Monday, July 27, 2015

My thyroid journey.

You've come to that piont you fear your body is failing you, but no one will listen and all the tests the dr runs are "normal." But what is normal.

   Things really kicked off for me in 2007 after having my first child, but let's back track a bit further. As long as I can remember my mother stuggling with weight, and fatigue. I remember as just a little girl my mom needed a nap most every day and would become very irritable almost randomly. I grew up stuggling with depression and anxiety issues though most were attributed to family issues between my parents, who are still married after 35 years, and being a girl... A girl? So having female body parts makes every issue we women have girl issues? I was also an angry child.  I don't recall every issue growing up, but I did fight with my father and even ran away from home a few times.  I thought of hurting my self, but honestly I never had the strength (or maybe anger) to actually do it. I was always a clumsy child and seemed very prone to sprains and concussions. But overall birth through age 13 was pretty normal I would assume. Then sometime early in my high school years I started getting really bad almost debilitating headaches. Tension they told me, it was similar to a migraine but with out all the sick parts and migraine medications made it worse. Ok I had been having my period for a while by now and had started to take note that it was never regular, but then again I was young and everyone said that was normal too. By my sophomore year I was starting to lose focus, and no I wasn't focused on other things I just couldn't stay focused on my work. By my Junior year I had fallen so far behind they finally kicked me out.  Thing is I never was a bad student,  I was never good at English or History, but I always tried. I finished high school through a home school program, I even went to cosmetology school, and then I joined the Army. Here my depression got worse, in part it was ptsd (post tramatic stress disorder) from serving over dead during war, add in a comanding officer that doesn't care, and uncle that kills himself, a bisexual roommate that molested me, and an injury that will apparently haunt me the rest of my life. I attempted suicide in 2004, but I still don't remember much. I had been on an antidepressant, and besides the ones I had talked previously for my headaches. I knew very little about how it all worked.  I was suppose to have a follow visit with mental health before the 1 day pack ran out.  I must have set this appiontment 6 times, but my comanding officer refused to release me from duty to make my appiontments. I took my last dose 3 days before, and had no idea that if you are on strong meds like that and run out you need to get to a hospital. I got home that night fought with my room mate and took my dinner to my room. I came clear long enough to call 911, I had over dosed. So I got out of the military came home started collage and got a party time job.  With in 6 months I had 2 jobs. Then the headaches stated again, these hasn't been an issues in 3 years now. The anxiety set in. And before I knew it I was cutting hours at work, and dropping classes just to manage passing grades. I got engaged during this time too, it's funny though, I was pushing him but he was the one that would say I could start planning.  One day he told me to get help for my anxiety, I agreed but only if he would go with me. I could see the same issues he was blaming me for in him, but he never would go with me.  Of course even here antidepressant after antianxiety and antidepressant, nothing seemed to make a difference, and as time went on. I was still working less and less and taking less and less classes.  I could focus, I could maintain, I couldn't function.  Finally,  a Dr diagnosed PTSD, and yes it explained all my issues, but it didn't fix them. I went on to meet the man I did marry and who I now share 3 beautiful sons with.  But some where things changed. See I never thought much of it being younger but while on birth control, every 6 months or so I would become very crampy and sick, I would then have to stop all medications for about a month then things would get back to normal.  I thought I was just needing to detox from the meds and pian killers, but now I think it was the start of the ovarian cysts.
    See I think I've had progressive thyroid issues since at least age 14, when the headaches first stared, but I'm sure probably even before then.  But it was after my first son that things really turned.  I weighed only 150 pounds before getting pregnant and had never had trouble losing weight. I had a great pregnancy, but I gained 50 pounds with my son and after losing about 25 shortly after giving birth suddenly there was nothing I could do to drop even 5 pounds.  I breastfeed all 3 of my kids for a year, and right at that 1 year mark with my first I had my first issue I felt like I was dieing. My anxiety was though the roof, I was suddenly allergic to things that had never bothered me, and I was cramping severely. Turned out besides the other issues, I had my first ovarian cyst and it ruptured. Ok so scared for what might be in store for my future fertility we decided to try for #2. We had a 8 week miscarriage then conceived again shortly after.  Everything went well again, but I gained yet another 50 pounds to only ever lose that 25 in the first week. I was up to 200 pounds.  I got a progesterone iud, and did everything I could think of to lose weight, while still nursing my son. I was tired a lot but who wouldn't be with 2 kids, and my mood swings and anxiety were all over the place but we managed. Did I mention my milk fluctuated a lot, some days I had to much and others I had very little,but we made it though.  Till that 1 year mark, and the cysts returned. The dr said it was my body confused with the breast-feeding and trying to start my period. Eitherway this time we knew the progesterone made the cysts worst then they were without, so I had the iud removed. We were trying to decide if we wanted to grow our family when we had a opps and found out we were pregnant again. But this one also ended in a miscarriage at about 9 weeks, it was faternal twins. We took a long time to think about things and I stated temperature charting to track my cycles. I was able to prove to the dr the cysts were not only real but often too. By this piont I was having ruptured cysts ever 3-5 days with very little relief inbetween. We did decide to give it one more go, knowing that after we would need to figure out once and food all what was really going on with my body.  So I had my 3rd son, gain 40 pounds this time and once again lost about 25 in the first week. That's when my body finally gave up. I hurt in places I didn't know I could hurt, I was so tired I couldn't survive a day with out a nap. By now my mood swings were off the charts and everything triggered my anxiety. I was board line ocd, but with no motivation or energy to do anything. Then I noticed my hair hadn't grown in almost a year.  I had gotten into a habit of cutting my hair to my chin in December and by June it was to my armpits again. But it had been over a year since I last cut my hair and it was barely any longer then when I had it cut. I realized I didn't need to shave my legs or armpits more then once a week or so either.  Of course the Dr's are still trying to solve the ovarian cyst issue which came back early after son #3. But all the tests they run are normal, and I'm not showing any of the other common symptoms for polycystic ovarian syndrome, or any other fertility issue that normally cases cysts. Another dr tests for autoimmune disorders, and send me to a specialist who diagnosed fibromyalga (chronic generalized pain). They ever tried to say that might explain why the cysts hurt so much, I was overly sensitive from the fibromyalga. More meds more pain killers more this more that.  Finally, one day at my psychologist office in explaining everything and he stops looks up and says, "your thyroid test is normal, but I thing you have subclinical hypothyroidism" subc-what? Ok so basicly this is were you show common thyroid symptoms, but your tsh (or thyroid stimulating hormone) is still in a normal range. Of course I had failed to mention to him in my extreme fusteration,  I had researched anything and everything that might tie ovarian cysts, fibromyalga, headaches, fatigue and even PTSD together. I was certain my thyroid was failing me but I had no idea it would fixed so much. With in 3 days the pain was gone, I want as tired, my mood was better.  By the end of the first week I had one more cyst burst, though noticeably smaller then past ones,  my headaches cleared,my mind cleared. I felt like I new person, suddenly I felt, "normal" real,  like I found a part of me that I lost many years before, or maybe even a part I never had to begin with.
    My psychologist had been my biggest help on this journey, I went from feeling like I was only 25% myself to 75% myself and after a second appiontment we upped the dose and I began feeling 95% myself. I'll admit I still have ups and down,  I still have yet to lose this extra 65 pound I put on during my pregnancies. And I did get lucky to have a Dr that opened his ears and heard me.  I also got lucky that at least for now the basic common generic prescription Levothyroxine does work for me.  And add long as I take my medicine daily I don't need antidepressants or anxiety meds,  I don't have ovarian cysts, I only have fibromyalga flares during my period, which is almost clock work now and even birth control couldn't do that.  My stress is down, my headaches are gone and best of all not only do I not need a daily nap I actually have the energy to chaseand pay with the kids.

    Remember I mentioned my mom in the beginning? What I was about 15 she was diagnosed diabetic. That had been a huge fear of mine especially with my weight gain. Well after my diagnosis, my mom fought her dr to see and endocrinology, and sure enough he diagnosed her with hypothyroidism. See after having my 3rd son I realized very quickly that everything I was going through (our already the parts I knew my kids could see) I remembered watching in her all those years growing up. I was already afraid of becoming diabetic, but at that moment I already was the mother that later became a diabetic.  Honestly, yes I believe I stared having thyroid issues some time in my teens, but it was pregnancy that tied the scale. And now we know that pregnancy possibly cuase my mom to become hypothyroid as well, since she was much like me till having kids. It took 30 years and me being diagnosed, to finally help my mom get the help she needed.

    Now I am hoping with early treatment, that I can lose weight and get healthy and avoid diabetes and other health issues, at least a decade or so longer then my mom did. 

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