Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get your thyroid checked!

I just want to share about the importance of getting your thyroid checked, especially if you are a woman. This is probably way more than Ive ever shared on my blog and I have been trying to decide whether to write about it or not.. but it might just be the information someone needs.

A lot of women have undiagnosed thyroid problems and it can wreak havoc in your life. Make sure your doctor checks your TSH, T3 and T4.  (in Australia they only check TSH which is not a great indicator on its own).  It really should be checked yearly but is not something Doctors put a lot of focus on.

This is my story:

I have Graves Disease, an autoimmune thyroid disease and suspected Coeliacs, I feel like utter crap at the moment and Ive had enough of it.  Lately my thyroid levels are going absolutely nuts. As of yesterday I am very hypothyroid and now my iron levels have also dropped very low - oh yeah, nothing like kicking a person when they are down!

About 13 years ago I was diagnosed with Graves disease (hyperthyroidsm).  At the time I felt like I was losing my mind. I had diarrehea (sp?) constantly, photosensitivity, sweating, tremors, tachycardia and a big goitre and kept losing weight (yep, that bit wasn't too bad!).  I thought I had low iron because I was so tired (although felt weirdly wired all the time). I was trying to write my Masters thesis at the time - not a good mix.

To cut a long story short, the medication nearly killed me and I had an emergency thyroidectomy, that saved my life.  At that point I was thryotoxic and you can't live like that for very long.

I was never supposed to have babies.  I miscarried the first, and was told by a specialist when pregnant with my eldest daughter that I would probably lose her too (sensitivity plus!).  I defied the odds and have three beautiful healthy children. Thats not to say its been an easy road though. I had to have really high monitoring during my pregnancies, was only allowed to have hospital births and had trouble producing enough breast milk, which affected my feeding.

Although despite this I was blessed with super quick births (25mins for my third) and managed to feed my youngest for 9 months (with a lot of perserverance).

But now my darlings are a bit older and I am still struggling to get my thyroid levels stable to the point that I have some energy and can actually be a good role model for them.  What do they see? A mum who needs to rest a lot. A mum who is tired and irritable, a mum who has permanent brain fog. A mum who doesnt eat a whole lot but has a battle with her weight.  Yep, in short it sucks. 

Dont get me wrong, there are worse things I could be dealing with, I am so aware of that. I am blessed in so many ways. But, I want my life back. I want some energy and I want to feel normal.

To top it off I am now being tested for Coeliacs.  It goes hand in hand with autoimmune thyroid disease and since about September last year I havent been able to eat even a smidgen of gluten without some seriously uncomfortable (and embarassing) side effects.  The test was stuffed up at the lab so Im waiting for that to come back.  And they can only check me for the gene as you need to be eating gluten to be tested for coeliacs (oh yeah... its never simple!).

The interesting thing is that thyroid disease is really common but often underdiagnosed, as is coeliacs.  Things like soy and fluoride can have a real impact on your thryoid function.

a couple of good links  Stop the thyroid madness and Mary Shoman's site

Do you have a story of  your battle with thyroid disease?  Do you have any amazing revelations about how to get it sorted???


Jennifer said...

Wow, that is a rough road to walk. We have a relative whose health started going haywire a few years ago and it turned out to be thyroid related, so that definitely made me more aware of it and the effect it can have if things aren't right! I hope that your next test results will shed some light on whether you have coeliacs (I had to look up what it was) and that from there the doctors might be able to find a way to help you more. My thoughts and prayers are with you! Jennifer

Jacqui said...

Thyroid's suck :( I have emailed you the name of a dr willing and able to prescribe natural thyroid xx

Deanna said...

I have a good friend that was diagnosed with Graves several years ago. It has been a horrendous thing to have to watch her go through. She's had them removed and several eye surgeries that went wrong. I think it is great that you are trying to get the message out there and raise awareness of it. hugs and prayers for your own struggles with it. :)

Leonie said...

Yes, Graves is not a pleasant disease and I never imagined it would affect the rest of my life. At the time I was just lucky to make it through the thyrotoxicosis and surgery. I think all thyroid disease has a huge impact and it is much more common than people think. I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I am finding out new things all the time... like the effects of soy and fluoride on thyroid levels, the fact the being hypothyroid can cause depression and antidepressants cannot 'fix' it, there are so many implications that I never knew. I hope your friend is doing okay now.