Going For The Throat: Awareness, Or How My View Of The World Reads Like A NATO Press Conference
(Written by Robyn Davis Hahn, EIC/Health Care ‘Going For The Throat’, Dear Thyroid)
NATO headquarters, Brussels, 2002:, “…there are known “knowns.” There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know. So when…we pull all this information together, we see only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.
It sounds like a riddle. It isn’t a riddle. It is a very serious, important matter…
If you read this blog, then you are painfully AWARE of your thyroid, what it is, and thyroid disease. But what about the rest of the world?, AWARENESS is literally a concept that keeps me up at night, regarding any number of a revolving door of subjects.
I am aware of what I know. To a point, I am even aware of some things that I don’t know. But what scares the hell out of me most?, I don’t know what I don’t know.
Disease awareness is a wonderful thing. Thyroid disease certainly does not hold any records for being the only difficult to understand, diagnose, or manage disease on the block. How does disease awareness start? What keeps it going? Is it a high profile patient?, Is it the philanthropy of a wealthy benefactor? Is it an aggressive education campaign?
That’s a lot of questions, and I have no good answers. I can only comment on my personal thyroid awareness, and how it came to be, and my fears that we have only scratched the surface regarding our health and how to safeguard it–in other words we still don’t know what (or how much) we don’t know.
I consider myself lucky for one reason only–I am much like the princess and the pea. (Those who know me may be reading this and laughing–Robyn and princess in the same sentence–NEVER–more like Queen or Diva!), I have always had a low sensory threshold. I can feel ONE cat hair inside my bra, ONE grain of sand in my sock, ONE wrinkle in my breeches under my riding boots. It’s annoying, but it also made me aware of my thyroid. While it turns out that I have all the classic symptoms (you know, the ones that are easily explained away by being 40, busy, stressed, etc.), it was my ever-so-slightly full thyroid gland, still technically normal in size, that led to my seeing doctors, talking to people, educating myself, and ultimately being diagnosed.
You see, the lump in my neck that isn’t even there got me a diagnosis–not the extra pounds, the exhaustion, the irritability, the achy hips, knees, and hands, the dry skin, or the average body temperature of 96 degrees. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Personally, I think the key is research. Not just on thyroid issues–I mean research about all the things we don’t know, so that there are fewer things out there we don’t know about, or at the very least, we’ll have some idea about which things we know we don’t know enough about. We need research on environmental damage, “helpfulÃ¢â‚¬ chemicals and drugs with yet undiscovered long term or residual side effects, “advancesÃ¢â‚¬ in food science, increased reliance on technology…the list includes everything from the Tupperware in your closet, to the rust proofing on your car, to the fertilizer on your neighbor’s lawn, and to the computer in my lap.
Because what I do know is that it’s all related to our health, we just don’t know it yet.
Tags: autoimmune disease community, autoimmune disease support, autoimmune diseases awareness month March, autoimmune literary community, awareness for autoimmune diseases, Going for the Throat, Hashimoto's autoimmune disease, thyroid patients writing about awareness, what awareness means to Robyn Davis Hahn