Friday, April 23, 2010

Thyroid disease

As I mentioned in a post on "LoJo's Life"... I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disease, called Hoshimoto's Thyroiditis when I was 20.

Shortly after my first marriage in 1997 I began to put on some extra weight, sleep all the time, my hair was falling out in gobs, I cried over everything, and would go months without a period.

I was constantly tired. More tired than I can even describe. I would sleep ALL the time. Literally. I would cry when the alarm went off at 6, because I didn't feel like I had slept. I would go to work and take naps in the bathroom every time I took a break. I would skip eating lunch and nap in my car. Heck, on weekends, when the supervisor's weren't there, I would go sleep behind the comms equipment.

On my drives home from work, I'm sure I must have slept at the wheel because there were days I would find myself at home and not remember how I got there. I would get home, take off my boots and outer BDU shirt and go right to sleep in the rest of my uniform. I'd wake up to make dinner and then fall asleep more on the sofa before going to bed at 9 or 10. I'd sleep soundly all night until the alarm went off in the morning and the cycle would start again.

I cried over everything. Prior to this, nothing would make me cry except my dad yelling at me. Now, everything set me off. I would cry from the time I got up until I left for work because putting my hair in a bun was impossible. It would take forever and take several tries because my hair would just fall out in gobs as I was trying to put it back, getting tangled in the brush, on my fingers, in the scrunchie. It was a mess!

I had written a report at work and it needed to be QC'd before being released. My supervisor looked it over, made his corrections in red and gave it back .... I made the corrections, sent the report and then went to the bathroom and cried for 15 minutes.

One night while I was laying on the sofa, the cat was bugging me and I pushed her away. My husband jokingly told me to be nice to the cat, that I had hurt her feelings. I sobbed for 45 minutes.

I started missing my periods. Prior to that, I was like clockwork. I was on the pill and would start on a specific Tuesday morning of every month. So, the first time I missed a period, we freaked out! I went and bought a home pregnancy, and it came back negative. Of course it did, I was sleeping all the time, when the heck did I have time or energy for baby making sex?

So, I went to sick call. Told them everything and their answer was, you're a newlywed, that must mean your pregnant. Let's do bloodwork. Negative.

This cycle went on ritually for about 9 months. No period, take a home pregnancy test, negative, sick call, bloodwork, negative ... rinse, lather, repeat. I finally went to the doctor's office, sat in her chair and through tears and sobs, demanded that Colonel Shreekemar (yes, I remember her name) figure out what was wrong with me and that I wasn't leaving until she did. It's a wonder I didn't get a stripe pulled or at least an LOR, but luckily she listened and did some more extensive bloodwork. That was the extent of her bedside manner! The test results came back, she told me, "you have an underactive thyroid", handed me a bottle of .025 mcg Synthroid, and said "make an appointment with an endocrinologist at Walter Reed." Ummm... ok. Now I know something is wrong with my thyroid, but that's it.

I got an appointment with a great guy at Walter Reed who sat down with me and told me that I had Hoshimoto's Disease. That my body was attacking my thyroid and explained to me everything about what was going on. That I would have to take thyroid replacement for the rest of my life and that I had to have bloodwork every 6 weeks until we got my thyroid levels (TSH) under control. One day, that would go down to once a year, but we had no idea when, that depended on my body.

He did find a lump on my thyroid so I had to have a biopsy done to make sure it wasn't cancerous, but it turned out to be just a goiter, the thyroid's reaction to being attacked. We did bloodwork every 6 weeks like clockwork and adjusted medicine up every time to try to get it just right.

In 1999, I got out of the AF, and had to get a civilian doc to continue the process. My new doctor got my medical records from the AF and in my initial visit with him, he shared with me what the Army doc had found, but never told me. At the time (standards have since changed) TSH levels were considered normal in the .5-11.0 range. My records showed that by the time the military finally checked my TSH ... it was 135! My new doc said that had they waited another 2 weeks, I could have slipped into a coma!

Today the range is even more narrow at .3-3.0.

My TSH is now monitored regularly and my dosage adjusted to .150mcg - a far cry from my original dosage!

1 comment:

Sparrow said...

That is scary !!! Thank god you got a new dr and that you are still here to make me laugh