It’s now 2015 and thought you might like an update on my life since I tend to ignore you on a daily basis.
When I was 18 years old I wrote a letter to you which was posted on Dear Thryoid as ‘Hashiteenitis’. This was exactly four years ago. I was angry, as expected from any teenager dealing with an onslaught of life problems, most notably my long diagnosed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. At that point I had been sick for seven years, and I was tired of it [and just tired in general]. I was overweight, fighting depression, and trying to find my way out of a broken family. I often worried that no guy would ever love me and that crushed my self-confidence. I tried hard in school but I had panic attacks during class and I hated where I lived. To say the least, I was struggling. But you know what I also was? Do you remember thyroid? I was determined. Many people have told me that I am ‘all or nothing’. When I go after something I either go all the way or I don’t bother at all. When it comes to surviving, there is only one obvious choice. I am all in. I had no intentions of sitting back and letting you destroy any potential I had for the wonderful things in life.
Four years later, here I am, sitting in my boyfriend’s house. Next month, is our one year anniversary. Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of time with him but this is only because I transferred to a school 1200 miles away where I now live in my own apartment by the beach, have a 4.0 GPA, and am President of one of the top collegiate entrepreneurial clubs in the nation. I compete with my team annually, speaking alone on stage in front of thousands of people. I have not had a single panic attack since transferring schools.
My health? Well, I decided that if I wanted to lose weight I was going to do it regardless of what you might want. No, I am not where I want to be, but I am about 30 pounds closer than I was. I keep on top of my medications and I see my specialist regularly. I would say he is specialist number 12? I lost count after a while, but all that matters is that I have him and I have never been more happy with a doctor in my entire life. One who actually listens and cares how I feel? How completely bizarre!
My family? Well. When I wrote that letter to you thyroid, I hadn’t seen my father in ten years. To me, he didn’t exist. To my brother, he absolutely did. My brother, who always stuck with me, decided that he had to move across the country and live with my father if he wanted to financially survive. Problem was, he wouldn’t go without me. So what do you do when your brother asks you to drop out of college and move in with a man you barely know? You do it. Was it one of the hardest things I’ve ever done? Yes. But living with Hashimotos is just as hard, and I’ve learned that you need to attack your problems head on. You take the leap. You try anyway. You fight even when it seems like you have no chance. What have you got to lose?
So was any of this easy? No thyroid, you have been a huge pain the entire way, and don’t get me wrong, you are still absolutely terrible. But no one, including you, will keep me from being all that I can be. The pain, the nausea, the digestion problems, the thinning hair, none of it will never be enough to stop me. Yes, I’m still fighting depression, but I am fighting. Some days I am too tired to get out of bed, it happens. Sometimes I get frustrated because my friends and family don’t understand what it’s like, but at the end of the day, I don’t need them to. I just need to take care of myself, and never give up. All the time I see posts and videos online of young girls with Hashimoto’s. They talk about how they didn’t go to college or they aren’t employed because of Hashimoto’s, and that devastates me. Everyone that struggles with thyroids like you should know that they don’t have to succumb to the pain. They don’t have to step back from life because you make it hard. I know it sucks; it really, really, REALLY sucks. But it’s not worth throwing away education, employment, love… happiness. Believe me, one can be happy and have Hashimoto’s, it’s not impossible. Honestly, I don’t think anything is. Sometimes one is dealt difficult cards, but one makes the best of it. It will only be so much sweeter when one gets there.
Don’t stop fighting.
It’s been five years since I thought about killing myself.
It’s been four years since my last panic attack.
It’s been three years since I re-met my father.
It’s been two years since I started at my dream school.
It’s been one year since my boyfriend asked me out.
It’s only been one day since I felt the pain of Hashimoto’s, but it doesn’t matter.
I’ve got my eye on you thyroid, and at the end of the day, I will always win.
But good luck trying.
BIO: I’m a Design major who spends her free time volunteering. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 11 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t feel it. I wasn’t in control of whether I got this disease, but I will always be in control of my own life.