Hypothyroidism is a Challenge - But, I'm Healthier and Happier

Tracey Lovell, Thyroid Thrivers
Thyroid Nation

40 years old
Cornwall, UK

On January 4, 2013 I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and my doctor didn’t tell me anything about the disease.

My most awful year was 2012. I had not been feeling myself for a few months and I had an infection (and at this point, disappointingly un-diagnosed Hypothyroidism). I knew deep down inside me, something was not right. I was refused a blood test every time I asked the doctor for one. Three times within 11 months I had the same infection. No doctor questioned why this infection kept coming back or pursued finding the underlying problem. I was just given Antibotics every single time and sent on my merry way.

By the end of the year, my health was deteriorating and I started to fear for my life. Eventually, I got Anhidrosis which lasted for 5 days. Anhidrosis is when the sweat glands do not work properly, the complete absence of sweating. If the human body cannot sweat properly it cannot cool itself down, causing the body to overheat which can lead to Heatstroke. It is a life-threatening condition. The symptoms are poor/no sweating, dizziness, breathing problems when hot, tiredness, weakness, flushing, rash, swelling, sensitive to higher than normal temperatures. It was terrible. I had to have cold baths each time I started to overheat, in order to cool my body down. I could not allow myself to get a tiny bit warm or else it would start the cycle.  There was no room for error on my part and I was exhausted. Sitting in a freezing room is no fun, in fact,  it was a nightmare! This was the final straw for me and my disease.  I don’t really know what actually caused the Anhidrosis but I believe the Antibiotics may have played a role. At this point, I went to my doctor and demanded a blood test. I had had enough. I needed to know what more was wrong with me and what was causing all these issues. He finally said yes!

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On January 4, 2013 I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and the doctor didn’t tell me anything about the disease. At ALL! No explanations were given. I was told I would have to take medication for the rest of my life.  He gave me a prescription for Levothyroxine, told me how much to take and to come back in 3 months for a blood test. That was it! He gave me the impression that it was easy to treat by just taking a pill every day.  Wow!  Oh, how I  wish it were that simple!
Something compelled me to want and need to be my own advocate.  I couldn’t believe my doctor wasn’t more helpful, but because of that, I started researching online about Hypothyroidism. Was I in for a shock! There was so much information, I didn’t even know where to begin.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  Information overload had me crying and feeling completely alone. I didn’t know anyone who had Hypothyroidism. Eventually, I pulled myself together and continued to search online and found, Thyroid Sexy. What a relief. There was plenty of useful information and sufferers, just like me! Thanks to Gena, it opened up a lot of doors and different avenues for me to pursue on my thyroid disease journey. At this point, I connected with many more Thyroid websites on Facebook. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about Hypothyroidism. I knew I had to be my own doctor, per se.

Information overload had me crying and feeling completely alone.

As for my doctor, I couldn’t believe how clueless he was. I felt like I knew more about my thyroid disease than he did. He sees the TSH and Levothyroxine as the gold standard for treating Hypothyroidism, just as so many others do. He threw me to the wolves leaving me no choice but to get worse, or to stay on medication that wasn’t working for me. I got tired of being ignored. It wasn’t until AFTER I said I was going to file a formal complaint, that he referred for me to see an Endocrinologist. It was also time to find a new doc, this one needed to be fired.
My appointment with the Endo doctor went really well. I found out that I also have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As for my thyroid medication, since I wasn’t feeling any better, it turns out I had T3 deficiency (I suspect this is the same for others, they just don’t know it). The T4 only drug was storing up in my body to the point of being toxic. It has taken over two, long and grueling months to recover. I am now on a combination of Levothyroxine and Liothyronine –-thank goodness!
My new doctor is a definite improvement, she knows more about Hypothyroidism but together, with my new-found knowledge, we work together as a team and that seems to work the best. Soon, I will have a scan on my thyroid, that will further expose the extent of my issues, as I have some discomfort, an enlarged thyroid, and a few nodules. I’m praying that it will be fine.
The changes I’ve had to make in my overall lifestyle ad well-being, have been extreme.  I gave up gluten, sugar, dairy, lactose, soy/soya, caffeine, and processed foods. Whew! I feel so much better, I have more energy, I no longer have Asthma or IBS and best of all, I’ve lost over 56 lbs in weight.  I want to try an NDT, natural desiccated thyroid, and a new plan of action, to further my success. Finding a doctor in the UK is going to be a challenge, just as my Hypothyroidism has been.

 But, the most important thing I have learned about myself through all of this…I now know I have it in me to never give up! 🙂

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