Postpartum Thyroiditis - Hashimoto's disease
I had my daughter in June 2002 when I was 38 and three months later I found myself visiting the doctor with carpal tunnel, pins and needles in my legs and heavy periods. By chance I had found a good doctor as she took one look at my neck and said it was too large. I had my thyroid levels tested and it was discovered that my antibody levels were through the roof.
The official diagnosis was Postpartum Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease which was brought on by the birth of my daughter. I was lucky in that at that stage I didn't have the utter weariness, brain fog and clumsiness (continually stubbing my toes, missing the bench when putting things down and walking into doorframes).
Once I was diagnosed they hit with a vengeance and for the first three months it was difficult to get out of bed and look after a baby. Once my thyroid levels had stabilised a bit, about 6 months after being diagnosed, I found it easier to function. However every now and then I would have a few bad days with total mental blanks. By bad days I mean I would be in the car and totally forget how to drive (that was scary), or forget the basics like I would be trying to make a cup of tea and for the life of me I couldn't remember how!
I knew I couldn't continue like that so I went to see an endocrinologist. I found that was a waste of time as basically I was told I was within the acceptable range so everything was okay. Then I had an MRI to ensure there was nothing wrong with my brain (which there wasn't).
Then the best thing that happened was when I was put in contact with the WA Thyroid Support group. It was amazing what I learnt at the meetings. The big discovery was that some people need to be at either the lower or upper level of the range to function normally - in my case I discovered that my levels need to be at about 1. Plus there were all these other little symptoms that can be caused by a thyroid problem such as eczema, feeling the cold, dry skin and depression. There were lots more, but hey, I have Hashimoto’s and you don't expect me to remember them all! Putting these symptoms all together, I probably had been borderline Hashimoto’s for years as I had bouts of depression (I called it my sad days) when I was a teenager and always had problems losing weight.
I was told that you do get your memory back, however I haven't really found that the case. When I meet up with old girlfriends and reminisce there is so much I can't remember. Even today, on occasions my short term memory isn't the best. I will have a conversation with someone and find it so difficult to recall afterwards what we were talking about or even to concentrate while talking to them. I am sure that getting older is also contributing to this!
I now manage my own medication levels as I know that I am the only one who really knows how I am feeling. I have since had a second daughter and the only difficulty after her birth was trying to identify my correct dosage. I had to increase it by 50mcg while pregnant.
Any opinion expressed in the members' stories may not necessarily reflect the views of THYROID WA SUPPORT GROUP INC. THYROID WA SUPPORT GROUP INC. disclaims any liability whatsoever.