Me Jane, You Thyroid, I Win
YOU are a co-conspirator. You are an enabler. When my mother died in ’96, I stayed depressed for months, unable to recover or understand why. Little did I know it was you in cahoots with my serotonin levels playing hooky, and messing with me. When my face and eyes puffed up like an adder, you were involved as well. Hair and eyebrow loss, crippling fatigue you traitor; you and my metabolism were in on that, too. When my childless body began to lactate, that was it!!, I marched my bloated, exhausted, hairless, non-menstruating body to the doctor and he figured you out in less than five minutes. Ha. I had you now!
I went through the Synthroid phase, but you wouldn’t straighten up. Then, I decided to go the tough love route and intervene in the form of Armour. You were scared straight pretty darn quick after that. I gained hair, energy, drive, great skin, nails, and even had to begin buying tampons and shaving my legs again. It was great!!, I began a more serious weight lifting workout, lo and behold, I got muscles; big muscles. Soon, I could bench press over 100 lbs. I could workout for hours. I became fit. Healthy. I inspired awe in my friends, mere mortals who couldn’t work, exercise, laugh and play nearly as long and hard as myself. My brain was like a fine tuned machine and I felt brilliant. You and I were finally a working as a team, not at odds with one another. We were invincible.
Then you fell in with a very nasty crowd and fell off the wagon. The tic moved in and soon the spirochetes showed up. There went the neighborhood. I had no idea, but I had moved to Lyme Disease Acres. Oh yes, weak willed thing that you are, thyroid, you just let down your guard and failed me.
Pretty soon all kinds of vandalism were going on. Knees began not to work. Suddenly, walking was difficult and painful. The support muscles around my knees shut down and the tendons ballooned. The ankles got in on it, too. I became a comedy show on legs wherever I went, lurching, limping, and sometimes just outright falling. Hilarious. People thought I had started drinking. The elbows and wrists and hands joined in, and soon I was nearly crippled. I was only 42 at the time. Thyroid, you were all over the place. I was sick. And I was scared.
A year after it started, I finally received a diagnosis. Tetracycline began to ease the infection and its symptoms, and so I spent two years with three antibiotics along with anti-fungal medication as the bane and savior of my daily existence. I lived by the pill, alarm clock timed on my phone. Thyroid, you resisted. You fought. You stormed off mad and refused to work. Then you tried to throw me, by getting energized. Round and round we did this dance.
Finally, I stopped the ABX and we came to a sullen truce. You agreed to be stable and I agreed to work harder than I’d ever thought I’d have to, so that my adrenal and immune system would work again. Oh, you let me get infections and more tired than I’d ever been in my life. Then you revved up so high, that I almost went into storm and that scared the doctor so much, she wanted me in the hospital. But I never gave up on you.
Now, it’s been four years since the tic, the Lyme and the misery. You and I are once again on good terms. I have very little leeway though, no gluten, no alcohol, daily supplements, tons of fruit and veggies and I must get plenty of rest.
The damage from the Lyme was extensive and I’m left with inflammatory joint disease that is slowly progressing in painful ways. My elbows still have limited range of motion, but at least I can touch my head most days now. I’ve lost much of my muscle tone and am weaker then I have ever been, but I still keep trying.
I go to have my first knee replacement surgery on July 10th, and will have huge bone spurs under my Achilles, cut off at the same time. I will try to live with the other knee as long as I can before getting it replaced, but I fear it will have to happen this year, also. They want me on Methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug. , I just turned 46.
But, I am a survivor. I TOO am an enabler, thyroid. I allow myself to feel hope. To feel the will to fight and to win this battle. I will not give in to the self-pity of losing who I was as drastically and suddenly as I did, which felt like drowning in sadness and pain. No. I have fought this for four years and I will keep on fighting. I will get new knees. And I will not be ashamed by covering the scars. I am a fighter, and I am a winner. I will LIVE and conquer this and go on to make an impact on the world I live in. All you serve to do is make my will stronger, trust me, I LOVE a challenge, and I usually win;
(Bio) I am an American expat living in Macau china, originally from California/Virginia. I love to travel the world. In spite of joint disease, my husband and I have been all over the world and met many wonderful people and had wonderful experiences. I make my living as a writer for advertising and tourism or graphic design, but have taken the last year off to heal and get back to a place of health. My husband is director of technical SYCS at the Venetian in Macau. I am lucky; I have a wonderful, supportive partner who kicks my butt into gear when I lose sight of my goals. He’s a keeper!
Tags: Dear Thyroid Community, Dear Thyroid Letters, epistolary series, letters to thyroid glands, letters to thyroidectomized selves, letters to thyroids, thyroid blog, Thyroid disease support, thyroid disease symptoms, Thyroid patient letters, thyroid support