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Hashimoto’s Messed Me Up

jencullenthyroid

Motherfucking Hashimoto’s.

I’ll start by saying, “Listen to your body.”

Listen when it starts to whisper to you that something is wrong.

Listen when it starts talking to you in a normal voice saying something is wrong.

And for God’s sake, if you haven’t already done so, listen to your body when it is yelling at you in all caps at the top of its lungs, “SOMETHING IS MOST DEFINITELY WRONG.”

I didn’t listen to my body until it was yelling at me through a bullhorn. Which, thankfully, won’t affect my health long term but it will affect how long it takes me to get back to feeling closer to normal. And it will affect how pissed off I am that I didn’t take action sooner.

I’m tired. Exhausted really. And have been complaining about it for quite a few months. It’s a different kind of tired then when I was doing weekly chemo. And a different kind of tired then when I was going through radiation. But every time I mentioned that to the health care personnel around me, of which there have been many, I was told that my body has been through a lot. And that it was going to take a long time to heal. Which is true.

But…

Then came the circles under my eyes. I had never had those before. And the rapid weight gain. The slightly puffy face. Well, I was thrown into menopause after my first chemo back in February so my metabolism is slowing down. What about the edema in my ankles? My ongoing Herceptin perhaps.

All of these are good explanations for my symptoms. I’ve been through alot in the last ten months. My body has been through a lot.

But I knew. I knew because my body was starting to yell at me. My white and red blood cell counts were almost back to normal. My metabolic panel was fine. So last week, I finally asked to have my thyroid tested. And my numbers were pretty much off the charts. “Significant” was how my oncologist put it.

My poor thyroid is extremely underactive so I can now add hypothyroidism to my list of lifetime health care issues. More boxes to check off when I go for doctor’s visits.

And it’s not just hypothyroidism but Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. An auto immune type of thyroid disease. My primary doctor examined me earlier this week and said my thyroid is enlarged, which I can tell now that I know what to look for. And he took some more blood to test for the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies in my system. And they are there. In large numbers.

The high doses of chemotherapy, and accompanying steroids, that I had back in the spring suppressed my immune system. My last Taxol infusion was in mid July and when my body started to recover, it got confused and malfunctioned by attacking my thyroid gland.

Based on my TSH levels, my T4, my Free T4 Index, Thyroglobulin antibodies and my Thyroid peroxidase antibodies, my immune system has been malfunctioning for awhile.

So yes, I should be exhausted. Fucking exhausted. And now that I know I have a really, really good reason to be tired, I’m even more tired. Funny how that works.

I know that Hashimoto’s is common. Compared to cancer, it’s a cake walk. And I know that in a few to six weeks I’m going to feel a lot better, thanks to the daily dose of levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroid hormone, that I’ll take for the rest of my life. More energy, a little lighter. Right now though, this doesn’t make me feel much better. I’m still exhausted. And pissed because, come on, haven’t I been through enough?

Oh well. Just another reason to say good riddance to 2016 and open up my door wide to greet 2017. Please come in. The sooner, the better.

But do me a favor. Listen to me when I tell you to listen to your body. And do it before your body starts screaming at you. The noise is for a reason.

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