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More self care, and finally, a true diagnosis

So I've been arguing with doctors about my thyroid levels since February. A common theme with hypothyroidism is doctors who say that you are fine, when you are NOT fine. Or they think your troubles are psychological, and mistreat your symptoms.

The first doctor I went to- before we even did the initial hypo blood panel- prescribed me Zoloft, and told me to go on a 1200 calorie a day diet. When I explained that I was a runner, and training for a half marathon, she just kinda shrugged and said well, maybe low carb. 

Obviously, when my bloodwork came back and showed my TSH was 15.08 (about five times higher than what it should be) I went straight for a new doctor. A starvation diet is not appropriate for anyone, let alone someone vigorously exercising 3-5 days a week! I did humor her and try the Zoloft- it did nothing for my symptoms, and left me feeling high, but not even a fun way- more like I'd been slipped something. 

The second doctor I went to, I thought was taking me seriously, for a little while at least. We got my TSH way down, and I started feeling better. Mostly. For about three months. While I was constantly begging him to up my dose. He went up a little, and a little more. Yet despite that, by June, I just KNEW my levels were off again. All of my symptoms were back with a vengeance, and my TSH was back up.

I asked the doctor to consider incorporating T3 into my treatment, but he flat out refused. When I asked why, he said "it doesn't work". He claimed that my hormone levels were managed- never mind the fact that I could barely get out of bed and through the day. When he suggested that I was overeating, and maybe could try Prozac for my anxiety, I was so frustrated that I burst into tears. Seriously, screw this guy. I knew my symptoms were not in my head!

I finally found a recommendation for an endocrinologist near me. I waited three long, exhausting weeks for an appointment. After showing her my bloodwork spreadsheet (it's a lot of numbers to keep track of!) and listing my litany of symptoms, she agreed to try adding T3. She also ran a test for Hashimoto's...which came back positive. Finally, a diagnosis! I'm NOT actually crazy, I just have an autoimmune disorder! (And what the fuck, WHY did it take five months to convince someone to run the Hashis test??)

The first few days, it didn't feel like the T3 was working. I was afraid that I was going to feel bad forever! And then on day 5, I woke up and felt...fine. I felt okay. I had enough energy to do stuff around the house. I had the mental capacity to check my email! 

Two weeks later, and I am pretty amazed at the difference already. I have been drinking less coffee, and been able to lower my nightly dose of melatonin. I am down 3 pounds- not a lot, but this is the first time in almost a YEAR that I haven't gained weight. I look less bloated and puffy. I have mental clarity, and have enough energy to not only keep up with my daily life, but also to start going on walks again. Can't wait to start running soon! 

To be fair, I have also made some dietary changes. I am being more proactive about taking supplements (a multi, magnesium, selenium, and b complex), and have also mostly eliminated wheat from my diet. The only real challenge with eliminating wheat so far has been giving up beer... I've been able to find corn, rice, and potato substitutes for every other bready thing I eat, which isn't a lot. I've cut back on alcohol a little, and am focused on eating lots of vegetables.

I just want to feel okay. I think tweaking my eating habits has helped me feel okay. 

I can't wait to get back to the doctor next month and see how my levels are. 

One other thing that has helped me a lot, is this amazing post by Power, Peace, and the Porch Gym. In it, Bethany talks about how injury has prevented her from lifting heavy. That forced her to examine the thought process that she needed to DO something special in order to BE special.

I have also been wrestling with this since I've been diagnosed- what if I never have enough energy to run a half, or even a full, marathon ever again? If I can only run a couple of miles a week, does that make me less special? No, absolutely not. But it will take time to wrap my head around that, just as it will take time for my body to heal. 

If you suspect that you are dealing with thyroid issues, or have already been diagnosed and are strugging, I recommend Hypothyroid Mom for useful tips without too much woo, and a general sense of solidarity. Advocate hard for yourself- if you don't feel fine, and your doctor disagrees, get a second opinion. And above all- GET TESTED! 

1 comment

Aug 11, 2016 • Posted by Jeana

Hi Katie,
I just want to thank you for sharing this. I am also a Hashi’s warrior, and it always helps so much to know I’m not alone! It took me a lonnnng time to get diagnosed as well.

Making the effort to eat well has certainly helped me, and avoiding gluten, dairy, and nightshades has made a difference as well. It’s all about finding what works for you as an individual. I have some days when I can do a rigorous vinyasa flow and days when I can only muster a few hip stretches. It can certainly be frustrating, but there are some great resources out there, and we’re all in this fight together.

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