My name is Kay, and this is my story with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. In 2012, I had my daughter and over the next couple of years my health underwent drastic changes with a long list of symptoms, and a long list of doctors later I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
At first, as the symptoms started, I experienced anxiety, weight loss – which immediately following a child was notable, heart palpitations, muscle aches, joint things. The worst, what really got me was the anxiety. The crushing worry, not just about my symptoms but the overwhelming, all-encompassing anxiety that affected everything. For two years, I was seeing a new doctor, a new specialist, a new whatever weekly. And each time I never got any answers. The best results would be “Well, we know you don’t have…” and that relief would last me all of a few hours.
I felt like a hypochondriac, always googling my symptoms between doctor visits. Latching on to possibilities “It might be this, test for this!” and my results, even my TSH results were coming back normal. The doctors didn’t really help that feeling either because they couldn’t come up with an answer for me. Never mind that I just had a brand new baby, and hormones rushing through me. I was post-partum and suffering all this fatigue, and I had to be my own advocate in the health system? It was overwhelming.
I lucked out. In one of my many appointments I had a PA who looked at everything and suggested we test for these additional labs, looking at the antibodies. And sure enough, there it was. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in a hyperthyroid state. This diagnosis was overwhelming, I didn’t really know what it meant to have this disease, but I was so validated, that my whole experience wasn’t imaginary. And then my research branched to Hashimoto’s and other people who have it, and reading their experiences, like someone else may be doing now, felt so validating. “These people know what I am going through, they’ve experienced it too.” It’s empowering in its own way.
Now, knowing what was wrong I became able to take steps, take control of my health. I was able to change my diet, my habits, add supplements. I used to be a vegetarian but began to eat some meats, cutting out gluten, which wasn’t my favorite. I know that is a lot of what other people said helped them was those kinds of changes and it’s true for me at least. Trial and error, working with a naturopathic care provider, that is what got me on the path to health, personally.
To anyone going through this like I did: trust that intuition. You know something isn’t right, you know you are the best measure of your own health. I kept searching, it was tiring. Really tiring. But I’m glad I kept fighting for the answers because I cannot imagine five, 10, a lifetime of still going through this mystery. I hope my story at least gave you that reassurance that I got from others when I needed it. If any of this sounds familiar, ask your doctor for those tests. Once you know you can improve your life, it doesn’t have to always be this way.