I had an appointment with my endocrinologist the other day. I see him for prediabetes and hypoparathyroidism (extremely low Vitamin D deficiency). We make time for each other every 6 months where he checks my bloodwork (that I get done 1 week before my appointment), tells me everything’s looking good, and then I go home. Well, that’s the way it has been the past year…
Monday, however, was unfortunately not my usual easy appointment. He takes a look at the test results, and circles something before continuing down the list. At that point I was thinking to myself that maybe my Vitamin D levels were off again or maybe it was my A1C and I should be checking my blood sugar more often.
Well, imagine my surprise when he asks me if I’ve been taking my thyroid medicine! I was like, WAIT…you never prescribed me any thyroid medicine because you said that my thyroid has always checked out. Turns out that what he had circled was the results of the thyroid test. He checked back at the past labs before saying, “yes- you’re right. Before the levels were always normal. Today, however, it seems that your thyroid is not functioning anymore.”
WHAT? That was the last thing I expected to hear. So he checked my neck (where the thyroid glands are) and said that they were swollen. I had actually noticed that the area had been sore for a while, but I assumed it was because I smoke, or maybe because I was getting sick…not realizing that I never came down with anything.
The thyroid gland controls the way your body uses energy, like your metabolism. The symptoms of hypothyroidism (not producing enough thyroid hormones) are a lot like those for fibromyalgia. Low energy levels, tiredness, weakness, trouble dealing with cold temperatures, and memory problems (or trouble thinking clearly). So I assumed those were all because of the Fibro. Also, it can cause dry hair, dry skin, constipation, and hair loss. I assumed the dry hair and skin was just a byproduct of the extreme colds this winter and I deal with constipation because of the adhesions and pain medications. The hair loss I didn’t really think much about because I have really thick hair and always shed. So see, there was no symptom that was really out of the ordinary for me. Add to all this the fact that when something is wrong I can usually tell, but then it is a matter of getting a doctor to agree with me. It’s sad that things are that way, but it’s true. I forget sometimes that I have composed a great team of doctors (the jury is still out on my GP, though lol) and don’t really have to worry about that anymore.
Suffice it to say that I was STUNNED that something is wrong with me and I didn’t realize it. It also bothers me that the inflammation has caused permanent damage to my thyroid and I will now have to take thyroid replacement medication for the rest of my life. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t already have a laundry list full of different diagnosis…now I have one more that will follow me around. One more invisible illness to have to manage.
So yeah, when the doctor told me all of this, I said “well isn’t that just the cherry on top?” One more thing to have to deal with. I am, however, looking forward to the fact that once the thyroid levels are regulated I may get a little bit of energy back. I really miss having energy! What I am not looking forward to are the doctors appointments every two months until we find the right dose of medication or the new pill I will have to take every day. At this point, all I can do is look forward to the sweetness of that cherry instead of the hard pit in the middle.