Thursday, March 13, 2008

Relapse.

**DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR NOR DO I PROFESS TO BE ONE. The views expressed below are based off of personal research and experience, but PLEASE seek treatment from a professional if you suffer from medical conditions - related or otherwise **


I debated about blogging on this, but since I'm trying to do my best to fairly and accurately represent myself on my blog, I thought I had better write about THIS part of my life too.

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I alluded to it in my last post, but I have a condition known as Hashimoto's Disease. I haven't really ever talked about it on here, but it's worth throwing it out into cyberspace. Maybe someone will get help and treatment! Hastimotos' is basically an autoimmune disease (like MS or Lupus or Grave's Disease) with a few defining characteristics - namely that it starts by attacking the thyroid gland (a small little butterfly shaped gland in the neck). Autoimmune pretty much means that the body is confused and begins attacking itself like it would attack a parasite, virus, or bacteria.

Unfortunately, I have to fight this on a day to day basis. I'm getting good treatment and there are safeguards in place should it get worse, but on days like today (and weeks like this past week), it's hard. I'm officially in "relapse" which tends to happen a couple times a year. I do pretty well during the rest of the time - much better than I ever did before - but it's hard when all the sypmtoms come crashing back full force (and then some). I'm struggling and could definitely use prayer (esp. to get thru my wedding this weekend!), but I know that I'll pull through it again.

Most people aren't even aware of what the thyroid is, let alone what it does - this includes most doctors I've seen. It took me until my last semester of college to be properly diagnosed and another full year to get to a specialist who could actually treat my disease. Most doctors laugh you out of the office when you explain the symptoms, but it's hard to blame them when they don't get more than a few hours of a reading assignment dedicated to the thyroid.

Your thyroid is sort of like the temperature regulator for your entire body - it literally controls your body temp and the temperature inside your individual cells - which effects things like metabolism (hence the reason I used to be able to take extremely high doses of pain killers, caffeine, and alcohol with little to no effect). It is a gland that effects the development of literally ever cell, so it can effect your heart, lungs, brain function, skin, blood, metabolism, digestion, etc. So the symptoms looks something this:

- Memory loss
- Slow response time (aka "Brain Fog")
- Acne
- Weight gain combined with the inability to lose weight
- Extreme persistant tiredness/exhaustian
- Heart Disease
- Anemia
- IBS
- Long lasting/frequent respiratory infections
- Brittle/dry nails, skin and hair
- Depression

Now most people look at that list and go "Yeah right. You're just a hypochondriac". But it actually all ties together. And what is unfortunate is that the estimates say that it's likely that only 1 in 10 people suffering with a thyroid disorder aren't even diagnosed (let alone given proper treatment).

I won't go into a ton of detail here, but I will recommend two of my favorite books if you want more info (and don't take my word for it - read what doctors & specialists have to say on it):

"Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness" (this one is particularly good and easy to read)


"Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic"


This, btw, is why I don't eat soy products if I can at all help it. I know I'll probably get flack for saying this, but soy is actually like a poison - it shuts down your thyroid little by little (this, btw, is why you're not supposed to feed babies or children soy - it shuts their thyroids down and keeps them from developing normally). Any health benefits that come from it are severely out-weighed in my opinion.

In any case, if you want to help support Thyroid Awareness, or just get a cool t-shirt, visit Wings of Hope Thyroid Awareness - they're an awesome non-profit that is trying to help support more research on this neglected and incredibly important part of the body!

1 comment:

Mellie said...

From one sufferer to another, I totally sympathise and will definitely keep you in my prayers! Thanks for the info link to Wings of Hope, I hadnt heard about them before. Might have to get me a t-shirt or sumtn =)~

Praying your week improves!

<3 ya