In my post yesterday, I briefly mentioned that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. This is one of the causes of hypothyroidism, which I’d like to discuss today.
Hashimoto’s is not the same thing as hypothyroidism, but it’s kind of like a chicken and the egg dilemma.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to create antibodies that attack the proteins in the thyroid. This gradually leads to a destruction of the thyroid, resulting in hypothyroidism. You can have this without having symptoms of any physical problem when you examine your neck.
The autoimmune disease starts when your body has an immune system that has malfunctioned in some way. I don’t know when my started, since I was 25 when I went to the doctor. I suspect it may have been from a surgery in my neck area when I was 20, but it could have been when I had mono my senior year in high school. No one really knows why it happens.
When you have Hashimoto’s, you can have periods of time where it goes dormant in the beginning, so you may bounce between hypothyroid symptoms and then you feel great. This explains a lot of why I would have two years of great and then a year of miserable, only to be followed by a honeymoon of great again. The problem is once it goes into the destruction phase of your thyroid, you pretty much are just miserable because your thyroid can no longer produce the the hormones the body needs to function.
That’s where I’m at now. There is no treatment for this because it is an autoimmune disease. You have to supplement with thyroid medication and figure out what makes you “flare”.
I’m learning all I can about this now. I’ve added an additional tab in the blog that says Hashi Hoopla so I can link all posts that are relevant to my thyroid there.
In my search, I found a great letter that someone posted online, called “I am Hashimoto Disease”. When I read it, things finally clicked for me. This is DEFINITELY what I have experienced. I’ve posted it below.
Hi. My name is Hashimoto’s. I’m an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid.
I am now velcroed to you for life. If you have hypothyroidism, you probably have me. I am the number one cause of it in the U.S. and many other places around the world.
I’m so sneaky–I don’t always show up in your blood work.
Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.
I can attack you anywhere and any way I please.
I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.
Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun?
I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now.
I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration.
I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia.
I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal.
I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything.
I can make you feel very anxious with panic attacks or very depressed. I can also cause other mental health problems. You know crazy mood swings? That’s me. Crying for no reason? Angry for no reason? That’s probably me too.
I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me.
I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don’t discriminate.
Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with.
If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you. You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons:
That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. Whatever the cause, I’m here to stay.
I hear you’re going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively.
You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants.
There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless – that high cholesterol, gall bladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That’s probably me.
Can’t get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage?
That’s probably me too.
Shortness of breath or “air hunger?” Yep, probably me.
Liver enzymes elevated? Yep, probably me.
Teeth and gum problems? TMJ?
Hives? Yep, probably me.
I told you the list was endless.
You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away.
You’ll be told to think positively, you’ll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you’ve seen, just how debilitating I am and how ill and exhausted you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these ‘understanding’ (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist.
Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I can be.
Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago.
They’ll also say things like, “if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” They won’t understand that I take away the ‘gas’ that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things.
Some will start talking behind your back, they’ll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a “normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next. You’ll be told things like, “Oh, my grandmother had that, and she’s fine on her medication” when you desperately want to explain that I don’t impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE’S taking, doesn’t mean it will work for you.
They will not understand that having this disease impacts your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and that every cell and every body system and organ requires the proper amount and the right kind of of thyroid hormone medication for YOU.
Not what works for someone else.
The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.
I am Hashimoto’s Disease.