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Tell Me, Dear Thyroid, Is Our Issue, Nature or Nurture?

Post Published: 16 September 2009
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 12 responses. Leave a comment

Male thyroid patients, thyroid disease's affect on men, thyroid disease support, dear thyroid

Dear Thyroid,

**sigh**,   Where do I start?,   Okay, it’s not your fault.   I know that, and I don’t blame you.   I blame United Nuclear Corporation for contaminating our drinking water with uranium decay isotopes from their mine and then not telling anyone about it for seven years.   I’m so sorry, I didn’t know!,   I didn’t mean to kill you by drinking and bathing in radioactive water for so long.   It just happened.   You may not be the only one to go… only time will tell.   You’re lucky, our sister Heather’s thyroid got it worse than you.   And our Mom got breast cancer.   What else may come along?,   I don’t really want to know…

I’m not angry about it, or angry with you.   I never was.   It was something that just happened when we were a kid.   And that was 20 years ago anyway.   Mostly I just wished you worked properly again and that I felt like I used to.   I don’t really feel like a whole person anymore when I think about it.   I feel like a car without gas.   I may look shiny on the outside and have all glass and metal and rubber and chrome, but I just can’t “go”.   And what good is a car that can’t “go”.   A smashed-up jalopy with gas is better than a million-dollar sports car with an empty tank.   My tank feels empty all the time now.

I do get frustrated about some things, though. Like, all the literature and medical research out there is geared toward menopausal women.   I’m not menopausal.   I’m not a woman.   Please someone tell me how to deal with irritable male syndrome!,   I get frustrated that my thyroid needs vary seasonally and I’m constantly needing adjustments.   I’m surprised my doctor hasn’t just given up already.   You used to take care of that perfectly, but now you cannot.   I’m not even sure if you actually produce small amounts of something still, or none at all, although I have my suspicions that you’re not 100% dead.   Whatever part of you is left, keep on going!,   You can do it, even if you can’t do it all.   Every natural bit helps.   Mostly I get frustrated knowing that the well-being of the rest of my life is dependent on a pill for the 50 years.

Sometimes I feel sad when I remember I was an sharp, active, trim young man and then that winter when I was 26 and just I felt very blah all the time and my doctor made an unusual discovery in my blood tests.   And I feel sad when I think back on the last 10 years as I dwindled down to couch potato lethargy, brain fog, and expanding outward by 30 percent.   I feel even sadder when my brain says “Yes, we can be like that again!” and then when it comes down to it my body says “No, no we can’t; I’m too tired.”

So, anyway, I’m glad you’re still there, even if you’re probably not working at all.   At least the doctor’s haven’t seen fit to remove you and leave me with a frightening scar across my neck.   I’m scary enough to little children as it is.   And even if there was absolutely nothing I could have done about it at the time, I’m sorry I subjected you to a radioactive environment that killed you.   You trusted me to take care of my whole body, and I trusted the world to take care of me.   At least our parents did the best they could, but the rest of the world did not.

(Bio) Michael is 36 years old and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at age 26, which is highly unusual for a male that age.   He works as a cartographer and is working on his M.S. degree.   He used to enjoy many things, but now spends most of his time resting resting resting. You can read more about Michael at his website.

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12 Responses to “Tell Me, Dear Thyroid, Is Our Issue, Nature or Nurture?”

  1. lizschau says:

    Michael,

    i am in love with your letter. specifically, you have touched on something no doctors want to touch with a ten foot pole: thyroid disease isn’t a women’s disease and it isn’t a menopausal “issue”. sure it can and does affect those demographics, but in reality, thyroid disease does not discriminate and breaks the boundaries we place on it. young boys and girls are being diagnosed, you as a male were diagnosed, i was diagnosed at 22. if there was one thing that needs changing in our understanding of the disease, it’s that it can affect ANYONE!! you get. i get it. when will mainstream medicine get it?

    also, i’m in love with the second-to-last line of your letter. poignant beyond fucking belief man.

    🙂 liz

  2. […] post: Tell Me, Dear Thyroid, Is Our Issue, Nature or Nurture? By admin | category: outward | tags: corporation, drinking, getting-older, lairig-ghru, […]

  3. Kathy says:

    Michael, this letter kicks ass! I love the car metaphor. Sometimes I feel like the smashed up jalopy that’s out of gas. I think we hear more about the menopausal women with thyroid issues, because we make a lot of noise. Women tend to share their thoughts and emotions more than men. I am SO glad that you are willing to share. When you spoke about living at the radioactive site it made me think. We actually lived at a site for a couple of years, and got a notice that pregnant women and little children should not be outside on the grass because of pollution.. hmm.. of course we moved away rather abruptly after the notice, but things are making my wheels turn..
    Thanks again Michael. Keep sharing. We are here to listen!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Actually the 2 endos I had were pretty well attuned to the fact that this happens to men also, just not as much. I didn’t even realize that this was a “womans disease” till I came here.

    It was a great letter and I totally related. I’m 56, not 26 but it all rang a bell. With Graves disease I went from feeling like a car with a cinder block sitting on the accelerator to post I131 feeling exactly like you describe, a car with no gas. Or more accurately a kink in the gas line because I would eat for energy and it didn’t do any good.

    I too wonder if there is some thyroid left and that maybe my levels fluctuate in between the blood tests. I have a lot of days where I feel okay, but never quite like I used to. On the other hand I had low level Graves for years so how would I know what normal feels like anyway?

    What I hate the most is when I try to get back in shape, I always seem to hurt myself.

    Thanks for the letter and hang in there. We can approach normality, even if we never regain completely what we once had.

    As for irritable male syndrome, find something you like that’s not bad for you and treat yourself. The male equivalent of chocolate, whatever it may be for you.

    Zari

  5. mom2wildthings says:

    I’d love to hear more from men with thyroid disease. I too am tired of it being labeled a “woman’s disease” or more accurate, sometimes, a “crazy woman’s disease”.

    I’m glad you wrote this letter, Mike. It makes me wonder how many men there are that have a problem with their thyroid, but never think to discuss it with thier doctor because they think it is something that doesn’t happen to men.

    Best wishes to you.
    P.S – enjoyed visiting your website 🙂

  6. Jess Burnquist says:

    Your letter is so important! I hope that the medical community begins to reassess their gender biases. The thyroid isn’t picky. Best wishes for good health and renewal.

  7. Bee says:

    Michael, there are times in my journey where I feel like I, too, am developing IMS (IRRITABLE MALE SYNDROME), especially when I began to grow a better moustache than my husband as the hair disappeared from every other body area and concentrated on my upper lip. The problem is, I’m a woman. So compound that w/ the visitation of mid-life and a certified diagnosis of PMS ( i could’ve have possibly killed my 1st husband and gotten off with that defense—but I’m not a violent person and I would’ve never done it…hmmmm).I also work in the medical field and I am more aware of “nontraditional” thyroid related diagnoses-seen and met a lot of kids diagnosed…so I know your not alone and this fellowship here knows your not alone. we just have to figure out how to get our drs to think outside their little black boxes and stop pidgeon-holing us. Thanks so much for your journey and your words.

  8. just me says:

    This letter is amazing, thank you for sharing. Currently hyperthyroid, I constantly use the car metaphor to describe how it feels, only the opposite way (as Anonymous said above). I feel like I’m driving a car and someone else is pushing my foot to the floor, and tied my hands to the steering wheel.

  9. sandilbeach says:

    I loved the part where you talk about your brain telling your body, ” yes we can be like that again, and then your body says, no we can’t ,we are too tired”.
    That is my life every day.
    I am sorry you were exposed to something in the environment to make your thyroid tissue get destroyed.
    I lived 6 miles south of a chemical plant. At the time, a nuclear plant was also under construction, at the same site. I was diagnosed at 21,
    6 months after moving to that location.
    I wonder if there was a trigger there. I will never know, but there is some research that talks about the concentration of thyroid disease in the mid west part of the country.
    I am simply sorry you are having to face this challenge also. So often, this disease is minimized.
    Those that don’t know better treat it as if it is really nothing. But, to me, having to take medication daily, tested regularly, and challenged continually to fully function have to be recognized as a serious life challenge.

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