When I was in my mid twenties, I began having the craziest symptoms I’d ever experienced. I was certain I was either going crazy or developing diabetes – and I honestly wasn’t sure which I feared more. My mom was diabetic, so I knew how frightening that prospect was. As for the “going crazy” part, well, I assumed that’d be tougher on my family.
I might, however, kind of enjoy the trip.
- I would find myself in the middle of a store or room in my house wondering what I was in the middle of shopping for or what I had come into that particular room in the first place.
- My hands were sweaty all the time. I was always wiping them off. When writing, I would have to put the pen down and wipe my hands multiple times.
- I was hungrier than usual and could NOT get full. I ate more during this time than I’ve ever eaten in my life. But I lost weight and kept losing. If this had been my only symptom, I’d have kept everything to myself. It’d have been my own dirty little secret. (Kidding, of course… but that aspect of it was almost pleasant.)
- I had trouble remembering people’s names. I once found myself wishing the church we attended was smaller so there weren’t so many darn names to keep straight! I made my apologies to God for my selfishness but wished it nonetheless.
- One night I was in our den, reading an American History book, getting lessons ready for our homeschooled daughters. All of a sudden, NONE of the words made sense. They no longer looked like actual words – just grouped letters sitting next to one another. Alarmed, I threw the book down on the table beside me. A few minutes later, after sitting in shock and trying not to panic, I picked the book up again and, thankfully, Benjamin Franklin and his fellow Sons of Liberty were now falling into place. Words were suddenly words again, for which I was grateful. I blamed the incident on my eyes.
- I could NOT get enough to drink. I’d have a drink with me at all times and usually several throughout the house. If I wasn’t in the act of drinking, I honestly felt like I might die of thirst. Once (on a very rainy day) my husband and I were going out to eat with our daughters. Before heading to the restaurant, my husband had to stop and run into a gadget store. He had been gone for about 10 minutes (husbands and gadget stores, right?) and I felt like I was more dehydrated than the driest raisin in a bag. I rolled down the window, swiped the rear view mirror with my hand and put the rain water into my mouth. Kind of makes me cringe now, but at the time it seemed like I was saving my own life. This was the tipping point for me – I saw the doctor the next day.
My doctor looked at the weight I’d lost and, although he was every bit the professional, I could see the concern in his eyes. I saw even more in my husband and mom’s eyes. Being a nurse, she was certainly aware of all the options.
To keep from going into lengthy, boring medical terms, let’s just say my thyroid was completely shot out. In fact, at the hospital, when they performed scans and saw the results of blood tests, the medical personnel rounded up everyone they could find and showed off the results. I overheard things like, “I have never seen any a thyroid this off, ” and “I knew you’d want to see this…” I was (and am) just off-beat enough to have felt a real sense of pride.
When doctors or nurses came into my room, I looked at them like, “That’s right… I’m the one with the legendary thyroid that’s all jacked up.” All kidding aside, there were a few technicians who all but asked for my autograph.
Whether it was a bad time in medical history to have such a legendary thyroid or I was just a nightmare of a case, it took YEARS to get my thyroid under control. It finally had to be destroyed by a radioactive pill which then meant having to take Synthroid for the rest of my life. This concept didn’t bother me in the least. Some people get all bent out of shape about having to take medicine each day. I just don’t get that. Be thankful there’s something that can make you feel better. There was a time when people didn’t have that luxury… they simply suffered and then died.
Give me the prescription, please.
Synthroid vs Levothyroxine
I was prescribed Synthroid and felt wonderful almost immediately. For years the doctors were thrilled with my blood tests and I was thrilled with the fact I just felt normal.
Somewhere along the way, a doctor changed my Synthroid to Levothyroxine (the generic brand). I never asked for this, it was something she simply did. She also lowered the dosage a bit.
Here’s the frustrating thing – when you are receiving too much/too little of a medication, aren’t taking it properly (more about that in a minute), or even if you’re getting the wrong medication, the results can be so slow in developing that you never realize anything at all is happening. You slowly but surely have less energy, but blame it on a million other things. You gradually lose interest in things you were once crazy wild about and simply shrug it off.
As I told one of my daughters, my “give a darn,” about quite a few things, became missing in action.
This type of physical (and mental) change comes about so slowly that it “takes hold” without you even realizing it. If you’ve ever had weight creep up you, you know what I’m talking about – it’s as though you go to bed one way on Friday night and wake up on Monday morning a different person. You don’t have time, along the way to even ask “What’s happening??” because you don’t realize anything is happening.
The same can be true with gradual vision or hearing loss, too. Things CAN and DO sneak up on you. Just because someone else believes it isn’t possible doesn’t make it so. Their truth isn’t your truth, after all. Besides they only feel this way because nothing has sneaked up on them… OR they aren’t aware of it yet!
With my thyroid problems, I never even realized it until I saw another doctor earlier this year who not only changed my dosage but put me back on Synthroid instead of Levothyroxine.
What’s more, I recently spent a lot of time researching thyroid medications because one of my daughters, Brittany, also developed thyroid disease. Being a mother hen – I felt the need to read everything in the world that had to do with my child’s disease. I found that it’s important to take your thyroid medication at least 30 minutes apart from coffee.
Guess who’d always taken her thyroid medication with coffee?
So, I began taking the correct dose, the name brand (Synthroid), and began taking it over an hour before having any coffee. It’s been 4 months now and I feel more like me than I’ve felt in years. I didn’t wake up one morning and think, “Holy cats! I have more energy than usual. Let’s see what I can get into…” As was the case when I was headed in the wrong direction, the journey in the right direction was also gradual.
But so worth every step!
The transformation actually hit me a couple of weeks ago while dusting the ceiling fan in our den. The dialogue in my mind went like this:
“I’ll use Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean the ceiling fans today. I remember I used to use Windex with Vinegar for ceiling fans and it always smelled crazy good when the fan was turned on…. (cuts through a layer of yuk) …..Um, so how long has that been?…. do they even make Windex with Vinegar anymore?…. I don’t believe they have for several years… WOW.”
An all caps WOW always means my brain is completely in awe.
If you are on a thyroid medication, I’d love to offer some advice from the trenches:
- See your doctor annually for blood tests. If your thyroid has been irregular, you may want to see her/him several times a year.
- Many, many people take Levothyroxine without issue. I, however, do better with Synthroid. Since my issue, I have also read about countless others who also respond better to Synthroid than its generic version.
- Before seeing your doctor, make a list of any symptoms you can think of: sweaty hands, rapid heartbeat, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, excessive thirst, trouble concentrating, loss of interest in things you’ve always enjoyed, etc. Even if you think it couldn’t possibly be related to your thyroid, write it down.
- Take your medicine at the same time each day. Not only is it easier to remember, it’s better for you. Also, if you have trouble remembering, set up a reminder on your iPhone or set the medicine someplace you’ll see it each day (out of the reach of children and highly-functioning pets, of course).
- Immerse yourself in learning about healthy eating and healthy living, particularly those that relate to your disease. While the following sounds like a promo or ad, it most definitely isn’t – it’s simply solid advice because I care. I have benefited so much from the following and recommend them to each of my daughters (something I’d NEVER take lightly). Visit their websites, sign up for e-mail updates, and follow them on social media. These medical experts will keep you up to date on research, healthy eating, and things to watch out for. I whole-heartedly recommend each: Amy Myers MD, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Axe and Dr. Mark Hyman. You may decide you resonate with only two or three – but I hope you’ll check each one out. I follow each one religiously and read everything they write.
Make each moment count double,