LIFE WITHOUT A THYROID - Male diagnosed in his late 40's. As I was shown into the doctor's office to obtain my test results I felt relatively confident that this would be a brief appointment, a mere formality like each previous step along the way.
The first consultation with the G.P., was when I discovered a lump on the right side of my neck, then the blood collection service for blood testing, the referral to the specialist, the ultrasound, and finally the fine needle biopsy. I had constantly been re-assured that 95% of these lumps turn out to be benign; boy was I in for a shock!
Even before I had taken my seat, the specialist, peering over the top of his reading glasses spoke "I'm sorry to inform you but that test has come back positive, you have papillary carcinoma of the Thyroid". It was as if time had stood still and someone had poured ice water down my spine. I sat down with a thud.
The specialist continued, "As this type of cancer is quite aggressive and we really need to get you into theatre A.S.A.P." he then went on to outline the operation, risks, and time out of action.
I drove home in a daze, shocked beyond belief, "How could this happen to me?' I had barely been sick a day in my life, watched my diet, exercised, worked hard, a hundred unanswered questions flooded my mind.
In August of 2001, after making hurried arrangements, as I was self-employed and a sole parent, I found myself in hospital where I remained for 5 days after the surgery to remove my Thyroid gland. The thyroidectomy operation was really only the beginning.
Back then I was quite naïve as to how something like this could affect every area of my life!
I was totally unprepared for the complete lack of energy I began to experience shortly after the operation to the point of struggling to do the most basic of household chores. I spent the next 12 months backwards and forwards to the G.P. who, apart from altering my medication dosage, seemed at a loss as to how to treat my ever growing list of symptoms; weight gain, depression, fatigue, mood swings. He finally referred me to an endocrinologist who placed me on an additional medication (T3). I noticed an improvement quite quickly. Sure I was still experiencing side effects, but I resigned myself to accepting my situation and to get on with life in the best way that I could.
Eventually like everyone else I connected to the internet, which of course opened up a whole new world of information. I learnt about the role of the Thyroid and how it is part of a whole system called the Endocrine system, the side effects of certain medications, and that there was a natural alternative medication called Armour which gives you a full complement of Thyroid hormones- T0, T1, T2, T3, T4 instead of just the T4 i.e. Thyroxine.
I finally found an integrative practitioner who was willing to look at the big picture by doing Adrenal and hormone testing. He prescribed the alternative medication Armour for me, plus giving me some sound advice on the dietary requirements for Thyroid patients, ie: cutting out complex carbs, breads, grains, dairy. I slowly began to improve and felt almost normal for the first time since losing my Thyroid.
I suppose the one thing I have learnt and that I would like to impart to other sufferers is that these days it seems the onus is fairly and squarely with the individual to source information and to remain open minded enough to give different treatments a try and also to not be afraid to ask the right questions.
In my experience I have found that medicine is definitely is not an exact science, particularly when it comes to the complexity of Thyroid issues. We are all individuals and what works for one may not necessarily work for another, however I do believe there is hope and that with patience and commitment a normal life is a real possibility.
Increasing knowledge of your condition can be the first step towards being able to make more informed choices and decisions with regard to the management of your health.
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.