Hypothyroidism Has Changed My Life
Dear Kimberly’s Thyroid,
I hate that you stopped working. I hate that I’ll never know what triggered you to become hypo! Was it stress, my past eating disorder, genetics (Why do my mother and Aunt have hypothyroidism?)? WHAT WAS IT? My stomach had always hurt during my high school years. Was that you trying to tell me something? I had always gotten perfect reports on my oral health, but during the last year of high school the dentist said I had the equivalent of trench mouth? It never got better.
I remember those awful months knowing that I was hypothyroid, but no one believed me! I remember going to the doctor to fix this awful thyroid. I told her my symptoms and she laughed at me–after telling her I had galactorrhea and both my mom and aunt were hypothyroid! Not even my sister going to medical school believed me!!!! She and my family laughed at me! I hated that I was fat–my skin lost it glow–my nails–my hair—my teeth and gums–my puffy face—my voice changed!!!! I hated that I was living a life similar to Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–why did I turn into a monster in a matter of seconds!!!!! I was so depressed and emotional–this wasn’t me and I felt so trapped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had never been so self-conscious about my body until you stopped working! I was 20–why couldn’t you have waited to stop working? I was always so cold–I could hardly stay warm! I hated to be around people–I hated to answer the phone. I had always been a people person until you went hypo! My sister was in medical school and she laughed at me–she said it wasn’t my thyroid!!!! Those awful months! I read so much about hypothyroidism that I could have put any family physician to shame. Dr. Ahrem gave me hope–and encouraged me not to suffer! This letter is so hard to write.
Thank you Dr. Williams–when I went to go see you and told you that I wanted a T3 and T4 therapy you didn’t laugh. You said yes–lets try that. I remember how I struggled to take those first pills! I remember taking the first pill and I became dizzy and started to shake…my sister and brother freaked out. They were about to take me to hospital but I didn’t want to go. They sat with me in the backseat of the car while I balled and clenched my fists and tried to breath. I was so scared that I waited until midnight to call nurse hotline. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I took my medicine faithfully until moving away from Dr. Williams! She cared and when I ran out of medication–I felt better but I felt like it made me gain weight after a while. So I quit taking medication. Plus, my throat was always sore and I struggled to swallow that danged medicine every morning. I had always been a morning person ,but now I had to wait an 1 hr to eat breakfast!!!!! I remember that dark place. I remember visiting my aunt and realized that I need to take my medication, but of course I didn’t have any so I went to an urgent care clinic and they treated me as if I was drug seeking–I was completely humiliated. I went to a different physician and she gave me an rx to fill. This rx had several refills which I filled the last one just this week.
I moved to Pittsburgh for graduate school. Paying out of state tuition made me very serious about my studies, but once again the brain fog was back. My short term memory was gone. Studying was so frustrating. I could barely speak coherent sentences. My brain was sooooooooooooooo slow. And my grades weren’t getting any better. Back to google scholar and blogs. Ahhh! Autoimmune disease–thyroid–and GLUTEN INTOLERANCE AND DAIRY INTOLERANCE!!! Oh! What is this that thyroid can be healed with a gluten free diet!? Went gluten free and symptoms of brain fog were gone. I haven’t mastered the no dairy, but I will work on it. I get so exhausted and extremely frustrated telling you all this—I know I left some things out and condensed the last four years. Thyroid–please know that I am struggling to treat you well. I had taking this medication and yes–there have been weeks when I have gone off of it. It makes me feel weird after a while. I really am a bit Thyroid Crazed–you just annoy me so much!
I have tried so hard to see a specialist about you but I haven’t gotten lucky. Family physicians don’t know a thing about you. I wish we could be happy together–but I only loved you when you were healthy. I let you define my life…you are so much a part of it. I know you are so much happier when I was doing Barrefushion—but there is no Barrefushion in Pittsburgh. So we have to compromise with Pilates. Until then–we will keep listening to Nina Simone’s “Ooh Child!” Maybe someday things really will get easier.
No love now…maybe someday,
(Bio) My name is Kimberly Brown. I was born and raised in New Mexico. I was diagnosed with low-grade hypothyroidism when I was 20. My symptoms had been going on for a bit before that lab work. I tried iodine supplements before finally accepting levothyroxine. I wasn’t ready to take medication for the rest of my life. I am currently going to graduate school to earn my MPH at the University of Pittsburgh. Recently, I became gluten free (still working on the dairy free) because of severe brain fog and memory problems.
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