Jackie Bacom Stone,
Three years ago, I was traveling around the country and having just the best time with my husband seeing so many new places and meeting so many new people. I had started to exercise, mostly walking, and was eating so good that I actually felt years younger. It was great, the kids are grown and me and the hubby were on our own, living the life….that is, until May of 2011 when all of a sudden, I started having awful digestive problems, my stomach hurt all the time, I was bloated, everything I ate ran right through me…it was horrible and I had no idea what the problem was or how to fix it. Soon after that, I got to where I couldn’t sleep unless I took something and my moods were terrible, one minute I was happy and the next, I wanted to kill
people!! After that, I started swelling and my blood pressure went crazy high, my hands and legs would shake, I would sweat profusely and was exhausted all the time….what the heck was going on?? I started getting sick, too during all of this with colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia…month after month, I was sick and seeing a clinic doctor…because we traveled so much, I would just see doctors at Urgent Care centers and they would give me meds and send me on my way. No problem, I just had a weak immune system and needed more vitamins and supplements…yeah, like that was really going to control all of this, single-handedly.
I honestly felt like I was crazy, no medical authority understood me and that I was losing my mind!!
After a few days of tests and a really good doctor, they found that I had Graves Disease and was in a thyroid storm. Frightening. They told me that if I hadn’t have come back to the hospital, I would be dead. What?? Wait?? What the heck is Graves Disease? Am I going to die? I was so upset that I had my sister, in North Carolina, look it up. Unbelievably, SHE is the one that explained it all to me, my diagnosis and what Graves and Thyroid Storm were.
The dr just said that I would need radiation and after that, a pill everyday and all would be good and well again!
NOT!!! They put me on Tapazole and I think, no, I know, it was too much because, after three weeks, I was hurting all over and was so exhausted that I couldn’t get out of bed. Story of my life at that point. We went back and forth on the dose for a while, but nothing ever worked. I was still very weak and couldn’t really take care of myself. Thank goodness my sister came to stay with me for a month, to help me out. I was falling all the time, my heart was racing and beating out of my chest, I still shook all over and I really felt like I was going to die. That November, I had Radioactive Iodine, RAI, and that was supposed to “fix” everything. It did not. It helped, but I was still hyper for another 6 months. After the 6 month mark, I was just a little hyper and I thought that was ok…I could live with that. Hahahahaha…little did I know about the damage that being hyper, does to your body. I also have Thyroid Eye Disease and that was a whole other mess in and of itself. That is still an issue, but it is way better now than what it was, thanks to taking Selenium every day.
5 months ago, I was finally given Levothyroxine, 100 mcg for hypothyroidism. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis…yay me…I can’t do anything the easy way! I like a challenge! Now, I not only have to deal with not one, but three autoimmune diseases and two of them fight constantly to see who is going to come out on top. I have learned that I am super sensitive to all meds and we still can’t get my thyroid medications levels right. It is either too much or too little and that keeps a constant battle going between my being hypo and being hyper. In addition to all the things that go along with Graves and Hashi’s, such as digestive problems, rashes, being too cold or too hot, constant joint and muscle pain, too fast or too slow heart rate, high BP, hair falling out, weight gain, swelling, and now I am seeing a Pulmonary Specialist about a problem with my lungs. (they thought I had asthma, but now aren’t sure what is going on) I do not think the meds that I’m currently on are helping me much. Recently, I have changed my diet to Gluten-free and am trying the paleo diet and that has helped some. Oh, we can’t forget the slew of vitamins and supplements that help too…but…I feel just as sick as I did when all of this began. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get me back to myself or even close to it, but I am learning all I can so that I am better informed and can make intelligent decisions for my personal care and healing. (We all need to be our own Thyroid advocates)
Something else that I have been doing on my quest to wellness, as per my doctor’s approval, is using Cannabis, to help with my awful symptoms. It has been used for centuries, for medicinal purposes. It is a plant and is all-natural. I know that it isn’t for everyone. I also know that some people may judge me based on this, I hope not, but it truly helps me and I know that if I didn’t use it, it would be a lot worse than what it is right now. I can’t even imagine that! It’s OK to disagree with my methods and it’s okay to not like it. I’m truly OK with that. It is my choice and it helps me to smile and to live.
A year ago, my dr suggested that I try it because I am so sensitive to a lot of the medications that I need to take for my thyroid and my pain. Most of the medications make me more sick or feel worse and I certainly don’t want to feel worse than I already do. Is that even possible? I still take my thyroid meds every day, that one is a given, but the anti-inflammatory meds that I need for my RA, I cannot take. The pain I endure daily is excruciating and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, or would I? 🙂 Those prescriptions make me so very ill. They hurt my stomach so bad that I can’t get out of bed. I don’t do well with pain pills or anxiety meds, either. Honestly, I don’t want all those different drugs in my system. Keeping any needless, ‘extra’ drugs or chemicals out of my system and my body is so important to my overall health and my healing journey. I hurt all over, every single day. I have anxiety, every single day. Not to mention, I have insomnia 80% of the time. Additionally, I can no longer eat a lot of foods due to the fact that my always angry stomach and digestive system do not tolerate them. Oh, and my mood swings are just horrible. I’m so much fun! ha! I do not use cannabis every day, but I would if I needed to. I always take it alone, in the privacy of my own home and I never go out while using it. I have a prescription for it and use it legally. Cannabis has saved me from misery that no one should ever have to go through, be it a Thyroid Storm, RA, Hyperthyroidism or Hashimoto’s.
I stand by my decision to use cannabis and as long as it continues to help me to feel better and to live my life, instead of just EXIST in this life, I will continue to use it.
I’m not sure what the future holds for me or if I’ll ever feel good again, but I am determined to keep my sense of humor about this whole mess and to keep trying new things to help my body to feel better. I get up every day and tell myself to just do it…get on with my life and do whatever it is that I have to, to keep moving forward. If I have a bad day, then I just have a bad day…I don’t unpack and live there, I just take a little break! Every day is a new day.
We all have to take good care of ourselves and our Thyroid’s, Thyroid Nation Thrivers! Do what works best for you.
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