I’m Not Crazy, My Thyroid Is… Don’t you See That?!
I have such a love hate relationship with you. I now know that you have caused me hell for years. All the years of sucking away my energy, leaving me drained. All the days of exercise and diet to no end. All the pills for anxiety and depression. Not to mention the mood swings, cold and headaches. For 10 years they told me there was no problem. I felt that it was all my fault. Then one day you let yourself be known with a little nodule. I was told we would proceed with tests to determine if it was cancer. Cancer? I couldn’t have cancer I was 35, I had 3 small children at home and I was the breadwinner for our family. “Luckily” I was told that if it was cancer it was the “good cancer” – words that still haunt me. This time it wasn’t cancer, it was an active nodule that required a partial thyroidectomy. During surgery they learned that I had severe Hashimoto’s. I wasn’t crazy! I wasn’t imagining the way I felt or the way my body responded (or chose not to respond!)! I had a name for my situation.
The next three years went by with other medical craziness – a kidney stone that required surgery, a gall stone that required removal of my gall bladder and a car accident because a semi-driver just didn’t think that stop sign was for him. And then I started to feel a bit better. I started to get my weight under control. I wasn’t sleeping as much. I am afraid to say it, but I felt good.
Then you flapped your single little wing. My anxiety increased, my sleep was terrible, my patience gone. My routine level check was the next month and I thought for sure this was the end – the Hashimoto’s had killed you, but no my levels were normal. Here we go. I know I don’t feel normal. (Not that I really know what normal is.) Luckily I have an endocrinologist who listens to me. We would do an ultrasound just to check. There it was – another nodule. Not a big one, but suspicious enough for a biopsy. I’d done my homework and I knew this wasn’t good. Everyone assured me it would be nothing, but I knew it was. So, I received my cancer diagnosis the day before the holidays. I heard again that if you have to get cancer, “this is the one to get”. But don’t they understand – I don’t want any cancer.
Surgery is over. I am now preparing for RAI to get any remnants. I am tired, don’t feel like I can think straight, nauseous, and feel like crap. I have three kids to be strong for. I’m still the breadwinner, with my husband taking care of all of us. I hate you thyroid for all the times you’ve made me feel fat, made me have to tell my children I need a nap, made me lose my temper faster than I should. The list goes on and on.
But then I thank you. I thank you because you tried to hard to make me “normal”. I think you grew yourself some active nodules now and then to compensate for your inability to support me. You gave me enough strength to finish a masters program. You gave me enough energy to be the primary caregiver for my disabled father. You gave me 4 pregnancies and three beautiful, healthy, wonderful children. I am still bitter about my loss, but I cannot overlook the blessings I have. And I have learned how to help my children as they become advocates for their health.
(bio) I am a happily married mother of 3 (1 miscarriage) diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 3 1/2 years ago and papillary thyroid cancer 3 months ago. Suffering thyroid symptoms for a good 14 years now.
Tags: finding your way through thyroid disease, hashimoto's impact on patients, headaches, misdiagnosis of Hashimoto's, mood swings, nodules thyroid, symptoms of anxiety and depression, thinking thyroid disease is in your head, thyroid cancer, thyroid cancer diagnoses after hashimotos