Hashimoto's Disease - Autoimmune Hypothyroidism
I am a female. In my 40's, I was a fit and active person who rarely had a cold or the flu. Then slowly things started to change. Not immediately, not instantaneously but slowly and insidiously.
I went to my GP on numerous occasions with plausible health complaints and conditions. Each time my condition was treated in isolation. I had examinations, ultra sounds, CT's and tests. I was always sent away with clarification from the GP that all was well for that particular complaint.
The feeling of being totally unwell was something that I learnt to live with and even those close to me were unaware that I felt so unwell. Then the tiredness and lethargy started to take its toll. My energy level was zero but I knew that I had to get some fitness back. I still don't know how long I had been living with an undiagnosed thyroid condition but the catalyst to finally get a correct diagnosis was the day I thought I was having a heart attack. What I didn't realize that day was, because my metabolism was so slow and therefore I had a slow pulse rate, I could not pump enough blood around my body to sustain just a simple fast, paced walk.
The GP obtained a blood sample and I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroid - Hashimoto's. My thyroid was underactive because my own antibodies were attacking it.
The GP showed me an extensive list of hypothyroid symptoms and asked which ones I had. I was shocked because I had every symptom, bar one. Previous to this I had been trying to deal with each health issue separately not realizing that they all were the result of an unhealthy thyroid.
This was August 2004. I was elated to finally be diagnosed and saddened as I realized it was going to take nearly six months till I was going to feel healthy again. The depression I felt was real but I had been given hope that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
I followed the GPs advice and took my thyroxine medication religiously. I had constant blood tests to monitor my thyroid but I was still unwell. I sought more information from the medical profession and paid $250 for a 15 minute consultation with an endocrinologist to be told "your thyroid levels are normal, yes you have been stressed, so go home and you will be fine."
That was not the answer I wanted, nor deserved.
From that point on I realized my well being was up to me. I started to listen to my body and I knew how I felt and I definitely was not back to my normal healthy state. I needed answers to my questions and I googled my way through the information highway.
I joined a thyroid support group and met other people with thyroid conditions.
The first thing I learnt was that I was not alone.
The second thing I learnt was that - there are General Practitioners out there who do listen to your symptoms and not just read the blood tests. (I have been since diagnosed with other autoimmune diseases, toxic levels of mercury, copper and other health issues related to the adrenal system.)
Today I am on a path to wellness. I take Natural Thyroid Extract which contains both T4 and T3. The thyroxine (T4) I was originally prescribed was not sufficiently converting in my body to T3. I reaffirmed this, when after six years on NTE, I thought I would retry T4 only. I was prescribed thyroxine by my GP who questioned my reasoning for the change. I took thyroxine for 12 days. The symptoms of muscle tightness, chronic pain in joints, especially the fingers, tiredness and general clumsiness returned with a vengeance. Even my eyes and concentration appeared to be affected.
I immediately reverted back to NTE. The inconvenience of taking NTE (due to refrigeration and splitting the dosage during the day) plus the cost (a 100 day supply of NTE = $120 Vs a150 day supply of Thyroxine = $23) gave me no option but to continue to take the thyroid hormones that work for my body- Natural Thyroid Extract.
The journey has not been straight forward but I have drawn strength from like- minded thyroid suffers. I am still learning about thyroid issues, and in conjunction with my "listening GP", ensure that I can do my best to ensure my thyroid is maintained and functioning at its optimum level.
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.