Who knew this little butterfly-shaped gland at the base of my neck known as the thyroid gland could affect my life so completely?
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, the year following the birth of my first son in 2006. Low thyroid symptoms overtook my life. I was overwhelmed with fatigue. The pregnancy weight was impossible to lose. My hair was falling out. The heels of my feet were cracked and my scalp itched. My legs were numb to the touch. Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, chronic constipation, and constant infections plagued me. Kidney stones landed me in the emergency room. A healthy woman prior to pregnancy now I had blood levels indicating I was at high risk for a heart attack and pre-diabetic. What had happened to me?
I trusted my doctors implicitly and followed their thyroid drug protocol to the letter never once thinking they might not know everything there was to know about hypothyroidism. I trusted them as the experts especially when I became pregnant again in late 2008. I assumed that in New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world, doctors would have all the answers.
I would later learn that my Ivy League medical school trained and top awarded doctors did not know enough about hypothyroidism, especially the dangers of hypothyroidism and pregnancy. Under their care my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), the gold standard for measuring thyroid function, reached levels far above the recommended reference range for pregnancy endangering the life of my fetus and I miscarried.
How could I have trusted my doctors unquestioningly and not taken my health into my own hands?
I graduated in 1993 with an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto with High Distinction receiving multiple scholarships and prestigious awards. I worked for several years as a high school science teacher for intellectually gifted students. At Columbia University in 2002, I obtained an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and an Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology. A distinguished Columbia University professor selected me as the team leader for his research team during the course of my studies. I was no stranger to scientific research. So why hadn’t I used my science background and research skills to learn everything I could about my thyroid disease?
After 3 years of intense research, endless hours of personal experimentation, and a quest to find the top thyroid health professionals, I am now in the best health ever. At the age of 40, I got pregnant naturally with my second son and gave birth to him in 2010. The time has come to share all that I have discovered.
October is National Miscarriage Awareness month in the U.S., and October 15 in particular is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. My blog Hypothyroid Mom launched October 2012, intentionally timed during Miscarriage Awareness Month in memory of the baby I lost to hypothyroidism and in dedication to my two boys who beat the odds and made it to the world.
The mission of Hypothyroid Mom is clear – to drive awareness. The Thyroid Federation International estimates there are up to 300 million people, mostly women, with thyroid dysfunction worldwide, yet over half are unaware of their condition. I have discovered scientific research that reveals the dangers of hypothyroidism and pregnancy including miscarriage, still birth, infertility, maternal anemia, pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, postpartum hemorrhage, premature delivery, low birth weight, deficits in intellectual development in infants, ADD/ADHD, and Autism. Despite the dangers of maternal hypothyroidism in pregnancy, there is currently NO universal thyroid screening in pregnancy.
The research literature also links an underactive thyroid to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Despite the research connecting hypothyroidism to many of the deadliest diseases of our time, the lack of awareness is pervasive.
Hypothyroid Mom reveals mind-blowing secrets that will redefine health for the millions of mothers worldwide suffering from hypothyroidism (and the millions more who don’t even know they have it yet). This blog is all about rocking the world and encouraging hypothyroid moms everywhere to stand up and take charge of their health. Subscribe for my free Hypothyroid Mom updates, join me on the Hypothyroid Mom Facebook page and on Twitter @HypothyroidMom, and fasten your seat belts for an eye-opening ride!
Everyday Health featured Hypothyroid Mom January 2014 for Thyroid Awareness Month, How Mom’s Thyroid Problems Can Hurt Baby. It is my life’s mission to bring about Universal Thyroid Screening In Pregnancy. I am committed to saving babies in memory of my lost child.