Married to Hashimoto’s: Where’s the Woman I Married?

Married to Hashimoto's: Where's the Woman I Married?

Has Hashimoto’s affected your marriage?

Sadly I have a feeling this is the case for more people with thyroid disease than anyone can imagine.

It gives me hope when I hear from husbands and wives that have made it through the rough times.

Are you married to Hashimoto’s?

Love your spouse with every fiber of your being, because she needs you now more than ever, and never lose sight of the most important thing in love … hope.

Written by Rock Robbins, Married to Hashimoto’s

So, if you’re a guy and you’re reading this – congratulations. That you’re even looking at this puts you into the rare category of guys who are trying to understand what your woman is going through. So, way to go. May I say that I did not fall into this category until years later in my relationship with my girl, Stacey. And let’s face it, the ‘average guy’ is probably fine if his girl is going through some health issue, as long as…

  1. He doesn’t have to do too much and
  2. He doesn’t have to think about too much

If you’re like me, I leave a lot of the health issues to my wife as she’s just more naturally nurturing than I am. As guys, we have many other things in our life vying for our attention – family, work, friends, finances, sports, cars, (insert yours here). If you’re already active in the ‘help and support your woman’ department – awesome for you, keep it up.

I got married to Stacey about 27 years ago. Seven years in she got sick and a few years later was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It changed our life, because it changed her life. Suddenly I was Married to Hashimoto’s.

(Hashimoto’s, for you guys who are still learning the ropes, is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the thyroid. The thyroid controls pretty much everything from weight to moods, from sleep to sex – and about a million things in between.)

So, with that said, I want to give you some tips that will save you time, your sanity, and your sex life. Even if you only do some of the suggestions I’m about to lay out, it’s likely your life will get much better between you and your woman as she grapples with a Hashimoto’s diagnosis.

Tip #1 – Realize that even though she looks ‘normal’, she’s not.

Here’s the thing with Hashimoto’s, when it first gets going in someone’s body they can seem totally fine on the outside. Things seem okay, but then they start dealing with things like…

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog, or fuzzy thinking
  • Pale / puffy face
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold
  • Joint pain
  • Thinning hair
  • Low libido
  • Slowed heart rate

And those are just some of the symptoms she may have before we enter the exciting world of weight gain.3

The problem is, in the beginning, we as men may dismiss these things, or hope that they go away like they do with most healthy people. But with Hashimoto’s, when untreated, things can steadily move into more and more very un-fun symptoms that just don’t ‘go away’.

Tip #2 – Stop acting like this is all in her head

I wish I didn’t have to put this here, but even I have fallen prey to the ‘I feel fine, so you should too’ kind of thinking. We get so busy, that when our partner is sick, it cramps our style, and all that we want to get done. If she’s looking ‘normal’, it’s tempting to say, ‘Hey! Snap out of it, and let’s get back to the fun, and all the things we used to do.’ Again, with most healthy people, some rest and time is enough to have their bodies repair anything that’s going on, but this is no ordinary health issue.

Hashimoto’s is basically your body fighting against itself, and attacking the ‘master’ gland in your body, the thyroid.1 The thyroid’s main job is to control metabolism, which is our body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. The hormones the thyroid creates are essential to proper development of all cells in the human body.2 Whoah, let’s pause and read that last sentence again, especially the ALL CELLS part. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamin metabolism.2 The reason you’re able to sit there and calmly read this article is because your thyroid is working in concert with the rest of your body. Trust me, this is not something anyone wants, and if they do have it, they don’t want someone giving them 9 miles of bad road on how they’re dealing with it.

I’m a bit of a geek, so I like to think of this like troubleshooting a computer. If the motherboard has something wrong with it, it’s not going to matter if all the other parts are sound. Things likely won’t work properly for long, if they even work at all. And with Hashimoto’s, it can easily be misdiagnosed as other health issues; you can end up doing a LOT of troubleshooting and tests on specific symptoms for a long time before you finally get to the big picture of a Hashimoto’s diagnosis.

Quick FYI – thyroid disease alone affects 20% of American women – that’s 1 in 5! 4 Of that number, Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of low thyroid and affects women ten times more than men.5

Trust me, if she could just flip the switch to get back to ‘normal’ she would. She doesn’t want to be a drag, not feel well, be stuck wondering what to do, and be frustrated with why her doctor doesn’t seem to deal with this effectively (I’ll have more on this in another article).

So, do yourself a favor, instead of putting that energy of frustration against her, put it toward helping her feel understood, comfortable, and cared for while you both sort out the next important steps. Again, this will give you major bonus points for being part of the solution, and not just another reminder that she’s broken or crazy.

(When you get a chance, read You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone: Losing the Victim, Finding Your Sense of Humor, and Learning to Love Yourself Through Hashimoto’s by my wife Stacey Robbins. And have your partner read it too.)

Tip #3 – Don’t be a jerk

This goes hand in hand with #2. Sorry to be blunt guys, but we can sometimes be dismissive when someone else is having a health issue.

“You look fine”

“Why are you just lying around?”

“Maybe if you get up and start moving, you’ll feel better.”

We can be so sure we’re right, and that we know what’s going on, we’ll treat people the way we think they are, rather than the way they actually are. And it doesn’t help us that a great share of our well-meaning primary care physicians push an outmoded treatment protocol by saying that this issue is easy to solve just by taking a pill – most of the time it’s not. Hashimoto’s usually presents itself as one complicated ass-kicking disease. Trust me, if you were going through this, feeling awful with no energy, fuzzy thinking, and pain, you’d have a lot more compassion.

Married to Hashimoto's

If it helps, imaging the feeling after being kicked in the nuts, and the sickening and aching aftermath of that; then imagine that lingering feeling going for days on end, or months, or years. You wouldn’t want someone getting up in your face and saying…

“What’s the matter with you?”

“You look fine.”

“Just get up and act normal again.”

Tip #4 – Be a part of the team, it benefits everyone (especially you)

Hopefully you’re already onboard with this. But if you’ve ever seen a family where the mom has been taken out with a bad cold or flu, you know what a big impact that has on the home. Meals quickly become dad making cereal, canned soup, or microwave and takeout meals for days. The house becomes a mess overnight. The sports and social schedule gets jacked up if dad isn’t already clued into the regular routine. Hopefully family or friends come to help. Regardless, the impact is felt keenly in the home when the person running the house is taken out with sickness.

Now if you’re already getting in there and having her rest and eat good food – awesome. If you’re not – pick up the slack in the home, and be an agent of help and peace, it will benefit you in major ways.

The last time I had a major flu where I was taken out for 3-4 days, I remember how my wife kicked into gear and helped me (all while juggling the household, her work, her mother who was in from out of town, and our kids igloo school project that involved oversized marshmallows and a hair dryer).

I was so grateful and impressed by her steady care of me, all without complaining. This is what I try to remember anytime she needs a helping hand or she’s feeling sick or depressed.

You have no idea how much it will benefit you to invest in your woman’s health – either through caring for the immediate needs, or researching what could help. It’s like investing in an account that gets 150% interest – it’s worth everything you put in there because the amount of gratitude, and other benefits you’ll get from a spouse who knows you have her back.

I’m not saying that that you should do all of this to get sex. But hey, if you’re not being an a-hole and you’re helping her like crazy, things happen.

Tip #5 – Choose to be Mr. Consistent with whatever version of her shows up

Yeah, this one takes some intention and determination because when a woman is going through Hashimoto’s, and the attendant emotional and physical ups and down, you may get…

  • Angry partner
  • Exhausted partner
  • Frustrated partner
  • Thankful partner
  • Sad partner
  • ‘It’s all your fault’ partner
  • Fearful partner
  • ‘I give up’ partner

I have had times of really bringing my A game to these scenarios, where I choose to love her even though she’s not reflecting that love back to me. Other times, I’ve gotten frustrated at her, and basically given her a hard time – not so helpful. Usually I think back to the times when she helped me, and get back on track. But heck, even if she hadn’t taken care of me – I have a commitment to her that is strong that was truly tested during her many years of whacko symptoms.

So, here’s the question to you: what is your level of commitment to this person? Because, it could get really gnarly in this process before it gets better. Meds, supplements, and diet changes don’t happen overnight so, even if you’re on the right track, it still takes time for her body to respond to the good things you’re doing. You should really decide who you’re going to be now, cause it’s likely going to get bumpy, possibly for a long while as you both dial in what works for her.

I’m not trying to scare you, but if you’re faint of heart, or in the ‘till inconvenience do us part’ type of commitment, it may not go well for both of you. She’s going to need to focus her energy on getting rest, tracking symptoms, food changes, mind issues, and listening to her body to find that sweet spot of what works for her.

Truly, I want you to be there for your woman, the same way I want me to be there for my wife. To put any excuses aside (if you have any) and put the time and effort that will be required to get her back to health and wholeness. Again, this is an investment that will benefit both of you.

We can do it.

You can do it.

Tip #6 – Know that it’s possible to get her health and life back.

This is important. Without hope, it would be easy to get discouraged. So many doctors visits and tests. Medications and food protocols. Reading thyroid healing books. Making logs of symptoms and thyroid levels. Taking walks together and talking through how we’re doing. Getting the kids on the same page. Making sure I get my time and recharge my own batteries.

But for me, I can tell you that it’s worth all the work we did to get my wife to where she is now in her health. She has more energy and peace. She knows what works for her food-wise, and what relationships don’t add to her life.

This whole adventure is more than just food or pills. You may be thinking, ‘Oh joy… there’s more?’ Yes, there’s more, but that’s ultimately a good thing. It’s highly likely that some of her prior way of thinking and living was part of the issue. The truth is that her new ‘normal’ may be very different than what it was before. Different foods, different pace, and a different way of being. What worked back then may not work for this new season.

With Hashimoto’s, her body is waving a white flag and saying, through symptoms, “There’s something going on! I can’t do this the same way anymore!” This is the opportunity to take the cue and adjust accordingly.

And hopefully, through the experiences my wife and I went through, we can short cut you to the quickest road back to sanity, health, playfulness, peace, and even the bedroom.

You’re not alone.

We’re in this together.

Rock Robbins

Married to Hashimoto's

(along with sons Seth and Caleb, and wife Stacey)

About Rock Robbins

Rock Robbins is an Author and Coach. Check out his book The Guys’ Guide to Hashimoto’s. Rock lives with his wife and 2 sons in Southern California.

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About Dana Trentini

I founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby I lost to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid Mom 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 to favorite resources including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Connect with me on Google+

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. As a husband, I really needed to read this.

  2. Patti Wideman says:

    Thank you so much for this
    I shared this hoping my hubby of almost 39 yrs and my sons would read and hopefully would understand a little more ! I also deal with lupus -Sjogrens -fibromyalgia and migraines and I still take care of and do for all of them including a son -girlfriend and 2 grandchildren 19 months and almost 2 months that I care for and they all think I’m a bitch but I do everything and I’m about to break ……. ps I almost died in April from double pneumonia and mersa after 12 days in I c u with a tube down my throat helping me breathe ! God help me !

    • Susan Sanchez says:

      This article touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing it with others!!! My youngest sister had Hashimoto’s disease and no thyroid. I will he sharing this with a few members of my family. It was very, very helpful. God bless you, thank you!!

  3. Hi chuck I understand

  4. Karen gregory says:

    I can’t do what I did six months ago. I exercised 4 days a week even did CrossFit at 58 years old. I have resigned from a 40 year career. Now my life is sleeping 14 hours or more a day. I have suffered from depression most of my life. Can’t stay in bed much longer I feel horrible. Thyroid and hoshmoties is killing me

    • Tam Smith says:

      Oh Karen I’m so sorry. Your story is similar to my own. Quit showering brushing my teeth wearing makeup…..can’t sleep can’t get
      Up God bless us and give us hope…….I care

  5. Thanks for this but what if you the husband feels like your wife doesn’t even care about you for a year while she deals with this herself alone because that’s the way she is. I’ve felt lost and depressed this past year while she’s dealing with this as she has no connection to me. No physical touching or affection from the person i love more then anything. Recently she’s being taking a more holistic approach and it’s helped tremendously but i fear things will just go back the way they were. Been married 14 years and she’s had this for about 3.

    • Eric,
      I think my husband might feel the way you do. This makes me sad.

    • I’m in almost the exact same position and timeline as you, Eric. This research has helped me understand, but for the longest time I just felt completely unconnected and not loved by my WIFE. We have 3 beautiful kids that she shows affection to, but pretty much nothing for me. I have things I can improve upon as well, no doubt and am willing to do what it takes.

    • Keep going…I am too with kids a grandchild and work. Its hard..

    • Tam Smith says:

      She can’t help it!!! She’s still in there, somewhere
      Please love her enough to help her to keep moving forward……I know it’s awful. I feel so bad for my poor husband and I wish he could meet others to know he is not alone and she loves him and wants to be held through the fog and chaos of this devastating diagnosis!!! If my husband has the strength to live me take me for a drive or a walk and moves me forward I come back for a bit and he sees hope. So walk her drive her hold her.

    • As the wife and the one with Hashimotos I want to share that she probably pushes herself to “fake it” and act as close to “normal” with the kids as she can and she might feel she can be the “real her” with him because he’ll take care of her or understand more. Trust me, some days it takes so much effort just to get up off the bed. If my husband is working I’ll stay there until he’s about home and then force myself up…at least to the couch. He’ll come in and I don’t even have the energy required to talk. It’s very frustrating and not at all what we’d like it to be like.

      • Hi Joanna, Your comment really resonated with me as I know it would with many people with thyroid disease and all other chronic illnesses. I wonder if you would be interested in writing a guest post about this topic. Starting the article with this and just adding more detail, even if it is shorter than my other articles, would be very popular with my HM readers. In the past I’ve included a guest post with and listed the author anonymous since the person did not want her name included or I could use your initials. If you are interested [email protected]

    • Benjamin says:

      I know exactly how you feel. I have been in a relationship with my woman for almost 9 years. Four years ago we got engaged. The year before the engagement she had her thyroidectomy. Her Synthroid was working OK up until about two years ago. She completely lost her libido, her anxiety is out of control, she became a different person and very mean to me for no reason. She even broke up with me twice. During this time I had no idea that it could have been thyroid related. I researched and researched online And realize that all of these mental and physical symptoms were due to the lack of thyroid and not converting her T4 Synthroid into T3. When she finally decided to speak to me, I told her that we cannot continue this relationship until we get control of her health. I knew for a fact that they were not testing her free T-3, and I had my gut instinct that her Synthroid was not working well for her. I made sure to get her to the right doctor to get her free T3 tested, and lo and behold, I was right for the past 2 1/2 years that her levels were low, her vitamin D was deficient, and she needed to take a T4 T3 combo such as Armour Thyroid. She just started her new medication three weeks ago, And slowly making progress. She’s on a very low dosage and I know they have to increase it quite a bit. My suggestion is for any husband out there that is reading this, if your wife or girlfriend only takes Synthroid, levothyroxin, or just T4 drug, you must get her free T3 tested. This is a must. Because no matter how much dieting and yoga and all that other holistic stuff, nothing will work if she cannot convert T4 to T3. I have suffered quite a bit emotionally because of this. We have a follow up doctors appointment in two weeks. The hardest part about this situation was how stubborn she was, and she would say that “you think you’re a doctor“. She did not do any research on this herself. I researched everything I possibly could. I love her very much, and I was at my breaking point because she just Wouldn’t listen to me about the doctor and getting tested for free T3. I was so glad I did what I did, because when the doctor looked at her bloodwork, Her levels were so low, that the brain fog was messing up her thinking and making her extremely paranoid over any little thing. I urge you, you must get the free T3 tested.

  6. Cee Pah tii nah says:

    I have Hashimoto’s and unfortunately it has cause tension. I love my husband but he doesn’t understand. I have provided information, tv shows, Dr. Oz or even sharing this link. He has no empathy especially when its notvhis way. I’m the bad person to the point I was told find a cure or die. And he expects me to be loving to him. He doesn’t make it easier for me. I’m already feeling bad because I’m not the same person no more – causing me to get deptessed…. I guess its all in my head’s isn’t it.

  7. Carlos Ruiz says:

    Wow! A few days ago my wife was diagnosed with Hashimoto, we were really shocked, because we did not know what it is, much less did we know what to do.
    Today that I have read your article, you have really helped me indirectly, you have shared me very valuable information, I feel very well now, I feel less fear.
    Thank you for everything Dana and Rock, God bless you.

    Greetings from Mexico

  8. Hi, my wife has this and I find it very hard at times to deal with. I know she goes thru a lot and I really do try. She goes back and forth. One week or two we are great then the next day or so she fucking hates me and I can’t do nothing right. I love this woman more than anything in the world but at times it’s so hard. I will never give up on her because when times are good it’s like heaven. I feel at times I let it linger with me to long and take shit out on her. Which doesn’t help and I don’t always know what to say to her. I’m really bad with words and better with writing. As of right now she says she don’t want me here which fucking kills me. But we have had these issues before. I just hate these times. Does this sound normal? Thanks

    • I’m going through the same right now. Reading thru this article and the comments makes me believe it’s somewhat normal.

      The key is sucking it up, taking it, and if you need to let it out to do it at an appropriate time and in a healthy productive way. I’m 4 months into this, and still struggling to figure that out!

    • Yes, the comments they make, hurt like a bullet to the ❤. I try too but one on one time helps us sometimes.

    • Aaron
      It is normal . And it is hard . But you are not alone . When my wife starts to regress ( if that’s the word) I just say to myself “ this is not my wife, this is hashis) I wish I could tell you how to deal with it, But every relationship is different. The hardest part is when her moods suddenly change. You walk out the room all good and happy , walk back in and hashis has reared it’s head. It is a real rollercoaster . Unlike the other advice on these blogs, you are also importnant in your marriage and you need to make sure you do not compromise yourself. I’m lucky in that my wife and I are attempting mindfulness . We are trying to establish unemotional communication. In other words , she says to me “ I’m feeling tired now I need me time or to be left alone etc. “ this way I know she is having a hard time and I can try be more supportive or leave her to it as she wishes. I do not take offence etc. But you need your wife to sign up to this. I made a vow through sickness and health and I love my wife. Remember to love your self and When hashis has gone and your wife is back. Enjoy your time together

  9. I lost my sister a few days ago because I became so down after traveling from Philadelphia to Florida to see her.Little sleep and poor food on the way to get to the destination.I became so down and out of it the next day. I tried to explain to her about my feeling awful.She flipped out and spent most of the visit dismissing me.I apologized to her.Nothing was really okay after that.So sad after being friends for 50 years.

    • Tam Smith says:

      She can’t help it!!! She’s still in there, somewhere
      Please love her enough to help her to keep moving forward……I know it’s awful. I feel so bad for my poor husband and I wish he could meet others to know he is not alone and she loves him and wants to be held through the fog and chaos of this devastating diagnosis!!! If my husband has the strength to live me take me for a drive or a walk and moves me forward I come back for a bit and he sees hope. So walk her drive her hold her.

  10. Wow, I have gained a bit of comfort reading this. I think it is hard to Understand, Deal with, & Accept. Thank you All so much. We have been together 4 years the past 2 1/2 have been a roller-coaster-plus. God knows I needed this too. It’s hard and it cause a lot of hurt 😞

  11. I have been with my woman for more than 8 years, engaged for 3 years. She had a complete thyroidectomy five years ago. She was okay and healthy until two years ago. The light switch just turned off inside of her. Always angry, tired, depressed, no libido, always getting sick. She used to show me so much love and now I feel desperate to get my woman back to how she was before. I desperately want to feel the love she used to show me. We don’t even live together because she lives a few blocks from me. I want my woman back. I’m trying to get her help but all she does is go to a different doctor to treat each symptom seperately instead of addressing the root cause. SHE DOESN’t HAVE A FUCKING THYROID…but nobody listens to me. Not even her parents. So she has been experiencing severe constipation and rectal bleeding for over a month now. So she goes to a gastro and they give her laxatives. Then she gets ear infections, so she goes to the ENT doctor. Heavy periods…the gyno, and so on. I got so fed up with her behavior towards me because I don’t receive any love or affection anymore. I know this is not who she is. I know she still loves me. It’s so hard to get her to listen to me and let me go with her to the doctor because we need to treat the SOURCE of this problem. I’m so pissed as I write this because I feel that nobody believes me or takes me seriously when I say all of these problems we are having is because she has no thryoid and her generic synthroid treatment just doesn’t cut it. I have been so fucking patient, not had sex in two fucking years. I’m mad because I just want to kidnap my girlfriend so I can take her to an endocrinologist and grab him by the balls and tell him to try something different like Armour thyroid or some other NDT. Then I want to take her to a nutritionist and get her on the right type of diet because her digestive system has gone to crap with her leaky gut. She probably can’t even absorb any vitamins or nutrients as well. All of this has affected her thinking, judgement, behavior and has made her paranoid over things she shouldn’t be paranoid about. Brain fog, doesn’t begin to describe the issue. She has a learning disability to begin with, add the symptoms of brain fog to that, and you got somebody who is mentally disconnected. I refuse to give up. I refuse to let her suffer this way. She is a terrible self advocate for her health and will give doctors wrong information or leave out important information, i.e. “she has no thryoid”, that would be the first thing you she should be telling a doctor. She does this unintentionally so I really worry for her. I’m 38 years old, no kids, never married, and I want to start my life with my woman but I can’t because everything has gone to shit over the past two years. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    • As hard as this is, I know you think you could only love her, but that is not true. Take care of yourself and your needs, because it’s possible she may never get well. My husband left me because I couldn’t fill his needs. I am happy alone, just working on me. People who have a severe case of these problems just want to withdraw and get well. You can’t fix her…. but you can fix your situation.

    • Unfortunately, once the thyroid is removed, the immune system will start attacking other organs. Getting rid of the thyroid gland does not rid the body of Hashimotos. It can attack the brain etc instead. She definitely needs better medication and supplements. Also Low Dose Naltrexone should help. I could write a novel about all this but this is a a decent start. Hope this helps. Best wishes to you both and to everyone here…

  12. Mike Puaca says:

    To echo one of the points, it is ESSENTIAL to be Mr. or Ms. Consistent in ANY relationship. You need to be authentic, stay that way (even when times are hard), and let those around you to be their authentic selves. Otherwise, everyone changes their behavior to some temporary or (mis-)perceived you or other person. Having an authentic life and thoughtful values allows you and others to function without confusion or doubt. Be real, be healthy!

  13. I thank Priest manuka for the restoration of my marriage. We have been separated for 3 years. We started talking about reconciliation. It was something we both didn’t plan. I started searching on the net for people who God restored their marriages and I found priest manuka, on how he has help so many relationship by his spell casting with his contact ,then i contact him for help suddenly after the spell casting my husband return back home 6 days after the spell casting and ask for forgiveness and now we are living together happily once again thank you priest manuka for your help. Any stander out there having such problem should email priest manuka and he will help you in your situation his via: [email protected]

  14. Omg thank you so much, could hug you! This made me 😢 cry. I have Hashimoto and it’s not fun.

  15. Omg thank you so much, I could hug you! This made me 😢 cry. I have Hashimoto and it’s not fun.

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