Brittany Clark, Thyroid Thrivers
27 years old
This was my hyperthyroidism life. Medicines were plentiful, nose bleeds (lots of them), iodine, and bunches of SLEEP.
I was a small child when my mother and grandmother noticed my neck (thyroid) was enlarged. That was when it all started – Hyperthyroidism. I remember tons of blood work (that still continues), scans, my mother reading endless medical books, doctor appointments and doctor appointments and more doctor appointments. This was my life. Medicines were plentiful, nose bleeds (lots of them), iodine, and bunches of SLEEP. Don’t be mislead by the sleep statement. I was a normal kid, I just liked my naps and was hard to wake up. 😆
At one point along this journey, my mother was told I had Graves’ Disease. Other doctors we went to, for more opinions, insisted that wasn’t the case, it was just hyperthyroidism. JUST Hyperthyroidism that needed to be treated with plenty of medicine. Later, more options would be available if there wasn’t any improvement, supposedly. I continued my barrage of blood work and was soon taken of the thyroid medications. Why? I don’t remember!
I do remember all the jokes that were made about, how I was going to sleep my life away, by family members who had witnessed my sleeping habits.
Some years went by and I grew into a teenager. Blood work that was done, at this point, was unacceptable, so my hyperthyroidism journey continued. I remember feeling tired all. the. time. Jokes were made about how I was going to sleep my life away, my family members who had witnessed, first-hand, my extreme sleeping habits. Volleyball was a great love of mine and I was able to play through high school. I would be so tired after a day of school and practice that I couldn’t even keep my eyes open on the school bus ride home. When the bus stopped, I’d drag myself to the house, open the front door and collapse onto the closest couch. Literally, I was too tired to go to my own bed or change clothes. Sometimes I’d sleep through supper. It’s crazy how you can be too tired to eat-everyone loves food!
Finally, my mother and I went to see a thyroid specialist, as I couldn’t keep going on like this. Serious decision-making was on the horizon. We were told that I would be better off if my thyroid was dead or removed. I could take a radiation pill to kill it or have surgery to remove it. A complete ‘thyroidectomy’? It really hit me and scared me to death.”This was getting extremely serious,” I thought. I definitely and definitively didn’t want to have surgery. Of course, my mother, being a MOM, worried about the scar it would leave, if I did. So, out of shear fear of taking my thyroid out and not having any other viable options, it seemed – the radiation pill it would be- RAI for me!
My hyperthyroidism kept me from going to school the day I had to take this ‘radiation’ pill. Being nervous was an understatement, but, I was really excited about skipping school and getting to go out to lunch with my Momma. Kids! We were graciously escorted to the back of the hospital and told to wait for the truck that would be delivering the thyroid-killing pill. Soon after the delivery, a doctor came in with a weird capsule-shaped, metal-like case. He put gloves on and as he started to open the case, I remember thinking “WOW, he even has to wear gloves to handle this pill that I am supposed to freely swallow.” Using giant tweezers, I remember him placing it cautiously into my hand. After swallowing this ‘dangerous-to-the-touch’ pill, I was even directed to throw away my cup. Scary!
All of that didn’t truly effect me, though, until we started reading the regulations on the instruction list –Stay 3 feet away from people -Flush twice -Don’t sleep with anyone – Don’t touch pets!
My wonderful mother and I were given a sheet of paper with important and imperative instructions to follow. The doctor explained to us that I would have to sit and wait for 30 minutes, to make sure my RAI pill, stayed down. Apparently, it would have been a really big deal if I had vomited it up, before leaving the hospital. This pill, I willingly took, if regurgitated, could shut down part of the hospital, if it didn’t stay inside me. WHAT?! All of that didn’t truly affect me, though, until we started reading the regulations on the instruction list –Stay 3 feet away from people -Flush twice -Don’t sleep with anyone – Don’t touch pets! These rules terrified and overwhelmed me, to say the least. My mom, however, just smiled and sat right next to me. She was my mom and she wasn’t going to leave my side, despite what this piece of paper had to say. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. We were successful, thankfully and could finally go home. Yippee, thyroid medications forever! Blah…..
I’m 27 years old now. My thyroid levels never come back the way the doctors expect them. It is a constant struggle. My hair is falling out. Not to mention all the other symptoms I have including thin nails, dry skin, anxiety, racing heartbeat, can’t get enough sleep, no energy, dizzy spells, a plethora of medications I can’t take, forgetfulness, cannot gain weight, never full, heavy periods, shin pain, and, to top it all off, I get very emotional at times. Up and down, up and down. My life is like a seesaw. I take Levothyroxine, B 12 shots monthly, Vitamin D and a 1 A Day for Women. But, my B12 levels stay low. An ultrasound showed nodules that an adjustment with medication, helped to shrink, thank goodness. Although even more recently, blood work showed that my platelets are low. The doctor and I are in constant communication now, because I apparently might have a bone marrow issue that I don’t want to deal with, if I don’t have to. I will be taking Vitamin D for the rest of my life.
All in all, I live an almost normal life with this disease, thanks to family support, doctors, and lots of Living~Laughing~Loving~
There needs to be more awareness for hyperthyroidism and other thyroid diseases. Did I need to take a highly toxic radiation pill? Would I be going through all of this, if I didn’t add that into the mix? What about the people who don’t even know they have thyroid issues and chalk it up to regular depression or just bad genes?! Is there a better or more natural path we can take instead of using a ton of medications, like me? Surely, we can do more?! That is why I am sharing my story. To help, to support others along their own journey and to raise awareness. I think it should be mandatory to CHECK YOUR NECK. ~God Bless!
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