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Hashiteenitis

Post Published: 24 January 2011
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 14 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid,

You suck. Honestly, you really do. Especially considering you barely work these days… well no, you don’t work at all. I just have this lifeless little organ floating around in there. Either way thyroid, I highly dislike you and this lovely Hashimotos thyroiditis that I acquired.

I hate you,

But I have more to say, like usual. I’m 18 years old and I’m no stranger to the thyroid and it’s problems. Before I even knew what a thyroid was I was a young girl living at our home in Florida, sitting outside my mother’s door, wondering why I wasn’t allowed to see her, touch her, or even be near her. She had radioactive iodine or whatever it is that you call it, due to Graves disease and Hyperthyroidism. Of course I was too young to understand it. I just remember my father repeating not to touch anything that she had touched. “That’s mommy’s cup, that’s mommy’s bowl, no don’t touch that” My brother, who is three years older than me, probably knew a bit more as to the situation, but I was basically bewildered. My mother was about 40 at the time. I would have no idea that in a few short years I would begin to experience the painful symptoms of what would be the opposite of her disease.

I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old, now when you’re 11 you don’t really pay attention to what you’re being told about your health and all that, so I vaguely remember what the doctor was telling me when I was diagnosed. I do remember him mentioning that pregnancy wouldn’t be a problem, which naturally made me feel a bit awkward as that was the last thing I had planned for myself at 11 years old. Basically I blew off the whole thing and continued on with my life. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the effects, I did, but I had some weird concept that everyone went through what I was dealing with. I didn’t feel slighted per say, I just figured it was something I had to deal with, in the beginning years at least.

Until about one year ago I had always thought that my severe anxiety in life had come from so many other things. Whether it was my parent’s divorce the year I was diagnosed, when my mother simply moved us from Florida to Vermont before I even realized what was happening, or the fact that since then my father has hated me with every fiber of his being despite being my brother’s best friend. Maybe it’s the fact that our family is the basis of what you would call poor after leaving my father, and that my brother and I have to support ourselves and do so by renting a house together, working, and still attending college full time. Maybe it’s because I was severely harassed and bullied by girls in high school for being smart but different. All of those may add to my anxiety, but the real anxiety stems from the fact that I have an autoimmune disorder. A real, uncomfortable, never leaving autoimmune disorder.

It hasn’t been fun. Of course, it’s been hell, but I haven’t heard of a single disease that is a good time, so it’s not like this is some sort of surprise. I take my medication like I’m supposed to, but sometimes, with everything else, I can’t afford it. Yeah, I know that’s bad, and sometimes I have to weeks without it where I feel like im never going to wake up again. Spending much more time sleeping than I do awake, never leaving my bed, and barely eating. My nail beds are completely fucked, and look like they were shut in a car door. My hair falls out all the time, I find it everywhere. My pale skin tone matches that of an albino person, but hey, it makes my blue eyes look brighter right?

My digestion is the worst part. This is the very peak of everything where everything just adds to too much and I contemplate suicide. I’ve always had problems with depression, and in my early years of high school, self-infliction. My digestion is one of the constant embarrassing reminders that im diseased. I sit in class worried when im going to have to run out of the room, or if my stomach will make a noise. It’s all I think about and it drives me crazy. How can I go to the bathroom in public? It seems simple to other people, but not for me.

One of the main problems of stress to do with my disease actually comes from my mother. After hyper turned into hypo for her, she thinks she knows exactly how I feel. I try and tell her that my medication isn’t working, that I can’t get out of bed, that there is seriously something else going on, when I pass out almost on a weekly basis. She always answers “you think I don’t know what it feels like?” No, I really don’t think she does. Hashimotos is different than simply having hypo and the fact that im a teenager makes it all the worlds better. I can’t deal with the fact that she brushes off all the things that bother me.

Now, my silly but largest concern with this whole mess has always been embarrassing for me. Love. It runs through my mind all the time that.. how could I fall in love and be in a relationship like this? I’m such a mess physically it’s ridiculous. Besides thinking that I’m fat and disgusting, the whole digestion, hair falling out, etc. is not what I would call attractive. [It’s not that I think I’m obese, but im definitely not skinny thanks to this] I haven’t even had my first kiss because I am the most anxiety filled person you could possibly find. It’s sad really. It’s not that I don’t have a sex drive as I’ve heard other hashi patients mentioned. I don’t think that’s true with me.

However, here is my big however moment… I have never let this stop me. I have never let the fact that I’m diseased dictate important parts of my life. I am an excellent student. I got basically straight As in high school, applied and was accepted into 7 of the top art schools in the nation, and though I couldn’t financially attend them, I still go to the best school in the state where I still manage to keep my straight As and Deans list. I spent the first two months of college living in a hotel and taking a bus to campus, then moved into a suite and shared a bathroom with 7 other girls, and now I live in a house with 4 boys. It is not easy and it never will be. I can’t expect everything to fine. In fact, we started class last week and during my philosophy class I had a panic attack. Yes, right in the middle of the classroom because all I could think is how I could sit there for three hours without having digestion problems and how embarrassing and painful it would be. It was horrible, really horrible, but SO WHAT. So what? Its over, and I cant fix it. But I will never let hashi keep me from my school work. I will never let it keep me from being independent, taking care of myself and living my life as best I can with it. My dream is to teach English as a second language in South Korea. It seems random to most people I know, but if you knew me it’s really not. I won’t let something as unfortunate as being diseased keep me from pursuing it.  I have days where I honestly think about killing myself because of all my responsibilities and flaws, but whatever what’s the point? Why shouldn’t I try. Why would I ever let Hashimotos keep from doing something. I am going to suffer and be in pain from it no matter what, I might as well be doing what I want while it happens.

I won’t let it run my life. I have too much to accomplish in my life. I do my best to maintain my health by being Vegan and Straighedge which I have found to be quite beneficial. I definitely recommend it. For all you teens with Hashimotos, don’t let it get you down. I’ve come pretty far since 11. I’ve lost a good portion of the weight, I take care of myself, and im hardworking. It doesn’t ruin everything. Hey, maybe one day I’ll even find love. We’ll see.

Oh, but thyroid… I still hate you.

Sincerely,

Chelsea

BIO:
I’m an 18 year old kpop loving college student living with a bunch of college boys. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis/Hypothyroidism which i was diagnosed with at the lovely age of 11. It’s been quite the ordeal having it throughout all of my teenage years, but i try to make the best of it. Sure, there are extreme highs and lows, i whine a lot, but it could always be worse.

Blog: http://petrichorr-.tumblr.com
Website: www.wix.com/chelseareppin/chelseareppin

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14 Responses to “Hashiteenitis”

  1. Brandy says:

    Chelsea,

    Thank you for sharing. As an mother of a teenage (14yr old) daughter with Hashimoto, I am happy to hear that others are making it through. I know that it has to be rough. My daughter is a 5th generation, yep I have it too. We were diagnosis within 1 month of each other. I had to fight with doctors for nearly a decade to get them to diagnosis me as hypothyroid, much less get them to diagnosis it as Hashi. Luckily, I had seen the signs in my daughter before she was morbidly obese like myself. She is lucky enough to have some great doctors and a family that can sympathize. I wish you all the best and know that you can make it through all of this a much strong person, probably strong than you ever thought you could be. I am going to share this with my daughter so she know that there are other teenagers going through this. Keep up the fight!!!
    Brandy

    • Chelsrpi says:

      Brandy,
      thank you so much for the comment.
      You are lucky to have noticed it quickly.
      I am a second generation. It seemed to have shown up in my mother out of nowhere as we can’t trace it back any furthur.
      I am going to focus on being strong through everything. I know that i am fortunate even with unfortunate situations in my life.
      I am so glad that you will show your daughter this. Really, i hear so many teenagers like me being very pessimistic about the situation, but there is always reasons to smile.
      It’s hard, sure, but i would never say that it’s taken anything from me that’s really been of an importance.
      Just keep strong!
      Keep up the fight as well!
      Chelsea

  2. Robert says:

    Hi Chelsea,

    Wow, your letter has blown me away! I thought I was honest…. you piss all over me!

    I feel strangely compelled to reply, you deserve no less.

    Me first: My name is Robert, I’m a 39 year old man from Cambridge, England, and I live with hypothyroidism and it SUCKS!

    My DearThyroid letter http://dearthyroid.org/why-hes-hes-hes-hypoman/

    and my blog http://hypoman-lifetherapy.blogspot.com/

    Check them out to see what I’m about.

    Now you: first off, thank you for sharing your story. So much courage in the face of adversity makes me think you will be ok. And you’re obviously so smart that if approached right this Hashimoto’s curse will be a piece of piss for you to live a fulfilling life with.

    The secret is not really a secret, it is just good old fashioned education! Finding answers only to find more questions, and embracing the journey. You need feel no guilt about having shit days/weeks/months! It all part of the journey.

    There is a whole world of support online. The only advice I would give is don’t spread yourself too thin! Quality not quantity! Find the sources of information and support that work for you and roll with it!

    I’ll admit I checked your blog link out and I suddenly felt every bit of my 39 years! Thanks for that! LOL

    Understandably you’ll probably want to surround yourself with a support network that fits you. But if you want to see how an eccentric Englishman plays it, I would be honoured if you followed my blog/journey.

    I don’t want to go on and on…. but your letter got me right in my beating heart!

    All the best Chelsea

    My sincere best wishes, Robert.

    • Chelsrpi says:

      Robert,
      thank youu for taking the time to read it and reply. I’m glad you like my honesty, haha, i tried my best to do so.
      I feel as though in the end i will be ok as well. Everyone seems to have shitty days/weeks etc. whether they have a thyroid disease or not, so i know it’s only temporary most times.
      Ah, my blog. Really it’s not that good of an expression of myself. It’s generally a place where i am somewhat superficial [its mostly to do with korean pop culture] and carefree. I use it as a means to escape/forget about what i do have going on in reality. It seems to work quite well, but it’s definitely not a very good representation of me in real life, haha. You could probably tell more about me through my website/photography than you would my tumblr.
      Thank you again for replying! I do hope to deal with this whole thing in the best way possible. It’s been a little iffy the past 7 years, but i think i can continue to work on it until im at a stable/healthy place.
      I hope you’re doing well with it also!
      Take care Robert,
      Chelsea

  3. Denise says:

    Hi Chelsea,

    I too have Hashis and was only diagnosed just over 3 months ago and only really noticed it the last 8 or so years. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for you growing up with this and I take my hat off to you for your courage and determination so far. I know how hard it is to find the money for medication having moved from the UK to Australia where I now have to pay for everything, I am sure things will get better for you once you start your career so hold on in there as I am sure you will go very far with the guts you have. Thank you so much for sharing your story on a day when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself with no reason to!

  4. Amanda says:

    Chelsea,
    Amazing letter. I understand so much of what you are saying. You HAVE come a long way since age 11, your base of understanding is wonderful. There is nothing easy about thyroid disease, so I appreciate your letter so much. Keep writing and I hope you share with us again.

    Amanda

    PS…I am a native Vermonter, and can understand why being uprooted to live here could be a stress.

    • Chelsrpi says:

      Amanda,
      Thank you so much for reading and i’m glad you liked it <3
      Yes, Vermont was a bit of a stress when summer vacation turned into 'we're not leaving'
      I can't say i absolutely hate it here anymore, after 7 years. I seem to have spent each half of my life in opposite places, Florida & VT.
      Sometimes Vermont doesn't help in the depression aspect though. Not much to do, it's very cold, and sometimes dark, etc. but all is well i suppose.
      All the best to you!

      -Chelsea

  5. Leelee says:

    Hey Chelsea,

    I have been reading this site for a month or two now finding it my current support system, however I had never really found a reason to comment until now.

    Although I do not have Hashimotos (I have Graves), a lot of what you wrote really hit me. Although I was only diagnosed 2 months ago, the doctors believe I have had Graves for more than 6 years, which dates back somewhere into high school. And hearing that someone around my age has to deal with similar crap that I do makes me feel a little less like an outcast to others my age (I am currently studying at University).

    What really struck me in your letter is you mention digestive problems, which I have had since I was around 12 and are worsened by Graves. I too panic when I am stuck in a class room, worried about the sounds my stomach makes or if I have to run out of class what people might think. Exams give me panic attacks just knowing I will be stuck and if I try to leave too many times, am suspected of cheating. I am so relieved that I am not the only person stuck in this shitty situation.

    It inspired me to write a “Dear Thyroid” letter of my own 🙂

    Thank you,
    Leelee.

    • Chelsrpi says:

      Leelee,
      i’m glad im not the only one either!
      Seriously, i know exactlyyy what you mean about school.
      I freak out during tests like..
      “Am i even allowed to leave?”
      “Will they let me go to the bathroom”
      because things like the SATs, they dont let you
      [boy, was that horrible by the way]
      and if i leave a lot, they’ll wonder what im doing
      which is horrible in my mind
      and just, soo much anxiety about it, its horrible really
      i’ve been having trouble with it all,
      but i mean, i’ve been at college for a while now,
      and i always find a way to suck it up and deal,
      though it really is shitty to go through,
      im glad you understand!
      if you ever wanna talk, feel free to contact me <3

      and ill definitely read your "DT" letter!

      Of course, Thank YOU,
      Chelsea

  6. sandy says:

    To Chelsea,Leele and the others with digestive problems, checkout Celiac disease. It is also an autoimune disease and is often found in those with tyroid problems. My daughter has both. It has been a LONG battle to get diagnosed. She’s had both since childhood but the dozens of doctors she has seen over the years never
    came up with a diagnosis until now.
    Celiac disease means you can not eat wheat,barley, or rye
    because of the gluten it contains. Digestive problems and
    diarea are two main symptoms as are anxiety and depression. It’s worth looking into. It,s helping my daughter but as we all know it is a slow process[I am low thyroid, also].Also expect to be met with much resistance because many doctors have VERY limited knowledge about Celiac and we have had several docters even tell my daughter she couldnot possiblely have it . Fortunatley, she kept researching on her own and forced them to test her and she proved them wrong. That’s why I find this site and a few others so helpful.We need to help inform and encourage each other to get healthy.
    Good luck to you and the others in finding health and acheiving your goals. You all sound very courageous and
    determind. Hope this helps. Sandy

    • Chelsrpi says:

      Sandy,

      Sorry i took so long to reply.
      I will definitely ask my doctor to test me as there is definitely something going on. I’m not exactly current with health insurnace and what not, but as soon as i can i’m going to figure this all out, i hope.
      Thanks for the info, and advice, really!
      I wish you and your daughter well.

      Chelsea.

  7. Leelee says:

    Hey Sandy!

    I have been checked for Coeliac and have been cleared (yay!) as the stomach problems have been with me for aroung 12 years. However my gastro has stated that I am slightly wheat, fat, dairy and sugar intolerant. I am also vegetarian (by choice). I have also been diagnosed with IBS and IBD and reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus.

    I am glad to hear that your daughter finally got diagnosed, and luckily you were both strong in finding a diagnosis. It took them over 6 years to diagnose me with Graves. It wasn’t until I went to emergency 3 times in as many months with heart palpitations. Being so young and not being able to do or eat what other your age do really takes its toll. especially when you don’t know the name of your disease. Only since I have been diagnosed have I found that people have been more accepting.

    Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mother. You sound very supportive and educated in her disease.

    Hope you both stay healthy.

    – Leelee 🙂

  8. Chantal says:

    Hi Chelsea,
    I found out I had hashimoto’s about 10 months ago. I know and have found through research on the internet that having an auto immune disease and an allergy to gluten go hand in hand. The testing for finding out if you have a gluten allergy is unreliable. You may want to try avoiding these foods for at least one month or more and see how your stomach feels.I can’t tell you how much better my stomach feels and how I am no longer bloated, gassy, constant upset stomach, grossest smelling farts of my life, etc. All of this has disappeared. I also have a friend that has Chron’s which is also an auto immune disease. She has gone of gluten, dairy and soy and she used to suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks. Her doctor recently told her that her switch in diet has been huge for her and that she can start to lessen her medication she takes for these. I strongly suggest staying away from gluten, dairy, and soy. Trust me it is not easy but definitely worth it.

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