Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Hashimoto's Story

I haven't talked about my Hashimoto's disease yet, except mentioning that I have it in my profile, so here goes.                                       
I am a very high energy person.  My job as a high school band director keeps me running all the time, sometimes working 18 hour days, evenings, weekends and all throughout the summer as well.  In addition to that, I live with my fiance and his three children (they are with us about half the time).  I have many hobbies and work really hard to keep my home in order as well.  Long story short, my life is pretty busy, but who's isn't, right?

Anyways, about four or five years ago, I started having a really hard time dealing with all of the business and stress of my life.  I started feeling really physically terrible.  Headaches (which I've always suffered from) and stomachaches (which I've always suffered from) started getting worse than they ever had been.  I started getting the flu really often, like once every couple of months or more.  Fever, aches, chills, headache, nausea, fatique, brain fog, hair loss, you name it.  It seemed like this would pop up anytime, anywhere.  I started having to leave family events, always driving separately from my family and eventually I just stopped going to things.  I was calling in sick to work constantly, even missing a concert and some really important rehearsals, which I had NEVER done before.  I knew something was wrong, but my doctor just kept telling me it was stress or the flu.  He would give me an antibiotic and send me on my way.This really started taking a toll on my life, my work, my relationship and my overall emotional well-being.  I would come home from work and just lay on the couch until I went to bed at 8pm.  I would spend weekends in bed.  My house was becoming a reck, my step-kiddos were getting used to me just never being around and my fiance was getting used to going everywhere on his own.  I had never, ever felt worse in all my life, but I just couldn't seem to snap out of it.
I knew I was sick, but my doctor, and then another doctor just kept telling me it was stress.  I finally found a new doctor and when I went in for my first appointment, I had my list of symptoms ready!  Before we even began, I said "I need for you to sit and listen to me talk for as long as it takes to go through everything that is happening to me instead of running out of here after giving me an antibiotic.  Can you do that?"  He patiently waited while I went over my list and promptly ordered a complete blood panel (I remember them taking about 12 vials of blood) as well as some other testing.  He agreed that none of this was normal and he promised to work his hardest to figure it out.A couple of weeks later I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  If you don't know what that means, Hypothyroidism means that my thyroid is under active.  Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to think your thyroid is the enemy, so it attacks and destroys it, thus causing hypothyroidism.  I cried with relief that I actually had something physically wrong with me and that I wasn't just crazy, or lazy or wimpy or depressed.  I was sick.  Really sick.  I will always have these disorders, they are not curable.  They are, however, treatable.  I will have to take medication every day for the rest of my life, but at least my life is worth living again!
I was diagnosed in December of 2011 and now, a year and a half later, I feel like my old self (almost) for the first time in several years.  After much experimentation and trying different diets, drugs and vitamins, we have finally found a combination that works for me.  Praise the Lord! (Or PTL, as my mom says).

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