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The Los Angeles Dear Thyroid Meet-Up, Written by Mel

Post Published: 31 July 2010
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Category: Dear Thyroid Meet-Ups and Support
This post currently has 11 responses. Leave a comment

Hello my DT community. I really enjoyed this DT L.A. meet-up for a number of reasons. I have learned sooo much from many DT members for which I am grateful for. It has been through their experiences and information that I feel as if a light has been turned on during a medical experience, which before DT, I tolerated going through the motions, in complete Thyroid knowledge darkness.

It was appointment after appointment for a couple of years, filled with anxiety prior to. Will this appointment be another waste of my life span? Not getting the most use out of the expensive doctor visits because I was not armed with the right questions to ask. Leaving the office like a clueless cattle, left to follow a one-size-fits-all medical professional du-jour. Every appointment always had some sort of “tough as nails” news to deal with or I was just better left in the dark, to thrive in my surrounding environment like a mushroom. Not given many, if any, details on how to nurture my health upon leaving the Dr.’s office. What is up with that AMA?

I have been a fighter my whole life, like many of you. So for me, upon going thru this experience I was not shocked at my body’s weakness or felt numb to deal with yet another tribulation. However, I was baffled, and dismayed how the power of one gland could cause so much unpredictability in the body and the medical community. I am a spoiled Los Angeles American… I was under the impression that all the answers were at our fingertips.

I try to not dwell on situations because I have always had to figure my own way out of trouble, being completely on my own, while it seems, many of you have to provide for others.  Surprisingly, this is not a fight that has a “one answer” solution; kick it’s ass or overcome it and be done with it.

I have been able to improve my eating habits and understanding of Thyroid disease, thanks to many of you, and only you all; not through my doctor’s. I’m not hating on them; but I think we all agree that there is a huge lack of public awareness, education and compassion with regard to Thyroid disease. The other issue with Thyroid disease, is that it either opens the door for additional diseases due to the complex strain on the body (immune system), or the door is opened by other existing conditions. Therefore, I feel as if we always have to keep our eyes peeled for some new health issue, on top of managing our lifelong condition(s). By hearing all of your stories, it either lessens the blows that I deal with at Dr. visits or it arms us with the knowledge to manage our health proactively.

Which is why it was crucial for me to keep my finger on this Thyroid pulse, particularly within my own community. Due to the lack of Thyroid health awareness, as a community there is work to be done. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disheartened that in such a populated city as Los Angeles, that there were only 4 of us at the DT meet-up. I thought “what hope do the other communities have?” I know that there are a heck of a lot more people out there that could have joined us, but perhaps were busy or not knowledgeable about the organization. I hope in the future that the community continues to grow and that’s what makes it exciting, because who knew that in today’s world one could still feel on the forefront of an important cause? Where are all the “been there, done that’s?”

The meeting was still perfect between four of us, as it remained a challenge for me to pick everyone’s brain respectfully because I had so many questions. I apologize for my bad habit of cutting people off. I don’t get out much anymore and my social skills are inept.

I felt a sense of safety in sharing, knowing that we all could relate on some common level.

I feel that as a Thy-disease riddled community member, we should not succumb to the isolation, lack of understanding or approval from others. For every non-understanding person that I have dealt with, superficially or otherwise, that they have dealt with some sort of traumatic medical experience. Some people are really good at keeping secrets, lol.

And, most of the time when we have dealt with insensitive people re: health issues, I have also found that in many cases they have already dealt with something traumatic in the past, possibly medically related that has affected their emotional growth or coping skills.

We just have to be proactive good judges of character with whom we are going to share our story with. I apologize, as I am a Social Work major and am a bit fascinated by behavior.

Medical Professionals are another can of worms and I am not going to delve into this matter, as it’s an isolated topic.

I felt unpredictably empowered recently whenm for an undergrad Kinesiology course I had to fight to do my presentation with my professor on “Thyroid affecting the Aging Population and it’s affect with exercise”. For all of the fuming and postal hostility (Gra-ge?) I felt, inside that I actually had to prove my case to him, almost as if it was completely invalid (comparable to that of Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Hypertension). I was much rewarded with the unexpected compassion and shock on the looks of early 20 year old faces. I felt like I had to educate at least one person on the subject matter, to get their physicals, and so much more info. 20 year old Los Angelinos are intimidating to me with their effortless youth, beauty, hipness, athleticism, know-it-allness; And to know that @ 34, I was able to earn their respect and see most of their mouths drop at the importance of something they had never heard of, was, as I said- empowering. But, I could not believe the acceptance when they clapped at the end. My point is, let’s try to educate those whom we can and hold our head high 🙂

The DT meet-ups are a safe zone for us to share and a great way to keep our finger on the pulse of our local Thyroid professionals.

Never knew what a thyroid was until was diagnosed Graves,

Mel

–To Attend the Pittsburgh Meet-up on August 18th, click here. To find out more about local Dear Thyroid meet-ups and how you can attend or host, contact Kerri.

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11 Responses to “The Los Angeles Dear Thyroid Meet-Up, Written by Mel”

  1. Amanda says:

    This was the first meet up? I think that they will grow in size. I was so excited to read about this, not that you all are ever coming to Vermont to meet up. Being the socially backwards person that I am, I probably wouldn’t dare go. But if one community does it, then there will be others. So far, only my sister knew what Graves Disease was when I told her. She immediately said “My best friend has Graves Disease, do you want to meet with him?” Of course I couldn’t imagine that at the time, but the idea is growing on me. I want to see someone in person, who has this, and has been going through treatment. I think this idea will be comforting to others, who while they have Dear Thyroid, seeing a live person who understands would do a world of good. So keep on meeting up!

  2. amelissad2 says:

    I agree Amanda & think that speaking with someone in person gives you more time to share, but more importantly to not feel alone. Please keep in mind that everyone’s treatment, decisions for their particular route and point in route can vary widely, but at least to be able to share references and to know that the symptoms you are feeling are actually felt by others is such a safe feeling. I went through everything pretty much alone, couldn’t afford the internet because I was eating all of my money when I was hyper and couldn’t breath or see in the sun kept me isolated & who could forget barely being able to walk? Plus I just hated being a burden on loved ones. I know 1st hand what it’s like to isolate myself; and sometimes we do it to protect our own sanity because of that emotional hypersensitivity.(I have NEVER been a cryer my whole life & now I was crying if the wind blew a certain direction, wtf?)I found DT when I was turning hypo because going from hyper management to hypo was so extreme of a transition that I needed to know I was on the right new track. Or Amanda, if you are not always physically up to meeting or it’s not within distance perhaps even a phone/Internet chat is great way to k.i.t.
    Wish you wellness Amanda,
    Mel

  3. Sarah Downing says:

    Congratulations, Mel. What a tough road you have travelled that has that has been paved with learning and progress. I am confident that you will feel better and better. You are in charge of your health and determined to get where you need to be! I hope you go from strength to strength.

    I am glad that the DT meet-up was such a success!

    Love,

    Sarah

  4. Donna says:

    Melissa, I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to get there (I have just moved and was too exhausted to drive to the west side). And like you I worry my social skills are inept as most weekends are (still) spent at home as I’m still fatigued. And I’m still unpacking. Exhausting.

  5. amelissad2 says:

    Thanks Sarah…I guess we all wish that we could completely overpower auto-immune, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. Am grateful for this new window of happiness. Until the next life stressor, lol. I love your line “from strength to strength” isn’t that the truth?
    Love,
    Mel

  6. amelissad2 says:

    Hi Donna,
    No worries, you must take care of you first. I live closer to S. Pasadena if you would ever like to get together let me know. I’m free until I return to school in October.
    Your here now, take your time unpacking 🙂

  7. Dear Thyroid says:

    Hi Everyone! Melissa, LOVED YOUR ACCOUNT OF THE DEAR THYROID MEET-UP! Absolutely fantastic.

    PS: We can help schedule/coordinate the Pasadena meet-up, too. Perhaps other community members would like to attend.

    We will be having another Los Angeles Dear Thyroid Meet-up soon!

    xo

  8. amelissad2 says:

    Thanks so much Katie! for everything. The support, creative contribution & push in the rear to put a voice to our experiences.
    I look forward to the next meet & to meeting new Thy-peeps 🙂

    Take Care,
    Mel

  9. Leela says:

    I’m from LA, I didn’t know about it, or I would have tried to go

  10. Dear Thyroid says:

    Leela, we’re haivng another one! Can you email katie@dearthyroid.org, so we can get you on the RSVP list for it. Date TBA

  11. daphne611 says:

    I’m in LA and just found this community. I’d love to come to the next meetup.

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