Hypothyroidism. An Open Letter to My Family

Hypothyroidism. An Open Letter To My Family.

When a Hypothyroid Mom reader contacted me with this letter that she wrote to her family (and she asked me to share but keep it anonymous), I thought wow she hit the nail on the head. She expressed the frustration we feel living with an invisible illness so perfectly. We may look “normal” on the outside but struggle in ways no one understands, not even our loved ones.

Written by…Anonymous

I think it is time that we come to some understanding, some realization of the reality of my life, and how that affects your lives. You see, I fear that if something were to happen to me, and you had to call an ambulance and they asked you if I had any medical conditions, what would you say?

“Yeah, she has some kind of thing, don’t remember what it’s called.”

Why? Why wouldn’t you remember? Because you didn’t take the time to learn about it, to embrace and to learn how it would affect you as much as it does me.

You see, I am a Hypothyroid Mom. I have Hashimoto’s disease.

What is that? In layman’s terms, my thyroid no longer functions (nor has it functioned for many years). Hashimoto’s is the number one cause of hypothyroidism but it rarely gets tested and most people don’t even know they have it. One tiny little pill keeps my thyroid working, supplementing what your body has, but mine does not, and ultimately keeps me alive.

What is the big deal you ask?

Many, many people suffer from hypothyroidism. It’s quite common in fact. Hashimoto’s is also rather common, but it’s a game changer. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to basically attack itself, eating away at this essential gland until there is nothing left.

So what does your thyroid do?

Well, it does so many incredible things in your body, that is, when it works. It stores and produces hormones that affect the function of virtually every organ in our bodies and regulates our metabolic rate (how the body absorbs nutrients from the foods and vitamins that we ingest). In a nutshell, when the thyroid shuts down completely, the body shuts down. But you didn’t know this because you didn’t take the time to listen, to do the research that I asked you to do.

Hashimoto’s is largely hereditary. There is no warning, it just manifests one day until you cannot function any longer, drag yourself to the doctor and find out that you will be poked, prodded and pilled for the rest of your life. Along with Hashimoto’s, comes many other ailments – arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and a plethora of other good stuff. In my case, arthritis appears to be slowly setting in (this is just self diagnosed at this point), and a confirmed additional autoimmune disease of the gastrointestinal system (positive IgG4 antibodies).

So, what are the signs, the symptoms? You’ve seen them all – extreme weight loss (while gain is more typical), hair loss, moodiness and mood swings, chills, exhaustion, constant napping coupled with insomnia (makes sense right?), pain, aches, foggy brain, dry, flaky skin (you know, when you say “Mommy has furry skin”), and general malaise.

Treatment? Constant monitoring of blood levels, a cocktail of pills for thyroid supplements, vitamins, anxiety and pain.

Is there a cure? Nope.

Does it suck? You bet it does.

There are however two ways to attack this disease. You can be a hypothyroidism warrior as I like to champion myself, or you can stay in bed for days on end without lifting your head from the pillow (and trust me, there are many a day that I would love nothing more than to do just that).

Me, well, instead I choose to be a warrior.

I get up at 6:30am, spend an hour waking up this foggy and tired brain, wake you up, get you ready for and off to school, go to work myself and do my best to keep these eyes open until the end of the work day and the drive home looms ahead. I get home, and plunk. Down goes my things, and down I go. You see, by this point, I am both mentally and physically exhausted – not in any way that you could possibly understand. This is a constant lifelong sentence of exhaustion. So I close my eyes for a few minutes to give myself a little boost before I wake up to do household chores, pay bills, do homework checks, help with studying, laundry, refereeing squabbles, and anything else that may come up in between. Then, well, then I run off to my second job – a much more physical job. Perhaps physically easy to everyone else, but by the time I get there, there truly isn’t much left in the tank. After a short stint, I return home to finish up what is left of the household duties (and yes, they have to be done) before the tank reaches completely empty and the engine shuts down – again – both mentally and physically.

So, call me lazy, whiny, negative, miserable, but you know what? I AM a warrior!

I have not given up or given in. Yes, some days are more difficult than others, but I fight and do my best not to let anyone see this, albeit, this is becoming more and more difficult to hide. Please do not take offense if I need some quiet time, some help and most importantly, some love.

I walk in the door every day and the first thing I do before plunking everything down, is ask each of you how your day was. When was the last time anyone asked me how my day was?

I’m not whining, I’m winning,

I’m not lazy, I’m tired.

I’m not grumpy, I’m in pain.

So on those good days, I love to celebrate – a day with no nap in the car, a day with minimal pain, a day where I actually accomplished everything I set out to do, a day when I shared love with my family. The bad days, I promise myself that tomorrow will be better. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, but do you even notice?

It’s time to notice that your wife, your mother, IS a hypothyroid warrior and will not give up, ever.

However I need the support and love of a hypothyroid husband and children more than ever. This disease is also your disease, like it or not I’m afraid.

Tomorrow when I walk in that door and before I plunk, look at me, look into my eyes, my soul, and you will know exactly what I am feeling. Do this every day, and you won’t even have to ask me how my day was, you will see how my day was.

Your loving Hypothyroid Wife & Mommy

XOXOXO

Bio: Happily married for nearly 18 years, with two amazing little men now 12 and 14. I am an incredibly busy Mom, career woman, and a Hypothyroid Warrior! Just over 3 years ago, at the age of 41, I found myself napping constantly, dropping weight by the hour it seemed, lagging and dragging and I knew that something just wasn’t right, and I certainly was right about that. I was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism in July 2013. Today, while I certainly feel better than I did 3 years ago, I fight every day. Every day I fight to find my old self again and I will not stop until I do, because somewhere in this body is the real me.

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Connect with Dana on Google+

Comments

  1. I was diagnosed after I had a baby at the age of 37. I had all those symptoms. They did the test twice because of my numbers before they actually put me on meds. I have been on Synthroid ever since. As the years went by, the dosage changed. I am on the high end of the scale now, but feel great. I think you need to have your strength of dosage adjusted. You should not be still exhausted. Good luck!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your letter it’s exactly how my days are most the time. I’m a mother of three ages 12, 11 and 6, I work full-time have a child with a very rare disease have been married for 15 years and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 17 years ago . I have tried most brand-name synthetic meds and also tried natural desiccated. I feel your pain, but like you take one data time, being strong and marching on.

  3. Thank you for articulating this disease so well. I was diagnosed 15 years ago and can confidentially say misdiagnosed for many years prior. I too am a warrior full time working mum in a professional role I too decided that this disease would not and will not control me nor my family. Over the last 12months I waa managing 2 really busy roles at work whilst waiting for a replacement with the inclusion of interstate travel evety second week. Having 2 school aged boys and a husband that didn’t understand my condition. I was losing my warrior status as my body started to take control and feeding off the high cortisol levels and spiraling in a downward motion that I couldn’t control and stop. I decided that if I didn’t do something quickly I may not be around to be everything to everyone as sad as that seems but that was the reality. I took myself of to an amazing doctor specializing in thyroid conditions lots of test later. I have been diagnosed with Hosimoto and chronic adrenal fatgue plus digestive problems. Each of these disease on their own is hard enough to get through the day but combined I cant articulate how hard it was, other than functioning without any emotions I was empty inside. Since the new diagnosis i am on a combination medication and will get better day by day however it will be 24 months before I feel like the warrior I was before.
    The reason for my post was not to be whiny about my condition but to say
    You need to listen to your body before your body takes control.
    If your family and friends dont understand make sure they do.
    Take a break when you can the house work will still be there tomorrow.
    When your too tired cook its ok to have toast for dinner who cares.
    And those days when you struggle REMEMBER YOUR NOT ALONE

  4. Glynis Hampton says:

    I have had hypothyroidism for 30+ years I am now 58 on 100 mg levothyroxine which I feel doesn’t help much have my checks yearly as advised but the docs just say normal ranges don’t seem to want to listen when I ask for explanation I am tired all the time can’t sleep properly waking every hour I have foggy head all the time joint pain dry skin allergies can’t seem to lose weight either just feel no one understands but we are expected to just carry on and try to live with it best we can I work full time too wish I could find some answers

  5. Thanks for posting letter it was nice to hear I am not alone I have had hypothyroidism since I was 11 yrs old now will be 48 next month I have also be diagnosed with diabetes, osteoarthritis ,fibromyalgia , peripheral nephropathy , and depression all in the last 3 yrs.Life really sucks most days because lots of people dont understand this stuff. (you dont look sick theres nothing wrong with you).

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