Dear Thyroid: It’s Not Just ‘I’m Tired’
When my thyroid symptoms started (before I knew it was you causing these issues dear thyroid), I first noticed the joint pain. I’m a runner, so it makes sense I noticed that first. But, the fatigue wasn’t far behind.
Granted, it did start with just feeling more tired than normal. After a few weeks, though, “I’m tired” turned into “I’m exhausted,” which soon led way to “I can’t make it through the day I’m so exhausted.” There were weeks over the summer that are now just a blur in my memory because I was so exhausted.
During those weeks, my husband literally had to drag me out of bed in the morning so that I could start my day and help with the kids. Thankfully, I work from home mostly with flexible hours, so I took a nap (sometimes even two naps) to help me make it through the day. By the end of the night, it was all I could do to make it through dinner (at 6pm) before I would crawl to the couch where I would remain until I could get up and drag myself to bed around 8 or 8:30. Yes, those were the bad days where you really had me, dear thyroid.
Close family members and friends who knew about my symptoms asked me questions such as “Is it the medication you’re taking?” or (my favorite) “Aren’t you just tired because you are a parent of two young children?”
Oh no, I knew that kind of tired. That was my world for the previous year and a half. I thought having one child was hard. Ha! That was nothing compared to the tired my husband and I would experience at the end of the average night because of raising one infant and one toddler. No, that tired I could handle.
The tired that you caused me, my friend thyroid, didn’t even compare. It was a life-stopping and life-altering kind of tired. A tired I didn’t even know existed.
Luckily, I was able to stop you somewhat in the act when I started taking thyroid medication this fall, but it wasn’t enough. No, you are a tricky organ, thyroid. I’ve had to do even more over the last few months to fight the fatigue you cause.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about battling your fatigue:
-Taking naps is not just for little kids or college students—I’ve learned that feeling I need a nap is my body’s way of telling me I need more rest. Period. That means I should listen and slow down.
-Supplements are amazing—fish oil, multi-vitamins, vitamin D, and iron have really helped me fight off the fatigue.
-The little things matter—We all know we should eat right and exercise regularly. But, I learned that actually doing these things can make me feel a whole lot better. Trust me, it’s not easy to go for a run or even slow walk when I’m so fatigued, but just getting my rear off the couch can boost my energy levels.
-Caffeine injections won’t help in the long run—I went down that road of using large quantities of coffee and diet coke to make it through my day, but once I cut down on these, I found that they were actually fueling my fatigue, not helping it. Don’t get me wrong, I still drink coffee and diet coke, but I’m setting limits for myself and drinking reasonable amounts (not gas station-sized styrofoam cup amounts).
With these things, dear thyroid, I’m now able to make it until at least 8pm before your fatigue takes hold. Sometimes I can even stay up with my husband and watch Sons of Anarchy until 10pm. Just sometimes. But, it’s a lot better than sitting on the couch watching my kids play and not being able to join then. No, thyroid, I won’t let you take hold of me like that again!
Heather Roan is a mother of two girls, wife, friend, and communications director for a small educational company. She was able to balance it all fairly well until hypothyroidism reared its ugly head in her life in 2013, bringing her life nearly to a halt. Heather has spent many months learning about thyroid disorders by reading and researching as much as she can. She looks forward to sharing her journey back from thyroid madness in order to raise awareness about thyroid disorders and help other thyroid sufferers avoid what she went through if at all possible.
Heather Roan has joined the Dear Thyroid team to write a column titled, “I’m Okay With Just Being Okay.” Learn more about her here and give her a warm Dear Thyroid welcome. You know how we do…