Hypothyroid Tuesday: Who Let That Butterfly In Charge of This Rollercoaster?!

One of the areas I address in this blog is that of hypothyroidism and how it has affected my life.  I honestly try not to let this thyroid disease affect my life but sometimes it is pretty hard not to because you cannot completely control your body.  One of the great things about the internet is that it has allowed me to connect with various hypothyroid groups and it is amazing how many people have issues with their doctors and getting them to correctly diagnose thyroid diseases.  So, I have decided to make Tuesdays, Hypothyroid Tuesday-- a day when I will specifically address hypothyroid issues and have guest bloggers who can also provide information as we navigate.

Unless you have thyroid disease you cannot understand a statement like "this damn butterfly is messing my life!".  Most often than not, said butterfly is referring to the thyroid gland, which is shaped like a butterfly.  Before I developed thyroid issues, I had NO idea what the heck the thyroid was not even where in the body it was.   Just in case you do not know, this is where the thyroid is:

photo via Google

The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands and plays an important role in regulating the body's metabolism and calcium balance. The T4 and T3 hormones stimulate every tissue in the body to produce proteins and increase the amount of oxygen used by cells. The harder the cells work, the harder the organs work. The calcitonin hormone works together with the parathyroid hormone to regulate calcium levels in the body.  So you can tell right off the bat that this is not an easy disease to diagnose.  With the importance of this gland in the body's function, you would be surprised (unless you are a thyroid patient) how many doctors disregard this disease. 

The first time I addressed any thyroid related topics was when I came back from my last deployment in 2008.  I was in the best shape of my life and I was feeling happy because my running/ weight training program was working.  I was rocking it!  I came home a few days before Thanksgiving that year and it was pretty chilly-- around 49 degrees.  But I was having major hot flashes, and had my A/C on.  Oh did I mention that I was surviving on 3 hours of sleep a day?-- Lancome was making a killing with me on makeup concealer purchases.  A few weeks later I went for a run and what should have been an easy run turned out into the scariest experience of my life when I suddenly started having heart palpitations and felt like I was having a heart attack.  I sat by a curb, and a sweet couple called an ambulance.  At the hospital everything was checked...EXCEPT my thyroid.  Fast forward three months later: I was at a Civil War Battlefield and was just so tired walking around, I was out of breath (never mind I was in the best shape ever!).  By the time I got home I was ready to just go sleep but my mom noticed something: my neck was swollen.  Like really swollen enough to freak me out.  So I went to the ER.  There I saw three people during the processing all which asked me if I had thyroid problems and I was clueless about what they were talking about.  But imagine my surprise when the doctor treated me for allergies.... mmm... ok.  When two days later that neck was not smaller I finally went to my family practice doctor who confirmed I had hyperthyroidism.  The road from hyperthyroid thanks to Grave's Disease to hypothyroid because my thyroid gland was removed has been long and just like being on a rollercoaster.  And it sucks so bad it is not even funny. The next photo is one of the best I have seen depicting the differences between hypo and hyper thyroidism; like a cheat sheet you can use!

photo via Google

That little butterfly can really wreak havoc in your life if not monitored, and it is scary that millions of people are misdiagnosed every year.  I was truly blessed to find an endocrinologist who did not think I was having "girl problems" when I busted out crying in his office for no reason (yes, mood swings are one of the symptoms of Grave's Disease).  Unfortunately the boyfriend at the time did not...but that's another story.   Look here is the bottom like: once that butterfly goes nuts its like letting her in charge of this rollercoaster.  It is that crazy and that serious.  So make sure that if you have any symptoms, you address them with your doctor.  For more general information about hypothyroidism and the complete story of my crazy journey with thyroid disease, check out my THYROID DISEASE page. 

Hope to see you back next week!

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