January is national Thyroid Disease Awareness month. I have shared a few times about my struggle with Hashimoto’s Disease. I thought I would share my story and how living with chronic illness impacts everything in my life… the good, the bad and the ugly.
First of all, what is Hashimoto’s? It is an autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid. An autoimmune disease occurs when your body is attacked by its own immune system. Basically, your body receives false information and becomes trained to attack itself. There has been a mutiny and you are caught in the crossfire. Varying theories are out about the causes of autoimmune disease. I cannot say for sure why I have Hashimoto’s, but I do.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that concentrates all its efforts on destroying your thyroid. Your thyroid, if you don’t know, is a butterfly shaped gland located around your neck area that acts almost like the master cylinder of a car. It controls many, many hormone related things in your body from moods, metabolism, body temperature, digestion, hair growth, nail growth, monthly cycles… and so. much. more. If your thyroid is out of whack… you can be sure that you are out of whack!
Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Here are a few symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease:
– Extreme Fatigue (tiredness like you’ve never known possible… all. the. time.)
– Cold Intolerance, Especially in your hands and feet
– Dry Skin
– Puffy Face
– Horse Voice
– Unexplained Weight Gain (often even when exercising and dieting diligently)
– Muscle Weakness
Hashimoto’s often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms vary so and come in varying degrees. I read a blog post from Hypothyroid Mom explaining that Hashimoto’s can present in over 300 symptoms. I was diagnosed 11 years ago after having a partial thyroidectamy, removing the right side of my thyroid due to a suspicious growth. The growth ended up being benign, but I was rendered thyroid-less and dependent on daily medication.
I have mixed feelings about the surgery. I was uneducated and young when I had it. I wonder if there were other options. I am thankful I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at that time instead of going through years of misdiagnosis that so often happens to people with this disease.
I am doing this series of posts on Hashimoto’s for two reasons…
1. Community is so encouraging. To know that you are not alone in your struggle can literally be life saving. If my story can encourage just one person, I will be thankful.
2. I have had this disease for at least 11 years. I have only really come to understand what it means in the last two years. I am now coming to grips with the reality that this isn’t going away. I will be processing what all that means here in the bloggy world.
In my next Hashimoto’s post, I’ll be sharing about my first few years of living with Hashimoto’s Disease.