Jilly Ching, Thyroid Thrivers
56 years young
Hypothyroid 41 years,
hashi’s 2 years
Diagnosed in 1973 AND 2013
My mother, my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandmother, my paternal aunt and 3 of my 5 sisters are hypothyroid. As my next sister up was diagnosed when she was 11, I was tested yearly from that age. At age 15, I had a goitre and subsequently diagnosed as hypothyroid. Was given 200 mg thyroxine a day, the goitre disappeared.
I stayed on that dosage (apart from 6 months on 250mg) and was quite fine. I didn’t know anything different. I was lucky, I was 5’6″ tall and carried weight well. Most I weighed was 85kg – over my BMI, but I looked and felt OK.
In 2003/4 I underwent horrific stress, (family and relationship-based) and lost weight, down to 66kg at one stage. I now sit comfortably at 73kg.
I am one of the unusual people, that being hypothyroid, does not cause me weight problems.
In 2007, the formula for Eltroxin was changed. New Zealand was the test country, from what I understand. Within 2 weeks, I was so damn tired…but, blamed it on it being close to Christmas and working hard. By January, I was spending more time in bed, than not. My eyes were puffy, my brain was dead, I could barely heat up a pie for dinner. I was lucky to have a friend who would help me with my work.
I went to the Dr, who did tests and then gave me supplements; they helped a little. End of February, my friend made me go back to the Dr as I was still so unwell. I was sleeping all the time, having no periods, not living, just making it through, day to day. More tests and a thought of giving me anti-depressants…. but, I was not feeling depressed! Just sick!
In March, another friend sent me an article from a newspaper about Eltroxin. My lightbulb went on. Off to the Dr I went. She had not heard of any problems with it and rang the chemist; they had not heard of any problems with Eltroxin either. AND, they had no alternatives 🙁 SO, more supplements.
I went back in April, having done some research (and being on an on-line forum). My doctor at that time was lovely, and helpful, it’s just there was not much known then about side effects. She found that an alternative was being brought in but, it would be a 6-week wait. Thankfully, she referred me to an Endo.
What a waste of time and money! The endo said I was pre-menopausal (I said I was not and that I was hypothyroid – she knew better – however, blood tests later proved I was right). I had poor “sleep hygiene” (well, yes – that was one of the reasons I was seeing her, duh!) I was not eating well (well – yes – because I was too fatigued) She was not open to hearing that Eltroxin was the cause, and would not prescribe Whole Thyroid Extract (like Armour). I was at the end of my tether, and neither I nor my friend could get her to see I was NOT my normal self.
I told her I would never take another Eltroxin again. The doctor was, of course, horrified, and said: “You would risk going into a coma and dying?” My response was, ‘that would be better than how I am currently living’. She said, “I cannot give you WTE (natural desiccated thyroid), I would be the laughing stock of the endo community if I did!” Well, that’s not my problem, I replied.
Strangely, she eventually did gave me the prescription.
It just goes to show, that even when you are as sick as a dog, you need to be determined to stand up for yourself!
Since then, I have been mostly on WTE (like Armour) but when I could not afford it, I tried both Goldshield and Synthroid. Both were better than the new Eltroxin, neither was better than the old Eltroxin. My partner could tell the difference in my demeanor so, he paid for WTE. He preferred me on it (and so did I). He could see I was much happier and healthier (try telling a Dr that!)
Because of this debacle, several women and myself set up TANZi (Thyroid Association of New Zealand, inc) Tracey designed a wonderful website. We had an on-line forum for a while, then tried yahoo, but now have a facebook site with over 1000 members 🙂 I spend many hours on that site. We have wonderful, helpful, supportive people on it. Their knowledge, wisdom, research, and humour astounds me.
In 2010, there was a disastrous earthquake in Christchurch, where I live, which damaged my home. Unfortunately, another huge one hit in February 2011 and even more damage occurred. We have had over 13,000 quakes since 2010. Our city is devastated, roads munted, bridges out, many houses unliveable etc etc etc and since then, constant repairs, road closures, still having to get to work on time and fighting to get our homes repaired properly (I am still in dispute with Earth Quake Commission) I have constant on-going stress that is out of my control. Two years go (after 40 years of hypothyroid) I was diagnosed with Hashi’s. I have to wonder, was it caused by the stress?
On the happy side, my partner moved in on 4th September, 2010, the day of the quake, as his flat was unlivable……I said he could stay at my house until it was fixed. (Hmmm……it was fixed that Monday…but he never moved out.)
He has been my rock, my support, he totally “gets me”, even when I have forgotten my meds and am a tad “not with it”. He is one of the few that realises my thyroid issues, hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s, are not me, but they affect me, and gently helps me through the bad times. He never blames me, just goes with the flow, in good times and bad. I’m lucky, I have a partner who understands me and, I know I have the courage to stand up for myself and advocate. Those of us, hypothyroid and hyperthyroid’s, stick together!
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