One blessing I find difficult to take for granted is health (for my loved ones, as well as myself). I am SO thankful to have a highly functioning body, and feel that I show gratitude for that blessing every time I exercise, eat clean, or do something to appreciate my body. I’ll cut to the chase, because this post is about to be long af: A few months back, I learned I have something called Hashimoto’s Disease -where ‘your immune system creates antibodies that damage your thyroid gland.’ (Feel free to read a more in depth explanation at the link.)
Symptoms I experience(d)
Hair loss/ thinning
Foggy memory/ forgetfulness
Sensitivity to heat
Cold skin/ inability to get warm How it’s affected my day-to day
One of the biggest effects I noticed were when it came to my memory. How do I say this… I’m no scholar, and have never claimed to be. BUT: I think anyone who knows me IRL can attest to the fact that I am a generally quick-witted, ‘on it’ person. I enjoy reading my psychological thrillers, creative writing (this blog, included), solving sudoku puzzles (yeah, I’m 80 at heart), learning new words, etc.. I started to notice certain things falling off. I began having the worst recall — I’d be trying to think of the simplest words or sayings, and couldn’t remember them for the life of me. I’d have a difficult time gathering my thoughts enough to organize a single blog post, and the thought of beginning a new book made me mentally exhausted. My sudden inability to focus, and new less than perfect memory birthed insecurities I couldn’t quite articulate.
The final straw for me, was my intense hair loss. I have always had SO much hair; thick, curly, often untamable. It felt like a fixture, and symbolic of the person I am: unpredictable and wild. I had come to accept all of these isolated symptoms (listed above); x,y, and z are because I have anemia. And a and b are because I’m feeling stressed. C,d,and e are because of the industry I’m in. My doctor never questioned anything, so I didn’t have reason to believe anything was abnormal. But once things really became tangible, and I would look in the mirror and barely recognize myself, I knew there was no way it was just in my head.Being ‘diagnosed’ was one thing, but the true cause of my frustration (and entire objective of this post) is rooted in the way everything took place. In short: I told my doctor what I thought the issue was (my thyroid); she thought it may be my iron levels, but ordered my lab work for that same day. When I received my results in the mail, I was told my thyroid levels were fine. I spent the following days brainstorming with my sisters, as I knew there was something off, regardless of what the labs concluded. My sister Kaylyn (who happens to be a nurse. PTL) suggested I seek the opinion of a different doctor, and I mentally prepared to do so.
A few days later, I just so happened to check the mail on my way to the gym. More mail from the doctor, this time stating ‘you have Hashimoto’s Disease’ with no further information. YA’LL… if you ever get a piece of mail telling you you have a disease…?! I’m actually chuckling as I’m writing this, because I don’t think that is something anyone should ever have to casually learn/read about themselves on a Saturday night!
So first things first: I was beyond dumbfounded. Days earlier I was deemed fine, and now I’m mailed this? A totally improper practice, IMO. I literally had to google what the disease was, because I was given zero information regarding it — basically the opposite of what any human should do, because everyone knows all paths lead to: you will die. The following weeks were back and forth, and back again. Calling my doctor, asking to have results explained, but just being read the results right off the paper I was already mailed… #helpful! (Turns out, many primary care doctors know very little about Hashimoto’s– but won’t outright admit it. I learned the hard way.) More being dismissed, trying to schedule appointments, all while being out of the country. I’m so thankful my sisters were there every step of the way, reminding me that my health matters, and I deserve to be heard and taken seriously.The point of this post is not to gain sympathy in any way. It would actually be a lot more comfortable/ less vulnerable to keep this less than sexy health stuff to myself. But during the process of noticing something was wrong with my body, being brushed off, ignored, and dismissed by my doctor, to hearing a ‘diagnosis’, I knew there was no possible way I could be alone in feeling this way. I wanted to share this experience as a reminder to all of us to take our health into our own hands. Looking back, years ago, at the height of my anxiety/ depression, I was written a prescription and shooed out of the building, expected to take medication once a day, vs. creating a longterm, sustainable plan.
SO: take care of yourself, of course, but also don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands, because no one is going to value your life/ body/ health more than you.
(As of this blog post, I am waiting for my appointment with the endocrinologist, but will keep you all updated, if it’s something you’re interested in reading!)
That was a lengthy one — but it kind of needed to be. Thanks for sticking with me! I would absolutely love to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience, or who has/ knows someone with Hashimoto’s/ other thyroid issues? Email or DM me, because I want to chat!
Love you guys!