A little update [The thyroid diaries. part 1]
Hey remember me? I know I’ve been a little MIA lately, not only here but in most of my social media platforms (besides the odd Instagram story) and I guess I have a ‘good excuse’ for it.
2017 wasn’t the best of years, it took a bit of learning, falling a bit back in love with myself to get through it and realizing that sometime is best to leave it to the professionals.
It all started around the time my parents came to visit us in Berlin, when they realized that my hands used to shake a lot and I had lost a bit of weight (but to be honest all parents are always saying you lost weight)
I used to blame it on the cold and the stress of moving countries, but when we got to Mallorca, things got considerably worse. My hands keep shaking, just a bit of sun would ‘hurt’ my eyes, I felt nervous, anxious, I couldn’t sleep, I kept losing weight even though I was basically binge eating and for some reason, every loud noise (dogs barking, cars honking, someone shouting) would scare the crap out of me, I would feel almost paranoid and fear closing doors for god’s sake.
I kept blaming it on other things: stress, that Berlin was quite dark and I needed to get used to the sun again, that I was unfit therefore my heart felt like it was trying to leave my body (alien style) when I exercised and that I never had dogs so I wasn’t used to the barking…. bulls#t like that.
Eventually Le Boyfriend forced me to go to the doctor, within a couple of seconds he made me stand up, he touched my neck and said, ‘I think you might have a thyroid problem’ Two blood tests and a scan later and I’m crying myself over a bucket of ice-cream screaming ‘WFT is a thyroid?!’
Graves Disease (Hyperthyroidism)
So, what is the thyroid? The thyroid is basically a gland on you neck that produces hormones to balance your body, these hormones are usually called T3 and T4 and are stimulated by another hormone called TSH and regulated by something called TRH.
In my case, the gland that was supposed to control the hormone production took a break, so my thyroid over compensated by flooding my body with hormones (give a whole new meaning to feeling hormonal, doesn’t it?) This is usually called Hyperthyroidism.
I guess I was wrong, and all those excuses I had before were no longer valid, this was the clear cause of my symptoms.
So, I was referred to an endocrine specialist and since we didn’t know of anyone in my family with the same problem, we thought it could have been cause by something else (too many iodine fueled Spanish seafood maybe?) Luckily, they didn’t find any nodules in the scan which could eventually lead to bigger problems.
I was given an anti-thyroid pill to be taken in bulk haha, two in the morning, one at midday, one at night for four weeks and after that I was meant to lower it to three per day. Besides I was also given some beta-blockers to help manage the rest of the symptoms, up to three per day. My doctor also recommended to avoid foods with high iodine, specially seafood, nori weed and large amounts of alcohol.
After 6 weeks I was asked to come back with new blood tests, specifically for T3 T4 and TSH hormones.
Hashimoto Disease (Hypothyroidism)
As fate would have it, the anti-thyroid medication was effective, some would argue, super effective. It suppressed my thyroid so much that it was barely producing any hormones, this is called hypothyroidism.
This caused me to feel super tired all the time, I started to regain weight….and kept gaining and gaining weight, and it made me super sensitive to cold (even though we were in the middle of a spanish summer)
My doctor then decided to take a different approach and cut all the medication off, and we would then see if my thyroid gland would naturally go back to normal.
Well…. It didn’t…