Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pause 2

Emotions, hormones, cortisol, etc.  What an amazing job the thyroid does. Hashimoto's is indicative to periods of both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid. That's what makes it so difficult to treat. There is no cure for Hashimoto's Disease. Only treatment. Which is kind of like taking cold medicine for the flu.  Sure, it will help a little bit, but the disease never gets better.  It lasts until death.

Moving, Moving, Moving

Edmonton, Alberta is where I met my husband.  He's a member of the Canadian Air Force, so we have moved every 3 or 4 years since we've been together.  Our first move together was to Vancouver Island in 2000, where we were married in 2002.  Doesn't seem that long ago, and seems almost a lifetime ago at the same time.

I was almost 30, and that was it.  Everything started to fall apart. I couldn't hide anything anymore. I was gaining weight for no reason, I was exhausted all the time, I started getting rages (omg the rages were horrible!), and the anxiety was showing in the strangest situations.  As I'm thinking about the things that happened back then, all I can think is "Wow!  How did I get through that?".  One particular instance comes to mind.

We were having some friends over for drinks and snacks.  Someone brought some sandwiches.  When I put them in the bottom of the fridge, I asked him to remind me where I'd put them in case I forget.  Sort of an out of sight, out of mind thing. Well, when the time came to take them out, I got upset when they wanted to open the bottom drawer and take them out.  I have no idea why I was upset. Talk about being embarrassed.  I've never felt so humiliated in all my life.  How did I forget?  And why did it bother me?  Why was I so upset?  I remember one of them asking me, "Nancy, what's wrong with you?" and all I could say is "I don't know."  I truly did not have an answer.  So I went to the doctor for the first time for help.

Almost 30

Well, after losing my Grandma and fiance, I decided to move to another province.  Alberta.  I spent my first Christmas away from my home town, friends, family - alone.  No one even phoned me that year.  If this disease does one thing, it makes you feel alone.  Add that to not getting one single phone call on Christmas day and you have a recipe for some serious depression.  I was hoping my move would make some of my symptoms go away, but I started getting depressed more and more often.  I worked in a hair salon in the mall, 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week.  I tried to ignore my symptoms, but of course that didn't work.  So I started developing some OCD tendencies, although I had no idea that's what I was doing.  Everything in it's place.  Do everything in the same order every day.  Eat the same things every day at the same times.  It helped me cope. It helped reduce some of the forgetfulness.  Unfortunately, I started getting tired.  Very tired.  Body tired.  I still had a hard time following a conversation with someone, but at least these people didn't know me.  I blamed it on my tinnitus.  I've had tinnitus for as long as I can remember.  Even as a small child.  So I used it as my scapegoat for losing track of what someone was saying to me.  By this age I had become sort of an expert on hiding my symptoms.  Blaming stress for my anxiety, blaming tinnitus for my lack of concentration and forgetfulness. The tiredness was new though.  And I started getting sick all the time.  If someone thought they were getting a cold, I for sure had it the next day.  I knew I couldn't do it alone anymore.  I needed help.  I needed someone to help me.  The problem was I didn't know what I was asking for help with.  What was causing all of this?  Was I getting Alzheimer's?  Wasn't I too young?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My 20's Continued

The reason I'm including such a sad point in my life is because I believe it was the pivoting point in my disease.  So to continue on...
My Grandma's health had been declining.  I was working, going to the hospital to see her, and going home for sleep.  Nothing else.  I wasn't even taking time for my fiance.  The doctors then said she had an aneurysm, but she had lost too much weight to have surgery.  It was at that time I started having periods of confusion.  I lost days.  Couldn't remember if I was suppose to work that day.  Couldn't remember if I had eaten that day. I was even forgetting where I was going.  I'd be in my car driving, and not remember if I was going to the hospital or to work.  I even found it hard to have a conversation with someone.  I couldn't follow what they were saying. So, one sunny morning I made up my mind.  There was something definitely wrong with me.  That day I broke up with my fiance.  I just couldn't marry him.  I couldn't do that to him and his family. There was something wrong with me and it wouldn't be fair to put them through whatever it was.  It wasn't long after that, my Grandma passed away.  The next few months went by.  I have no recollection of anything that happened during those months.

My 20's

So in my 20's, I started having days where the anxiety was out of control.  At times I would be sick to my stomach for what seemed no reason at all, and completely unable to make it stop.  Emergency room visits for an injection of anti-anxiety medication and Gravol started.  I was so embarrassed.  What was wrong with me??  I wanted to see a doctor but I had no idea what to say.  I didn't know what was happening.  The anxiety, depression, vomiting episodes.  And to top it off, I was afraid people would think I was losing my sanity if I tried to explain everything.  Then my Grandma B. started having very serious health problems.  (I have to grab some facial tissue to write the next part. It's the saddest point of my life.)  OK.  Sorry.  I have to take a break before I go on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pause

I just want to pause here to explain a few things about Hashimoto's disease.  It's where the body confuses the thyroid as an 'intruder' and attacks it, eventually killing it.  The thyroid pretty much has a say in all parts of the body.  Temperature regulation, hormone levels, serotonin levels, etc.  Basically, the thyroid has lines of communication with every part of the body.  So when the thyroid doesn't work, all the lines of communication throughout the body get messed up.  This is where the problems begin.

The thyroid, and how it 'talks' to the rest of the body, is a very complicated topic.  No one knows everything about it and scientists are researching constantly.  My request would be that if you're going to donate to a good cause this Christmas, Choose Thyroid Research.  There's too much that's still unknown, and way too many people suffering.  Help look for answers. Donate to Thyroid Research.

Back to the Beginning

Now that I look back, I can remember having symptoms when I was in grade 4.  Forgetting things, anxiety, unable to sleep, unable to concentrate, easily distracted.  I think I'm lucky A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. was unheard of back then. I can only imagine the various medications they would have tested out on me.  The anxiety, from what I can remember, was the most prevalent symptom throughout my grade school years.  Some days it felt like my brain never shut off.  Constantly thinking, worrying.  'What if this happened, what if that happened?'  And then there were the bouts of depression.  As a child, how do you explain that to an adult?  I'm not even sure I knew what depression was, and I'd bet there are adults today that don't understand it.  But somehow I made it through those years, graduated from high school, moved on and graduated from hairstyling school.  All the while, dealing with the same symptoms, wondering if there was something wrong with me.

I think this is the beginning.

I'm sure I've forgotten something.  And I'm sure I'll have to mention something from before this "beginning", but I think this is where I will begin.

This blog is about my life experiences with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  Even as you read through it, please remember that I'm not a doctor, I don't give out medical advice, but I do support education.  Sometimes the internet is not the best place to find out about Hashi's disease, and a good old fashioned medical text book just may be the best reference there is.