Gemma Garrison, Thyroid Thrivers
31 years old
I feel like I’m constantly evolving with my theories, story and my Hashimoto’s thyroid journey….but this is where I’m at and I wouldn’t change a thing.
My 32nd birthday is just around the corner, I have an almost 14 month old daughter and I we live in Germany with my German honey. Truly, I believe I’ve always had a form of thyroid disorder, just undiagnosed. Does this sound all too familiar? Scary, huh? I was always known as an easily agitated child, I wasn’t overweight but always had a belly’pudge’ and I was very active kid, so I just didn’t get it.
Good grades in school? ha! It was not for me and I didn’t thrive at all. I wouldn’t concentrate on things and found it hard to retain information. By the time I hit my teens, I was practically asleep the entire time. I mean I could sleep 22 hours straight and not miss a beat. Isn’t this abnormal, thought NO ONE, EVER! On a monthly basis, my days averaged about 14 hours of sleep, as a 16 year old girl. I had zero energy. My menstruation would last 2 weeks and it would be horribly painful and extremely heavy. Mood swings, yep. Along with constant sore throats, puffy eyes, dry skin, very sensitive, emotional and terribly forgetful.
My doctor at the time, put me on the pill to lessen the pain and flow…thanks doc! I wish I knew then, what I know now. I gained 28 pounds over a few short months. Eventually, I even started getting chronic tonsillitis. I would have a bout every two weeks, usually accompanied by thrush or cystitis. This personal hell continued until my early 20’s. Shortly after having my tonsils removed, I endured a miscarriage. I could not get out of bed!!!! My eyes were so puffy they were practically closed. It is even hard to imagine, as I write this. I went from losing a lot of weight and being very malnourished, to large gaining lots of weight. How could this be when I was eating very little and exercising like mad?
I was extremely depressed and the doctors, even myself, chalked it up to the miscarriage. So, a short course of anti -depressants followed. WOW! This reads like a medical horror story. I just knew deep inside it wasn’t depression, so I weaned off of them.
Realizing now, after battling this for 18+ years, it was all Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, that caused me to not, be me.
I’m known as a hypochondriact and nobody takes me seriously. How fun! 😥 For years I’ve had mystery aches, pains, illnesses, stopped periods, heavy periods where I couldn’t leave the house and deep depression where I wanted to end my life, all because of an underactive thyroid. No one noticed or diagnosed my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Unfortunately for me, I was also misdiagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome and diabetes. During which, I’ve had to put a smile on my face and pretend to be well. No one wanted to hear it anymore. I was unhealthy and what’s worse, I was also feeling very alone. I went to the doctor, at least once a month, always to be fobbed off. Moving to Germany, might have saved me. My suffering did still continue for 2 more years until I found a wonderful Naturopath Doctor. He diagnosed me and then referred me to an endocrinologist. My life changed that day!!! I knew how to start helping myself. Finally!
I was on 300 mcg’s of Levothyroxine for little more than a year. I’m sure, thinking back, that I was borderline psychotic with an eminent heart attack, in my near future. More help finally arrived and I was prescribed a T4 & T3 mix. It worked short term, during which, I became pregnant. My beautiful, healthy daughter arrived in February, 2013. The pregnancy was not easy. After has been even more difficult. borderline pre-eclampsia and always very tired. Additionally, as if there could be more, I also gained 35 pounds after giving birth. Retaining water, seemed to be my new trend at the time, with many alterations in medications. There were dreadful weeks when I could barely lift my little angel– carpel tunnel syndrome. Can you imagine how stressful and dibilitating it is when you are being fully treated, supposedly and still feeling low, exhausted or unable to concentrate? Some days, I could barely do anything at all and wished for a fairy godmother, or at least a cleaning lady and chef.
My pregnancy was, in some people’s eyes, uneventful. I guess it could have been a lot worse. But for me personally, it was utterly exhausting. Constantly! I had no high, happy moment and that makes me sad to think about. I hope my story helps others so they won’t have to go through this. I was constantly worrying about my health and the health of my unborn child and the fatigue was grueling. Labor was loooonnnnggg, at 31.5 hours. Ugh! (failure to progress) which now I know is common with us Hypo’s. I had an epidural and total episiotomy. This made me feel like a total failure. Then, came the worry that my milk would never come. Which, it did, after only 4 days of waiting. Thank goodness! The healing process took way longer (6 weeks for my uterus to start going down) and the weight loss journey is still ongoing. I look at myself in the mirror and feel as if I’m 6 months pregnant. It is very disheartening when you eat well, exercise, breastfeed and take your vitamins, like a good girl, I have to admit.
But, I just know in my heart, that I WILL be me again! (who ever me is)
Until a month ago, February 2014, I was taking around 200 mcg’s of my medicine, per day, and I could just about function. I went to see my normal house doctor since we moved away from the amazing city of Munich, where once was my brilliant endocrinologist. I was extremely hyperthyroid, at this point and was taken OFF my medicine. That’s something I’ve been very afraid and nervous about. But, unbelievably, so far, I seem to be doing OK. I have days that are better than others, sure! But, I’m better without the medicine for right now, it seems. My blood test results are still saying that I’m very Hyper and my TSH is high. Since these don’t seem to add up, I’m off to the hospital soon for extensive searches, dye injections, scans and more blood tests. (uggghh I can’t stand that part)
But I want to be, and will be, me again! It’s a long thyroid-shaped road for many of us. I hope I make it to be treated efficiently some day soon, at least for my daughters’ sake. So, I keep fighting and thriving.
This disease is teaching me many things, however. I learned to embrace and love the good days! And to LIVE them. I’m also, 100% more aware of my body and what I put into it. I drink only filtered water (no fluoride, I use non fluoride toothpaste, too). I eat organic produce, fish and white meats often. Throwing in vegetable juices and protein shakes, for good measure, isn’t out of the question, either. My dairy intake is very limited, too. (yogurt & butter). I eat goats cheese often and I include a lot of healthy fats. Nutrition is important to me and my health.
If I’m having a bad day, I’ve also learned that I can now, simply embrace that, too.
I’ve learned that walking and being physical, is a daily must for me, and and all of us Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis sufferers. And, if for some reason, I’m having a bad day, I’ve also learned that I can now, simply embrace that, too. I wish you the best of life and love. Listen to your body, due your research and try to learn from my life lessons.