my thyroid story

In 2010 I was officially diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  But before I got this diagnosis, I went through a frustrating road...

In 2008 after returning from a deployment, I was in the best shape of my life thanks to doing nothing but exercising while deployed... or so I thought.  When I arrived home in November 2008, I started feeling odd.  In the 20s and 30s degree weather I was having hot flashes, my heart was running like a wild horse and I started having what felt like chest pains.  Suddenly I started developing insomnia and became very emotional about everything to the point that it took a toll on my personal relationships.  I know my family felt like I was going through some post deployment depression or something.  It was unreal yet I didn't do anything to try to find out what was going on. 

Then in April 2008, while on a trip to a civil war battlefield, I was short of breath after only walking.  When I went home my mom noticed that my neck was swollen.  I didn't believe her but when I checked my neck, indeed it was swollen.  To make a long story short, I went to the ER and they treated it as an allergy.  However, when the "allergy" did not go away after 72 hours, I went to see my doctor who did some blood work and diagnosed me with Graves Disease.  Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and it is caused by an abnormal immune system response that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thryroid hormones. 

Immediately I went to see an endocrinologist who treated me with medication.  Unfortunately because of the size of my goiter (swollen thryroid), he recommended against radioactive iodine.  After a year of unsuccessful treatment, we decided on surgery because it was affecting my performance at work.  As someone in the military. physical fitness is essential and I was having a lot of issues with high blood pressure because of the disease.  And again, to make a long story short, after my thryroid was removed, I became hypothyroid which is the completely the opposite of hyperthyroidism in that the thryroid does not produce enough hormones.  In my case without a thyroid I was not producing any hormones and with that came a whole different set of issues.  The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include like:
  • Being more sensitive to cold
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue or feeling slowed down
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Dry skin
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain (unintentional).  I specify this because a lot of people think we hypothyroid use this as an excuse, when in reality if the hormone dosage is off, we can gain weight.
And as bad as this sounds, I feel better than I did when I had Graves Disease.  The biggest issues I have had (and because it is more noticeable) is weight gain.  Two months after I had the surgery I went from 187 pound (I'm 6'1") to 200.  As of today I am 194.  Most people do not notice the weight because I am so tall but it is there and it is driving me crazy.  I love running and exercising but some times the symptoms can make it diffficult.  And to be honest the nutrition part can be hard also.  I know I am not the only person with hypothyroid out there who likes to exercise but is also a hypothyroid, and if they can benefit from this site, that would make me very happy.

The American Thyroid Association defines Hypothyroidism as an underactive thyroid gland.  Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. People are hypothyroid if they have too little thyroid hormone in the blood. Common causes are autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment.

What are the symptoms?

When thyroid hormone levels are too low, the body’s cells can’t get enough thyroid hormone and the body’s processes start slowing down. As the body slows, you may notice that you feel colder, you tire more easily, your skin is getting drier, you’re becoming forgetful and depressed, and you’ve started getting constipated.  Because the symptoms are so variable and non-specific, the only way to know for sure whether you have hypothyroidism is with a simple blood test for TSH.   Because thyroid disease runs in families, you should explain your hypothyroidism to your relatives and encourage them to get regular TSH tests. 

For more information click HERE for a brochure.

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