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Yours Truly, If Not Willingly

Post Published: 15 April 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 11 responses. Leave a comment

(Written by, Elana, 21-year-old with Hypothyroidism)

Dear Thyroid,

This is my first letter to you since I first officially met you a year ago, though in hindsight I can see your presence in my life tracing back a ways before that. You could have snuck under the radar with just the heat intolerance and weight gain for quite a while, but you decided a real full-blown relationship would be much more fun, and planned a big surprise party with your friends: anemia, Vitamin D deficiency, and depression. You did well. I was surprised.

I don’t know if I like surprises anymore.

Look, I’m getting to know you. I don’t understand you yet, or what supplement level I should feed you to keep you happy, but I’m trying. Really. Truly. Last spring I gave you what you wanted. I left school early to spend the spring and summer with you. I gave up quite a bit for that, you know?  But I did it for you, because if we’re going to have a life-long relationship I might as well dive in and get a truce figured out so we can live together instead of fighting. I gave you five prime months when I could have been playing outside and socializing. That’s okay. I don’t resent it that much.

Last fall, I thought we had a compromise. I’d go back to college for my senior year, I’d take an easy class load, I’d drop a few clubs, and you’d come along for the ride. I still don’t know what I did to make you angry; our relationship was really new, and I didn’t know all your whims and desires yet. But something upset you, and you decided to throw a raging party. I could have cleaned up from that, but no, you invited the swine flu roaming around the freshman dorms on over to our place. He went around breaking shit: let me tell you, it took a long time to put the pieces back together.

I know it’s only been a year, thyroid, since we were formally introduced. I need to be patient. And I’m trying. But for the sake of my last semester at college, I have one small, teeny-tiny favor to ask. Can you give me a bit of a break?,   Just take away one of your symptoms? I’m having trouble dealing with all your issues all at once. One less thing that I worried about and fell apart over would make all the difference in the world. Is that too much to ask for?

I not asking to be able to get drunk at frat parties three times a week, but it would be lovely to have one drink with friends at dinner and not feel like shit the next day. Especially while I’m in the Walla Walla valley, which has so many amazing wines. Now that I’m finally legal I would love to go wine tasting while still in the area.

And I do appreciate how adept I’ve gotten at French braiding so that while reading at the library and absent-mindedly (speaking of absent minded, I could not think of that word for the life of me!) playing with my hair, I don’t end up with a handful that I awkwardly have to throw away. But that’s a skill I would happily give up if I stopped shedding so much.

You’ve been good about not making me hurt as much as I did last fall. I could ask for a bit more: going up stairs still makes my thighs scream and my lower back gets twinges and my arms fall asleep while typing. But really, if you just don’t make my joints ache anymore than they do now, I’ll be okay. At least my hips don’t hurt so I can actually fall asleep this semester.

But speaking of sleep, I’m working really fucking hard to satisfy you. I’m giving you 9-10 hours a night, as a COLLEGE student. Do you know how hard that is? But I’m,   doing it. For you. So can you give me at least one day of waking up and feeling refreshed?,   I don’t even remember how that feels. I miss it.

And if you’re not going to let me lose those last ten pounds, can you at least give me my appetite and taste buds back so that stomach bulge is worth it? I miss feeling full. I miss feeling hungry. Who knew I would be so nostalgic about that?

Ideally, I’d ask for my brain back, so that I could be a bit eloquent with my thesis and it didn’t take me three minutes to think of the word “bill” (I know you threw “charge” and “check” my way, but neither of those worked right. Thanks anyway). But I realize that’s probably too much to ask. So I’ll just plod along with my writings, crying every few minutes when I can’t think of a simple word, and hating the freshman in my Spanish class who complain about how much work they have or girls who wear short skirts and complain about being cold, and stress for days each time I go to get more blood work done.

I guess the one thing I can thank you for the lowered libido. Not that I don’t want that back sometime, mind you; this is not a life-long reprieve for you on that count. But with everything else I’m trying to balance right now, not being distracted by being horny is quite helpful.

Look, thyroid, I’m trying. I know sometimes it takes me a while to make new friends, but I really want to like you now that I know you exist. I know the doctors might not take you seriously because on paper you’re only slightly out of whack, but I do! I simply can’t take you all at once. Please. One less thing to worry about on top of school and post-grad plans and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. Just give me one less symptom to have to juggle. It would help the development of this next stage of our relationship an awful lot.

Yours truly, if not willingly,

Elena

Bio:,  21 years old and celebrating the one-year anniversary of getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism, after symptoms became so severe last spring I ended up leaving school early. So glad to have found a thymmunity to join!

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11 Responses to “Yours Truly, If Not Willingly”

  1. terah says:

    Dear Elena,
    Thank you for writing this letter! You are certainly not alone on this journey as I am finding out with this community! 🙂 And thank you for writing the letter that I could never get around to writing as it took too much effort to; find a thesarous, a dictionary and muscle strength to get upstairs to find those two books and THEN the time and brain effort it takes to compose a letter! LOL I too was diagnosed last summer and put on NDT two weeks ago. I start college classes in May. Was supposed to start last Fall but had to put it off because like you, it was the beginning of the “relationship”.
    Thank you again!
    Terah

  2. Christine says:

    Dear Elena

    Oh yes, the start of a new relationship, one year in, still getting to know you phase….. I would certainly say you are doing your part in this “relationship” heck you are doing better than I did at that phase… (good for you by the way!) but man oh man, that gland just isn’t doing it’s part is it? Leads you to think or feel one way, and then just as quickly leads you to another, like a chameleon so undercover, so stealth like, changing things up just to keep you on your toes…

    I think you have written beautifully, laid it all out there, I don’t think you are asking for much at all…

    Thygland – are you listening to her!?! Give this girl a break all ready!!! She’s got plans, big plans, and she needs just a little cooperation on your part – mmmmm k?
    You’ve messed with so many of us already, so collectively we ask – LEAVE HER ALONE!

    hang in there Elena, and if you need anything, anything at all – HOLLAR LOUD – we’ll come running 🙂

  3. Siobhan says:

    Dear Elena,

    I was 21 at time of diagnose, I’m now 29 and now finally getting the treatment I needed. I was use to working 2 jobs and going to school, that was now 6yrs ago!
    Myself just want to enforce to you to reach out and find the right dr that cares, and will take the time to listen. After a proper treatment you will feel like a new individual. I have only been on a new treatment plan for 1 week and feel the best I have in a long time, besides my wedding day!
    Elena, I want to give you high hope, you will get through this! Have complete faith, keep a document of all your symptoms, and a good support system. It’s amazing reviewing the all the information available, thanks to all these support groups and advocates!

    Take Care, support your butterflies, they mean everything!

  4. Great letter, Elena. I can identify with you on multiple points. The thymentia…ugh, it’s horrendous. Yesterday I forgot the name of a neighbor who I’ve known for twelve years. And I completely understand how horribly difficult the thymentia makes school.

    “So can you give me at least one day of waking up and feeling refreshed? I don’t even remember how that feels. I miss it.”
    Oh how I identify with this. I miss the days when I could function off five or six hours of sleep. I used to be able to run a 5k in under 25 minutes. Now it takes me longer than that to get out of bed. Ha.

    So very glad to have you as part of our thymmunity!

    xo,
    Joanna

  5. Dear Thyroid says:

    Elena – Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Surely, it wasn’t easy to do. More than anything, I wish you didn’t have to go through this at such a young age; it sucks. You will find your way back to yourself. Never give up, kid. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re all here with you and for you.

    xo

  6. Sarah says:

    Elena, I feel your pain. I was diagnosed in college as well- my junior year. I was 20 and taking a huge course load, but I knew I could handle it. But in the spring, I stopped going to class. I slept 14 hours a day and felt like I hadn’t slept for a week. I couldn’t walk to class because I had such severe muscle/joint pains. Most college students spend their spring breaks going to the beach, or living it up in Mexico. Mine was spent in bed, reading textbooks trying desperately to catch up.

    I hope you can make it through school- don’t let your thyroid bring you down!!

  7. Alina Fayer says:

    Hi Elena! Thank you for writing this letter. I can relate to every word you have written. I too was just diagnosed. I’m only 23 and I have dealt with the most horrendous symptoms from this disease like memory loss, hair falling out, slow speec
    h. Mind ypu I felt healthy as a horse before this disease truly revealed itself out of nowhere this past Dec. Luckily I have just graduated college so I could take time off to recover. Are you taking synthroid for it now? Please connect with me on facebook if you like, its always great to have support from people who are this situation as well.

  8. HD in Oregon says:

    Elena,

    Thanks for sharing your letter. – You’re not alone, we know how you feel. We’re here for ya! – Welcome to our ‘lil community.

    HD in Oregon

  9. Elena says:

    Thank you all for your support! Finding Dear Thyroid has been so helpful for me this spring-connecting with others definitely keeps giving me strength to push through the last few months of school until I can give myself some time to really get healthy. And it has been a blessing to find other people to commiserate with–college is not the best place to feel like your body is falling apart, because you’re surrounded by people who abuse their bodies all the time (binge drinking, all-nighters for papers, eating ramen with peanut butter for months at a time…) and don’t feel the effects.
    So thanks for being there!

  10. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for writing this letter! I’m 19 and I was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I’m so uncertain about the whole disease! My doctor never discusses the disease with me. She just constantly says “we’re going to let the thyroid burn out.” She doesn’t give me any medicine to keep it under control. I have felt so depressed since I found out. I’ve been aching all over my body for over a year now and I thought it was just stress… now I realize, it’s part of my disease. I’m constantly exhausted, yet I can’t sleep most of the time. I can’t exercise to get some of the weight off that I’ve been gaining because I’m way over tired. I believe my doctor said it was Hashimotos thyroiditis – it’s terrible and so misunderstood. I feel so alone with this disease.

    • Elena says:

      Sarah, I’m sorry that I missed your comment when you first posted. I hope since August you’ve found a doctor that actually works with you and feel less alone. Though it sucks it is possible to make it through being a young adult with thyroid disease and be healthy and happy and supported. Find yourself a better doctor, and perhaps a counselor (definitely has helped me to have someone to talk to over the past few years!). Hopefully you’ve found support through this site. Most of all, hand in there. It does get better.

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