opener of those three words comes the deafening sound of what next. It’s not like I can start a conversation in the middle with strangers — there was no conversation in progress.

    I have come to dread this question — it’s question is just a matter of fact habit, that once asked has no good answer.

    I dare you the next time you meet someone, co-worker, friend, family member, start a conversation without asking that question. Can you do it?


    Lost Wonder

    Usually I like flying. I don’t mean just once in a while, I mean you could send me ALMOST anywhere if you throw in a plane. The awe inspiring imagination of the people traveling is endless. Different colors, some slow and laid backs, others racing from point A to point B. The languages and the cultures mixing and mingling – usually peacefully. It makes my blood pump and imagination take flight.

    This particular trip is the exception to the rule. I keep trying to move on in life, to focus on the future. But as luck would have it, my past is drawing me backwards. It’s not like I didn’t see it coming, I just wish the past would do what it’s supposed to do – stay in the past.

    I watch people talking in different languages walking by, but I don’t wonder what country they are from or what secrets they may be exchanging. Today they are just colorfully bland forms drifting through my vision.

    It doesn’t cross my mind where the plane just pulled in from or where the one that just pushed back as a late passenger arrives at the counter is going to.

    I have lost the wonder magic of flight and travel. Nothing stays in my mind long. A brief snippet of the past, wishful conversations I want to have – to control, then I’m following another rabbit down a different hole.

    Work, friends, past choices, current conflicts, new decisions, the future….

    In a matter of a few short hours, the course of my life is about to alter. Whether my life’s journey finds an open and sunnier path or narrow into the undergrowth and slowly wither without ending is determined by forces beyond my control. No matter what I say or don’t say, my journey will change.

    But for now, I just sit and wonder in black and white and shades of gray, what will my life be at the end of the week.

    Wheels Up to Wheel Down

    Flying and biking. Two of my most favorite activities. A lot of people would tell you they have nothing in common. One is in the air, the other on the ground. One uses gas to fuel it, the other uses man power.

    Today as I rode – against the wind the whole way out and back – I realized they have the same common core items.

    It’s why I love them equally.

    In either endeavor, you can be as interactive or as non-interactive as you chose to be. You can share the experience with people or withdraw and enjoy the experiences by yourself. Once you leave the ground or make the first stroke of the pedal, you are on your own. Everything falls away – as it must – no life problems, no technology, no phones.


    They give comfort in only what you want to think about.

    Each activity allows you to spend time reflecting on the world, your problems, or examining you next steps in your life’s journey. The best days are those I spend daydreaming. Enjoying what I can craft in my life or working on one of my many short stories or novels or short shorts (my friends call these poems). I rehearse conversations or practice conversations just in case a subject comes up.

    Sometimes the rides are therapeutic and I can ride out my anger or exhaust my body in order to get my mind to shut up.

    There are other times that the distractions I seek are in communicating with my fellow passengers or riders. I find it freeing and less lonely when I talk to others, about their life or their problems or their dreams. It makes the world feel less lonely while preventing my mind from doing double time around thoughts and ideas I have probably covered five ways to Sunday.

    Granted passengers are more effusive and you may get more than you bargain for. After all,you are trapped in a small seat bolted to a cylindrical metal tube for hours on end — at least at the bar you can tab out and relocate. But more times than not, the time melts away and on occasion, you may learn something new or and interesting fact that you can pack away in the back of your mind to impress friends with later.

    Flying and biking allows you to ponder life’s questions or not. You can dwell on how to resolve an issue or not. You can daydream about your ideal life or not. How will you spend the next trip or ride? For me,odds are daydreaming.

    As one of my friends once said: I have an active internal life.