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

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.

READ NEXT: Is Your Thyroid Affecting Your Credibility (by Rock’s wife Stacey)

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini M.A., Ed.M., 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. Two days ago my husband called me useless. He’s always muttering things under his breath or looking at me with what I feel is abject hatred. Each one of those instances is like a knife through my heart. I feel the cortisol/adrenaline as my heart skips and my stomach drops and I know that each of these instances, or each time it causes a fight that it’s further inhibiting my healing.

    I wish I could go off on my own so I can be away from the negativity and judgement and heal myself; stop being such a burden on my husband. I can’t work at the moment and so he’s working full time and comes home and has to do so much for our two babies (and dog) because I just can’t. He’s running himself into an early grave and won’t look after himself even when he has the opportunity to and it worries me sick. I just feel that I’m such a burden to everyone. The guilt is immense.

    I spend hours every day researching what to try next; after my first child was born I told doctors for years that I had hypothyroidism and no one would listen as my TSH would come out of range and then go back in again. When they finally started me on T4 (reluctantly) it did nothing and so it was back to the drawing board for another 2 years to beg to try T3. Now I’m on slow release but with my malabsorption issues I don’t think I’m getting an optimal dose (plus it’s only a low dose anyway).

    My babies have never known me as the happy, healthy, confident and motivated person I once was. This is destroying my career, family, relationships, marriage, my kids’ early experiences and development… every aspect of my life. I’m ruining things for everyone I love.

    All I want from my husband is some kindness, a hug when I’m down. Every time I cry I tell him I just want a hug. But the next time, I never get it. I feel like he hates me and is only here because he feels obligated to be. He rolled his eyes when I asked him to read this; huffed and puffed like it was the biggest inconvenience in the world – that I’m the biggest inconvenience in the world. I thought he might come in after and give me a hug, have a chat to me about it, or that at the very least, his demeanour will have softened. He did none of these things.

    I have no hope that he will give me what I need. I feel at this point that he’s working against me instead of working with me and making a horrendous situation even harder. I just want my health back. I want this all to go away 🙁

    • I 100% feel the exact same way. It’s so damn disheartening & frustrating & terrifying!! I often feel too that I’d be better off as a single mom. Not be a burden to him anymore & focus on myself and my kids. I feel awful for thinking this…

      • Oh my sorry that you feel like this, reading your post is like listening to myself. Keep going, you can be strong and your kids will know it.

    • Raven, I’m sad reading your story. I’m sorry this is happening to you, but please know that you are not alone. I created Hypothyroid Mom because I knew so many of us, including me, suffer in silence and no one gets it unless they live it themselves. Your thyroid disease can wreak havoc on every part of your body and drain you of your energy. What you wrote will so resonate with other hypothyroid people. I wonder may I post your comment as a guest post at Hypothyroid Mom? I could make it anonymous without any name, or if you have a website to promote, I would include your name with a bio at the end. Let me know.

    • I can relate to this, I’ve had this condition for many years. I sympathize with you. Please research hasimoto’s and LDN, you may find this helpful! My best regards Linda S.

  2. I have been living with this for about 13 years now. It was hard in the beginning. We did not know that she had this disease. I did a lot of the “do not’s” before we learned learned what she had and researched it. It became clear and we learned a lot about each about each other and just how strong our love was. Patience, love and education is all I can reccomend. There are still some bad days but easier to handle now that I know what to do and how to cope. This was a great article, I hope it sheds light and helps other men who are going through this. Your spouse needs you.

    • Thank you for sharing Sam. You sound like a loving husband. I know there are many Hypothyroid Mom followers that read the comments here on my site and I know yours will give them hope. With love, even sickness can be overcome. All the best, Dana Trentini (aka Hypothyroid Mom)

  3. My husband doesn’t understand anything about my Hoshimoto’s! Nor does he want to I think. I was thinking about sending this to him on FB but didn’t see the point. I’m not able to drink alcohol anymore because for some reason it makes me not be able to breath when I lay down at night. I jump up gasping for air or either can’t fall asleep for checking my pulse because it’s fast or slow. We use to have a good time drinking together some but since I’m not able to do this anymore he makes comments like “Your no fun anymore” “your boring.” “Oh you cant drink alcohol because your going to die.” Or I want the wife I use to know back.” When I get brain fog I can forget how to get somewhere in my own town that I’ve lived in all my life and he will yell at me different things like”you’ve only lived here your entire life..I don’t know..maybe you take a left here…how stupid are you?” And don’t get me started on fatigue. My schedule is so busy I dont even get to sleep the way I need to. If he wants to go out when I get off after working 10 hours and I don’t feel like it…he replies…”of course you don’t want to go”. There are a million other examples of different things. We’ve been together almost 20 years and things are not any better with me or our marriage. Sometimes I think hes staying around until our boys get out of school. He has his own issues too which doesnt make things any better. This article is nice for the men that will read it…unfortunately I dont have one that will! 😢

    • that is so sad, bad enough to be sick but to live within an enemy zone is horrible.. hang in there and do your best, sadly you cannot control how he thinks or feels, but i am quite sure his negative attitude is not helping improve things 🙁

    • TEARS ARE ROLLING DOWN MY FACE AS I READ THIS . THIS WAS ME LAST NIGHT I WAS HAVING SUCH A DEPRESSION STAGE TOGETHER WITH STRESS AND ALL THE ABOVE . I FELT LIKE I COUDNT TAKE IT ANYMORE 😪☹😒😫

    • This breaks my heart to read – one because I feel desperately sad and sorry that your husband is being so unkind but two because my husband is completely clueless too. While he isn’t quite as nasty, he tells me I’m lazy, that I’m getting fat, I should just do exercise and that will fix my joint pain, what do I do all day etc etc etc. The list can go on and on. Living this life is so hard but it is completely unbearable when you have little to no support from the one person who should have your back. Much strength to you- it doesn’t make it any easier but know that you are not alone xx

    • Penni, It sounds like you are going through a lot. Please know you are not alone. Unless someone lives this disease themselves and sees what a toll it takes on your body, they won’t understand it. You may look “fine” on the outside, but be a complete wreck on the inside. The first step is knowing that your symptoms are very real and not your fault. Happy to have you at Hypothyroid Mom.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Thank, I never think someone will talk about this like they know me, I totally feel like that you understand what it’s feels like, I have this condition and is sad to say that reading through I wished go back in time and make my ex husband read it, he couldn’t understand me after 11 years of marriage, but now he have a new life and I have to get answers to be strong and step back up for myself and my daughter thank you so much!!!

  5. Diana Pinder says:

    This made me bawl my eyes out.I don’t know where my perseverence comes from.

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

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

  8. 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]

  9. 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!

  10. 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…

    • My wife has hashis and I consider myself lucky that she wants badly to get better, and is an advocate for herself…hate to say this brother but if you’ve tried and tried, and SHE doesn’t want to help herself, you need to break it off and build your self worth back up…until she wants to help herself, you can’t fix her alone.

    • I’m so sorry bro. I just found out that my ex has Hashimoto as well. I’m sorry about ur woman it sounds like you love her so much. I hope you can find a way to heal her and yourself in the process!

    • Maybe you can ask your Endocronologist to check her PTH and Calcium levels I have no thyroid either and still have all these issues she has after the fact and I just found out 30 years later I have a tumor in my parathyroid

    • Ben, bless you for hanging in there. I have Hashis, and have struggled like your gf. I have learned that every single day of staying on track is what must happen to feel good. Healthy food, Force myself to take a daily walk, Lots of sleep, LEARN TO NOT OVER DO my work and social schedule. Synthroid meds will not fix it all. Have her consider taking daily dose of 2k Vitamin D3 and have endrocronologist check levels. Also try Thyromin from Young Living. Only 3 pills per week, as it is highly concentrated in Iodine, what the thyroid used to produce. Also know that you will both have ‘bad days ‘ if you continue with your relationship. Good luck!

    • Ben, even though she doesn’t have a Thyroid, she still has the antibodies which can destroy not only the Thyroid but end organ origins. An example of this is your inner ears where the nerve connects to the brain. It kills the nerves, thus makes you loose your hearing like I experienced. Is she dizzy and have balance problems? Hope that helps you understand a little more. I’m sure she appreciates you not giving up.

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