For those of you that have already visited my blog you know that I have been ranting on about my medical treatment or the lack thereof. My ramblings and whatnot became more rantings so I decided to devote a blog just to my life as a person dealing with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that was named after the Japanese doctor that discovered it. The suffix 'itis' means inflammation, therefore, thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid and. In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland because it thinks it's a foreign object. Your thyroid then doesn't produce enough antibodies, hence, becoming hypothyroid. It begins to damage the thyroid causing a multitude of symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, body aches, irregular menstrual cycles, brain fog, and many others.
My life with Hashi began eight years ago after the birth of my last child in 1999. I had gained weight rapidly and was tired all the time. It was almost like the first few months of pregnancy for me, as anywhere I laid down, I could or would fall asleep. My coworkers (at an old job) knew that I was tired all the time and blamed it on other things (but we won't go into those other things lol). Anyways, with our medical insurance we could get an extensive physical. I got labs done, eyes examined, etc. When I got back my results everything was 'normal' with the exception of a small heart murmur. He was the second doctor in my life to tell me I had that, and I had been told both times to have it checked out. Most doctors, when I tell them that story, tell me that they didn't hear it or if they did it was faint. I haven't gotten it checked out to this day, and I've had dental work without antibiotics and I'm still here. lol As months went on, I started suffering other symptoms like dry skin, my hair was falling out and not like the normal amount...excessive amounts, eat very little but still gain weight. The worse part is when the brain fog kicked in. My x swore I said something when I swore I didn't. People would say that I had just told them something. I was forgetting bits and pieces of conversations or things I've said so I was repeating them. I had trouble focusing on the most basic things, not being able to remember where I put things, and at times, I really thought I was going out of my mind. I also became almost 'comatose'. When I felt like that, I really could not function. I had three kids to take care of, so I forced myself to function. What scared me most, is that comatose feeling came at times when I was driving. I just wanted to close my eyes because they were so heavy. But I didn't. I just turned on the air conditioning, and forced myself out of that feeling. It was hard, but I knew that if something happened to the kids because of me, I would never forgive myself.
In 2002, my x and I had separated. I was still on his insurance as he could not take me off until the divorce was final. I decided to go to a specialist because a previous doctor, who had found a kidney stone after years being told I only had UTI's, suggested I come back to have thyroid tested. But because they stopped taking that insurance, I couldn't go back to her. Luckily, I had a PPO and could go straight to a specialist without a referral. This is where things started to change. I had all the thyroid tests done, and it was being sent for analysis. The doctor went ahead and put me on 50mcg of levothyroxine. When I went back for my follow up visit he told me that I had Hashimoto's. FINALLY!! a diagnosis....it was a relief.
I can tell you that just from the initial thyroid med dose I was feeling the difference. The doctor did up my dosage because of the labs. However, I did eventually lose the insurance and had to pay out of pocket. Because of that, I wasn't able to go when needed, but I was able to stay on that dosage of meds.
When Steve and I got married, and I moved out here in 2004, my symptoms that once dissipated a bit, were coming back...some even stronger than before. I started seeing the doctor here. Every time I have labs everything is 'normal', but luckily, I changed to a second doctor who increased my dosages. I would start feeling better in the beginning, but anyone with this disease knows that the 'right' dosage needs to be found. The dosages were only right for awhile and that's when my dosages would increase.
Current doctor says that once diagnosed with Hashi, that patients need to stay at 1.0-2.0. I am now at 1.3, I'm a bit better, but I STILL don't feel 'right'. I've joined thyroid forums and groups, and I've read up and they say for optimum results we should be at .02 or even .01. But what do you do when every doctor you find goes with the old school way of treating the thyroid...sticking to the lab values that are keeping you sick? It's no wonder many people go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed every year. Isn't it bad enough that millions of people suffer from it and don't know it? At least give us, who even suspect it could be our thyroids, a little credit.