How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Let’s Talk Dirty Little Thycrets
Hello there folks! Hey, I have a great idea — let’s take a little diversion from why every possible food you could think of is bad for you and talk instead about the reason for this column: why is Liz crazy? Trust me, there’s a good moral at the end of this story and something I’m hoping you can all relate to, and maybe, just maybe, this will open up a bit of honest dialogue. Please indulge me for a moment. It’s really important.
If you’ve read any other installments of this column or have spoken to me in any other thyrocious circumstance, you will know that yes, I’m a total and complete health nut. You also know I have extreme expectations for my food, my body, and my disease. I err on the side of perfectionism in these arenas, even if I can’t always (or ever) achieve it. I exhaustively research and read up on all things thyroid related. Then I share all this shit with you dear readers, in hopes you’ll get something out of it.
Now, why, you may ask yourself, is Liz so compulsively cooky/insanely intense when it comes to these sorts of things?, The answer is very simple: I do not do this for fun. Yes, I would like to loosen the fuck up and have an Oreo and cupcake with you from time to time. I dream about cake and ice cream, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — simple things really; yeah, like a scoop of peanut butter right from the jar (crunchy of course). I also fantasize about extra/super/white-trash-sized Diet Coke, or iced coffee with cream and sugar. Oooohh, or sweet tea. I used to be a huge sweet tea fan — for about ten years; I wouldn’t want to tell you how much of the stuff I would go through in one day. Sometimes Mexican and Italian foods also call to me. Pizza, pasta, anything covered in tomatoes or aged cheese served up with a grain (wheat, corn, rice). When I lived in Brooklyn for a year, our weekly Friday night ritual was dinner at this two-blocks-away hole-in-the-wall/one-time-we-saw-a-mouse taqueria, aptly named La Taqueria. I was so in love with this deep fried creation dubbed the “Tito’s TacoÃ¢â‚¬ that I even had a picture taken with one on my last few hours in the city, before moving back to Florida. My mom also happens to be a really great cook and sometimes whips up heirloom family recipes while I’m stopping by for a few hours, like it’s nothing. These are the kind of foods with names like “Porcupine MeatballsÃ¢â‚¬ and “Shoofly Pie” — things handed down from Pennsylvania Dutch Country women who cooked all day and lived to their 90’s without a complaint in the world.
Oh, and the rest of the answer to the aforementioned question is, I have freakishly immediate and extreme symptoms that cause me discomfort and make me feel bad about myself!!!!!!!!!!! Now, please understand where I’m coming from with that statement. Never — NEVER — ever will I compare severity of symptoms/diseases with other people. How I feel about that is, it’s a load of bullshit to think you are worse off than someone else; we all experience different specifics that hit us just as hard. Get it?, What you’re going through is just as important and rough as what I’m going through. I’m not telling you that your problems are less than mine. I’m just saying that, in my case, my body is freakishly sensitive and therefore I have to cater to its every whim. I’m basically my immune system’s bitch. Hence the crazy. Hence this column.
“Hence the crazy” also because I keep accepting responsibility. I accept responsibility for the weird things my body does that are out of my control. My body starts acting up and instead of pointing out the fact that, wow, my body is doing shit that I can’t stop, I let it be a reflection of me — myself, my person — and it is a serious blow to my self-worth and self-esteem. The really paradoxical part of illness is that I genuinely like being me (you know, the person who is just a person with interests and ideas and things to say; the person who isn’t also a medical mystery), but when I am also forced to vouch for and accommodate this disease, I get embarrassed and upset. I would like to think other thyroidish and chronically ill people can relate. Because we differentiate between the person and the illness, you’d think we wouldn’t feel the need to cover up for it and make excuses for it. You’d think we’d want to expose the bastard for all it’s worth and drive a clear point that we are not sick; our bodies are sick. We have not chosen this; our bodies chose it everyday. But no; instead there is shame and secrecy. And quite frankly, I’m at my breaking point.
Maybe I’m at this apex of honesty simply due to the fact that in the two years and a few days that I have carried the weight of this heavy diagnosis, I’ve only ever spoken to two people in my circle of friends and family about the real problems. Aside from the many doctors and websites — both mainstream and alternative — I’ve consulted in efforts to eradicate the fucking problem (trust me, nothing has helped), these two people have been my only outlet. That’s because, for me, my “real thyroid problems” no longer have to do with things like “weight gain, fatigue, brittle hair or, “weight loss, anxiety, insomnia”. And I’ve therefore started having shit fits over the fact that these websites I read and pull from keep insulting me. Are weight gain/loss and sleep disturbances real thyroid disease symptoms? Yes. Are they life-stealing and severe? Yes. Do they cause us discomfort and make us worry and stress over how other people perceive us? Of course!! Do they make us miss how our lives used to be?, Yes, yes, and yes. However, I’m sort of looking for the yuck factor here people. Certain symptoms have been deemed “acceptable” to talk about and discuss because they’re not too graphic and because they don’t make other people feel uncomfortable. I have to believe that if thyroid patients were to open up about the unknown/taboo/dirty little secret side effects of this disease, we’d have alot more in common than memory loss and achy joints. There is so much shame in this disease, and it is so hard to verbalize.
So here’s the thing: as much as I’d love to get honest and into the nitty gritty, I’m scared too. As great as verbalizing the terrible secret symptoms we keep from each other as patients is and could be for catharsis and healing and community, I can’t even bring myself to do it because they are just too awful and I am too worried how it will be received. Therefore, I am begging you with everything that is in me and from the bottom of my cold black soul to please speak up about your problems that we don’t talk about. I am sick of feeling like a freak of nature with my weird ass symptoms no doctor has ever heard of and can’t help me with and that no other patients seem to address. I know there have to be others out there too. So, I’m opening up the comment box and crossing my fingers that someone — ANYONE!! — will write a few words. Even if you don’t feel comfortable naming the symptom (as I’m not ready to yet) please at least consider speaking to the general idea of your body doing awkward and gross things that you feel responsible for and bad about. Please. I want to hear from you so badly. Not only is this about making Liz feel better, but I am hoping this will bring real awareness to this disease. Thyroid diseases are so much more than the five bullet list of symptoms on a website. What are the real problems associated with your disease?, Can we please get honest with each other?
Until Next Week,
Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com
Tags: How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, thyroid disease, Thyroid disease support, thyroid disease undiscussed smptoms, thyroid hell, thyroid nutrition, thyroid nutrition column, thyroid nutrition tips, thyroid patient support, thyroid symptoms