Tea(-4) Time with Tracy: Week of September 11th
People always toast to good health, but when you’re young it is something you brush off without any understanding. It isn’t until you’re faced with it, when you truly understand. When you’re young, you feel a sense of invincibility, not thinking anything can affect or harm you, certainly not a disease. It wasn’t until May of 2011 when that came to a screeching halt. At the age of 17, after years of constant complaints, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Just so you can have a sense of where I am coming from, I will start from the beginning so you too, can learn of my story. Here we go…
It wasn’t until age of 14 when I started getting migraines everyday. I would come home from my 8th grade biology class complaining of a throbbing pain in my head. Naturally, at times, we’d think it from overloading my brain with too much information of biology because of course, science was never my forte. After months of complaints and worries, I was finally able to see my pediatrician to sort out what might be going on. Along with the headaches, I complained of knee pains and lack of energy, leaving me very fatigued all the time. My pediatrician seemed to shrug it off, assuring me that I needed to have my prescription for my glasses checked- a possible source of the headaches, later scolding me for gaining weight, as if I wasn’t down enough already.
Now I was off to the Optometrist! Coincidentally, I did indeed need a stronger prescription. I figured that that was the issue, giving myself a few weeks to months, trying to allow my headaches to weaken and eventually go away for good. I tried to make the best of the situation but they didn’t seem to be subsiding. By this time, I was 15 going on 16 and was still getting headaches. I thought they’d never go away!
After doing massive amounts of research online, I made it my mission to assert myself into that pediatrician’s office and get tested for anemia. I was convinced I had it since I was always tired, and could never get enough sleep. A week later, I got a call telling me that my test for anemia came back negative, leaving me more frustrated than ever, now more determined to find out what was wrong with me.
I figured that exercise would alleviate my symptoms, making me feel well again. I remembered the stern lecture by the doctor for my weight gain, so I considered a serious diet which I embarked on for about 6 weeks. After weeks of strenuous workouts and healthy eating, I barely saw any results, leaving me very discouraged and down on myself. By now, I was at the age of 17, refusing to believe anything would get better. To my parents’ defense, they just thought it was a normal part of being a teenager, you know, the mood swings, the anxiety, the depression.
Here I was. Back at the pediatrician for my yearly check up. It was March 2011, right after my 17th birthday. My pediatrician told me that I was due to have some blood work done, which obviously, I was fine with. I went on my merry way, not expecting anything out of the visit, not expecting answers. FINALLY, about two weeks after my visit, my mother got a call saying that my TSH level was slightly elevated, “nothing to be concerned about.” Right, nothing to be concerned about…
Suggested that I see an endocrinologist, my mom made the earliest appointment she could, one 8 weeks ahead of the date that she called on. So, I let the 8 weeks pass, not really concerned about the whole TSH thing. The date finally arrived…it was the monday before Memorial Day weekend. Right off the bat, I was scolded again for my weight gain, leaving me to feel hopeless…hopeless that I’d ever find the right doctor that would understand me. Not to mention, this first endo that I went to, allowed an 18 year old high school intern to sit in on my appointment, as if I wasn’t already self conscious enough. I was handed pamphlet after pamphlet from the endo, who stated, “this is what you may have so read up on it.” Great. I was already terrified of what was happening to me before I was even diagnosed with anything. Before leaving the office, the endo told me that she was just leaving for vacation in the next couple of days, letting me know that I wouldn’t be alerted of my blood work results for approximately three weeks. My mother and I looked at each other and we just knew that we would not sit around and wait three weeks to find out the results. After constant calls from my mom, the endo finally called her back a week later and told her the results. Of course I wasn’t aware of them until that night when my Dad came home from work. But it was apparent that my parents and two brothers were all aware of my diagnosis. Not me, I was preoccupied with my Italian final exam coming up in the next week.
Urged to take a break from studying by my parents, I stepped into the living room to a have a discussion with them. At first, I thought I was in trouble because they called me into the living room and asked me to take a seat. I remember being so nervous because I couldn’t think of anything that I had done wrong. I knew the matter was going to be serious. Then, they told me. I have Hashimoto’s Disease. Although my mom was visibly upset, I wasn’t. For the first time in a long time, I felt validated. All I said to my parents was, “what a relief, finally we know what’s wrong with me!”
Although it seems odd, this was a victorious moment for me. I knew that I had waited long enough to feel validated and this was going to be that moment. I had been living with these symptoms for three years and it was finally time to get medicated and feel better. I was told that I should start feeling better within three weeks of being medicated, or would I…?
To be Continued…
Sending much love and support your way,